The Beggars Summons was first placed on the doors of friaries from 1st January 1559, warning that all friars are to be evacuated and to be taken over by the poor. This was on the next Withstands. The authors of the summons are unknown, however it has used words similar to that of John Knox. The summons as if written by the “Blend, Crude Bedrolls, Widows, Repelling and utter pure so visited by the hand of god”l. Warns that with the past wrongs reformation is coming. The summons then goes on to accuse the Friars of the realm that they have stolen, and allowed the poor to starve.
They will no longer be allowed to stay within their hospitals and must vacate them by Withstands. The author wishes the reader to believe that this notice was written by the poor. The document itself is in the form of a public notice, or poster, the language used in the summons is that of an accusation, or charges, as there is a hint of legal wording within the document, this is no surprise as John Knox was well versed in legal jargon, and he would know a number of lawyers. As education for the poor was limited at best during this time, it is clear that the summons was written by educated individuals.
Certainly Individuals who would feel passionately about the way the Catholic Church had been behaving. They may also have a vested or personal interest in the church reforming, either way, the individuals who wrote the summons want change. Knox had been invited back to Scotland once and by the time he got to Dipped, he received a letter telling him the time wasn’t right. Knox had left his wife and two sons in Geneva, this would have been a hard situation accept, and he would have been bitterly disappointed. So when he got the second invitation he took his time getting back.
The authors of the moons may have been impatient for Knox to return, or even desperate to show their commitment to the cause, so when the summons was posted Knox was still in Geneva. Wording in the summons is very similar in tone to that of Knox. 1558 saw Nook’s Appellation to the Nobility and Estates of Scotland published, it would seem that the authors of the summons would have been influenced by the rhetoric used by Knox and example of this is, “Suffer their souls to starve and perish for lack of the true food which is Chrism’s Evangel sincerely preached.
It will not excuse you in his presence”2. Throughout the 1 5th century and the majority of the 16th century there were calls throughout Europe for the reformation of the church. With the “Lords” who were followers of Wickedly. Wickedly authored pamphlets in English instead of the normal Latin, encouraging people to read the bible on their own. He even attacked the gentry, calling them “wicked rulers” and that they had “forfeited their right to rule” 3. 151 7 saw the German Priest Martin Luther pinning his ninety-five theses to the church doors at Winterer.
The ninety- five theses was a paper that criticized the way the church and its abuses. What spread throughout Europe next was known as “Lutheranism”. Printed pamphlets were smuggled into Scotland, these documents were critical church similar to what Luther had written in his ninety-five thesis. The act of pinning the document to the church door may be seen as a forerunner to the act of the Beggars Summons. For us to understand the summons, and why it marks an important part to the reformation, we must first look at the lead up to the events of 1559.
James V died in 1542, leaving behind a wife, Marie De Guise and a very young daughter, Mary. In his stead James Hamilton: Duke of Chatterers took over as regent. Throughout thirteen years of his regency Steeplechaser’s reign was hampered by plague, war, and famine. Chatterers was regent up until 1554 when Mary De Guise took over the role. It was planned that the daughter Mary would marry the dauphin of France, thus establishing a French king in Scotland. When Guise took over power from Chatterers Scotland was in a financial mess, even before she took over she had made attempts to sort the mess out.
So when Guise came to power she was trying to turn around the fortunes of Scotland, after suffering thirteen years Of plague, War and famine she made a concerted fort to change some polices. May 1551 and February 1552 parliament passed a number of statutes, relating to, trade, hunting, and slaughter of livestock. The latter being banned completely, “except in knobblies and greet barrooms houses to their emit”4. The ban on slaying wild animals, such has hares, rabbits, and sheep was re-imposed. The question arises here, how would the common person feel about these changes?
If your next meal was meant to be a rabbit or hare, and now you were banned from killing it, what would you do? Especially when you see the likes of Archbishops and Earls enjoying up to eight dishes of meat. During the sixteenth century you would be forgiven to compare the monasteries as a property-owning corporations, the monks who occupied these monasteries losing sight of their religion, and oaths now lived in comfort and at leisure. Efforts were made to change the situation, unfortunately the corrupted clergy were not changing back.
Careerist within the church went to great lengths to increase their incomes. They would place upon each other cannons and dignities until some of their incomes surpassed that of bishops. Additionally as priests were not allowed to marry they still fathered children illegitimately. Donaldson reports that Hay Hemming took a census of offspring fathered by priests, and he found that there was a ratio being Priests and laymen. Vicarages were actually being handed down from father to sons. Seeing this from the outside the laymen, poor person, or widow would no doubt begin to resent the church.
