Rare fundraising ‘invade England’ document sold

King Charles I, who was leading Scottish forces against Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentary forces. Picture: TSPL
King Charles I, who was leading Scottish forces against Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentary forces. Picture: TSPL
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A RARE document issued to raise money for a Scottish invasion of England in the 17th century has sold for thousands of pounds at auction today.

The document, one of only two known to exist anywhere in the world, is a certificate for 600 merks (£400).

It was issued to pay for the troops - drawn from Scottish Covenanters - who joined with the forces of Oliver Cromwell, who at the time was leading the Parliamentary forces to help defeat King Charles I.

Charles I, King of England and Ireland, and King of Scotland, was battling with his Parliament - leading to civil wars in all of his kingdom.

Both sides used “forced” loans to gather funds during the English Civil War. They were a common method used to raise money quickly.

The document sold for £3,360, with buyer’s premium.

Signed by the Earl of Lauderdale - then President of the Scottish Parliament, Lord Elphinston and Baron Balmerino in August 1644, the “forced” loan reads: “As by Act of the Estates of Scotland, dated the second day of February, the yeer of God, one thousand six hundreth fourty four yeers, made for raising of Moneys for a present supply to the Armies sent to England and Ireland; It was ordained, that the Lenders of Moneys for that use, should have assurance of their repayment from the Publick, out of the Moneys due from the Kingdom of England, or that should be raised upon the late Excise, which the Treasurer or Collector should be bound to pay out of the first of his intromissions thereof, as the said Act more fully proports.”


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Charles I’s fight with Scotland dated back to 1633, when he decided that the English Book of Common Prayer should be introduced into Scotland.

Feeling ran high and rioting broke out in the main towns throughout Scotland.

In 1638 the Scottish Assembly drew up a National Covenant abolishing the Book of Common Prayer and later also abolishing bishops, provoking military action by the English.

In 1640 the Scottish Covenanters invaded England and gained the upper hand.

When Scottish nobles joined with the English against the Covenanters a truce was drawn up, and soon afterwards the King declared war on the English Parliament who in 1643 made an alliance with the Covenanters.

Acts were passed by both the Scottish Parliament and by King Charles in 1644, using both law and moral pressure to raise the funds.

The Covenanters again invaded England in 1644 to join with the Parliamentarians and it is this “forced” loan that was used to pay for the troops.

The certificate states that interest was to be paid but does not state the rate and also promises to pay the principal from excise duties raised in England.

A spokesperson for auction house Spink said: “This certificate for 600 merks was issued to pay for the troops, drawn from Scottish Covenanters, who joined with Cromwell’s forces to help defeat Charles I.

“It is printed with hand date insertion of 22nd August, 1644.

“Forced loans were a common way of raising money for both sides during the Civil War.

“The Scottish Covenanters struck a deal exchanging military support for the introduction in England of Presbyterianism.

“This did not happen and eventually Cromwell successfully invaded Scotland to scotch the Covenanters, who in turn later were the first to “crown” Charles II.

“Scotland was forced into a union with the Commonwealth.”

The document was sold at Spink in London, in their sale of Bonds and Share certificates of the world on today.


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