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Battle of Alford, 2 July 1645 (Scotland)

Battle of Alford, 2 July 1645 (Scotland)

Battle of Alford, 2 July 1645 (Scotland)

Battle in Scotland during First Civil War between a Royalist army under James Graham, earl of Montrose and a Covenanting army under William Baillie. The two armies had spend some weeks engaged in marches and counter-marches, Montrose perhaps hoping to descend on Aberdeen, Baillie to prevent any such move. The two armies were probably roughly equal in size at about 2,000 foot, although Baillie had 500 horse compared to Montrose's 250, giving him a very slight advantage. However, this was in part negated by the presence of representatives of the Committee of Estates, the ruling body of the Covenant, who constantly interfered with Baillie's decisions. Montrose was in position first, on a low hill overlooking the ford across the Don at Alford, possibly with some of his troops hidden to an observer on the ford. Baillie, sensibly, did not want to risk a crossing of the ford, seeing that it would leave his troops vulnerable to attack before they could form up for battle, but the Committee, urged on by Baillie's cavalry commander, Balcarres, insisted on battle. Montrose waited until the Covenanting horse was across the river, and the infantry crossing, before ordering a general attack, inflicting a massive defeat on the disordered Covenanters, who lost 1,500 of their 2,000 infantry, although much of their cavalry, along with the Baillie, Balcarres and the Committee escaped. The main lose for the Royalists was the young Lord Gordan, who appears to have charged head of the rest of the army having seen cattle stolen from his lands to feed the Covenanting army. Nevertheless, the battle of Alford was one of the few bright moments for the Royalist cause in the aftermath of Naseby, only two weeks earlier.

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On this day in Scotland

The Battle of Alford took place on the 2nd of July, 1645.

When Civil War broke out in England in 1643, the Scots and English signed ‘The Solemn League and Covenant’. That was a very different document to another famous Scottish ‘Covenant’, the National Covenant of Scotland. It was the price the English Puritans had to pay for the Scottish army to join forces and fight for the Parliamentarians against the King. The price was the adoption of Presbyterianism a cheap concession for the likes of the puritanical English Parliament. The Marquess (Marquis) of Montrose, who had been a Covenanter and led a Scottish Army into England in the Second Bishop’s War, saw this as a disgraceful and contemptible piece of double-dealing. For him, it was the final straw.

Montrose had become aware that the National Covenant was being used by the likes of Archibald Campbell, the Earl of Argyll, to usurp the King’s power in Scotland, for his own ends. Montrose saw this and other extremist Presbyterian activities as an absolute abuse of the Covenant. After drawing up the Cumbernauld Bond, he was arrested on charges of conspiracy against the ruling Committee of Estates and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. He was released on bail in November, 1641, and joined King Charles I at Oxford, in 1643.

Montrose’s loyalty to the King and the Royalist cause was passionate and unwavering throughout the rest of his career, despite retaining purist Covenanting sympathies. In response to the involvement of the Scottish Covenanters in the English Civil War and the Royalist’s defeat at Marston Moor in July, 1644, Charles I appointed the Marquis of Montrose as his military commander in Scotland. Montrose raised the royal standard on the 28th of August, 1644, and with little more than two thousand troops, fought a stirring campaign in the Highlands.

The Covenanters learned that what Montrose’s militia lacked in numbers was more than compensated for by its commitment to the cause and the astute tactics of its commander. Montrose’s army, which comprised Irishmen under Alasdair MacColla and various Highlanders that had rallied to the Stuart cause, led a bandit-like existence. Heavily outnumbered, Montrose effectively exploited the terrain to outmanoeuvre his enemy. His guerilla campaign rampaged through the Highlands, spreading fear and loathing throughout Covenanter strongholds in the north-east. Montrose won a spectacular series of victories at Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Fyvie, Inverlochy, and a major action at Auldearn.

However, there were still significant Government forces opposing Montrose, under the experienced commander, General Baillie. He played a game of cat and mouse with Montrose in the weeks after Auldearn, traipsing across Moray and Aberdeenshire. Finally, at the end of June, finding Montrose’s army as depleted as his own, Baillie considered he could face the Royalists in open battle. Baillie’s actions were heavily constrained by the presence of members of the Committee of Estates. These muppets represented the ruling body of the Covenant and constantly interfered with his decisions. Not only did they interfere in tactical matters, they transferred one thousand of his best troops to Lindsay’s army, compromising Baillie’s ability to deal with Montrose.

On the 1st of July, Montrose crossed the river Don and camped at Asloun, in preparation for the coming battle. He chose very strong ground on which to fight and, on the morning of the 2nd of July, Montrose deployed his army on the hillside in a classical formation, with massed ranks of infantry flanked on either side by cavalry. He waited for Baillie to cross the River Don by the Boat of Forbes, near Alford. Initially, Baillie did not want to risk crossing the river, believing his troops would be vulnerable to an attack as they forded. However, the ‘Committee’, urged on by Balcarres, his impetuous cavalry commander, persuaded him that Montrose looked like he was retreating. That was an illusion as part of Montrose’s force was concealed by the summit.

Baillie crossed the river and was allowed to oppose Montrose in kind, with two cavalry wings and his infantry in the centre, before Montrose’s right wing of cavalry, under Lord Gordon, opened the engagement. The Covenanter horse on the left was forced off the field, whilst ultimately the cavalry on Baillie’s right fared no better. The Irish and Highland infantry were then introduced, and together with Montrose’s cavalry having returned to the fray, forced Baillie’s infantry back to the river.

The ill trained Covenanter levies and reservists that Baillie was left with were no match for the famed Highland charge commanded by Colonel O’Kean. Montrose also had more depth in attack as Baillie’s front line was only three deep, compared to Montrose’s six ranks, albeit in a charge they would have strung out somewhat. That was Baillie’s tactic to avoid being ‘overwinged’, but with his cavalry on either flank being driven off, the infantry were left exposed. Montrose’s horse was able to hit the infantry in the rear and it was soon routed. The Covenanters suffered heavy casualties as the Royalist horse pursued them in what became a bloody execution. While the main action probably lasted no more than an hour or so, the pursuit and slaughter of the defeated Covenanters continued into the early evening. However, victory was not won without cost as Montrose lost the very able Lord Gordon in the cavalry attack on the infantry.

The Covenanter’s Army took the field with around eighteen hundred to two thousand infantry and about six to eight hundred cavalry. Montrose had about an equal number of foot and slightly less horsemen, probably in the region of two hundred and fifty to three hundred, although some reports suggest he had as many as five hundred. This may be correct as he was reinforced by Lord Gordon’s men before the battle. The Battle of Alford was a bloody affair in which hundreds of Royalists perished and up to fifteen hundred Covenanters died in the fighting. The only relic that has since been discovered on the field was a broadsword, which is now in the Marischal Museum, in Aberdeen.

Touring Alford in United Kingdom

Alford in the region of Scotland with its 2,237 citizens is a city located in United Kingdom - some 409 mi or ( 658 km ) North of London , the country's capital city .

Time in Alford is now 10:07 PM (Thursday) . The local timezone is named " Europe/London " with a UTC offset of 0 hours. Depending on your travel resources, these more prominent places might be interesting for you: Whitehouse, Torphins, Tillyfourie, Tarland, and Stirling. Being here already, consider visiting Whitehouse . We collected some hobby film on the internet . Scroll down to see the most favourite one or select the video collection in the navigation. Check out our recomendations for Alford ? We have collected some references on our attractions page.


