Inventory Battlefield

Battle of GlenlivetBTL33

Date of Battle: 3 October 1594

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

Designation Record and Full Report Contents

  • Name
  • Summary Information
  • Overview and Statement of Significance
  • Inventory Boundary
  • Historical Background to the Battle
    • The Armies
    • Numbers
    • Losses
    • Action
    • Aftermath and Consequences
  • Events and Participants
    • Context
  • Battlefield Landscape
    • Location
    • Terrain
    • Condition
  • Archaeological and Physical Remains and Potential
  • Cultural Association
    • Commemoration and Interpretation
  • References


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
NJ 24465 29793
324465, 829793

Overview and Statement of Significance

The Battle of Glenlivet is significant as an example of the ongoing struggles within Scotland between Presbyterians and Catholics, which colours much of Scotland's history after the Reformation, and the relentless efforts of the kirk to eliminate the Catholic faith from the country. It also highlights in microcosm the complex nature of the relationships between Catholic and Protestant powers across Europe at this time, and the labyrinthine political manoeuvrings which occurred as a result. It is also significant as the first battle in the Highlands of Scotland where artillery appears to have played a part in the action, and archaeological evidence of this may well survive on the battlefield.

The Battle of Glenlivet (deriving from the Gaelic - Glen [glean] - a deep narrow mountain valley of the slippery smooth place [liobhaite]) 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. Following a protracted period of intrigue, during which time Huntly was, on several occasions, implicated in plotting with the Catholic Spanish against James VI, the Earls of Argyll and Atholl were commissioned with the Lieutenancy of the North to deal with traitorous Jesuits returned from abroad accompanied with strangers and supplied with money to 'stir up public weare'.

This programme of suppression escalated with a punitive campaign, led by Argyll, against Huntly and other rebel lords and clan allies. The two sides encountered one another high on a hillside near Ben Rinnes, where Huntly had effectively laid an ambush for Argyll as he climbed the hill. In the ensuing battle Huntly used his horse to great effect in the confined space of a pass and entirely routed Argyll's troops. According to one tradition a weeping Argyll was led from the field. Rather than risk going into battle against the king Huntly threw himself on the king's mercy and went into temporary exile. He was a consummate survivor, however, and it was not long before he was back in the country and in the king's favour.

Inventory Boundary

The Inventory boundary defines the area in which the main events of the battle are considered to have taken place (landscape context) and where associated physical remains and archaeological evidence occur or may be expected (specific qualities). The landscape context is described under battlefield landscape: it encompasses areas of fighting, key movements of troops across the landscape and other important locations, such as the positions of camps or vantage points. Although the landscape has changed since the time of the battle, key characteristics of the terrain at the time of the battle can normally still be identified, enabling events to be more fully understood and interpreted in their landscape context. Specific qualities are described under physical remains and potential: these include landscape features that played a significant role in the battle, other physical remains, such as enclosures or built structures, and areas of known or potential archaeological evidence.

The Inventory boundary for the Battle of Glenlivet is defined on the accompanying map and includes the following areas:

  • The north-facing slope of the massif on the upper part of which the battle site is located. This area is likely to accommodate the route taken by Argyll up to the ridge where the battle was fought and also accommodates his line of retreat as he departed along the same route.
  • The south-facing slope of the massif which includes the route presumed to have been taken by Huntly on his advance to contact, though it is possible that he ascended the slope from the north but in advance of Argyll. In any case it is likely that his force was concealed on this slope as Argyll climbed the other side.
  • The eastern and western boundaries encompass a sufficient area to permit the manoeuvre and deployment of both armies before, during and after the battle.

Historical Background

On 3 October 1594, Huntly, with around 2000 Highlanders and 1500 cavalry, launched a surprise attack on Argyll's army of between 6000 to 7000 men, mostly Highlanders, high on the slopes of Ben Rinnes. Argyll's men were taken at a disadvantage, with his pike coming up behind with the baggage, while his missile troops were in the front of the advancing force. This allowed Huntly's much feared horse to do their worst, pushing the arquebusiers and archers back on to the main body. Although Argyll's missile troops did fire against the oncoming enemy, the presence of horse to the front and on the flank, along with artillery fire, made their position untenable and soon broke Argyll's force, leaving several hundred dead. There are contrasting reports that Argyll was at liberty to remain and bury his dead on the field after the battle or that he and his army fled the field.

