Transcript for HoS 63

I did once read one of those quotes that frequently get posted on Twitter, might have been one from Bertrand Russell, I think, the philosopher rather than Bertie, the bloke who ran the chip shop off the Fulham road, and this quote was along the lines of study your history, but never of warfare and the great political events, always of people who made lives better and achieved things and so on. Now I have a certain amount of sympathy for this view; and in particular I have tried to add the social history of ordinary folks into the History of England, but come come, there must be a little room left for the unworthy great figures of history, some sense of excitement surely about heroism and derring do, a search for death or glory, love and immorality and honour – always with the proviso that war is of course hell, ruins lives, and I hope we manage to build a world where the only offensive weapon left is a set of highly crafted tiddlywinks or Granny’s hand knitted Christmas Jumper. But surely these noble sentiment must bow to stories such as that of the Great Montrose and his companion in arms Alistair MacColla, in the spirit of Beardy Collingworth? I hope there is room – but if you don’t want 30 minutes of fighting, and I have to say given the current horrors in Ukraine I would understand that, you might want to turn away now.

So, we’d got to the crashing and burning stage of Montrose’s attempt to regain Scotland for his king, when the royalist revolt of Huntly, the Gordon clan and Aberdeen had been crushed by Argyll and the Covenanters. By April Montrose had been sent packing back to England with the failure of his first attempt to invade from Cumberland, and Huntly had retired in a gloom to his estates at Strathnaver, from where it would prove impossible to shift him, whether indeed you were a Covenanter or Montrose. And then of course as he tried to get some resistance going in the north of England and the Scottish Lowlands, Montrose was punched in the guts by the news of Rupert’s defeat at Marston Moor in July.

But amongst all this royalist gloom came a ray of hope. In July 1644, the Earl of Antrim’s schemes finally came to fruition after all the discussion and dithering, will he won’t he, should he shouldn’t he, and MacColla with maybe up to 2,000 men were finally dispatched from the shores of Ireland to raise the MacDonald clans of the Highlands once more, and take war to the covenanters for king and country. Cry…St Patrick…maybe St Andrew? Well, anyway, cry havoc. But actually rather than declaring war on king and Covenant, it seems pretty clear that the MacDonald really truly declared war on the old enemy, on the evil Campbells, the cause foremost in MacColla’s mind. They landed in Kintrye, but things didn’t start well – he had great trouble recruiting – many Highlanders saw just one more invader. So down in the mouth was the warrior MacColla that he turned to leave – only to find that the ships on which he’d been brought from Ireland had been destroyed by English parliamentary ships. There is a deep irony there, and I know how you do love a deep irony, that MacColla and Montrose’s campaign might never have been if the English had let MacColla retreat. There’s a lesson there…certainly when Cromwell was keen on the idea of the Scots invading England, he carefully left them a route to follow.

Anyway, deprived of an escape route, MacColla and his band struck into the Highlands trying to raise support, along and then crossing the Great Glen, into Badenoch only to find that the royalist support even in the North East was crushed by the disappointments earlier in the year, and was more interesting in a quiet evening, and had voted for the ‘Do go gentle into the good night, and were quite content for the moment to embrace the dying of the light’. Dylan would have been most disappointed.

Montrose probably heard about MacColla’s invasion around 18th August, and resolved to sneak into Scotland to join them. Sending instructions to MacColla to meet him in Athol in the central highlands. He travelled with just two companions, incognito, and in the Montrose idiom there had to be some romance, so of course he pretended to be the Groom of his two companions – surely no one would suspect the king’s Lieutenant General to be dressed as a groom? North they went incognito’ing all the way for king and country until they came to the house of Montrose’s kinsman Patrick Graham, the romantically so-called Black Pate of Inchbrakie, black pate due to a gunpowder accident that had disfigured him. Off they set across the highland mountains towards Athol and MacColla.