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Interesting facts about this location

Alford Valley Railway

The Alford Valley Railway is a 24 narrow gauge railway in the Howe of Alford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is located at what used to be the terminus of the passenger and goods Alford Valley Railway which connected with the Great North of Scotland Railway main line at Kintore.

Alford railway station

Alford railway station is a station in Alford, Aberdeenshire which now serves a tourist narrow gauge railway, the Alford Valley Railway. The station used to be the terminus of a line, also called the Alford Valley Railway, from Kintore where it joined the Great North of Scotland Railway main line. It is now the terminus of a narrow gauge railway.

Grampian Transport Museum

Grampian Transport Museum is based in Alford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Major exhibits include the world's oldest Sentinel Steam Waggon from 1914, a giant Mack Snowplow and a Jaguar XKR used in the James Bond film, Die Another Day. Exhibits include historic and classic automobiles, motorcycles, a double-decker bus, bicycles, tractors, steam vehicles, an electric tram, toy model vehicles, and transport memorabilia.

Battle of Alford

The Battle of Alford was an engagement of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which took place near the village of Alford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 2 July 1645. The battlefield is currently under research to be inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Historic Environment (Amendment) Act 2011. Battle of Alford Part of Wars of the Three Kingdoms 300pxThe site of the Battle of Alford.

Bridge of Alford

Bridge of Alford is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland near Alford beside the bridge over the River Don. It is on the road towards Strathdon.


Between mid-1644 and 1645, Montrose had fought a successful disruptive campaign around Scotland, intended to tie down Scottish government troops and prevent their aiding the Parliamentarian side in the First English Civil War. Leading a force built around an Irish Confederate brigade under Alasdair Mac Colla, Montrose had beaten the Covenanters at Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Inverlochy, Auldearn and Alford. Following the bloody Royalist victory at Alford on 2 July 1645, there remained only a single intact government force in Scotland, [3] under the command of the experienced professional soldier William Baillie.

Baillie and his army were at Perth, attending the meeting of the Scottish Estates. He had been given command of a mixture of new, untrained levies from Fife, a number of regular regiments withdrawn from England, and the remnants of several regiments already defeated by Montrose at Auldearn and Alford. His cavalry, led by Lord Balcarres, was mainly regular dragoons. In addition to these troops, the Earl of Lanark had raised a new levy of 1,000 infantry and 500 cavalry from the estate of his brother, the Duke of Hamilton, in Clydesdale, and was en route north to join the main body.

When news of this troop movement reached Montrose, he decided to confront these forces individually, before they could join up. Marching from Dunkeld he skirted Baillie's force at Perth and travelled via Kinross, Glenfarg and Alloa, crossing the River Forth near Stirling, and circumnavigating Stirling Castle. By nightfall on 14 August, the army was camped in a meadow near Colzium, by Kilsyth, in the area around Colzium Castle. This area is still known as Cavalry Park in memory of the event.

Baillie learned of Montrose's advance almost immediately, but it took a little time for its purpose to become apparent. Realising that his opponent had gained an advantage and that Lanark's forces were in danger, he moved his men southward, reaching Stirling by the line of the modern A9 road. On the same night as Montrose reached Colzium, Baillie was only three miles off at Hollinbush. He arrived late and his men had little rest.

Overnight, his scouts located the Royalist encampment, and at dawn the next morning his troops were on the move and, marching directly across country, reaching the village of Banton. This gave the Covenanters the higher ground around the eastern rim of the hollow occupied by the Royalist infantry.

Montrose had been reinforced at Dunkeld by 800 high-quality infantry and 400 cavalry led by Viscount Aboyne. [4] He retained at least 500 of his Irish troops, a large number of Lowland infantry from the Gordon estates, and a regiment of Athollmen under Patrick Graham of Inchbrackie, as well as up to 1400 Highlanders from western clans: a total of around 3000 foot, with up to 600 cavalry and dragoons. [5] Baillie is stated to have had up to 7,000 infantry based on Royalist accounts, [1] though 3,500 may be a more accurate figure. [6] While four of the government regiments were regulars, and a further unit under Lieutenant-Colonel Kennedy was made up of the remains of three veteran regiments from Alford and Auldearn, a large proportion of Baillie's foot was composed of the three newly raised regiments of levies from Fife, led by the lairds of Fordell, Ferny and Cambo. [5] On news of the Royalist advance, the levies had already attempted to desert en masse, and had to be forcibly brought back. [5]

  • Royalist (James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose) [5]
    • Infantry regiments
      • Irish Brigade (Alasdair Mac Colla)
      • Mac Colla's Lifeguard
      • Strathbogie Regiment
      • Col. Patrick Graham of Inchbrackie's Regiment
      • Col. William Gordon of Monymore's Regiment
      • Col. James Farquharson of Inverey's Regiment / western clans
      • Col. Nathaniel Gordon's Regiment
      • Viscount Aboyne's Regiment
      • Earl of Airlie's Regiment
      • Viscount Aboyne's Regiment of Dragoons
      • Captain John Mortimer's Regiment of Dragoons (Irish)
      • Infantry regiments
        • Marquis of Argyll's Regiment
        • Earl of Crawford-Lindsay's Regiment
        • Col. Robert Home's Regiment
        • Earl of Lauderdale's Regiment
        • Lt-Col. John Kennedy's Battalion
        • Col. James Arnot of Ferny's Regiment
        • Col. John Henderson of Fordell's Regiment
        • Sir Thomas Morton of Cambo's Regiment
        • Earl of Balcarres' Regiment
        • Col. Harie Barclay's Regiment

        The Royalist troops were clearly visible, undisturbed by the arrival of the main army of their enemies. Having a healthy respect for his opposition, and appreciating that his own forces had already marched several miles in full kit, Baillie decided to take positions where he was and wait for Lanark's force to appear. If Lanark arrived on the field, Baillie would have Montrose trapped between his force and the reinforcements and if Montrose decided to attack Lanark as he arrived, Baillie could advance against the Royalist army from the rear. A direct attack by Montrose against the Covenanter line would face daunting high ground held by a numerically superior opponent.

        Although Baillie's decision was sound, he was not allowed to adhere to it. His orders were subject to the approval of the "Committee of Estates", consisting of the Earls of Argyll, Crawford and Tullibardine, and the Lords Elcho, and Balfour of Burleigh, together with a number of Calvinist clergymen. Worried by the possibility of Montrose escaping to fight another day, they ordered a flank march around the Royalist position. Baillie protested against the redeployment, but was overruled.

        Clashes soon broke out as the Covenanter army made their flank march, with the left wing of Baillie's force (now the rear of the flanking column) attacking the MacLean infantry occupying cottages on Montrose's left flank, and the cavalry on the Covenanter right flank (or van) attacking the Royalist cavalry. Other Covenanter and Royalist units joined the fray, acting without orders. Montrose seized the unexpected opportunity, and sent his cavalry and Highlanders against the now disrupted Covenanter column. The mass of the Royalist infantry subsequently joined in the attack. Baillie's army soon broke and ran. [7]

        Approximately three-quarters of the Covenanter troops perished. Baillie himself fled south with an escort of cavalry, but was caught in the notorious Dullatur Bog, a marshy area lying between the head waters of the Kelvin and the Bonny. He managed to escape, although he left most of his escort behind, and reached safety at Stirling Castle. During construction of the Forth and Clyde Canal, the bodies of several troopers, one still seated on a horse, were recovered from the bog.

