Little is known about his life up to 1544, other
than that he was born in Haddington and studied briefly at university
before going on to practice law and enter into minor orders.
Already a Lutheran by this time, his support of the murder of Cardinal
Beaton in 1546 led to his imprisonment for 18 months.
After the death of the protestant King, Edward VI in 1553, with whom he
had gained favour, and in response to the accession of his Catholic sister,
Knox travelled the continent in the following years.
In 1558, he published 'First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous
Regiment of Women', in which he declared, "..to promote a woman to
bear rule, superiority, dominion or empire above any realm is repugnant
to nature, contrary to God, and...is the subversion of good order, of
all equity and justice".
The death of the Regent in 1560 let Parliament open the way for Protestantism,
through the Calvinist doctrines of the Confession of Faith, and the First
Book of Discipline. Knox was instrumental in drawing up both.
Knox married first in 1553, and again in 1564, following the death of
his first wife by whom he had two children.
His second marriage to a 16 year old Stewart Noblewoman caused considerable
controversy and outraged the Queen.
Knox was convinced of his own salvation and the damnation of his opponents.
The stark, joyless system of church discipline he bequeathed to the country
coupled with his spiteful and dictatorial personality make him a hard
man to like.