Meanwhile, MacColla had finally managed to raise the clans, the clans of Athol – hurrah! Cry Andy and all that. Unfortunately small flaw in the plan – he’d managed to raise them not for him, but against him; the Robertsons and Stewarts had taken up arms to repel the wild, Gaelic Irish invaders. Things were looking – unpromising. Into this situation then came Montrose, and the presence of his curly locks transformed the situation. He called the Stewarts and Robertsons to talk, and they came; after all Montrose was certifiably not a foreigner, he was one of them, a Scottish noble bearing all the power and expectations for  loyalty of his peers, a Lowlander. He also came bearing the King’s commission – so here was the very embodiment of legitimacy. Now I don’t want to overdo this because as we have covered before, the Covenanter regime had gathered the loyalty of the majority of Scotland through the intense and collaborative process of swearing to the Covenant. But the combination of MacColla with his MacDonald roots and contacts, and Montrose and his Lowland and Noble legitimacy, was a powerful one. The Stewarts and Robertsons agreed to fight instead for king and Montrose, and Montrose raised the royal standard, and if C V Wedgewood is to be believed had put on highland dress and stuck a sprig of yellow oats in his Bonnet. Hopefully I’m not getting carried away with the sheer…well…Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scot ness of it all.

Now Montrose’s opponents, the Scottish Committee Of Estates would prove consistently to underestimate Montrose. Or at least that is one interpretation; the other is that they firmly kept their eyes on the main prize; which as far as they were concerned lay in winning the war in England and defeating the king. They get some stick for repeatedly and consistently doing the underestimating thing – but truth be told, and it must, ladies and gentlemen, because as the Bard tells us, the Truth will out – they had at least a stronger grasp of the big S, strategy’ than one of their opponents, MacColla; for he would constantly be proritising the needs of the MacDonald clan and the damnation of the Campbells – without understanding that the only way this could be achieved permanently – was to defeat the Covenanters. Montrose knew this – but could not beat it into the heads of his Highland allies.

Anyway, back to the Covenanters faults; they took a while to respond at all to the Royalists, and when they did, refused to withdraw any hardened experienced soldiers from England. Instead finally they got round to ordering levies from Lothian and central Scotland to assemble at Perth. Montrose though, did not wait for the levies to get their act together – he moved fast towards Perth and there 4 miles west of of the town at the village of Tippermuir on 1st September 1644 the Covenanter Levies of 6,000 faced a mere 2-3000 Gaels and Highlanders, commanded by a giant of a Macdonald and a bloke who seemed to have yellow oats stuck in his hat, but whose army sadly had only enough gunpowder for one shot each. So, a well-equipped army twice the size with banners declaring ‘Jesus and No Quarter’ – presumably there’s only one way this can go. I’m really not sure that Jesus would have approved of No Quarter would he? Anyway, minor point.

Which brings us to MacColla and his highland charge. Here is a piece of advice about how to beat the Highland Charge, from a man who had survived one:

If . . . fire is given at a distance, you probably will be broke, for you never get time to load a second cartridge, and if you give way you may give your [infantry] for dead, for [the Highlanders] being without a firelock or any load, no man, with his arms, accoutrements, etc., can escape them, and they give no quarter.

Essential – follow the advice of Prince Charles of Prussia” at the battle of Jägendorf in 1757. don’t fire until you can see the whites of their eyes. Or alternatively, follow the advice of Corporal Jones and don’t panic because they don’t like it up ‘em. But look this is an instruction which requires experience, confidence, organisation, and superb drill to carry out. We are talking here of a bunch of recent recruits with none of that and by the time the Highlanders reached them they were ready to run anyway, and so they did. They did, and they died. Which is another less romantic and glorious theme of Montrose’s campaigns – the numbers killed in the fighting itself were relatively low, but the numbers killed during the running away stage were horrific. To be fair to the Highlanders they did after all face an army whose banners had promised no quarter, so you know goose and gander, sauce and all that but still, mercy was at a premium.



Perth was taken and subjected to two days of sack which would do nothing whatsoever to disabuse the lowlander Scot of the idea of the Highlander and Gael as godless, warlike barbarians.

Now, with a victory under his belt, Montrose probably confidently expected an opening of the floodgates, that young men would flock to his banner to fight for their king, he would then march south take Edinburgh by storm, in the words of Wishbone Ash the king would come, there’d be plenty of covenanter chaff before the storm. Equipped with an army of loyal if chastened Scots, the King would triumph in England and balance would be restored. Montrose would run the new government, have dozens of children with Magdalen his wife, and die amongst the tears of gratitude of his nation.

Montrose was to be confidently and comprehensively disappointed. All that stirred was tumbleweed. Montrose turned his back on the road to Edinburgh to return to the north – to hopefully now enlist the support of the royalist North East and bring the Gordon to the banner. By 4th September he was gone from Perth.