        Lanark's forces were told of the defeat, and dispersed. Lanark himself and the Committee of Estates escaped across the border to England. Briefly, Montrose found himself undisputed master of Scotland, and proceeded to Glasgow, where he summoned a parliament in the name of the King. [1] Unknown to Montrose, the victory was too late the Battle of Naseby had already been lost and the Royalist cause was in ruins. Montrose made an attempt to move south in support of the king, but was himself decisively defeated at Philiphaugh.

        The battle and the Royalist campaign of 1644–1645 in general feature in the 1937 novel And No Quarter by the Irish writer Maurice Walsh, told from the perspective of two members of O'Cahan's Regiment.

        Ordnance Survey maps mark the battlefield as being in the vicinity of Banton Loch which was created in the 18th century. The battlefield has been inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Scottish Historical Environment Policy of 2009. [3]

        Key Facts:

        Date: 15th August, 1645

        War: Wars of the Three Kingdoms

        Location: Kilsyth, near Stirling

        Belligerents: Royalists, Scots Covenanters

        Victors: Royalists

        Numbers: Royalists around 3,000 foot and 600 horse, Scots Covenanters around 3,500 foot and 350 horse.

        Casualties: Royalists unknown, Scots Covenanters heavy

        Commanders: Marquess of Montrose (Royalists), William Baillie (Scottish Covenanters)

        Battle of Alford, 2 July 1645 (Scotland) - History

        Wars of Three Kingdoms > Scotland (1644-46)

        James Graham, Marquis of Montrose had been appointed Royalist commander in Scotland in Summer 1644 and had won numerous victories against the Covenanters who had sided with the English Parliament against the King. At the Battle of Alford (1645) Montrose continued this trend when he engaged and defeated the final Covenanter army in northern Scotland.

        Throughout Summer 1644 James Graham, Marquis of Montrose waged a successful campaign in Scotland on behalf of King Charles I. The Scottish Government was controlled by Covenanters who had fought the King over his religious policy in the late 1630s but, until August 1643, had remained neutral in the English Civil War between Charles and Parliament. This changed after a sustained diplomatic effort by the Parliamentarian John Pym on the promise that Presbyterian doctrine would be introduced into England. Scottish forces crossed the border in January 1644 under the command of Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven and played a key role at the Battle of Marston Moor (1644) which saw the Royalists in northern England decimated. That same Summer, King Charles appointed Graham as Captain General in Scotland tasked with fighting the Covenanters in their home territory and causing their withdrawal from England.

        At the start of his campaign Graham had few men and little equipment. However he exploited the widespread distrust amongst the Highlanders of a key Covenanter - Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll - which ensured he assembled a fledgling force. At the Battle of Tippermuir (1 September 1644) he had captured stocks of weapons and gunpowder facilitating his assault on Aberdeen later the same month. Early in 1645 he achieved a number of victories against Covenanter forces starting with the Second Battle of Inverlochy in February 1645 where he defeated Campbell with a stunning advance over the Ben Nevis mountain range.

        Following the victory at Inverlochy, Montrose marched his force along the Great Glen to Inverness and then on towards Elgin. Here his small army was augmented by 500 troops from the Gordon and Grant clans enabling him to go on the offensive again. He occupied Aberdeen and from here launched attacks on Brechin and Dundee. He attacked the latter on 4 April 1645 but, alerted to the raid, a Covenanter army under Lieutenant General William Baillie marched north from Perth. The Royalists retreated just in time - allegedly leaving the town via the East Gate as Baillie marched in via the West Gate! Major-General Sir John Hurry was sent in pursuit of Montrose with a Covenanter army but was defeated at the Battle of Auldearn on 9 May 1645. With Hurry beaten, Montrose sought to destroy Baillie's army in order to be able to focus his efforts on taking control of the Scottish central belt.

        Baillie was now commander of the sole Covenanter force in Scotland but was subject to the direction of the Committee of Estates, the governing body of Scotland. Unnerved by the success of Montrose, the Committee decided to create a second army and detached around 1,200 experienced troops from Baillie reducing his infantry by half. He was compensated with new recruits but nevertheless the experience of his force had been greatly reduced. Furthermore the new Covenanter army, which was commanded by Lord Lindsay, did not operate in partnership with Baillie. Fully aware his army was now in no position for an encounter with Montrose, Baillie spent the rest of May and much of June avoiding the Royalist General. Pursued across Moray and Aberdeenshire, Baillie successfully evaded contact.

        Montrose finally caught up with Baillie on 24 June 1645 near Keith. Now more confident in his forces - and believing Montrose to be in a similarly depleted state - Baillie drew up for battle and occupied a formidable defensive position. Montrose did not take the bait and an uneasy standoff followed. On 1 July 1645 Montrose sought to dislodge him by crossing the River Don and threatened an advance south. The Royalists then occupied Gallows Hill - a particularly strong position overlooking the crossing of the River Don at the Boat of Forbes - and waited to see if the Covenanters followed. Baillie now had little choice but to pursue otherwise the Royalists would have had an unopposed march into Central Scotland.

        The Covenanter force, under Lieutenant General William Baillie, consisted of two Regiments of Horse (Balcarres and Halkett) and six Regiments of Infantry (Cassilis, Callendar, Elcho, Glencairn, Lanark and Moray). However, despite the composition of the force being well recorded, the actual numbers are uncertain. Around 1,200 troops had been re-allocated to Lord Lindsay's army and may only have been replaced by 400 raw recruits. Accordingly it is probable Baillie's infantry was smaller than that available for Montrose and was certainly less experienced. This was the view of Baillie himself, albeit writing after his defeat, where he suggested he was heavily outnumbered in infantry. Some modern historians suggest the Covenanter army was actually the larger of the two forces but, given the sequence of events in the later battle where the Covenanters stretched their infantry line out, this seems unlikely.

        The Royalists - under James Graham, Marquis of Montrose - were in a significantly better position. Although MacColla was detached recruiting more men, Lord Gordon had joined the Royalist ranks bringing a significant cavalry detachment with him although this was smaller than the numbers available to the Covenanters . The Royalist infantry comprised of men from the Strathbogie regiment, Colonel Farquarson of Inverary's regiment, MacDonald Highlanders and Manus O'Cahan's Irish companies.

        The battle was fought on the 2 July 1645. Montrose positioned the bulk of his forces on the western slope of Gallows Hill to conceal them from Baillie but whether this encouraged the Covenanter General to attack or not is unknown. Furthermore it is unclear whether Baillie actually intended to commit to battle or was simply planning to flank round Montrose's position to bar his advance south. Some authors suggest Montrose's deployment had tricked Baillie into thinking the Royalists were departing and it is also possible that Baillie was pressured into battle by Balcarres who was not only his cavalry commander but also a member of the Committee of Estates.

        Montrose's forces were deployed on Gallows Hill with the cavalry on the flanks and the infantry in the centre including a small reserve to the rear under Lord Napier. Given the limited numbers of mounted troops available to the Royalists, the cavalry wings were augmented with additional infantry. On the right the troops of Laghtnan supported Lord Gordon and on the left Aboyne's horse was supported by an Irish Detachment

        Montrose's position gave him a clear view of the river crossings at Bridge of Forbes (immediately to the north of Gallows Hill) and Montgarrie. Given the dominant Royalist position over the former, it can be presumed that Baillie opted to use the crossing Montgarrie although the first map of the region, dated from the eighteenth century, does not show a major road on this route. The first units to cross the River Don were the cavalry under Lord Balcarres.

