Alexander Alesius, or Ales, was born in Scotland on April 23rd, 1500. He graduated from St. Leonard’s University in St. Andrews at the age of 15. He was convinced of Catholic scholastic theology and he desired to debate with the Reformers. For this purpose he visited Patrick Hamilton, who had been a student in St. Andrews. After many debates, he said, “I thought that I should bring Hamilton back to the doctrine of Rome, and instead of that he has brought me to acknowledge my own error.”1 After watching Hamilton be burned at the stake for his beliefs a short time later, he became thoroughly convinced of the truth of the Reformation. The prior at St. Andrews tried to trap Alesius by having him preach, afterwards he brought in soldiers to arrest him. When Alesius begged him not to shed innocent blood he was about to stab him, and then when he fell on the ground and pleaded for mercy the prior kicked him so hard that he fainted. The prior then threw him in the dungeon. The king himself ordered him to be released and the prior promised to do so, but as soon as the king left he threw him into prison again. Eventually his fellow canons were able to get in the prison and release him, and he fled to Europe. He spent the rest of his life in Germany and England, continuing to teach the reformed truth. He died on March 17th, 1565.
1 J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 2000) volume 6, book x, p. 52