28th April 1558

Scotland’s last Protestant martyr is burned

Walter Mylne (sometimes written Milne, Mill, or Myln) was burned at the stake in 1558, becoming the last man martyred in Scotland for his Protestant faith. At that time, Scotland was a Catholic country.

Mylne himself had previously been a Roman Catholic priest at Lunan, but had given up saying mass and was declared a heretic by the bishop. He was condemned to be burnt at the stake wherever and whenever he might be found. This left him with no choice but to flee. He went to Germany, where he immersed himself in the Protestant concepts that had led him to stop saying mass and, when he returned several years later, he brought that teaching with him – and shared it.

Captured in Fife

Then aged 82, he was taken prisoner in Fife in April 1558 and held prisoner in St Andrews before being put on trial before a religious panel in the city’s cathedral. He did not argue against the accusations levelled against him, and indeed spoke out against the Roman Catholic Church.

The panel would have had no trouble convicting him on that basis, and he was sentenced to be burned at a stake, set up in the city, outside Dean’s Court, on 28 April. On that day, it is said that the shops remained closed as public sentiment was resolutely against the punishment being enacted.

A memorial to four martyrs, including Mylne, now stands on the coast at St Andrews. The inscription on the column reads, “In memory of the martyrs Patrick Hamilton, Henry Forrest, George Wishart, Walter Mill, who in support of the Protestant faith suffered death my fire at St Andrews between the years MDXXVIII – MDLVIII. The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.”

Martyrs monument at St Andrews
Monument to four martys at St Andrews



Other events that occured in April

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