His best-known work, entitled De Republica Anglorum: the Maner of Government or Policie of the Realme of England, was published posthumously in 1583, and passed through many editions.
His character is thus described by a chronicler: "He was ane man that loved solitude, and desired nevir to hear of warre, bot delighted more in musick and policie and building nor he did in the government of the realme."
This was adopted by the Scottish parliament, with the resolution " the bishops of Rome have no jurisdiction nor authoritie in this Realme in tymes cuming."
In 1563 was issued from the press of John Day the first English edition of the Actes and Monuments of these latter and perillous Dayes, touching matters of the Church, wherein are comprehended and described the great Persecution and horrible Troubles that have been wrought and practised by the Romishe Prelates, speciallye in this Realme of England and Scotland, from the yeare of our Lorde a thousande to the time now present.
He was one of the sixteen commissioners appointed to revise the laws of Scotland, and the volume of the Actis and Constitutionis of the Realme of Scotland known as the Black Acts was, chiefly owing to his care, printed in 1566.