From the early twelfth century, St Andrews, formerly Kilrymont, was the religious seat of Scotland. Like many European countries, Scotland was Catholic for centuries, but in 1560, converted to Protestantism. The ideology developed by theologians, Patrick Hamilton and George Wishart, in St Andrews was adapted into Knox’s own version of Protestantism. After spending time in the French galleys, Knox’s Protestant beliefs led him to England where he developed a social network within the English courts. He returned to St Andrews where he preached sermons that incited the iconoclasm of Catholic buildings. In 1559, Knox succeeded in converting St Andrews to Protestantism. Having converted the religious seat of the country, Knox went to Edinburgh where he stood in direct opposition to the Scottish political authority. Knox wrote against female monarchs and used resistance theory to undermine Mary Queen of Scots authority as monarch over the religion of Scotland. He used his connections with the English courts to further erode the monarch’s power. Eventually, Scotland became Protestant and a Protestant monarch was placed on the throne completing the reformation Knox began. Knox’s conversion to Protestantism can be traced back to St Andrews as can the reformation of Scotland as a whole. Therefore, because St Andrews was the religious seat of Scotland and the home of theologians like John Knox, its conversion in 1559 served as the lynchpin for the Scottish Reformation in 1560.
Semester/Year of Award
Dr. Catherine Stearn
Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies
Restricted Access Thesis
Perkins, Jennifer, "The Lynchpin of the Scottish Reformation: St Andrews’ Role in the Protestant Conversion of Scotland" (2020). Honors Theses. 728.