In the interval, Douglas's rights in Aberbrothock had been transferred to James Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow, and he was now without title or temporality.
About this time he was presented to the rectory of Campsie by his uncle James Beaton, then archbishop of Glasgow.
When James Beaton was translated to St Andrews in 1522 he resigned the rich abbacy of Arbroath in his nephew's favour, under reservation of one half of the revenues to himself during his lifetime.
The great ability of Beaton and the patronage of his uncle ensured his rapid promotion to high offices in the church and kingdom.
On the death of Archbishop James Beaton in 1539, the cardinal was raised to the primatial see of Scotland.
Beaton was one of King James's most trusted advisers, and it was mainly due to his influence that the king drew closer the French alliance and refused Henry VIII.'s overtures to follow him in his religious policy.
Arran too was soon won over to his views, dismissed the preachers by whom he had been surrounded, and joined the cardinal at Stirling, where in September 1543 Beaton crowned the young queen.
Had Beaton confined himself to secular politics, his strenuous opposition to the plans of Henry VIII.
During the lifetime of his uncle, Beaton had shared in the efforts of the hierarchy to suppress the reformed doctrines, and pursued the same line of conduct still more systematically after his elevation to the primacy.
The character of Beaton has already been indicated.
This prelate must not be confused with another, James Beaton, or Bethune (1517-1603), the last Roman Catholic archbishop of Glasgow.
A son of John Bethune of Auchmuty and a nephew of Cardinal Beaton, James was a trusted adviser of the Scottish regent, Mary of Lorraine, widow of James V., and a determined foe of the reformers.
Thence he was handed over to Cardinal Beaton, who had him burnt at St Andrews on March 1.
Was held aloof by Beaton and two French marriages; and France was alarmed by Henry's growing friendliness with Charles V., who was mollified by his cousin Mary's restoration to her place in the succession to the throne.
A treaty was signed with the Scottish estates; but it was torn up a few months later under the influence of Beaton and the queen-dowager Mary of Guise, and Hertford was sent in 1544 to punish this breach of promise by sacking Edinburgh.
On the 27th of May he was with Angus in the castle of Edinburgh; on the 30th of May, by a bold and dexterous ride, he was with his mother in the castle of Stirling, with Archbishop Beaton, Argyll and Maxwell.
In 1539 David Beaton, the Cardinal, now aged forty-five, succeeded his uncle, James Beaton, as primate of Scotland.
Beaton was cruel: he had no more scruples than Henry about burning men for their beliefs.
But by the 22nd of March Beaton was a free man, liberated by Sir George Douglas.
But the people were still so averse to England that Beaton's was the more popular party: they carried Mary to Stirling: the treaty with Henry was ratified, indeed, but a quarrel was picked over the arrest by England of six Scottish ships; and Arran, who had just given orders for the sack of monasteries in Edinburgh, suddenly (3rd of September) fled to Beaton and was reconciled to the church, just after he had (28th of August) proclaimed Beaton an outlaw.
But Beaton could not keep both Arran, whom he had now secured, and Lennox, who betrayed him, and made for England.
The Douglases continued to play the part of double traitors; Hertford, in autumn, again devastated the border and burned religious houses (whether he always burned the abbey churches is disputed), but Beaton never lost heart and had some successes.
We lose trace of the plot to slay him from the 10th of October 1 545 till the end of May 1546, the documents being missing; but on the 29th of May 1546 Beaton was cruelly murdered in his castle of St Andrews.
These men had been alternately bitter enemies and allies of Beaton; in 1543 Kirkcaldy of Grange and the master of Rothes were offering their venal daggers to England, through a Scot named Wishart.
The last of the abbots was Cardinal Beaton, who succeeded his uncle James when the latter became archbishop of St Andrews.
On the esplanade in front of Macduff Castle, still called the Playfield, took place in 1552 one of the first recorded performances of Sir David Lindsay's Ane Satyre of the Three Estaits (1540); his Tragedy of the Cardinal (1547), referring to the murder of Beaton, being also performed there.
The choir (the East church) was added in 1494 by James IV., and the apse a few years later by James Beaton, archbishop of St Andrews, or his nephew, Cardinal David Beaton.
The church in Scotland led by Beaton, and the French party led by James V.s widow, Mary of Guise, soon reversed this decision, and Hertfords heavy hand was (1544) laid on Edinburgh in revenge.
The persecutions to which heretics were exposed during this reign were due mainly to the excessive influence exercised by the ecclesiastics, especially by David Beaton, archbishop of St Andrews.
The details of the final and successful plot were uncertain - the martyr Wishart cannot be identified with Wishart the would-be murderer - but with Beaton practically expired the chances of the French and Catholic party in Scotland.
The death of Beaton brought the Douglases into resistance to Henry VIII., who aided the murderers, now besieged in Beaton's castle of St Andrews.