HISTORIC TIMES - The Covenanters and the Civil Wars

BY and large, the major campaigns of the 17th and 18th centuries passed Glasgow by, as the city was not on the usual marching route for armies.

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Glasgow never had a wall or a strong defensible position, and once the Bishop's Castle fell into disrepair, any conflicts tended to take place on the edge of the city.

A good example of this was the Battle of Kilsyth in 1645, when an army commanded by the Marquis of Montrose, pictured, the King's military commander in Scotland, killed thousands of Covenanters – an outcome which led Glasgow to surrender to the Royalists.

In 1679 a group of Covenanters attacked the celebrations being held in Rutherglen to mark the restoration of Charles II.

A group of dragoons under Viscount Dundee, Graham of Claverhouse, set off from Glasgow and were given a bloody nose by the Covenanters at the Battle of Drumclog in South Lanarkshire. This was the only battle Claverhouse ever lost.

He retreated to Glasgow, raised barricades across the High Street, Gallowgate and Saltmarket, and smacked the Covenanters down in a brief skirmish, killing eight of them.

There was further action soon after, at the Battle of Bothwell Brig, near Hamilton, on June 22, 1679, where a Royalist army under the Duke of Mon-mouth inflicted a major defeat for the militant Scottish Presbyterians.

Once the dust had settled, the treasurer of Glasgow council promptly presented the victors with a bill for £3211 – a sizeable sum then – for army expenses and provisions.

The bill also covered a claim for 'entertaining the lord general [Claverhouse] when he came to this burgh and the rest of the noblemen and gentlemen with him'.

There was no such thing as a free lunch – even for a victorious army!


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