The Armies

Huntly: Huntly's men were largely cavalry and would have worn chainmail and carried lances. They were supported by infantry and, according to Robert Bowes, by six cannon. If this is true, then it is the first instance of artillery being used in battle so far north (Brooks 2007, 329).

Argyll: Argyll's men were largely irregular infantry, although they included 500 Irish arquebusiers. In a letter to Sir Robert Cecil, Robert Bowes (the English Ambassador) quotes Argyll's army as having a large number 'of the common sort 'raskalls and poke caryers' 'who 'marched at raggle and in plompes without order'. There was little confidence at court in Argyll's troops:

'[T]his army marching without guard or horsemen is much scorned at Court and thought easy to be overthrown by Huntly' (CSP Scot, xi, 450).


Huntly: 2000 Highlanders from the Gordon, Hay, Gomyn and Cameron clans, with 1500 cavalry. Robert Bowes account puts the figures at 800 cavalry, almost 1200 infantry and 6 cannons.

Argyll: 6000 Highlanders from the Campbell, Murray, Stewart, Forbes, MacGillivray, Maclean and Grant clans and the Chattan Confederation of Clan Mackintosh and Clan MacNeil as well as 500 Irish arquebusiers and 400 men from Atholl. Robert Bowes mentions that the Lairds of Drum (Dromme) and Balquhan (Bloquhan) joined Argyll.


Huntly lost around 70 men killed. Although a rumour circulated after the battle that Erroll had been slain, Bowes states that he was injured in the arm with a bullet and the thigh with an arrow, but not fatally. Huntly was also wounded and 12 other landed members of the nobility died, including Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchindoun, who was dirked then beheaded. 150 horses were also killed in the second phase of the battle. Though Bowes puts the figure of landed men with the name Gordon dead at 14 as well several other Huntly followers 'under the name Inn', he notes that the figures from Campbell's account differs significantly.

Argyll lost between 300-400 men killed. Bowes notes that Lochnell, a close relative of Argyll as well as Murray, Tullibardine's third son, Argyll's master of household and '300 or 400 of the common sort' were among the dead. Argyll's own report gives only 50 dead, but this may well be an attempt to save face after his defeat.


The main elements of the battle comprised of two engagements or 'yokinges', as each army struggled up a narrow pathway. The vanguards engaged from 11am to 2pm followed by the main bodies from 3pm till 6.30pm. Argyll remained 3 km (2 miles) to the rear at the 'strykinge' of the battle.

Argyll's arquebusiers and archers had marched ahead followed by the pikes and transport, leaving his missile-armed vanguard completely exposed to Huntly's cavalry who drove them back to the main body. Argyll is quoted as having complained:

'The great part of his army fled from him before they saw any cause of fear or enemy assailing them, whereupon the enemy was most encouraged to come forward in their charge against him' (Robert Bowes).

Bowes reports that 2,000 of Argyll's men scattered before he could arrange his spearmen. Erroll and Auchindoun charged with 200-300 horses in a vanguard against Argyll's 'shot'. Huntly then flanked Argyll's army with his 700 ' 1,000 horse having noticed that Erroll was almost surrounded, leaving around 500 dead.

'Errol and Auchindoun with their 100 horsemen charged the shot, killing some of them. The field pieces also playing on them, many fled, [but] many, with the advantage of some bushes near the place of the encounter, stood and poured such a volley of bullets and shower of arrows on the horsemen and horses that Auchindoun and other gentlemen of the Gordons with the most part of the horses were slain' (Robert Bowes).

Gight was hit by three bullets and two plates from his steel armour were 'carved into him' in what Bowes suggests must be fatal wounds, while Cluny was also shot on the 'Hank', though his injury was not life-threatening. Maclean and Donald Campbell joined the fight and won two of cavalry standards, including Erroll's. The English Ambassador provides numbers and names of the fallen, including Robert Fraser (Eresard), the King's Herald, who was wearing the King's coat-armour which marked him out for death by having three spears run through him, provoking a furious reaction from James VI and a promise of revenge. Bowes further states that:

'It is accorded by most that after two several encounters of three or four hours, both parties 'severed of their owneaccordis, without the persuite of anye chase'. By credible advertisement I am informed that Argyll gathered together and buried the dead bodies of his people, and, making hurdles of 'bowes and pladds' he carried away all his hurt men.'

It has been suggested that Argyll was led weeping from the field, though others suggest he hid in the woods throughout the battle while his army fled to 'Stradorone', probably Strathavon, and Huntly's army are said to have sang the Te Deum Laudamus, a traditional hymn of joy and thanksgiving then took their 60 wounded to Auchindoun's tower-house, while the remainder of the army dispersed.

