Events mark anniversary of martyr’s birth

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of the martyr George Wishart – at Pitarrow in the Mearns – a group of members of the Wishart family have organised a number of events.

George Wishart probably went to Aberdeen University and then became a schoolmaster in Montrose.

At a time when ordinary people were not expected – or allowed – to read the Bible for themselves, George was soon in trouble.

He taught his pupils Greek and used a Greek version of the Testaments.

This was considered to be heresy, and he fled, spending time in England, then Europe, before returning to Scotland to preach.

He was captured at Haddington, despite having John Knox as his bodyguard.

He was burned at the stake in St Andrews by the orders of Cardinal Beaton.

The cruelty and unfairness of Wishart’s conviction spurred other Reformers to assassinate the Cardinal in the Castle at St Andrews, sparking the Scottish Reformation.

Wishart’s namesakes have organised a weekend of Wishart celebrations at St Andrews at the end of August, set round a core of an academic conference at which six of the key Professors of Scottish Reformation History will analyse the importance of the life of George Wishart and his continuing relevance.

The conference – see for more information – is open to all and the £35 fee includes lunch and a wine reception.

Academics, ministers, and theologians, as well amateur historians and people interested in the Reformation, have already registered. Wisharts from Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe have booked for this mini ‘Homecoming’.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Jack Wishart at