        - Stage 2: Royalist Cavalry Attack

        It is not clear whether Baillie deployed his forces in battle array prior to the fight starting or even if he had sufficient time to move all his forces across the River Don. Either way Lord Balcarres found himself opposite the Royalist cavalry of Lord Gordon who charged against him. However, Balcarres' men were veterans of the war in England with many having fought at Marston Moor. They held against the Royalist charge, presumably aided by their superior numbers, and repulsed Lord Gordon.

        - Stage 3: Coordinated Cavalry / Infantry Attack

        Having been initially driven back, the Royalist right re-grouped and launched a combined assault with their supporting infantry detachment under Laghtnan. This coordinated attack broke Balcarres' force who retreated.

        If previously uncommitted to battle, Baillie now had little choice but to continue the engagement. His second cavalry detachment, under Sir James Halkett, advanced and was attacked by the Royalist left under Lord Aboyne. The Covenanter force was broken and fled the battlefield.

        Once the Covenanter infantry had crossed the River Don, Baillie extended the line to ensure he was not outflanked. The net effect was his infantry was just three ranks deep vice six for the Royalists. Sensing their weakness Montrose sent his infantry forward using a Highland charge - a full speed dash towards the enemy line, discharging weapons at short range and then closing into a melee with traditional weapons. Whilst experienced soldiers may have held against this onslaught, the raw recruits of Baillie's force succumbed. The Covenanters were pushed back towards the crossing at Montgarrie.

        As the Covenanter infantry buckled under the pressure of the frontal assault a portion of the Royalist cavalry, under Lord Gordon, returned to the field and joined in the attack. Gordon's charge, in which he was shot dead allegedly by one of his own men, broke the Covenanter infantry. The troops fled the battlefield and were remorselessly pursued by the Royalist horse with many slaughtered - some accounts suggesting over one thousand men died in the retreat.

        Baillie, who had escaped the battlefield, offered his resignation to the Committee of Estates and, although accepted, he was obliged to continue until his replacement arrived from Ireland. Having already hamstrung their General, the Committee now appointed a deputation to advise Baillie on tactics. Given those appointed had already been defeated by Montrose, such advice must have been of limited value!

        For the Royalists Alford was another significant victory for Montrose and doubtless would have been greeted with great relief by Charles I who had seen his English field army destroyed at Naseby just two weeks earlier. However Montrose had lost a close ally, Lord Gordon, which weakened his future support. Nevertheless, Montrose was now the master of northern Scotland enabling him to march south where, the following month, he achieved his greatest success at the Battle of Kilsyth. After that decisive victory he briefly became master of all Scotland summoning a Parliament in Glasgow. However, with the local forces having failed to neutralise Montrose, the Scottish army in England was recalled. Major General Sir David Leslie marched north and in September 1645 he cornered the Marquis near Selkirk. At the Battle of Philiphaugh, the most successful of Royalist Generals was finally defeated.

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        There is no battlefield trail or monument (other than the Gordon Stone) but there is good access to the site via major roads with footpaths or minor roads that are (relatively) safe for pedestrians. Walking from Alford to the Bridge of Forbes along the A944 covers the ground where the bulk of the action took place and Gallows Hill, from where Montrose deployed, is clearly visible to the west. Diversions can be made along the A980, to see the rear of Montrose's position (where he hid the bulk of his forces), and to Montgarrie where it is most likely that Baillie crossed the River Don.

        Bridge of Forbes . It is often assumed Baillie crossed the River Don at the bridge at Forbes but this would have been suicide given the proximity of Montrose. If another crossing existed, which it probably did at Montgarrie, it is highly likely that he used that.

        River Don . The fast flowing River Don could not be forded in vicinity of the battlefield.

        Gallows Hill . Gallows Hill viewed from the Bridge of Forbes. Montrose had occupied the summit and controlled the adjacent road.

        Gallows Hill . Gallows Hill viewed from the rear of the Royalist position. Montrose hid a portion of his forces here hoping to entice Baillie into crossing the River Don and attacking him.

        Montgarrie . The River Don in vicinity of the crossing at Montgarrie. Gallows Hill can be seen in the distance. It is not certain whether a road existed at Montgarrie at the time of the battle.

        Gordon Stone . Lord Gordon was a key supporter of Montrose who had successful recruited many men in support of the Royalist cause. He was killed in the closing stages of the battle allegedly by an (accidental) shot from his own side.

        There is a car park in Parkhill Lane at the north-west end of Alford which is directly adjacent to the Gordon Stone. Bridge of Forbes and Montgarrie can both be visited on foot or by car - for the latter on-road parking is possible at both locations. A lay-by near Alford Kirk allows a short walk up the western slopes of Gallows Hill.

        Undiscovered Scotland

        August 1640: The Second Bishops' War. The English "New Army" under the Earl of Stafford is pushed back through Northumberland and the Scots under Alexander Leslie take Newcastle on 28 August. Meanwhile the Covenanters take both Edinburgh and Dumbarton castles and the Duke of Argyll attacks the royalist clans in the Highlands.

        12 September 1640: The death in London of Sir William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling, the Royal courtier and poet who established Nova Scotia.

        26 October 1640: Hostilities cease with a truce signed at Ripon, under which Charles I agrees to pay the costs of keeping their army in northern England.

        3 November 1640: King Charles I convenes the English Parliament to raise the funds to settle with the Scots as agreed at Ripon. This "Long Parliament" will to sit until 1653 and lead to Charles' loss of his throne and his head.

        14 August 1641: Charles I visits Edinburgh in an effort to placate opposition and buy off critics. He ends up confirming the decisions of the 1640 Free Parliament, and so, indirectly, the Covenant.

        October 1641: The weakness of Charles in Scotland leads to Catholic revolt in Ulster, only suppressed with help from Protestant troops from Scotland.

        22 August 1642: Charles I, having failed to suppress or coerce the English Parliament by his will, takes it on by military might. The English Civil War begins.

        17 August 1643: Scotland offers to support the Parliamentary side in the Civil War in return for the acceptance by the English of a "Solemn League and Covenant", in effect exporting Presbyterianism to them. Military aspects are settled quickly and the English Parliament later accepts the religious aspects of the Covenant.

        19 January 1644: A Scottish Covenanter army of 20,000 men under the command of Alexander Leslie moves south to support the Parliamentary Army.

        February 1644: King Charles appoints the Marquis of Montrose, who with other moderate Covenanters is now on the Royalist side, as head of Royalist forces in Scotland.

        March 1644: Montrose captures Dumfries for the Royalists.

        2 July 1644: The Parliamentary Army, reinforced by the Scottish Covenanters, defeat the Royalists at the Battle of Marston Moor.

        August 1644: Alasdair MacDonald lands on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula with 2000 troops from Ireland, who are quickly joined by a thousand highlanders. He supports the Royalist cause against Clan Campbell and storms through Argyll before joining forces with the Marquis of Montrose in Perthshire.

        September 1644: MacDonald and Montrose defeat a large Covenanter force before taking Perth. They then take on and beat another larger force before taking and pillaging Aberdeen then retreating, pursued by the Marquis of Argyll.

        13 September 1644: The Battle of Aberdeen between Royalists and Covenanters is followed by the sacking of Aberdeen by the victorious Royalist forces.

        December 1644: Montrose, supported by a reinforced Alasdair MacDonald, attacks Inveraray and the Campbell strongholds of Argyll killing a thousand Campbell Clansmen. They then withdraw north through the highland winter to Inverlochy Castle, near Fort William.

        January 1645: Montrose heads towards Inverness, only to find a Covenanter army is approaching from Inverness. Meanwhile, the Marquis of Argyll has followed him north, and reached Inverlochy Castle.