Aftermath & Consequences

Despite their victory, Huntly and Erroll did not press their advantage, instead they made their way to Caithness to await James' arrival in Aberdeen, though they wisely did not choose to go into battle against the king.

Argyll's army returned they way they had come and with Tullibardine, George Erskine and others, arrived at St Johnstone on Sunday afternoon, from there they travelled to Mar at Stirling, proposing to meet his wife at Dalkeith on the evening of the 8th October 1594.

On hearing of the outcome of Glenlivet on 4 October as he travelled north, James made his way to Dundee and, according to Bowes, expected to arrive in Aberdeen on Friday 11 October. Despite appeals by many of the king's companions, the order was given for the castles of Huntly and Erroll to be demolished on 29 October 1594; however, architectural evidence confirms that while the order was carried out, very little damage was actually inflicted upon Strathbogie. Before leaving Aberdeen on 9 November, James ordered fees from Huntly's lands to be given over to the Earl's advisor, Sir John Gordon of Pitlurg. Lennox, Huntly's brother-in-law, was made Lieutenant and appealed to the Countesses of Huntly and Erroll to persuade their husbands to go abroad to avoid retribution. The earls agreed to a £40,000 caution and to leave Scotland by 15 March 1595, the Privy Council sanctioned this agreement on 17 February and confirmation was received on 22 March that they had indeed left the country. They travelled in Flanders, Germany and Italy until the summer of 1596 having received a letter from the king that they would never reside in Scotland again if they did not agree to signing a confession of faith to the Kirk, which they did on 26 June 1597 in the Auld Kirk of Aberdeen. Huntly's political career thereafter took on a different trajectory and he was restored to the king's favour at the baptism of Princess Margaret on the 17 April 1599 when he was awarded his marquisate.

Despite relentless persecution and continual attempts by Church of Scotland clergy in the years following the Battle of Glenlivet, many residents of the region remained true to their Catholic faith, a testament to their strongly held religious beliefs, demonstrating that the Kirk was ultimately unsuccessful in eliminating Catholicism from Scotland.

Events & Participants

George Gordon, 1st Marquess of Huntly, epitomised the eventful times in which he lived, with his religious beliefs underpinning his changing fortunes, especially in his relationship with the Scottish crown. He was raised in France as a Roman Catholic, a faith which in post-reformation Scotland would not make his existence and easy one. On the surface he seemed open to change, signing the Presbyterian confession of faith in 1588 but continuing to practice his Catholicism and actively engaging in plots with the Spanish to overthrow King James VI, despite at one point having saved his life. While serving as captain of the guard at Holyrood Palace he was arrested when his correspondence with Spanish agents was discovered, but was soon pardoned. The King took the pragmatic stance that Catholic lords such as Huntly could, if kept on side, serve to prevent the Kirk from getting above its station and was himself looking to the Spanish for aid, in the event that Elizabeth I, a staunch protestant, should challenge his right to the English throne, which he was in line for on her death (he became James I of England in 1603). The Kirk was becoming increasingly concerned about Huntly's position of power and his devout Catholicism as well as his continued protection of followers of the Catholic faith and repeatedly pressed James VI to take action against him, but the king refused to do so on the basis that he was a supporter of Huntly, particularly since he had pursued Bothwell on behalf of the king and in the process killed Moray in 1591. When Huntly presented himself for trial for Moray's killing, the King outwardly expressed anger, but privately wrote giving Huntly his support. This was not the last time that the king would treat Huntly with kid gloves. The discovery of the 'Spanish Blanks' in December 1592 brought a charge of treason and though he served time in prison and was also excommunicated he was freed by James in November 1593 along with other rebel lords. After refusing to renounce his faith, however, he was threatened with exile, but in a move that should by then have seemed par for the course he entered into a plot, along with Erroll and the Earl of Bothwell, against the king. The plot failed and Argyll was sent in pursuit of the errant lords, but was to suffer heavy defeat at Glenlivet. Lacking the inclination to carry the fight to the king, Huntly at last went into exile, much of his castle in the meantime being blown up by a vengeful king. The only means by which he could return would be through the renunciation of his faith and submission to the Kirk, an act he was no stranger to, and so in 1597 he returned to the King's favour and in April 1599 was raised to Marquess. The event did not however set the shifting sands of his fortunes and there were still periods of imprisonment and more excommunications to come. Indeed, one of his last acts before his death in 1636, after losing his son to a fire, which may have been murder, and spending a final term in prison, was to declare himself a Roman Catholic.

