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Cardinal David Beaton

Cardinal David Beaton was Archbishop of St Andrews from 1539-46, the last Scottish Cardinal before the Scottish Reformation.

Born in Balfour near Glenrothes in 1494 and educated at St Andrews and Glasgow universities, he was sent Paris to study law. He first became involved in politics at the French court, but returned to Scotland on being given an ecclesiastical appointment by his uncle, James Beaton, the Archbishop of Glasgow.

He was appointed Abbot of Arbroath in 1522 and sat in the Scottish Parliament from 1525. On the death of his uncle, Beaton became Archbishop of St Andrews and later that year was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III.

For many, including John Knox, Beaton personified all that was corrupt in the Church. In 1545 Beaton arrested the Protestant refomer George Wishart and had him burned
at the stake in front of St Andrews Castle. In May of the following year the Protestants took their revenge. Pretending to be stonemasons they entered the castle, dragged the Cardinal from his bed, stabbed him to death and hung from a castle window.

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