        2 February 1645: The 1st Marquess of Montrose makes a forced march south and surprises the Campbells at Inverlochy Castle. Though outnumbered Montrose soundly defeats the Covenanters, killing 1,500 for the loss of far fewer men.

        9 May 1645: The Marquis of Montrose and his Royalists camp at Auldearn near Nairn, while en route to attack Inverness. The Covenanters, reinforced by troops withdrawn from England because of the threat from Montrose, gather at Inverness before marching overnight in an attempt to surprise Montrose at Auldearn. After a fierce fight the Royalists again win, killing 2,000 Covenanters for the loss of 200 of their own men.

        14 June 1645: The New Model Army, with Oliver Cromwell as its second-in-command, wins the decisive victory of the Civil War at Naseby.

        2 July 1645: The Marquis of Montrose and the Royalists again defeat the Covenanters at the Battle of Alford, in Aberdeenshire, but this time with considerable loss of life on both sides. Montrose has defeated the Covenanters throughout northern Scotland.

        15 August 1645: At the Battle of Kilsyth, midway between Stirling and Glasgow, Montrose and the Royalists again defeat the Covenanters, killing 3,000. He moves on to capture Glasgow and Edinburgh, effectively controlling Scotland.

        13 September 1645: Major-General Leslie's Covenanter army returning from England after Naseby meets Montrose and the Royalists near Selkirk and comprehensively defeats them.

        5 May 1646: Charles I surrenders to Scottish Covenanters besieging Newark on Trent. The Scots forces take him to Newcastle and try to bargain with him for Scots advantage. The English Parliamentary army threatens to take the King from the Scots by force.

        2 June 1646: James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose is ordered by Charles I to disband his forces and flee to France. He leaves the country in September.

        19 August 1646: The death in Edinburgh of Alexander Henderson the theologian closely involved in the drawing up of the 1638 National Covenant.

        30 January 1647: The Scottish Covenanters march north and back to Scotland having handed Charles I over to the English in return for a payment of £200,000.

        8 July 1648: The moderate arm of the Covenanters come to a secret agreement with Charles I, now in English custody, and 20,000 Scots move into England at the start of the Second Civil War.

        17 August 1648: Oliver Cromwell heavily defeats the Scots at Preston, leading to a return to power in Edinburgh of the radical Covenanters of the Kirk Party under the Marquis of Argyll.

        4 October 1648: Cromwell meets the Covenanters in Edinburgh leaving New Model Army troops to protect the hardline Presbyterians when he leaves.

        30 January 1649: Charles I is executed in London despite protests from the Scots.

        5 February 1649: The Scots Parliament proclaims Charles II as King.

        March 1649: The English Parliament declares England to be a Republic.

        March 1649: A delegation of Scots meets Charles II in the Hague demanding he impose Presbyterianism in Scotland, England and Ireland. Charles refuses.

        March 1650: In a last effort to regain power by military means, Charles II seeks help from the Marquis of Montrose, who lands in Orkney with 500 Scandinavian mercenaries before moving on to Caithness, reinforced by Orcadian volunteers.

        27 April 1650: At the Battle of Carbisdale, near Bonar Bridge, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose is defeated with heavy losses by a much smaller Covenanter force under Colonel Strachan. Montrose escapes north west until he is tricked into captivity at Ardveck Castle, on the shore of Loch Assynt.

        21 May 1650: The execution in Edinburgh of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, the influential Civil War military leader.

        23 June 1650: Charles II lands at Garmouth in Morayshire after sailing from the Netherlands and evading the English ships trying to intercept him. Charles signed the Covenant and the Solemn League immediately after coming ashore.

        22 July 1650: Oliver Cromwell invades Scotland and proceeds to the eastern edge of Edinburgh. The Scots form a defensive line within the city.

        3 September 1650: The Battle of Dunbar is a resounding victory for Cromwell, largely because of the actions of extreme religious factions on the Scottish side. Cromwell then marches on Edinburgh and subsequently occupies much of southern Scotland.

        14 November 1650 (Gregorian calendar): The birth in the Netherlands of William of Orange, who became King William III of England and of Ireland on 22 January 1689, and King William II of Scotland on 4 April 1689.

        1 January 1651: Charles II is crowned King of Scots at Scone, before touring those parts of Scotland not under English occupation.

        July 1651: Cromwell lands a force in Fife that defeats the Scots at Inverkeithing. He then moves on to Perth, tempting Charles II to use the gap he has left to advance on England and claim the throne. Charles takes the bait and Cromwell follows.

        14 August 1651: General Monck, left by Cromwell to complete the conquest of Scotland, takes Stirling.

        22 August 1651: Charles II reaches Worcester with very little evidence of English Royalist support.

        31 August 1651: A parliamentary army under the command of General George Monck attacks and takes Broughty Castle.

        1 September 1651: General Monck captures and pillages Dundee.

        3 September 1651: Cromwell attacks Charles II and the Scots Royalists defending Worcester and inflicts a heavy defeat on them. Charles Stewart manages to escape: many of the Scots including Major-General David Leslie do not.

        15 October 1651: Charles II sails to France from Sussex after six weeks as a fugitive in England.

        4 February 1652: Cromwell's "Tender of Union" is announced in Edinburgh. This gives Scots 30 seats in a united Parliament in London. General Monck becomes Military Governor of Scotland and builds a series of defenses to ensure continued control over the country.

        26 May 1652: The last Royalist stronghold anywhere on the eastern side of Scotland, Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven, surrenders after an eight month siege, though not before the Scottish crown jewels have been smuggled out to safety in Kinneff Old Church.

        July 1653: A General Assembly of the Kirk in St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh is broken up by Cromwell's troops.

        16 December 1653: Oliver Cromwell is sworn in as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

        19 July 1654: A Royalist uprising in the Highlands led by the Earl of Glencairn and Major-General John Middleton disintegrates after meeting troops under General Monck at the Battle of Dalnaspidal near Loch Garry.

        23 November 1654: The birth in Edinburgh of George Watson, the account whose beqest allowed what is now George Watson's College to be founded.

        1657: George Fox comes to Scotland as a missionary for the Quaker Society of Friends.

        3 September 1658: Oliver Cromwell dies. His son, Richard Cromwell is unable to maintain the Protectorate and resigns in Spring 1659.

        Battle of Alford, 2 July 1645 (Scotland) - History

        Wars of Three Kingdoms > Scotland (1644-46)

        After a year of campaigning James Graham, Marquis of Montrose achieved his final and greatest victory when he defeated the last Covenanter army in Scotland at the Battle of Kilsyth (1645). With the country back under Royalist control, it briefly offered Charles I a glimmer of hope that the civil war may yet be won.

        In August 1643 the Covenanter led Committee of Estates, which formed the Government of Scotland, joined forces with the English Parliament and declared war on King Charles I. A large Scottish army crossed the border in January 1644 under the command of Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven and played a critical role in the war in the north including achieving a decisive victory at the Battle of Marston Moor (1644). In response the King appointed James Graham, Marquis of Montrose as Captain General in Scotland tasked with fighting the Covenanters in their home territory and causing the withdrawal of their forces from England.

