Rough, John (DNB00)

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ROUGH, JOHN (d. 1557), Scottish protestant martyr, is stated to have been born in 1510, but as he was incorporated in St. Leonard's College in the university of St. Andrews in 1521, he was probably born a few years earlier. He left his parents when about seventeen years of age, on account of having been deprived of some property to which he thought himself entitled, and entered a monastery at Stirling. According to his own statement, his opposition to the papacy was aroused or confirmed by two visits to Rome, when he saw ‘with his own eyes that the pope was anti-Christ,’ inasmuch as more reverence was given to him in the procession than to the sacrament (Foxe, Acts and Monuments, ed. Townsend, viii. 448). He acquired such reputation as a preacher that in 1543, after the arrest of Cardinal Beaton, the regent Arran procured a dispensation for him to leave the monastery that he might become one of his chaplains. The entry in the treasurer's accounts of payment for a gown, doublet, hose, and bonnet for him as chaplain of the lord-governor, probably indicates the date when he first entered on his duties (note by Laing in Knox's Works, i. 187). At their request the governor allowed him and Thomas Gwilliam or Williams to preach publicly against current errors. Both were very effective, Rough, although according to Knox ‘not so learned’ as Williams, being ‘yet more simple and vehement against all impiety’ (ib. p. 96). The preaching roused the special indignation of the Greyfriars, who, according to Knox, ‘rouped as they had been ravens, yea, rather they yelled like devils in hell “heresy! heresy! Gwilliam and Rough will carry the governor to the devil”’ (ib. p. 97). On account of the advice, as is supposed, of John Hamilton, abbot of Arbroath, and David Panter [q. v.] (afterwards bishop of Ross), who had arrived from France, they were both prohibited from preaching; and Rough took refuge in the wild districts of Kyle in Ayrshire, where he remained until after the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546. After the murder he came to St. Andrews, and, besides acting as chaplain to the garrison in the castle, began to preach in the parish church. Here he met John Knox, whom in a sermon he publicly exhorted to undertake the office of a preacher; and Knox, who had been a disciple of Wishart, and who at this time had brought the aid of his vigorous pen to the support of the teaching of Rough in opposition to Dean Annand of St. Andrews, was at last induced to preach in the parish kirk his first sermon against the ‘corruptions of the papistry’ (Knox, i. 188–91). Knox's irregular call was approved by the congregation. Knox and Rough were soon summoned before Winram, the vicar-general of St. Andrews, but their defence was conducted by Knox with such skill as completely to confound their adversaries (ib. pp. 200–1).

Rough managed to leave for England before the surrender of St. Andrews' castle, thus escaping being taken prisoner by the French. He went first to Carlisle and thence to the lord-protector Somerset, who assigned him a stipend of 20l. sterling, and appointed him to preach at Carlisle, Berwick, and Newcastle. After his ‘marriage to a countrywoman of his,’ he was appointed by Holgate, archbishop of York, to a benefice near Hull, where he continued until the death of Edward VI in 1553, when he fled with his wife to Norden in Friesland. There he and his wife maintained themselves by knitting caps, stockings, and other hosiery. Having on 10 Nov. 1557 come to London to buy some yarn for his business, he was induced to become minister of a secret society of protestants. His ministry was not, however, of long duration; for, on the information of a traitor frequenting the meetings, he was on 12 Dec. apprehended at the Saracen's Head, Islington, where the congregation was in the habit of assembling. After examination before the privy council on the 15th, he was sent a prisoner to Newgate, and a letter was also sent by the council, together with the minutes of his examination, to Bonner, bishop of London, requiring him to proceed against Rough (Acts of the Privy Council, 1556–8, p. 216). From Newgate Rough wrote two letters to his friends (Foxe, ed. Townsend, viii. 448–9). After long examinations on doctrinal matters on 18 und 19 Dec., he was on the 20th brought into the consistory and condemned to death. On the 22nd he was burned at Smithfield along with Margaret Mearyng, one of his congregation, who had visited him in prison and brought him a change of linen.

[Knox's Works; Calderwood's History of the Church of Scotland; Foxe's Acts and Monuments.]

T. F. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.240
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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313 ii 8-9 Rough, John: before Shortly afterwards insert Knox's irregular call was approved by the congregation.