On February 29, 1528, at the age of 24, this Scottish saint was convicted of thirteen counts of heresy, the main charge being the position he took that “man is not justified by works, but by faith alone,” and sentenced to be burned at the stake.
The execution was carried out in such haste that there was not enough wood and powder on hand to produce a large enough fire. With the fire burning low the pain was great and the death long and lingering. During this short time as he paid the ultimate sacrifice, he preached, prayed, exhorted and rebuked while friars and monks reviled him and called upon him to recant and worship Mary.
His martyrdom made him more popular in death than in life causing all of Scotland to discuss reformed theology. Even one of Hamilton’s accusers became born again as a result of his testimony and became a Reformation leader.
A witness at Hamilton’s burning said, “The [stench of the smoke] of Patrick Hamilton has infected as many as it did blow upon.”