        Graham successfully exploited the widespread distrust amongst the Highlanders of a key Covenanter - Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll - enabling him to assemble a fledgling force. At the Battle of Tippermuir (1 September 1644) he captured stocks of weapons and gunpowder facilitating his assault on Aberdeen later the same month. He went on the offensive against Campbell, who was one of the foremost Covenanters in the Committee of Estates, surprising and defeating his forces at the Second Battle of Inverlochy in February 1645 following an incredible advance over the Ben Nevis mountain range. Over the subsequent months Graham's force increased in numbers as Highland Clans started joining him and he was also augmented with Irish troops under General Alasdair MacColla. He occupied Aberdeen and from there launched attacks on Brechin and Dundee. A Covenanter army, under Major-General Sir John Hurry, finally caught up with Graham in May 1645 but was decisively defeated at the Battle of Auldearn.

        Graham was now being seen as a significant problem and another Covenanter army, under the Command of Lieutenant General William Baillie, was sent to stop him. However, Baillie's force was undermined by the Committee of Estates who were concerned by the success of Graham and chose to split the surviving army into two in order to avoid the risk of a decisive defeat. Crucially they did not require that the new force, under Lord Lindsay, operated in conjunction with the existing army. Baillie found himself in an unenviable position and attempted to evade Graham who pursued him around Moray and Aberdeenshire. He was finally caught in July 1645 where his force was defeated at the Battle of Alford. Baillie immediately offered his resignation to the Committee of Estates and whilst it was accepted, he was obliged to continue in post until his replacement, Major-General Monro, arrived from Ireland. Nevertheless, the Committee had lost faith in him and now insisted his decisions were subject to review by a deputation. Given many of those appointed had already been defeated by Graham - including Campbell, Balcarres and Balfour - it is tempting to suggest this was probably an intense irritation to the Covenanter commander and it certainly undermined his ability to command the army.

        Having defeated the Covenanter army in the north, Graham now advanced on central Scotland proceeding down the east coast via Dundee, Perth and Stirling. Baillie however was reinforced with new troops from Fife, the borders and south-west Scotland. By the end of July 1645 he had almost 5,000 men under his Command forcing Graham to divert to Dunkeld to evade the regenerated Covenanter army. But by early August Graham himself was reinforced when Alasdair MacColla rejoined his army after having departed in May to recruit more men from the Highlands and Islands. Lord Aboyne also embarked on a recruitment drive bringing more men including a large cavalry contingent from the Gordon and Ogilvy clans. Graham was able to take the offensive again and, aware that Covenanter reinforcements were being raised in the Glasgow region by William Hamilton, Earl of Lanark, he sought to engage Baillie's force for what he hoped would be the final, decisive battle of the campaign. By contract Baillie was keen to avoid a fight until reinforced. He was overruled by other voices in his supervising delegation - most notably Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll. Accordingly the army marched south after Graham. They proceeded from Stirling along the line of the A872/A803, a route the skirts round the Campsie Fells, arriving at Kilsyth on the morning of 15 August 1645.

        The Royalist forces had been greatly enhanced by the recruitment efforts of MacColla and Aboyne. The former had successfully raised over 1,400 men drawn predominantly from Clan Ranald and the MacLeans of Duart (from Mull). Aboyne meanwhile had recruited a further 800 infantry and significant numbers of cavalry from his kinsmen, the Gordons. All these men joined with MacColla's Irish detachment which meant Graham now commanded in excess of 3,500 men. Crucially he commanded a large (relative to the Covenanters) force of cavalry which he split into two small forces, under Colonel Nathaniel Gordon and Lord James Aboyne, along with a main Reserve under Lord James Ogilvy.

        By the time of the battle the Covenanter army, whilst still larger than the Royalist force, was not excessively so and probably numbered in the region of 4,000 troops. The infantry was configured into five Regiments consisting of one raised from Clan Campbell by the Marquis of Argyll, two others recruited by the Earls of Crawford and Lauderdale plus a further two under Colonel Robert Home and Colonel Kennedy. Home's Regiment seems to have been the largest. There were also three Regiments of Fife Levies although these individuals lacked military training. Two Regiments of cavalry had also been mustered - drawn from the remnants that survived Alford - and were under the Command of Lord Alexander Balcarres and Colonel Harie Barclay.

        The battle was fought on 15 August 1645 in terrain that consisted of walled fields, ditches and a number of small hamlets. The substantial changes to the battlefield - including the creation of Banton Loch reservoir in 1773, the quarrying activities, modern drainage and the development of a settlement at Banton - makes precise placement of the battle impossible without further archaeological investigation. Accordingly the narrative below, derived from the primary and secondary sources, must be treated with care. Whilst the sequence of actions conforms to the information available, the placing within the landscape is an estimation.

        - Stage 1: Initial Deployment

        Graham initially deployed on high ground overlooking the main road probably in the vicinity of the western portion of Banton Loch. It is possible he intended to launch an ambush of Baillie's force but the Covenanter, wary of the wily Royalist commander, diverted his men off the road planning to attack Graham on his flank. He advanced his men in a column using the reverse slope of an adjacent hill to conceal his advance.

        - Stage 2: Advance on Summit

        Baillie's attempt to attack Graham on his flank was frustrated by the terrain which proved impassable. The Advisory Committee now instructed Baillie to seize the high ground overlooking the Royalist position perhaps in vicinity of Auchinrivoch. Baillie protested on the grounds this exposed his men to a risk of the Royalists attacking them on the march but he was overruled. Although the movements of the bulk of the Covenanter army were obscured, Graham suspected what was happening and swung his army around to parallel Baillie's line of advance. Graham sent forward a detachment of Maclean's to occupy the enclosures around Auchinvalley.

        - Stage 3: Fighting at Auchinvalley

        Worried that the Royalists would identify his intention to capture Auchinrivoch, Baillie sent forward Major Haldane with a force of musketeers to seize the summit. However, as they passed the enclosures at Auchinvalley, they got sucked into a protracted fire fight with the Highlanders. It is possible Haldane was unaware the area was occupied or perhaps he felt he could not leave this threat to his rear. Either way he got distracted from the advance towards north.

        MacColla, leading a detachment of MacDonalds, rushed to the aid of the troops in Auchinvalley. This prompted Home's Regiment - who had been specifically ordered by Baillie to ignore the fighting and press on towards the summit - to divert and launch an attack of their own in attempt to relieve the pressure on Haldane. The fighting turned into a bitter stalemate with the Highlanders, who were most effective when able to charge unhindered, restricted by the narrow enclosures. Around half the Covenanter infantry was now engaged but along a narrow frontage and the remainder were constrained by the terrain and not in a position to engage. Baillie's command and control, so blatantly ignored by his largest Regiment, had seemingly broken down.

        As the Covenanter line continued to advance, the cavalry under Balcarres sought to take the original objective - the summit at Auchinrivoch. However, his men had become strung out by the difficult terrain and the Gordon cavalry launched a spirited attack against them despite being outnumbered.

        Balcarres was initially pushed back into Home's infantry but their supporting fire checked the Royalist attack and threatened to envelope the Gordons. Aboyne, seeing his kinsfolk in trouble, charged to their support crossing the entire battlefield under heavy fire. Whilst his attack saved the Gordons, the Covenanter line still held.

        Seeing the Gordons and Aboyne in trouble, Graham sent Ogilvy into the fray with the bulk of the Royalist cavalry. This action broke the Balcarres cavalry who retreated downhill past their own infantry.

        The fleeing Covenanter cavalry spread panic amongst the Covenanter infantry as well as exposing their right flank to the full weight of the amassed Royalist cavalry. Many of the Covenanter troops did not wait for the inevitable attack and started to flee. Soon the entire force was in full retreat as the men fled back towards the safety of Stirling Castle. They were pursued with vigour with the Highlanders in particular keen to inflict a high blood price given a massacre of camp followers at Methven a few weeks earlier. Several of the Covenanter Regiments - including the Fife levies - had not been engaged and may have retreated in good order.

