How Scots opposition irreparably damaged the King’s authority

From 1637 popular opposition to Charles I in Scotland ignited a crisis which first spread to Ireland in 1641 and then to England and Wales in 1642.

It was here in Scotland that the king initially made the concessions which publicly exposed his weakness and his inability to sustain his Divine right to rule. Once lost, he would never regain control over Scotland.

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The World Turned Upside Down
The World Turned Upside Down - The British Civil Wars 1638-1651
How Scots opposition irreparably damaged the King’s authority
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Laura Stewart

Professor in Early Modern History

Laura A.M. Stewart is Professor in Early Modern History & Head of Department. Before joining the Department of History at York in 2016, she taught for ten…

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Further reading

Mark Charles Fissel, The Bishops’ Wars: Charles I’s Campaigns against Scotland, 1638–1640 (Cambridge, 1994).
Julian Goodare, ‘The rise of the Covenanters, 1637–1644’, in Michael J. Braddick (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution (Oxford, 2015), pp. 43–59.
Chris R. Langley (ed.), The National Covenant in Scotland, 1638–1689 (Woodbridge, 2020).
Chris R. Langley, ‘Sheltering under the Covenant: the National Covenant, orthodoxy and the Irish Rebellion, 1638–1644’, Scottish Historical Review, 96:2 (2017), pp. 137–160.
Allan I. Macinnes, Charles I and the Making of the Covenanting Movement (Edinburgh, 1991).
John Morrill, The Scottish National Covenant in its British Context, 1638–1651 (Edinburgh, 1990).
Laura A.M. Stewart, Rethinking the Scottish Revolution: Covenanted Scotland, 1637–1651 (Oxford, 2016; pbk edn, 2018).
Laura A.M. Stewart, ‘Fiscal revolution and state formation in mid seventeenth-century Scotland’, Historical Research, 84:225 (2011), pp. 443–469.
Laura A.M. Stewart, ‘Military Power and the Scottish Burghs, 1625–1651’, Journal of Early Modern History, 15:1-2 (2011), pp. 59–82.
David Stevenson, The Scottish Revolution, 1637–1644: The Triumph of the Covenanters (Edinburgh, pbk edn, 2003).
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The letters and journals of Robert Baillie Robert Baillie (1602-1662) was a Glasgow minister who supported the Covenant, despite initial reservations about attacking the episcopal office, and soon became one of the Kirk’s foremost polemicists during the 1640s. He was a commissioner to the Westminster Assembly of Divines and well-connected in London presbyterian circles. His letters and journals are both quotable and oft-quoted, but the full collection of printed and manuscript material produced by Baillie, of which the published volumes are only a part, remain understudied. They are a vital source for understanding Anglo-Scottish relations in this period. The volume available here covers the First English Civil War (1642-46).
Letters and Journals of Robert Baillie: Volume 3, 1642-1647 (Edinburgh, Bannatyne Club, 1841).
The quarrel between the earl of Manchester and Oliver Cromwell Edward Montagu, 2nd earl of Manchester, was a puritan parliamentarian who took command of the Easter Association army in 1643. By the summer of 1644, he appears to have become convinced that the war should be prosecuted only insofar as it would bring about the opening of negotiations with the king. This brought him into conflict with Oliver Cromwell, his lieutenant-general of horse, who believed peace would come about only once Charles’s forces had been defeated entirely. This collection of papers shows how the intervention of the Scottish Covenanters exacerbated the growing divisions amongst the parliamentary alliance over the conduct of the war, the terms to be offered to the king, and the future of the church.
The Quarrel Between the Earl of Manchester and Oliver Cromwell: An Episode of the English Civil War, ed. John Bruce and David Masson (London, Camden Society, 1875).