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On the warpath: Scotland’s 39 key battlefields

Jacobite re-enacters charge outside the Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL

Jacobite re-enacters charge outside the Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL

  • by CLARE CARSWELL
 

AFTER three years of work, a new inventory of Scotland’s battlefields has been unveiled by Historic Scotland.

Eleven sites deemed to be of significant historical and archaeological value were added to the list yesterday, bringing the total of Scotland’s Inventory of Historic Battlefields to 39.

Inclusion offers the battlefields a level of protection, with local authorities forced to consider the significance of any site when developments are planned.

The first 17 to be put on the inventory were announced in December 2010, and 11 were added in December last year.

The 11 announced yesterday are: Blar-na-Leine (1544); Dunbar I (1296); Dunkeld (1689); Glen Livet (1594); Inverlochy I (1431); Langside (1568); Loudoun Hill (1307); Roslin (1303); Sauchieburn (1488); Skirmish Hill (1526) and Tippermuir (1644).

Work was carried out by the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, which was commissioned by Historic Scotland to assess 50 sites over three years.

The inventory was launched at Killiecrankie in Perth on 27 July, 2009, after the Scottish historic environment policy was amended to include battlefields.

Dr Iain Banks and Dr Tony Pollard, at the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, said: “The battles of Scottish history have been preserved in legends, poems and songs, and they are a unique resource to get visitors to explore the Scottish landscape.

“There is never any difficulty in persuading people of the importance of a particular site, the most difficult job has been explaining why individual battlefields have not made it on to the inventory.”

THE 39 BATTLEFIELDS

1 ALFORD

1645

fought between Scottish royalists and Covenanter government forces during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The battle ended in a victory for the Marquis of Montrose and his Stuart king, Charles I, opening the way into the Lowlands for the royalist army.

2 ANCRUM MOOR

1545

Part of Henry VIII’s ‘Rough Wooing’. At Jedburgh, the objective was to force the Scots to accept a marriage between Henry’s son, Edward, and the infant Mary, Queen of Scots.

3 AULDEARN

1645

the first time the Marquis of Montrose’s royalists faced an experienced Covenanter army. He inflicted a heavy defeat despite being outnumbered. Auldearn is also notable for being one of the last battles in Europe where there was significant use of the longbow.

4 BANNOCKBURN

1314

A KEY battle in the Scottish wars of independence, it gave King Robert I (the Bruce) effective control of Scotland, routing Edward II’s English forces and the Bruce’s enemies within.

5 BARRA

1308

ONE of the many battles fought by the Bruce in the period between his inauguration in 1306 and Bannockburn. With the English distracted by events at home, Bruce routed an army led by John Comyn, a rival for his title, outside Inverurie in Aberdeenshire.

6 BLAR-NA-LEINE

1544

wHERE Frasers and Macintoshes under Lord Lovat and Ranald Gallda (pretender to the chiefdom of Clanranald) and MacDonalds and Camerons under John Moidartach of Moidart, chief of Clan MacDonald of Clanranald settled leadership of Clanranald – in favour of the MacDonalds.

7 BOTHWELL BRIDGE

1679

BROUGHT to an end the 1679 Covenanter rebellion. This was the largest of the Covenanter uprisings of the 17th century and a significant success for government troops led by the Duke of Monmouth.

8 CARBISDALE

1650

THE last battle of James Graham, the 1st Marquis of Montrose, in support of the royalist cause. After Carbisdale, he was apprehended by the Covenanters and executed. The battle was a decisive victory for the Covenanters, won almost without firing a shot.

9 CROMDALE

1690

the final battle fought on the British mainland in support of the first Jacobite Rising. It was fought between a small force of Jacobite Highlanders under the command of Major-General Thomas Buchan and a victorious government army of dragoons and infantry under Sir Thomas Livingstone.

10 CULLODEN

1746

LAST battle of the Jacobite Rising of 1745, when ill-fated Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of the exiled James VII & II, arrived in Scotland from France and raised his standard at Glenfinnan.