Despite fighting against the Catholic rebels at Glenlivet, Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll, was himself a Catholic, having converted to the faith in his youth ' later Campbells were definitely of the protestant persuasion and were to become staunch enemies of the Stuart cause. This fact gives some indication that there was much more to the issues that lay behind the battle than religious faith. The 7th Earl was not the most celebrated of the Campbells and his defeat at Glenlivet has not really helped his memory. He seems to have been a less than happy man, his Gaelic nickname translating as 'Archibald the Grim'. As if to underline this aspect of his nature he surrendered his estates to his son in 1619, though he went on to live until 1638.

Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Errol and Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchindoun were also present at the battle, and both of whom along with Huntly were rebel lords. In addition, there were various lower ranking landed gentlemen, particularly from the clans, on both sides.


Huntly was a powerful Highland leader; however, he had little patience for the politics of Court and remained predominantly in the north, where he resolved to build a castle at Ruthven, Badenoch, close to his hunting grounds. This building was vehemently opposed by Lachlan Mackintosh of Dunnachton and Clanchattan, who:

''thought a great prejudice to them and to their familie, iff Huntlie should have a fort there, as it wer to danton them and their families and followers'(Gordon 1890, 126).

Despite being vassals and dependants of Huntly, the Mackintoshes hindered Ruthven Castle building plans as much as possible and this, coupled with growing friction between Huntly and the Grants 'wes the original cause of much trouble' (Gordon 1890, 214). The re-ignition of an ancient feud between the Gordons and Forbes, as well as growing friction with the Earl of Moray (CSP Scot, x, 186-7, 191, 196), exacerbated tensions between Huntly and the other clans in the north, leading him to become heavily embroiled in local politics and a long running blood feud, all of which contributed directly to these clans joining Argyll's army against Huntly (Grant 2010, 284-5).

The Kirk was becoming increasingly concerned about Huntly's position of power and his devout Catholicism as well as his continued protection of followers of the Catholic faith, and repeatedly pressed James VI to take action against him, but the king refused to do so on the basis that he was a supporter of Huntly, particularly since he had pursued Bothwell on behalf of the king and in the process killed Moray in 1591. When Huntly presented himself for trial for Moray's killing, the king outwardly expressed anger, but privately wrote giving Huntly his support:

'[s]ince your passing heerfra, I have beene in suche danger and perrell of my life, as since I was borne, I was never in the like, partlie by the grudging and tumults of the people, and partlie by the exclamatioun of the ministrie, whereby I was moved to dissemble. Alwise I remain constant. When ye come heere, come not by the ferreis; and if ye doe accompanie yourself, as yee respect your own preservatioun. Yee sall write to the principall ministers that are heere, for thereby their anger will be greatly pacified' (Calderwood 1842-9, 146-7).

After the discovery of the Spanish Blanks, there was insufficient evidence to convict Huntly or the other earls in a Counter-Reformation plot. Instead the Kirk set about promoting a scenario of Catholic earls plotting the overthrow of Kirk and King. Argyll and Atholl, both Protestant advocates of the late Moray, joined forces with the Kirk and pressed the King into action against Huntly. Finally, James reluctantly relented and marched north with his army at the beginning of October 1594. Although Argyll and the Kirk focussed on the religious aspects of the dispute with Huntly and his supporters in the hope that this would bring support to their cause, this tactic ultimately backfired when a large number of Catholics who might otherwise not have become involved in the dispute, came out in support of Huntly 'thinking it might thereafter be their own call' (Account of the Battle of Balrinnes, 262). In reality, the cause of the battle was the ongoing and long-running blood feud between the Earls of Argyll and Atholl.

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. Phillip II of Spain's failed attempt to crush England and the Protestant religion with the Spanish Armada in July 1588 had stirred up excitement in Scotland and strengthened Catholicism, prompting a rumour that the Spanish were once again preparing to launch an attack on England. Huntly is said to have taken advantage of both growing Anglo-Spanish hostilities throughout the 1580s and King James VI's empty exchequer by plotting to overthrow the King and the Kirk with support from Spain. The Privy Council issued a proclamation on 28 November 1587 enforcing a Parliamentary Act of July of that year against Jesuits, secular priests and their resetters, including Huntly's uncle, the Catholic priest Father Gordon.

