David Beaton

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David Beaton (both: bē´tən), 1494–1546, Scottish churchman, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was made cardinal in 1538 and succeeded his uncle, James Beaton, as archbishop of St. Andrews and primate of Scotland in 1539. Beaton arranged the marriage of James V and Mary of Guise and tried to assume the regency for Mary Queen of Scots (1542), but James Hamilton, 2d earl of Arran, seized power. The following year Arran renounced Protestantism and sided with Beaton, who crowned Mary. Beaton became chancellor of Scotland and ably opposed the designs of Henry VIII of England. Beaton's relentless persecution of Scottish reformers led to the execution of George Wishart in 1546, and in reprisal the cardinal himself was murdered in his castle two months later.

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Beaton, David (c.1494–1546). Cardinal. Beaton was the nephew of Archbishop Beaton or Bethune of Glasgow and St Andrews, whom he succeeded as archbishop in 1539. He already held a French bishopric, was a cardinal, and had been much employed in James V's French matrimonial negotiations. After James's death in 1542 Mary of Guise relied upon him greatly and he was chancellor [S] 1543–6. He strongly resisted the proposed marriage between the infant Mary, queen of Scots, and Prince Edward of England (later Edward VI). His life-style was magnificent and his behaviour profligate. In March 1546 Beaton was instrumental in the burning of George Wishart, a reformer. Two months later, friends of Wishart burst into the castle of St Andrews and murdered the archbishop. His nephew, James Beaton, was the last catholic archbishop of Glasgow, serving from 1552 until 1560, when he retired to France.

J. A. Cannon