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The Scottish Nation

FORREST, a surname obviously derived from an extensive wood, as indicated in the arms of those bearing it, namely, three oak trees. The family of Forrest of Comiston in Mid Lothian, possess a baronetcy, conferred in 1838, on James Forrest, then lord provost of Edinburgh, who had distinguished himself as a supporter of the liberal interest. Sir James, the son of John Forrest, Esq., writer to the signet, by the only daughter of James Forrest, Esq. of Comiston, was born in 1780, and passed advocate in 1803. He died 5th April 1860, and was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas, 2d baronet. The new approach to George the Fourth’s Bridge, Edinburgh, from the Meadows and Lauriston, is named Forrest Road, after the first baronet, who was lord provost of the city at the time of its being opened.

      One of the early martyrs of the Reformation in Scotland was a Benedictine friar of Linlithgow, named Henry Forrest, of whose parentage, descent, and previous history nothing is known. Having been heard to declare that Mr. Patrick Hamilton, the protomartyr, was a good man, and that the doctrines for which he suffered might be vindicated, he was, at the instance of the then archbishop, James Bethune, chancellor of the kingdom, apprehended for heresy, and committed to the prison of St. Andrews. Not having evidence sufficient to condemn him, his persecutors, with the view of extorting some declaration which they might employ against him, caused a friar, named Walter Laing, to hear his confession. He received Laing as a spiritual comforter, and not suspecting any treachery, he, without hesitation, confidentially avowed, upon his conscience, that, in his opinion, Hamilton was a good man, and that the doctrines which he died to maintain were not heretical. The friar revealed what he had heard in confession to his superiors, and his evidence was held quite sufficient to establish the crime of heresy. A New Testament in English being also found in Forrest’s possession, he was straightway condemned to be burnt alive as a heretic. When the fatal day arrived, and he was brought before the clergy, in a place between the castle of St. Andrews and Monimail, he complained, with the utmost bitterness, of the villany by which he had been entrapped. “Fie on falsehood!” he cried. “Fie on false friars, revealers of confessions. After this day let no man ever trust false friars, contemners of God’s word, and deceivers of men!” The clergy heard his reproaches with the greatest indifference, and proceeded to degrade him of his friar’s orders. Upon this he again exclaimed, “Take from me not only your own orders, but also your own baptism,” referring to the absurd additions which Popery had made to that simple rite. He was thereafter burned as a “heretic equal with Patrick Hamilton,” near the Abbey church of St. Andrews. Forrest is said to have been a man young in years. His martyrdom took place in 1533.

FORREST, ROBERT, a self-taught sculptor. See SUPPLEMENT.

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