During a holiday in the Norwegian Fjords my father bought a souvenir he was very fond of and often quoted. It showed an old man and a young man beside the words, ‘Ve get too soon olte, und too late schmart’. There is of course only one certainty there, nothing to do with schmart.
This year was my 60th birthday. Maybe it’s a good sign that insight and revelation seem to be frequent occurrences. On 1st August in the article ‘Halcyon Days’ it was mentioned that I was about to start a ‘Tour of England’. A week later in ‘The Best Laid Plans……’ there had been a change of plan. On the 12th August ‘the Tour’ finally began.
After a fun drive through my birthplace, the City of Edinburgh, which included several very fortuitous quick decisions, first stop was the town of Haddington. In the county of East Lothian, 20 miles east of Edinburgh it’s one of the first towns on the A1 road to London.
I have always had an interest in history. To be honest, it’s probably the more dramatic and romantic events that have captured my attention. ‘The Protestant Reformation’ had tremendous significance in Scotland and especially in the town of St Andrews, where I live. Until a year ago I didn’t know much about these events, and the main characters. Prompted by wanting to enliven my frequent walks through town, I began to investigate the history of the Reformation as it related to my local environment. Perhaps one of the things that had always made me reluctant to do this was an unpleasant awareness from an early age of the animosity between Protestants and Catholics in Scotland. It began at school. There were different schools for each religion. I went to a Protestant school. We were the majority. That didn’t stop me feeling some sympathy for the Catholic children some of whom were more friendly than the children at my own school.
At high school we began to study ‘history’. In six years, there was no mention of the ‘Wars of Scottish Independence’ or ‘The Protestant Reformation’. I suspect that if we had been taught about ‘The Reformation’ we probably would have persecuted the Catholics with great zeal and a feeling of righteousness. We would have done this because it is unlikely that it would have been explained to us that ‘The Protestant Reformation’ succeeded only due to the support of a number of the existing nobles, ruling class, power possessors or whatever you wish to call them. While it is possible that a few of these ‘nobles’ did genuinely support the theological aim of the Reformation it is likely that the majority saw this only as the possibility for a ‘Great Reset’ or in pub language, a chance to rob the Pope.
That brings us nicely back to the reason for the visit to Haddington. ‘In Scotland as a result of the Reformation, the Catholic wealth was split into thirds. Two thirds went to the devil, the other third was divided 50/50 between the devil and the people’. Allegedly this quotation or something similar is attributed to John Knox, born on the Giffordgate of Haddington in the year 1505.
John Knox was just a year younger than Patrick Hamilton, who on 29th February 1528, became the first martyr of ‘The Protestant Reformation’ when he was burnt at the stake in St Andrews. At that time John Knox was still committed to the Catholic faith, eventually ordained to that priesthood in 1536. Whether by that time he already had misgivings we will never know but by 1st March 1546 when George Wishart suffered the same fate as Patrick Hamilton, in the same town, John Knox was among the Reformers to witness the event. The night before his execution, Wishart allegedly to save Knox said to him, ‘one is enough for a sacrifice’. Perhaps he knew that Knox would take the movement forward.
John Knox was the figurehead of the Reformation in Scotland when on a dark miserable August day in 1561 Mary who became known as ‘Queen of Scots’ arrived in Edinburgh on her Papal mission. The alleged text of John Knox’ first audience with Mary can be read here.
By the time of his death in 1572 John Knox probably realised that the objective he had in mind for the Scottish Reformation had fallen short and would take much longer to fulfil if at all. The most basic aim of providing the common people with access to the scriptures was largely achieved. It is alleged that Knox wanted basic school education for all children in Scotland, a radical idea for the time. It was over 300 years until that was achieved.
Arguably the most significant event during John Knox lifetime was the founding of ‘The Society of Jesus’ in 1540 by Ignatius of Loyola. Better known as ‘The Jesuits’ this secretive organisation underpins ‘The Church of Rome’ and has relentlessly prosecuted its mission to destroy all remnants of ‘The Protestant Reformation’. The Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolutionary War is alleged to have said the following, ‘If the liberties of the United States of America are destroyed it will be by the subtlety of the Roman Catholic Jesuit priests, for they are the most crafty, dangerous enemies to civil and religious liberty’.
After John Knox death the Scottish Reformation was managed by Andrew Melville but after his death in 1622 the country descended into chaos as the power possessors on both sides used religion to camouflage their pursuit of material advantage while manipulating public favour through the competing religious ideologies.
By this time the Enclosure Acts had begun in England. It is of course argued by establishment supporting historians that appropriation of common land by the nobility was necessary to develop land management and improve farming techniques. There is no serious evidence that people were starving or even hungry for that matter. When has concern for the welfare of common people ever been a priority for the ruling class?
Removing access to land and consolidating food production in the hands of a few was a criminal act with global repercussions that continue to this day. The disconnection of people from the land is a catastrophic rent that destroys them to the core of their being.
Most of this article has been written around midday of a sunny summer Saturday in a pedestrian precinct of an English seaside town with thousands of people passing by. It is obvious that the general public in Britain have almost entirely lost their connection to God. The unhappiness and suffering is profound but they are not to blame. The town I am in is surrounded by prime farmland, empty of people. Even in the former Soviet Union they have managed to preserve the dacha (summer house). Weekends and holidays are passed profitably, growing food and connecting with nature, as opposed to the British public who wander in a daze among a mass of material trash from China and corporate junk food outlets. While there is an immigrant community from numerous sources becoming indoctrinated into ‘local culture’, it is still white British people that predominate. For how long, who knows? Apparently illegal arrivals across the English Channel are at an all-time high.
John Knox knew well before his death that power remained in the hands of communists and scoundrels to use modern terms. The failure of grass roots Socialists has been to realise that Communism, just a step away, is Capitalism in its purest form, as all wealth and assets become the property of a tiny minority. As we know, with these people in control, mass human culls, previously wars, revolutions and man-made famines are never far away. Now it seems they have added at least one more string to their bow.
These scoundrels in control today have not only downplayed the significance of John Knox in the Haddington entry of Wikipedia but worse the local Haddington Council has left the small commemorative area of John Knox birthplace, in the Giffordgate, to deteriorate. In 1881 the Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle, left money in his will for an inscribed stone and oak tree to be planted in memory of one of the people’s great sons.
In terms of modern maintenance, the local councillors should hang their heads in shame. To leave it there would be to miss the obvious, despite the shabby paintwork of the railing and the faded inscription on the weathered stone, the stone still stands and the 130-year-old oak tree will survive us all.
If mankind still has a chance, albeit slim, to transform the current dire situation on earth, it will be the example of those who lived with courage and integrity that just might pull us through. Before his grave was desecrated in 1633 with the entire destruction of the graveyard allegedly the inscription on his tombstone read, ‘here lies one who never feared any flesh’ John Knox 1505-1572