In Edinburgh the council had taken that road one walks when faced with the prospect of an invading army with nothing in between you and them – panic. They also expected Montrose to appear at their doorstep and duly recalled multiple regiments from England. When Montrose turned away, they reacted with equal levels of the opposite – complacency returned, the orders were rescinded. Tippermuir must have been a freak, the militia at Aberdeen could surely cope with the rebels and anyway Argyll was sent in pursuit with levies of 4,000. It’ll be fine, move along, nothing to see here.

At Aberdeen Montrose probably torched his prospects. Let me explain how. As Montrose approached Aberdeen, he had a stroke of luck. The Council had put Lord Gordon, Huntly’s eldest son, in control of its defence, in an attempt to keep him on the Covenanter side. For the moment, lets call him George. For that is his name, but then no, if we do that we’d confuse him with his Dad – George Gordon, the Marquess of Huntly, so we’ll call him Lord Gordon from here on in. The Gordon family was in a bit of a mess really – James Gordon, the younger son Earl of Aboyne, was with Montrose as we’ve heard; Huntly was sulking in his castle at Strathnaver having been defeated by the Covenanters, and Lord Gordon was fighting for Covenant and Council. Confused? You soon will be. Because of the split loyalties of the Gordons, the Covenanters within Aberdeen didn’t trust Lord Gordon – and so would not serve with him, and he was ordered not to come to Aberdeen. The army of 3,000 he’d helpfully raised to defend them – just went home.

At Aberdeen Montrose warned the good people that they should surrender. If they did he would spare the women and Children if not there would be no quarter. Standard procedure, as in the Thirty Years War and as would be the case in Ireland of course. The Burgh was confident of winning this fight – after all they were only facing a tiny army of 1,500 by this stage. And they might have seen them off if they’d stayed within their walls, but swimming with over confidence they did not, they helpfully gave up the protection of the walls, and even more helpfully lined up outside to give battle. And despite a hard fight the Highland Charge did its work. For three days, Aberdeen, like Perth, was subjected to sack, with slaughter, rape, looting and the murder of up to 160 citizens, which neither Montrose nor MacColla did anything to stop.

Which is where we get to the irreparable harm, torching prospects bit. There are two things going on here. Firstly there are hundreds of years of distrust between Lowland and Highland culture, as often previously discussed – many Lowlanders feared Highlanders as uncivilised, warlike barbarians. Secondly there are the reports that had reached Scotland of the slaughter of the 1641 Irish Revolt. Just as had been heard in England the real atrocities were nasty enough; but reports that exaggerated them wildly, increased the numbers 10 fold, it was widely believed that 100,000 people had been murdered, raped and displaced by the Irish Gaels. Here then was proof that those reputations and prejudices were true and just. It’s not clear whether Montrose would ever have been able to raise big numbers; the Covenanter government had built a deeply powerful community of interest, culture and purpose among lowland Scots. But the behaviour of Montrose and MacColla’s army at Perth, Aberdeen and later in Argyle did nothing to convince anyone their future would be in better hands under Montrose, his allies, or his king.

Montrose tried to convince the Gordons now to join him; but in this even after a second victory he failed. The memory in Huntly’s mind of his former humiliation at Montrose’s hands were too strong; and he constantly feared to commit himself, and potentially leave his lands undefended. So as Argyle advanced on Aberdeen with a fresh Covenanter army, Montrose had to leave. There followed a merry dance, whenever Argyle got close, Montrose slipped away and crossed the hills with a speed and lightness that used all the strengths of his highland army, that the Covenanter armies could not compete with. Not that Argyle seemed that keen – he came very close to catching Montrose at Fyvie Castle in the North East, but failed to push his advantage and Montrose escaped again. For the first time, Argyle’s stock within the Covenanter movement wobbled – and despite his protests he was replaced as commander by William Bailie.

If Montrose had burned his chance of enlisting lowland support, his two victories had achieved the opposite effect in the Highlands. MacColla had found recruitment slow; that was unlikely to be lack of enthusiasm, but more likely fear – here was a rag tag army of Irish, what chance did it have against Covenanter might? But now they were demonstrably winners – and now MacColla was able to bring people to the banner. Montrose was joined by more Highlanders – various branches of MacDonalds, clan Chattans, Camerons, Robertsons. Many clans that had been destroyed or subjected by the Campbells – Macgregors, Macnabs, Lamont, Macdougalls and the MacDonalds of Islay and Kintyre waited still, but would join given the chance. All these had two characteristics – they were largely Catholic, hated the Covenanters, and all of them hated the Campbells. Still, even the growing success increased Montrose’s army but little – maybe it now reached 3,000.