Events came to a head on the 12 November 1593 when, following the discovery of eight blank sheets subscribed by the Earls of Huntly, Erroll, Angus and Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchindoun along with their seals and letters from Jesuits to Spanish officers (the so-called Spanish Blanks), an Act of Abolition was issued by a Convention of Estates in Edinburgh ordering Catholics to undertake the abjuration of their faith or leave the country. The number of practicing Roman Catholic priests was much reduced as the Protestant religion gained ground across Scotland. However, the region comprising of Enzie, Glenlivet, Strathbogie and Deeside continued to practice Catholicism under the protection of Huntly. Huntly was an extremely powerful supporter of the Church and commanded the loyalty of allies from Fochabers to Fort William. He became so powerful that the Kirk was thought to be in danger in 1594 and finally succeeded in persuading a reluctant King James VI to march against Huntly and his associates because of:

'The erection of the Mass in divers quarters of the land, and among others in the Earl of Huntly's houses at Strathbogie and Aberdeen' (Miscellany of the Spalding Club).

Battlefield Landscape

The Battle of Glenlivet was fought on a sloping plain just below a ridge of hills. The ridge comprises three flat topped hills named Tom Cullach, Muckle Tomlair and Carn Tighearn. These hilltops are relatively bare, while most of the surrounding slopes have been planted with conifer trees. Several ancient drove roads remain visible as forestry tracks and the battle itself appears to have been fought on such a thoroughfare; the plain is bounded to the east and west by knolls (that to the east known as Tom Cullach), which give the impression of a shallow pass straddling the ridge line north to south. Today, the plain itself, which is the floor of the pass, remains treeless and from here there is a clear view across to Ben Rinnes to the north.


The battlefield is sited 6 km (4 miles) north of Auchindoun and 5 km (3 miles) to the east of the nearest settlement, Glenlivet, at a height of around 410m (which makes it one of Britain's highest battlefields). The place name of Glenlivet or Glenlivit appears to derive from the Gaelic - Glen [glean] - a deep narrow mountain valley of the slippery smooth place [liobhaite].


It is possible to get some impression of how the battle played out on visiting the site. The location represents a wide and shallow pass which crosses the ridge of hills from north to south, and it is likely to have been a traditional route across this range of hills. The first edition OS map of 1875 shows a corresponding track passing directly through the location marked as the battle site, so there seems little doubt about this being a long established thoroughfare, probably used for droving cattle.

From what we know about the movement of both forces prior to the engagement it seems likely that Moray's men approached the pass from the south, on their march from Auchindoun. It would appear from the sources that they were in position first as they surprised Argyll's troops while on the march. Given that the battle was fought on the plain on the northern side of the ridge it seems probable that Argyll climbed up the hill from this direction, with Moray waiting on the southern slope and therefore out of sight of Argyll during the ascent.

This does not seem the ideal place for the use of cavalry, as Moray appears to have done to some effect (Argyll was concerned about Moray's superiority in horse throughout his advance north). It seems likely that the confined nature of the pass, bounded by slopes to the east and west, allowed Moray's horse to constrict the movement of Argyll's force, which in any case had its pikemen, best suited to facing cavalry, to the rear where they were unable to provide any defence against the frontal attack by Huntly's cavalry from the higher ground to the south. Argyll's only defence seems to have been to move his missile troops (arquebus and bow) onto the higher ground to east or west. That Moray was also able to deploy cannon in this rugged terrain further suggests that he had ample time to prepare his position and to set up what was effectively an ambush.


The battlefield remains undeveloped. However, the slopes on either side of the pass have been planted with trees and it is likely that this will have had some adverse impact on the survival of physical remains associated with the battle. In spite of this, the floor of the pass remains open and provides good potential for archaeological preservation.

Archaeological & Physical Remains and Potential

There are currently no known physical remains recovered from the battlefield. Although archaeological potential would appear to be relatively high due to the intact nature of the battlefield landscape , there are no records of artefacts or human remains being encountered in the vicinity of the action.

With a high number of combatants, it is probable that archaeological evidence does survive, although the presence of forestry on both sides of the battle site will have affected the potential for survival. Hand-to-hand fighting in a defined battlefield area would result in the deposition of a variety of physical remains. Spent and dropped ammunition, damaged weapons and personal accoutrements like buckles and buttons would have been lost or abandoned during the action and subsequent flight. There is also the possibility of the recovery of evidence for Huntly's artillery, allowing confirmation of its presence in the battle. Given that 150 horses or so are said to have been killed during the battle, it is also possible that their remains were left on the battlefield along with horse tack and furniture.

