1810 depiction of the Battle of Worcester, 3rd September 1651, in which the last major Scottish Royalist army were resoundingly defeated - Credit: Machell Stace
Scotland was embroiled in a series of civil wars known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms which ran through the years 1639 to 1651 and involved England, Ireland and Scotland. These disputes pitched Parliamentarians against Royalists and essentially revolved around the right of the monarch to determine the civil and religious practices of his subjects. Scotland’s uprising was triggered by Charles I’s attempt to impose a modified version of the English Prayer Book on the Scottish Presbyterian Church in 1637. In 1638, Scotland drew up the National Covenant defending the religion, leading Charles to try to enforce his will through military means. This engendered what became known as the Bishops’ Wars, in which the Covenanters were ultimately victorious. Scotland, however, was far from unified in its support for an uprising against the king and the Scottish Civil War broke out in 1644. Here too the Covenanters defeated the Scottish Royalists. However, their success was to be short-lived: when the Covenanters’ alliance with the English Parliamentarians broke down, Oliver Cromwell led his ‘New Model Army’ against them. By 1651, Scotland had been defeated.