Montrose wanted to fight in the lowlands. He realised that his highlanders were prone to head off home, and that they were committed to their clans and the fight against the Campbells and Covenanters – to Charles cause, not so much. The war could not be won in the Highlands. But with the onset of winter, the clamour of MacColla’s clans demanded they return to there, and eventually Montrose was forced to concede, to keep his fragile alliance together.

The winter of 1644 was a bad time for the Campbells of Kintyre. As Montrose approached Inverary, the headquarters and symbol of Campbell power in the highlands and western Isles, Argyle fled; and yet refused to allow Bailie’s army to take the war to Montrose on his lands – there was no way Argyle wanted armies other than his own wandering over his own country, his humiliation so far had been bad enough, and the idea that he could not defend his own was too much for his pride to bear. And yet he could not defend his own. That winter the highlanders ate their dish of cold revenge on the Campbells

‘we left neither house nor hold unburned, nor corn nor cattle that belonged to the whole name of Campbell’

They boasted. A Clanranald historian claimed they had killed 895 men

Without battle or skirmish having taken place


They had wasted Ardgyll and left it like a desert

In January 1645, having wreaked vicious vengeance, Montrose dragged them away back to the task in hand, back to the north to try and build up his army again. In the process his army shrank back to 2000 as many Highlanders, satisfied with their work in Argyle, went back home.

The news of Montrose’s victories and victorious romp through Scotland filled the news and found its way back to England. The Scots in London were appalled at the damage the news wreaked on their authority

This is the greatest hurt our poore land gott these fourscore years and the greatest disgrace befell us these thousand. If we get not the life of these wormes chirted out before they creep out of our land, the reproach will stick on us forever; it has much diminished our reputation in England forever

Montrose had indeed damaged the Covenanter reputation. The failure to finish the war in 1644 meant that the Scots were now just one of multiple contingents in the parliamentary army, and their relative influence was waning. Montrose lowered their prestige further and in England political splits were widening; while Presbyterians continued to support the Scots, the Independents’ strength was growing, and the Scottish demand for uniformity rather than toleration for all protestants was anathema to the Independents. In January 1645 the Scots, supported by the English Presbyterians made another attempt to bring the king to terms, beginning a series of negotiations at Uxbridge. Despite their military reverses, the Scottish demands as part of the wider demands of the Committee of Both kingdoms remained wildly optimistic – Covenanted religion in all kingdoms, no bishops, which Charles would never accept. The Independents knew full well where the proposals were heading, and stood aloof – and by February the treaty of Uxbridge was dead.

In Scotland Montrose arrived in the North West with his reduced army, and found himself in a seemingly impossible situation, a situation similar to the traditional kipper that was stitched. To make an impact he needed to get to the Lowlands; to get to the lowlands he needed to cross the Great Glen. Argyle, back as commander, knew this and had done some stitching; at the North of the Glen around Inverness was Moray with a Covenanter army; at the south of the Glen was Argyle near Inverlochy with 3,000 men. As Montrose descended into the Great Glen Argyle would march north, Moray would march south, and the Montrose Grape would have the juice squeezed from it by the Covenanter press, and the royalist rebellion would be no more.

He figured without Montrose and his complete self confidence; Montrose wasn’t worrying about being beaten or escaping, he was thinking about how exactly he could make Argyle look like the most complete of Charlies and bring him to his knees. The benefit of having a small army composed entirely of Highlanders was that they knew the terrain, how to live there, how to move light; and so they climbed through the mountains of Lochaber and down Glen Roy, in the depths of winter, skirting the side of Ben Nevis. On the night of 1st February they slept out on the slopes of Ben Nevis, in the freezing cold, with no fires, to make sure the Covenanters knew nothing of what lay in store.

In the Great Glen, Argyle comfortably received reports of scattered sightings of Highlanders as evidence that Montrose’s army had disintegrated. None the less they took precautions; command of the Covenanter army was given to Duncan Campbell, the same commander that carried out the Massacre of MacDonalds on Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland in 1641, the army was drawn up in long thin lines in front of Inverlochy. Argyle meanwhile bravely took refuge on a boat on the sea Loch. No reason the guardian of the revolution should get caught after all. Still, no trouble was expected.

