Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mylne, Walter

1160584Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 40 — Mylne, Walter1894Thomas Finlayson Henderson

MYLNE or MILN, WALTER (d. 1558), the last Scottish protestant martyr, in his early years visited Germany, where he imbibed the doctrines of the Reformation, and afterwards became priest in the church of Lunan in Angus. During the time of Cardinal Beaton information was laid against him as a heretic, whereupon he fled the country, and was condemned to be burnt wherever he might be found. Long after the cardinal's death he was at the instance of John Hamilton, bishop of St. Andrews, apprehended in April 1558 in the town of Dysart, Fifeshire, where, according to Pitscottie, he ‘was warmand him in ane poor wyfes hous, and was teaching her the commandments of God’ (Chronicles, p. 517). After being for some time confined in the castle of St. Andrews, he was brought for trial before an assemblage of bishops, abbots, and doctors in the cathedral church. He was then over eighty years of age, and so weak and infirm that he could scarce climb up to the pulpit where he had to answer before them. Yet, says Foxe, ‘when he began to speak he made the church to ring and sound again with so great courage and stoutness that the Christians which were present were no less rejoiced than the adversaries were confounded and ashamed.’ So far from pretending to deny the accusations against him, he made use of the opportunity boldly to denounce what he regarded as the special errors of the Romish church; his trial was soon over, and he was condemned to be burnt as a heretic on 28 April 1558. According to George Buchanan, the commonalty of St. Andrews were so offended at the sentence that they shut up their shops in order that they might sell no materials for his execution; and after his death they heaped up in his memory a great pile of stones on the place where he was burned. Mylne was married, and his widow was alive in 1573, when she received 6l. 13s. 4d. out of the thirds of the benefices.

[Histories of Lindsay of Pitscottie, Buchanan Knox, and Calderwood; Foxe's Book of Martyrs.]

T. F. H.