        Kilsyth made Graham master of all Scotland enabling him to summon a Parliament in Glasgow which would have met in October 1645. It was not to be, however, for Graham's control was merely a mirage. On the one hand his army was starting to disintegrate for his Highlanders were interested in plunder rather than consolidation and winning 'hearts and minds'. Secondly his success had achieved the King's original aim of forcing the Scottish army in England to be recalled. A large battle-hardened Covenanter army, under Major General Sir David Leslie, was now advancing intent on destroying Graham. Had this happened months earlier it could have been a game changer but, with the Royalist cause in England having been decisively defeated at Naseby in June 1645 and Rowton Heath in September 1645, it was simply too late to make a difference. In September 1645 Leslie cornered Graham in the Scottish Borders and at the Battle of Philiphaugh this most successful of Royalist Generals was finally defeated.

        Adamson, J (2007). The Noble Revolt . Orion, London.

        Baillie, R (1841). The letters and journals of Robert Ballie . Ogle, Edinburgh.

        Cyprien, M and Fairbairn, N (1983). A Traveller's Guide to the Battlefields of Britain . Evans Brothers Ltd, London.

        Dodds, G.L (1996). Battles in Britain 1066-1746 . Arms & Armour, London.

        Foard, G (2005). Kilsyth 1645 . The Battlefields Trust.

        Gardiner, S.R (1889). History of the Great Civil War Vol. II . London.

        Green, H (1973). Guide to the Battlefields of Britain and Ireland . Constable, London.

        Kinross, J (1979). The Battlefields of Britain . London.

        Lancaster, J.H.D (2016). Kilsyth: Battlefield visit notes and observations . CastlesFortsBattles.co.uk.

        Napier, M (1856). Memoirs of the Marquis of Montrose . Stevenson, Edinburgh.

        Nelson, R (1913). Maps and plans of the Battles of Aberdeen, Alford, Auldearn and Kilsyth . T.Nelson and Sons, London.

        Ordnance Survey (2015). Kilsyth. 1:1250 . Southampton.

        Reid, S (1989). The Battle of Kilsyth, 1645, English Civil Wargames .

        Reid, S (2004). Battles of the Scottish Lowlands, Battlefield Britain . Pen and Sword, Barnsley.

        Royle, T (2004). Civil War: The Wars of Three Kingdoms 1638-1660 . Abacus, London

        Sadler, J (2010). Scottish Battles . Birlinn, Edinburgh.

        Seymour, W (1997). Battles in Britain 1066-1746 . Ware.

        Smurthwaite, D (1993). The Complete Guide to the Battlefields of Britain . Michael Joseph, London.

        Stevenson, D (1977). Revolution & Counter-Revolution in Scotland 1644-51 . Newton Abbott.

        Woolrych, A (2002). Britain in Revolution . Oxford University Press, Oxford.

        The battlefield has changed beyond all recognition from its seventeenth century form not least due to the creation of the Banton Loch which was flooded in 1773 to serve as the main feeder reservoir for the Forth and Clyde Canal. Both primary and secondary sources are conflicting in their interpretation of the action and therefore it is not clear precisely how much of the battlefield now lies under this water feature. There is a small monument to the battle further to the west and the ruins of Colzium Castle are also nearby.

        Battlefield Monument . A small monument can be found in the grounds of Colzium Estate just to the south of Colzium House and Castle. The battle was fought further to the east.

        Terrain . The landscape of the battle has changed significantly since the seventeenth century. In particular Banton Loch, seen left, was created in 1773 to provide a reservoir for the new Forth and Clyde Canal. This probably covered Graham's initial deployment. The loch, along with modern drainage, has made the terrain much dryer than during the battle.

        Re-deployment . Once aware of Baillie's movements, Graham swung his force around and re-deployed facing the threat. The slight rise seen in the photo above may well have been the new position for the centre or right wings of his army before they advanced on Auchinvalley.

        Battlefield . The bulk of the fighting probably took place in vicinity of here.

        The western portion of the Kilsyth battlefield and the monument form part of the Colzium Estate which is found to the north-east of Kilsyth. The site is accessed (and sign-posted) from the A803 Stirling Road. Car parking is available on-site or on-road near the estate entrance. The ruins of Colzium Castle are also found within the estate.

        History of the Stewarts | Battles and Historic Events

        If you are a Stewart Society Member please login above to view all of the historical items in this section.
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        Battle of the Standard - The First Stewart Battle 22nd August 1138
        The Battle of Falkirk - 22 July 1298
        The Battle of Bannockburn - We fight not for glory..but only and alone we fight for freedom 24th June 1314
        The Battle of Dupplin Moor - A terrible Scottish defeat. 11th August 1332
        Battle of Halidon Hill - A decisive English victory 19th July 1333
        Neville's Cross - Another Scots defeat 17th October 1346
        Battle of Otterburn - A crucial moment in Robert II's reign. 5th August 1388
        Battle of North Inch - One of the last judicial combats in Scotland September 1396
        Battle of Homildon Hill - The end of the Roberts 14th September 1402
        The Battle of Harlaw - Reid Harlaw 24 July 1411
        the Battle of Baugé - the Battle of Baugé
        The Battle of the Herrings - 12 February 1429
        The Battle of Inverlochy - January 1431 - a royal defeat
        Battle of Stalc - Battle of Stalcaire 1468
        The Battle of Sauchieburn - James III's death 11 June 1488
        Battle of Flodden Field - A Scots defeat 9th September 1513
        The Battle of Glasgow - 16th March 1544
        The Battle of Ancrum Moor - 27th February 1545
        Battle of Pinkie - The first modern battle 10th September 1547
        The Battle of Corriche - 28th October 1562
        The Battle of Carberry Hill - The Battle of Carberry Hill 15th June 1567
        Battle of Langside - Decisive defeat for Mary 13th May 1568
        Marian Civil war - Marian civil war in Scotland (1568-1573) followed the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots and her escape from Lochleven Castle in May 1568
        The Battle of Glenlivet - 3rd of October, 1594
        The Battle of Inverlochy - 2 February 1645
        The Battle of Auldearn - Allt Èireann 9 May 1645
        The Battle of Alford - The Battle of Alford
        The Second Battle of Dunbar - 3rd September 1650
        The second battle of Inverkeithing
        The Battle of Drumclog - 1st of June 1679
        The Battle of Sedgemoor - The Pitchfork rebellion - the 6th July 1685
        The Battle of Killiecrankie - Cath Raon Ruairidh 27 July 1689
        The Battle of Dunkeld - Blàr Dhùn Chaillinn 21st August 1689
        The Battle of Cromdale
        The Battle of the Boyne - Ist July 1690
        The Jacobite Uprising of 1708 - A failed attempt by James to take his crown March, 1708
        The Battle of Sherrifmuir - Blàr Sliabh an t-Siorraim 13th November 1715
        The Battle of Preston 1715
        The Battle of Glenshiel
        The Battle of Prestonpans - Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet? "21st September 1745
        The Battle of Clifton Moor - The last battle fought on English soil.
        The Battle of Inverurie - 23 December 1745
        The Battle of Falkirk Muir - The last significant victory of the Jacobite uprising 17th January 1746
        A skirmish at Keith - 21 March 1746
        The Battle of Culloden 1746 - The last battle fought on British soil

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        Hanby Hall, Alford

        Hanby Hall is located at 15 Church Street in Alford, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire. It’s situated opposite St. Wilfrid’s church.