11 DRUMCLOG

1679

THE Battle of Drumclog is significant as the opening battle of the 1679 Covenanter uprising. It was a resounding victory for the Covenanters, boosting their cause, but the uprising would be suppressed at Bothwell a few weeks later, sparking a period of reprisals against the Covenanters.

12 DUNBAR I

1296

The Battle of Dunbar was the only significant field action in the campaign of 1296. King Edward I of England had invaded Scotland to punish King John Balliol for his refusal to support English military action in France. The battle ended with an English victory.

13 DUNBAR II

1650

ONE of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history and had substantial military and political consequences as English Parliamentarians defeated a larger Scottish royalist army.

14 DUNKELD

1689

AN urban battle, with the town held by a garrison of government troops from the Cameronian Regiment. After a long and bitter struggle, which saw much of the town burned, the Jacobites withdrew, leaving the government force the victor.

15 DUPPLIN MOOR

1332

heralded the start of the Second War of Scottish Independence. It was the first attempt of Edward Balliol, son of former King John Balliol, to take the throne of Scotland Scotland and restore the lands of the nobles that had been on the losing side at Bannockburn.

16 FALKIRK

1746

the first battle to be fought in Scotland following the return of the Jacobite army from its unsuccessful invasion of England in 1745. The Jacobite army, under Bonnie Prince Charlie, reached Stirling by January where they laid siege to the Castle. The Jacobites won.

17 FYVIE

1645

A SCRAPPY encounter between the 1st Marquis of Montrose and the Covenanter army of the Marquis of Argyll. Argyll attacked Montrose’s position repeatedly over the course of several days, before withdrawing due to supply shortages, allowing Montrose to escape.

18 GLENLIVET

1594

The Battle of Glenlivet was considered at the time to be a religious battle between the Catholic forces of George Gordon, 1st Marquess of Huntly, and Frances Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, and the Protestant army of Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll, which ended in defeat for Argyll.

19 GLENSHIEL

1719

Glenshiel is significant as the sole battle fought during the 1719 Jacobite Rising. A small contingent of Jacobite and Spanish troops landed in Scotland to be confronted by a Government force which overcame the invasion. The Jacobite defeat at Glenshiel marked the end of the 1719 uprising.

20 HARLAW

1411

One of the bloodiest battles of the medieval period in Scotland. The MacDonald army, advanced on Aberdeen to defend their control over the Earldom of Ross. The Earl of Mar was sent to stop them. The outcome was militarily inconclusive, and both sides claimed victory, despite heavy losses.

21 INVERKEITHING II

1651

Significant as the final battle in Scotland of the period of destructive conflict known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and defeat brought the Scots under the complete control of Oliver Cromwell.

22 INVERLOCHY I

1431

The first Battle of Inverlochy is one of several fought by James I to try to reduce the power of Alexander, Lord of the Isles. Donald Balloch, Alexander’s cousin, landed at Inverlochy and with the help of Alasdair Carrach of Tor Castle inflicted one of the most serious defeats borne by a Royal army in the Highlands.

23 INVERLOCHY II

1645

Inverlochy II was fought between the supporters of the Royalist cause under James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose, and the Covenanters. Athough Graham did not take direct command of his forces, the battle was a resounding victory for the Royalists, destroying the Covenanter army and crippling their cause.

24

KILLIECRANKIE

1689

significant as it is the opening battle of the first Jacobite Rising in Scotland, fought between forces of James VII and troops loyal to William Of Orange. The battle was a victory for the Jacobites.

25

KILSYTH

1645

KILSYTH was the largest battle to be fought between Scottish Royalist and Government Troops during the Civil War period. It was the sixth battle of the campaign of the Marquis of Montrose on behalf of Charles I and was to be his last victory. This loss left no effective Covenanter force in Scotland and resulted in the Scottish Parliament recalling a regiment from England.