Trouble was coming though, whether they expected it or not. Montrose had kept by his side the same trumpet that had sounded the charge at Tippermuir; and it was sounded on the morning of 2nd February 1645 and the royalists appeared in front of horrified Campbell eyes out of the mist. The two wings of the Covenanter’s army were put to flight, Duncan Campbell in the centre fought on. But his first line was forced back on the second line by the ferocity of the Highland charge, and Montrose’s cavalry blocked a retreat – except for Argle of course whose oarsmen were bending their backs and making off down the loch away from what now looked like another Covenanter military disaster.

Which it was indeed. Despite desperate courage, in the sure and certain knowledge that there would be no mercy showed, the Campbells fought on. But it was no use – by the end 1500 Campbells were killed, to a handful of Irish and Highlanders. Tradition has it that when the killing was done Duncan Campbell was brought before MacColla, whose people he had slaughtered in Ireland and was offered a choice – to be made longer or shorter – a choice of hanging or having his head cut off. When Campbell was replying along the lines of that’s not a great choice, MacColla himself made him shorter. What goes around and all that.




That night Montrose wrote to his king. His tail was up, his eyes were bright, his tail was not only up but also bushy

I am in the fairest hope of reducing this kingdom to your majesty’s obedience…before the end of the summer I shall be able to come Your Majesty’s assistance with a brave army

Now it was the turn of the Covenanters at the northern end of the Great Glen, at Inverness. But as the victor of Inverlochy approached, they discovered, all of a sudden that they must have left the gas on, and desperately needed to go home and turn it off. Moray’s army melted away or. Many now joined Montrose. There were multiple reasons they might have joined the cause. Some maybe were genuine Royalist delighted to be freed to fight for the king. Others, like Lord Seaforth, had estates nearby and wanted to make sure they weren’t burned – and would prove fickle friends; as soon as Montrose left Inverness, they switched sides right back. And then there were the Gordons. Now at last Lord Gordon joined Montrose’s cause – worth reminding you at this point that though a royalist, Montrose was also a covenanter, having signed the covenant and been on the other side originally. So he was able to appeal to a Covenanter like Lord Gordon, as well as to royalists.

From Strathnaver, however, Huntly still managed to mess things up. Accepting the inevitable, he at least agreed that the Gordons should join Montrose; but he sent yet another son, Lewis Gordon, to be the commander rather than George, Lod Gordon. Confusion then reigned among the Gordon rank and the Gordon file about who was actually in control of them – and many just threw up their hands and left again. Then before March Huntly was out again changed his mind and recalled his clan – though Lord Gordon proved of sterner stuff and stayed with Montrose regardless. He didn’t stay irregardless. Because if he had he’d have been guilty of a tautology. But once more, the Gordons failed to properly throw their strength behind Montrose’s cause, preferring instead to prioritise their own, sectional and regional interest.

The Scottish Parliament heard the news of Inverlochy while they were sitting between January and March 1645. They ordered new taxes to be raised to pay for an army of 17,500 – though only a fraction of that would ever be raised.

For a while Montrose had the freedom of central Scotland, raiding his opponents’ lands, and even launching a surprise raid on Dundee. But none of this was what Montrose really wanted – the plan had been to bring down the covenanter government and here he was wandering around Central and northern Scotland. Because once again, many highlanders had gone home, and once again Montrose’s army was much reduced, and new Covenanter armies were squeezing him into the North East; by May 1645 the new Covenanter commanders, Bailie and Hurry, had Montrose trapped up on the table, the north coast of Aberdeenshire, and Hurry marched to the east to place the boot on the other foot, and this time it was Montrose who was more attacked against than attacking. This time it was the Covenanters who had the initiative. Or so they thought.

Because the result was exactly the same. Montrose’s tiny army of less than 2,000 was well prepared, knew exactly what the Covenanters were up to; despite having an army twice the size of Montrose, Hurry had been lured into a trap at Auldean. He was attacked in the flank by MacColla; and at the crucial moment Montrose goaded the rogue Gordon Cavalry

The macDonald has routed the enemy. Shall we stand by idly while he carries away the honour of the day?

The Gordons were suitably goaded, duly attacked, and despite a stout defence by Clan MacClennan the Covenanters collapsed. Once again, the pursuit was relentless, lasting 14 days so that maybe 1,500 lost their lives.

