John Knox House
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What is known in Maybole as John Knox's house was formerly the residence of the Provost or Principal of the Collegiate Church. It was in this house the famous Debate took place betwixt the great Reformer and the last Abbot of Crossraguel, on the 28th, 29th, and 30th of September, 1562. The house stands in what was till lately known as the Back Vennal, but which is now more appropriately known as John Knox Street. It has been greatly modernised in appearance, but the interior remains much the same as in the old Reformation days. The Debate, as is well known, turned upon the question-- Whether the bread and wine brought forth by Melchisedek to Abraham was a type of the Mass? But a question of that sort can never he settled. The Abbot could not prove it was a type, and Knox could not prove it was not; and so the light ended in what we call a draw. Pity that the discussion was not on a more practical subject. Pity that the subject of Debate had not been-Whether a human priest was needed now that a Divine one had come? Or whether the proclamation of the message of Salvation was not a more essential mark of the Christian ministry than the offerings of any bread and wine? But such was not the fashion of the day.

We are told that more than eighty persons were present at the Debate, which must have given John Knox s house a tight squeeze!; and we are also told that the providing for so many persons almost caused a famine in the town, which shows that the Maybole of that date must have been very small.

The only antique remains now in the Debating Room are an ancient panel believed to have formed part of the wainscot in the days of its glory, as also the venerable- looking fireplace and mantel-piece. Latterly, the house, as was the miserable fashion in Scotland, had become an Inn, known widely as the "Red Lion," but now it has more fittingly resumed its character of a private dwelling. Twenty years ago, the house was thatched, and hall art outside stair leading to the upper storey of the house below; which, with the smell windows and large entrance lobby, gave an antique air to the whole which is now wanting. Some critics have held that the present house is built on the site of that in which the Reformer debated, but the tradition is strong with us that this is the original building, and we will believe it to be so, until we are forced by evidence which is not forthcoming.

Every Miniboler is, or ought to be, proud of John Knox's house. It links us with a name which was a power in Scotland for good. He was a rough man, doubtless, but he lived in rough times, and a gentler soul could not have done the work he did. He was our Scottish Elijah with his rough hairy mantle, and, with all his faults, we are proud of him. Scotland cannot point to a greater among her sons. He stands athwart our northern sky like one of our own Scotch firs, gaunt, it may be, and lacking grace, but telling of a hardihood and endurance that have wrestled with storms and prevailed--the very picture of independence, fearlessness, and strength.

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