It’s clear that there was irregularities, and the divide between the wealthy clergyman and the poorest widow was extremely wide. Since 1487 it was the crown who recommended appointments to benefices worth more than 200 florins. Although papal provision remained, all of the recommendations were armorial accepted. Pope Clement gave James V free hand to distribute the wealthiest abbeys among his illegitimate sons. Liniments occurred, such as the burning of the blessed virgin in 1533, the hanging of an image of SST Francis in 1537.
Anti-church sentiment had well and truly set in. When pope Clement effectively gave up control of the church in Scotland, he also gave up the wealth that came along with it. The Scottish Parliament ruled that “any surplus revenues beyond what was required, should be diverted to the general crown”9 in short, the crown effectively owned the church, and the crown was decidedly catholic. We must also look ATA brief background to John Knox. Knox was born in Headhunting, and had one brother William. At an early age their parents died.
There would have been relatives who had reasonable resources to take care of them, as when William was of age he set up his own business as a merchant, and John was to go to SST Andrews University to study to be a Priestly. An incident that may have influenced Knox while at university was the burning at the stake of Patrick Hamilton. Hamilton was a distant relative of James V. He encountered Lutheran doctrine while in France, and on his return to Scotland openly discussed it. He was arrested and charged with heresy and put to death On the 29th February 1528.
This lead instead of removing the threat of Protestantism, but made Hamilton a martyr and anti-Catholic feeling spread throughout the university and Scotland 1 1 . Knox was critical of the churches abuses and was vocal of the individual’s right to dispose of rulers who did not do their job. Knox is reportedly to have said, “Monarchs were chosen by god, but ultimately their authority derived from the people they governed 12”. George Wishers was also very influential I Nook’s life. Wishers was an impressive man who was able to old the attention of an audience while preaching from the pulpit.
Wishers would preach Protestantism and soon became the target of the authorities. Knox as part of his congregation would walk in front of Wishers holding a large two handed sword to ward off any potential enemies. However it was long before Wishers became known to the authorities namely Cardinal Beaten of SST. Andrews cathedral. Wishers was arrested and eventually burnt at the stake for heresy. George Wishers had a great many supporters, and they swore retribution against Cardinal Beaten. So on the 29 May 1546, some of them stormed SST Andrews Castle and killed the Cardinal.
Knox was not directly involved with the killing, but he did join the reformers in the castle. This lead Knox to be imprisoned on a French ship. When he was released, Knox was unable to go back to Scotland, so he moved to Frankfurt. It was in Frankfurt that Knox encountered another influential reformer, John Calvin. Calvin was one of the leading figures the protestant reformation, and was a man of god similar to Knox himself. Knox greatly admired Calvin, and followed his teachings carefully. Knox had planned to study Calling’s theological writings, and listen to him preach learn Hebrew and Greek 13.
Around the same time, Protestants who had ran from the choke of Mary of England had settled in Switzerland, and Germany. They had formed a community in Strasbourg and had asked Knox if he would be their Pastor. Knox was inclined to decline the offer, but Calvin felt that they needed an individual who had experience in practical matters and understood society. Therefore he persuaded Knox to eggs. During this time away from home, and with the influence of Calvin, Knox write his Appellation, which among other things was and appeal against his conviction of heresy in Scotland.
Neither he church nor the queen regent Mare De Guise were interested in reforming. Donaldson writes “Bishops who showed no sign of reforming their own lives were no more likely now than they had been earlier to take effective action against delinquent clergy’ 15. Marie De Guise had been under pressure to reform. Henry II was keen to keep the Scots happy, as he would need them if there was to be a war with England. Because of this Marie De Guise took a soft approach towards the reformers, making them think she would herself convert. However, when her daughter Mary was married to the dauphin, she urine her back on the reformers.
When the summons was posted, attitudes towards the church was of great distrust. The church was directed by the crown, the crown took a slice of the wealth, and the poor received nothing. The summons is not only an attack on the church, but on the crown. With the lords of Scotland who supported reformation on the run up to 1 559, they would have directed individuals to write the final document. The document is extremely important to the events leading up to the reformation, because it sets out a list of demands that is felt the lords required to happen. The moons states that the friars must vacate by the 12th May 1 559, Withstands.
On the 1 lath May 1 559, Knox held his famous sermon in Perth. The Summons was not only a demand to vacate premises, but was also a call to arms. This kick started the common man’s revolt. Is it a coincidence that this happened, when Knox was in country, and after a stirring sermon? Is it a coincidence that after writing his Appellation, the summons appeared on the doors of the friaries, looking very similar to what Knox had writing and in a similar tone? Knox may not have been the author of the summons, but he retainer influenced the individuals who were.