Still numbers ruled the day; Highlanders continued to melt away, and the other Covenanter commander Bailie remained at large. Lord knows how Montrose managed to keep the motivation to stick at it, I’d have given up ages ago. Outnumbered again after yet another victory, Montrose was forced to set off on a bewildering journey through Badenoch along the rivers Spey and Dee until descending eastwards into Angus. As he moved further away from the North East he lost more men – many of the Gordons again abandoned the army, on the not unreasonable but intensely parochial grounds that they needed to defend their homelands from Covenanters, though Lord Gordon and Aboyne remained with Montrose. As Bailie sought to bring Montrose to battle, Montrose kept escaping into the hills and slipping from his grasp; but his letters to the King show some of his frustration. For the want of cavalry, he felt he was failing to really help his king’s cause. At very least he needed to force the Covenanters to withdraw some of their army from England – despite his string of victories, he had not even achieved that. He begged Charles for just 500 cavalry, with than he might be able to break free. Charles though about it, and clearly wished ot help; but his own situation was hard; he even considered marching into Scotland to join him, but in the end he could do nothing.

At the start of July, Montrose again tricked the Covenanters; at Alford, being pursued by Baillie, he started to turn away as though once more heading for the hills. But as Baillie tried to cross the river, he turned, and unleased the Gordon cavalry. The battle for once was hard fought and in doubt for a while; and the royalists lost many casualties. Once more the Covenanters were put to flight.

At Alford though, Montrose lost Lord Gordon who was killed; and as his most solid Gordon supporter this was a harsh blow. All though, was confusion in Covenanter ranks. I mean come on this was absolutely inexplicable. What was the Good Lord up to? What sins had they committed to deserve this continuous and frankly repetitious kicking? In London, Covenanter stock fell still further and in July 1645 the new model army of England, many of its ranks and commanders drawn from the Independents, inflicted a decisive defeat on the king at Naseby. What exactly was God’s plan here?

We are amazed that it should be the pleasure of our God to make us fall thus the fifth time before a company of the worst men in the earth

One complained in London, while reflecting with horror on the success of the English Independents

The forces of this nation obtain victory after victory by weak means against considerable and strong armies

William Baillie was now a busted flush as a commander, beaten too many times. His confidence shattered. But although no one trusted him any more, no one else wanted the job, for understandable reasons; a bit like England playing San Marino, there is no good result to being sent against Montrose. If you won, well you jolly well should do, look how many men you have, if you lost, well let us all know. In detail, exactly what you have done to put God’s back up and deserve that?  So William Bailie was told to carry on though Robert Munro was to be recalled from Ireland; and meanwhile Baillie was given a committee of Covenanters to help advise him on tactics. A recipe for military camels and disaster. Yet again more troops were raised and all remaining covenanter troops and garrisons drawn from the towns and united under one command to end this thing once and for all.

When he heard of the disaster of Naseby, Montrose knew this was the end game. If he could not get out of Scotland and over the border now, he could not help his king. His army now was larger than it had ever been, 5,000 strong with a new contingent of Gordon cavalry brought by Lord Aboyne. So, he moved south to Glasgow until faced by Baillie and his helpful advisers at the village of Kilsyth. It was showdown time, double or quits, last shake of the dice.

Baillie to be fair had done his work well. He held a strong position on rising ground. And so he waited. For Montrose, he was faced with the prospect of attacking a larger force – larger yet again, maybe 8,000 strong to his 5,000 – in a powerful defensive position; or he could retreat and, and accept his failure to break out of Scotland. Faced with this winning hand, the Committee, of course, intervened and insisted that Baillie advance his position. Bailie knew this idea sucked but cravenly gave in. And so started manoeuvring in the face of the enemy – traditionally a bad idea I am told. Montrose must have dropped his Forfar Bridie in delight. And cried to his troops to attack now while there were hot irons a plenty.

Caught in disorganisation, this time Covenanter casualties were even more vicious – 4,500 to again a handful of Montrose’s men. And this time at last, Montrose had worked his way through the seemingly inexhaustible supply of covenanters – there was no army left in the field in Scotland to face him, the cupboard was bare. In August 1645, Montrose had become the master of Scotland. The leading Covenanters fled to England or to their estates. He entered Glasgow and summoned a Parliament to meet on 20th October. Edinburgh and Stirling opened their gates to the all-conquering hero. Against all the odds, Montrose had done it. by George he’d done it. it was a year of miracles.

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