2013 George Wishart Quincentennial Conference

George Wishart (1513-1546)During late August 2013 over one-hundred people, many bearing the Wishart surname, travelled from  all over the world to St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. They had gathered to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of George Wishart the early Scottish Reformer, who was, and still is, the most famous individual to carry the surname.

A one-day conference was held on Friday 29 August, and six of the top Reformation Historians, all at professorial level, discussed what is regarded as a particularly tumultuous era in Scottish, indeed European, history and identifying George Wishart’s role within that.

As the largest gathering of the surname in history, the organisers drew up a social programme to give Wisharts from many different countries a chance to meet and mingle, and perhaps even find a distant cousin. Jack Wishart, a prolific Wishart genealogist, was on hand with information about the almost 22,000 Wisharts he has on his database, and gave a fascinating talk about his life-long study of the surname, along with recounting some very interesting stories of the exploits and achievements of early Wisharts.

David Wishart, the well known Whisky writer, ran a successful and very enjoyable Whisky Tasting (after all you can’t come to Scotland without have a ‘wee dram’) on the evening before the conference, whilst a wine reception and meal in St. Andrews followed the days presentations. During the weekend David Wishart conducted a tour of St Andrews and a church service in memory of George Wishart, was held in a Holy Trinity Church on the Sunday.

The event was a great success, and much credit is due to the organisers, Jean Wishart Wilson, Jack & David Wishart.  Press coverage was given both before and after the quincentennial, and we are able to reproduce an article from the Dundee Courier published the day after the conference.

A full list of speakers and their abstracts has previously been published on this website, whilst a selection of photographs taken by Scott Wishart can be viewed by the following link: quincentennial photographs. For Wisharts, one of the highlights of the weekend must surely have been Jack Wishart’s talk, which was filmed and can be viewed here: Jack Wishart’s Wishart genealogy talk.