Standard Article

Knox, John (1514–1572)

  1. Michael Whiting

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0764

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Whiting, M. 2011. Knox, John (1514–1572). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Known as the “Thundering Scot,” Knox was born around the year 1514 in the small town of Haddington east of Edinburgh. Educated in theology at St. Andrews University, he was ordained as a priest in 1536. Lollard and Hussite dissent had spread to Scotland in the previous century, and by the time Knox began studies at St. Andrews the works of Protestant reformers had penetrated coastal ports. By 1541–1542 Knox had “converted” to the new faith. During a brief period of toleration, he developed a reputation as a catechist and became an armed escort for a Protestant preacher, but the ruling Regent soon broke peace with England to realign traditional ties with Ultra-Montanist France. The execution of a Protestant preacher incited retaliation and resulted in the assassination of the archbishop of St. Andrews. Knox eventually joined revolutionaries at the castle during a truce and reluctantly became its preacher. In 1547 surrender was made to the French and Knox was enslaved on board a French galley.


  • the “thundering scot”;
  • book of common order;
  • liturgical disputes;
  • history of the reformation in scotland