        Hanby Hall was not built by or for a Sir Richard Hamby or Hanby. According to ‘The “Alford Fight”: Fact or Fiction?’ by Ian Haythorne, Lincolnshire Past & Present, No. 6, Winter 1991, Hanby Hall was built by John Andrews, the third son of John and Mary Andrews of Addlethorpe. It was John’s home until he died in 1789. From a date found on a drain pipe, it’s estimated the house was built around 1735. A parapet was added and the interior modified with late eighteenth century additions. It’s a red brick, Flemish bond, two-story, Georgian house with attics. Originally a five-bay in an L-plan, it was extended to the right in the late 18th century. The building was listed as Grade II on May 20, 1953.

        Photo was taken August 2019 through the front gate of St. Wilfrid’s Church.

        The story that an earlier Hanby Hall existed in the village and partly destroyed in 1645 during the English Civil War by Parliamentarian forces led by the Earl of Manchester who captured and killed William Hamby, its Royalist owner, was first discounted in Lincolnshire Notes & Queries, Volume 9, published in 1907, and again in Lincolnshire Past & Present, the #6 Winter 1991 and #7 Spring 1992 issues.

        The following is from Lincolnshire Notes & Queries, Volume 9, 1907, pages 162-163:
        The Battle of Alford – The Battle of Alford is an interesting example of a spurious tradition obtaining a wide currency it has appeared in all the authority of print and a local guide book gives it as an historical fact relating to the town.

        What then, is the origin of the myth?

        Some forty or fifty years ago there flourished, more or less, in Alford, a person named Wm. Maldon Bateman, known locally as the Alford poet. This man, for his own amusement we will hope, or for purposes of deception, wrote “A short account of the battle fought at Alford, 2 July, 1645, between the Royalists under Cavendish, and the Parliamentarians under Montague.”

        On Bateman’s death the MS., bound up with a volume of a local magazine, came into the possession of Mr. B. Hibbitt, of the White Horse Hotel. Here it became an object of interest to his numerous customers, who, receiving the story with a large and simple faith, were the means of spreading it widely abroad throughout the neighbourhood. When Mr. Hibbitt died the book disappears and is forgotten, but the tradition, like John Brown’s soul, goes marching on.

        No exposure would now be likely to kill it, but for the sake of the future historian of Alford, it may be well to place the truth on record.

        Mr. Bateman’s narrative is briefly as follows: “The King’s forces under Cavendish came down upon Alford “with a fell swoop,” their object being to seize Sir Lionel Weldon, and to “force a route to Boston.” The plan of seizing Sir Lionel was “instigated by Sir Wm. Hanby, of Hanby Hall, Alford.” The Royalists took up a position in Hanby Park, their left resting on Bilsby Carrs, their right on Holy Well Farm, protected by swamps in their rear, and a wood, “of which a fragment yet remains.”

        Sir Drainer Massingberd, of S. Ormsby, tried to hold them in check. The Parliamentary Army, under the Earl of Manchester, then came up and toook ground in Bilsby Field, its left strongly protected by swamps, and its right by Ancroft Fen. Then ensued a desperate battle, in which the Royalists were duly defeated and driven towards Willoughby, where they were met by Colonel Rossiter, “with his regiment of infantry.” “After a conflict of very short endurance the ill-fated fugitives were cut to pieces. A small party of them nearly reached Orby, but were slain to a man in the road that now forms the avenue of Boothby Hall by the enraged peasantry.” Colonel Penruddock, who was with the Royalists, with the remnant of his regiment, took refuge in the chuirch. There, they were “mercilessly slaughtered,” only the Colonel, who was severely wounded, escaping.”

        We might reasonably suppose that where there is so much smoke there must be some fire, and, indeed, we find that the whole story is founded on two facts.

        There was a Battle of Alford on July 2nd, 1645 – but at Alford, in Scotland, between Montrose and the Covenanters under General Baillie, when the latter was defeated. Colonel Rossiter did defeat the Royalists at Willoughby but at Willoughby, near Nottingham, on July 4th, 1648, and under the command of Sir Philip Monkton.

        For the rest – Cavendish was slain in a skirmish near Gainsborough, on July 28th, 1643.

        Penruddock was a west country man and probably never set foot in Lincolnshire.

        There is not, and never has been, a house in Alford called Hanby Hall.

        The position of the armies and the various events of the fight are a patchwork gathered from the different battles of war.

        The story was reprinted in William Andrews’ 1891 book Bygone Lincolnshire, as a story told by Rev. George S. Tyack.

        It seems likely that Ian Haythorne, author of the article in Lincolnshire Past & Present, was unaware the same subject had been written about earlier in Lincolnshire Notes & Queries. It’s also apparent the author of Lincolnshire Notes & Queries was unaware there really was a Hanby Hall in Alford.

        In Lincolnshire, the name Hamby is a surname while the name Hanby, seems to have traditionally been a name given to things, i.e., Hanby Lane, Hanby Farm. Therefore, it seems very likely that Hanby Hall got its name in the same way. Hanby Hall was built by John Andrews. He lived there until he died in 1789. The building was known as Hanby Hall in his lifetime. William Manners was born in 1766 and later became Lord Huntingtower, He was living at Hanby Hall when he became a baronet in January 1793. His son, Lionel William John Tollemache was born in 1791. For a time, he also lived at Hanby Hall.

        There is no evidence an earlier Hanby Hall ever existed in Alford. The only Hamby ever to become knighted was John Hamby of Tathwell, in 1668-9. Sir William Hamby and Sir Richard Hamby are fictional characters.

        Battle Of Alford

        Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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        Digital Images

        SC 1015199

        Oblique aerial view centred on the cropmarks of the roundhouses at Ardgathen, looking to the SSW.

        Ian B M Ralston Aberdeen Archaeological Surveys

        SC 1015198

        Oblique aerial view centred on the cropmarks of the roundhouses at Ardgathen, looking to the SSW.

        Ian B M Ralston Aberdeen Archaeological Surveys


        Administrative Areas

        • Council Aberdeenshire
        • Parish Alford
        • Former Region Grampian
        • Former District Gordon
        • Former County Aberdeenshire

        Archaeology Notes

        (Name centred NJ 5722 1658) Site of Battle (NR) (AD 1645)

        For human remains traditionally linked with the Battle of Alford, see NJ51NE 226.

        The OS siting for the Battle of Alford, fought on 2nd July 1645 between the victorious Royalist Montrose, and the Covenanting General Baillie, is taken from an 18th century plan. However, in Simpson's (1949) detailed and well authenticated account of the battle, complete with plan, Montrose was positioned, prior to the engagement, on the brow of Gallow Hill at NJ 561 160, and Baillie is the marshy ground at NJ 563 165.

        The only relic discovered on the field is a broadsword now in the Marischal Museum (Accession no. 427).

        Name Book 1866 W D Simpson 1949.

        Visited by OS (RL) 8 October 1968.

        The area of the battle is situated in what is now arable ground on a gentle N-facing slope at an altitude of about 160m OD. It is crossed by public roads.

        The alleged site of the Battle of Alford, which is placed between the summit of Gallow Hill (NJ 561 160) and lower ground to the NE (NJ 563 165), falls in an area of cultivated fields.

        Watch the video: Public Lecture. The Two Andrew Morays and the Scottish Wars of Independence - Dr Iain MacInnes. (January 2022).