Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hilary's Family Tree - part 1

Hilary's dad has a great family tree that one of his ancestors put together donkeys years ago. The family line is "Moneypenny of Pitmilly" in Fife, Scotland. It's about 5 miles away from St Andrews - a town which Wylie describes as the capital city of the kingdom of darkness". (Having said that, our kids like the beach there)

David Moneypenny (1512 - 1579) : the family tree says "having been declared privy to the slaughter of Cardinal Beaton (shown here) in 1546. he and his son received a pardon in 1553 from Mary Queen of Scots".

Moneypenny and Beaton were cousins, but it was Beaton who had overseen the execution of George Wishart, the second Protestant martyr of the Scottish Reformation, who was burned at the stake in St Andrews on 1st March 1546. (A memorial today marks the spot where Wishart was martyred - here are photos of the "plinth" style sign, and the cobble monogram in the road of his initials).

In revenge, on 29th May of the same year, a group of about 16 men broke into the Cardinal's chambers at the Castle of St Andrews, stabbed him twice with a dagger and twice again with a sword. They then hung his body from his window at the front of the castle for all to see. Wylie wrote "...the cardinal's corpse flung upon a dung hill, the conspirators kept possession of his castle..."

Brutal stuff indeed. Then on 4th June 1547, the French navy arrived, stormed the place, and took the castle's occupiers away to slavery. One of them was a certain John Knox.

(The moral of this story is that it might be a good idea to check out your fianc├ęs family tree before you accidentally marry an axe murderer. That my wife is descended from one of Cardinal Beaton's assassins is either a) a great honour or b) a good reason to go to self-defence lessons)