26

LANGSIDE

1568

The Battle of Langside was fought between the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots, and those of the Earl of Moray, her half-brother. Moray’s decisive victory, resulted in the end of Mary’s attempts to retake the throne, and ultimately her execution.

27 LINLITHGOW BDGE

1526

fought between the Earl of Lennox and the Earl of Arran as part of an ongoing struggle for control over the 14-year old King James V. With the bridge over the Avon held against him, Lennox marched downstream from where he attacked up slope. However, he was unsuccessful and after a long push of pikes, Lennox’s men broke as fresh troops arrived to confront them.

28 LOUDON HILL

1307

significant as one of the first victories of King Robert I (the Bruce) against the English forces, then under Aymer de Valence. As a result of the defeat, Edward I resolved to deal with Bruce personally, but his failing health led to his death before he reached Scotland. Having been victorious in battle, Bruce’s cause was boosted and he strengthened his position in Scotland.

29 MULROY

1688

The last clan battle, it was fought between the MacDonalds of Keppoch, along with allies including Camerons and Macmartins, against the army of Lachlan Mackintosh, with support from his Clan Chattan allies and several hundred Government infantry. Despite Mackintosh’s advantage of numbers, he was defeated and captured.

30 PHILIPHAUGH

1645

a MAJOR defeat for the Scottish Royalist army in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, this signalled the end of the Marquis of Montrose’s campaign in Scotland. Montrose had attempted to secure the country for the king and won a string of six victories. However, by September his attempts to sustain his campaign, had failed.

31 PINKIE

1547

THE culmination of Henry VIII’s campaign, known as the Rough Wooing, with the objective of forcing the Scots to accept a marriage alliance between his son Edward and the infant Mary, Queen of Scots. In September 1547 the English marched north along the east coast to Scotland and defeated the Scots.

32 PRESTONPANS

1745

THE first significant conflict in the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

The Jacobite army, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, marched south to meet the Hanoverian troops. The battle was a resounding victory for the Jacobite army.

33 ROSLIN

1303

The Battle of Roslin is significant as seemingly one of the largest battles within Scotland during the First Scottish War of Independence. The Scottish victory boosted morale for their cause, but in England the defeat enraged Edward I who personally led another campaign into Scotland the following year.

34 RULLION GREEN

1666

THE only battle of the Pentland Rising. A Covenanter army under the command of Colonel James Wallace advanced to Edinburgh to attempt to win support while pursued by a government army under Sir Thomas Dalziel. The government force finally caught up at Rullion Green and defeated the Covenanters.

35 SAUCHIEBURN

1488

A NUMBER of disaffected Scottish nobles rose against James III, pictured. The two sides met in battle just south of Stirling and the rebels prevailed. James III fled and with his death his son became James IV.

36 SHERIFFMUIR

1715

The battle of Sheriffmuir is significant as the only major engagement in Scotland during the 1715 Jacobite Rising. The battle was a chaotic affair, with the outcome very much debatable, but it was sufficient to bring an end to the rising. It also involved one of largest Jacobite armies ever fielded in Scotland, with only Falkirk in 1746 exceeding it.

37 SKIRMISH HILL

1526

The battle was fought between Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and Walter Scott of Buccleuch over the guardianship of the young King James V, pictured in adulthood here, resulting in victory for the Angus troops.

38 STIRLING BRIDGE

1297

SIGNIFICANT as one of the most prominent Scottish victories of the Wars of Independence. It is the high point of the campaign and led to William Wallace’s appointment as Guardian

of the Realm of Scotland. The heavy nature of their defeat is an immense

shock to the English.

39 TIPPERMUIR

1644

The battle was the first of the Marquis of Montrose’s campaign to seize Scotland from the Covenanters on behalf of King Charles I. Despite the lack of cavalry and artillery, the Royalist forces, primarily composed of Irish and Highland soldiers, won a decisive victory over the larger, yet less experienced, Covenanter army.

 

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