John Knox and the Scottish Reformation: Christian History Timeline — Journeying with John Knox

EARLY YEARS IN SCOTLAND

1514 Probable date of birth in Haddington

1536 Graduates from University of St. Andrews and is ordained a priest

1540 Becomes a notary (minor legal official) and a tutor

1543 Converted to Protestantism

1545 Becomes associate and bodyguard to George Wishart

1546 Wishart martyred; Cardinal Beaton murdered; Protestants at St. Andrews Castle put under siege

1547 Knox flees to the Castle; preaches his first Protestant sermon; Castle falls; imprisoned as galley slave in France for 19 months

INTERLUDE IN ENGLAND

1549 Begins pastoring in Berwick, England; establishes his preaching reputation

1550 Meets Mrs. Elizabeth Bowes and her daughter Marjory

1552 Moves to London; disputes practice of kneeling at Communion; refuses to become bishop of Rochester

1553 Forced into hiding when Catholic Mary Tudor becomes queen

EXILE IN EUROPE

1554 Flees to France, then Zurich and Calvin’s Geneva; pastors an English congregation in Frankfurt

1555 Dispute over the liturgy forces him to Geneva; pastors an English congregation there; returns to Scotland secretly; weds Marjory Bowes and does missionary work

1556 Condemned for heresy in Scotland; returns to Geneva with wife and mother-in-law

1558 Writes The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, advocating rebellion against ungodly rulers

LATER YEARS IN SCOTLAND

1559 Returns to Scotland; preaches sermon condemning “idolatry”; it leads to a rebellion

1560 Reformation Parliament adopts Protestant “Scots Confession”; Knox’s wife, Marjory, dies

1561 Knox helps write First Book of Discipline; Catholic Mary Queen of Scots returns; Knox ministers at St. Giles’s in Edinburgh; first interview with Mary

1564 Marries Margaret Stewart

1566 Writes much of History of the Reformation of Religion in Scotland

1572 Dies in Edinburgh; buried at St. Giles’s Cathedral

OTHER REFORMATION EVENTS

1516 Erasmus publishes Greek New Testament

1517 Luther posts 95 Theses

1518 Zwingli comes to Zurich and begins Swiss Reformation

1525 Anabaptist movement begins; Tyndale publishes English New Testament

1529–36 England’s Henry VIII gradually breaks with Rome

1530 Augsburg confession solidifies Lutheran movement

1534 Ignatius Loyola founds Jesuit Order to renew Roman Catholic Church

1536 Calvin publishes first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion; Menno Simons baptized as an Anabaptist

1549 Cranmer’s first Book of Common Prayer

1558 Elizabeth I becomes English queen and solidifies Protestantism

1562–64 Council of Trent, to clarify Catholic beliefs, concludes

1563 Foxe writes Book of Martyrs

1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in France.

By Roger Mason

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #46 in 1995]

Roger Mason is professor of history at St. Andrews University in Scotland. He is editor of John Knox on Rebellion (Cambridge, 1994).
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