Cultural Association

There is an on-site interpretation panel which provides some information on the battle. There is a reasonably large portfolio of ballads, poems etc. relating to the battle, and plentiful written accounts also exist.

Commemoration & Interpretation

As the participants of the Battle of Glenlivet were clan-based and therefore associated with a strong balladic tradition, it is not surprising that the event has been commemorated in poems, songs and ballads passed down to new generations via oral tradition before being transcribed by later scholars. The Ballad of Balrinnes is an example of a ballad composed in celebration of Huntly's victory.



Hume Brown, P. 1902. History of Scotland: From the accession of Mary Stewart to the Revolution of 1689. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

MacGregor, A. 1907. The Feuds of the Clans: Together with the history of the feuds and conflicts among the clans in the northern parts of Scotland and the Western Isles. Stirling: Mackay

Williamson, A. H. 1979. Scottish National Consciousness in the Age of James VI: the Apocalypse, the union and shaping of Scotland's public culture. Edinburgh: Donald

Wormald, J. Kirk, Court and Community: Scotland 1470-1625. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University press

Information on Sources & Publication

The battle of Glenlivet is well documented in both primary and secondary sources, though no rigorous modern assessment of the battlefield has been attempted other than this document. The background to the conflict is well illustrated with legal documents relating to the Act of Abolition, the Commissioning of the Earls of Argyll and Atholl with the Lieutenancy of the north, and Acts of Parliament. Other primary sources include the proceedings of the Kirk of Scotland and correspondence between King James VI of Scotland and the Earl of Huntly, as well as the English Ambassador Robert Bowes' personal correspondence. Gaelic poems and ballads were written about the engagement, passed on through oral tradition and transcribed by later antiquarians and scholars. These, however, have been embellished with details and speeches of dubious veracity (e.g. The Ballad of Balrinnes).

Primary Sources

12 June 1593. Anent the Act of Parliament for dissolution of his Majesty's property states that lands formerly belonging to Huntly, Erroll and Gordon of Auchindowne were now at the King's disposal. Register of the Privy Council for Scotland. 1st Series. Vol 5 (1592-1599), p 146

6 January 1593. Act approving of the apprehension and warding of the Earl of Angus after the discovery of the Spanish Blanks. Register of the Privy Council of Scotland. 1st Series. Vol 5 (1592-1599) p. 35

25 July 1593. Commission of Lieutenancy of the north to the Earls of Argyll and Atholl to deal with traitorous Jesuits returned from abroad accompanied with strangers and supplied with money to 'stir up public weare'. Register of the Privy Council of Scotland. 1st Series. Vol 5 (1592-1599) p. 157

12 November 1593. Act of Abolition declaring that all Jesuits, Papists and extracommunicated persons are ordered to leave the country. Register of the Privy Council of Scotland. 1st Series. Vol 5 (1592-1599) p. 371

19 December 1598. Act for the perpetual banishment of James Gordon, Jesuit, uncle of George Gordon. Register of the Privy Council of Scotland. 1st Series. Vol 5 (1592-1599) p. 503-4

Accounts of the (Lord High) Treasurer of Scotland, 13 vols., T. Dickson et al. (eds) 1877. London: HMSO

Acts and Proceedings of the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, 3 vols., T. Thomson (ed) 1838. Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club

The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 12 vols., T. Thomson and C. Innes. (eds) 1814-75. Edinburgh

Akrigg, G. P. V. (ed) 1984. Letters King James VI and I. California: Berkley

Anderson, A. (ed) 1838. Letters and State Papers during the Reign of James VI. Edinburgh: Abbotsford Club

Bruce, J. (ed) 1849. Letters of Queen Elizabeth and King James VI of Scotland. London: Camden Society

Calderwood, D. 1842-9. History of the Kirk of Scotland, 8 vols., T. Thomson and D. Laing (eds). Edinburgh: Wodrow Society

Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary, Queen of Scots, 1547-1603. 13 vols, J. Bain et al. (eds). 1898. Edinburgh: HMSO

Chambers, R. 1885. Domestic Annals of Scotland. Edinburgh: Chambers

Craigie, J. (ed) 1948-52. Epithalamion upon the Marques of Huntlies marriage, in Poems of King James VI of Scotland, Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society

Criminal Trials in Scotland from AD 1488 to AD 1624, 3 vols. R. Pitcairn (ed). 1833. Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club

Dayell, Sir J. G. (ed) 1801. Scottish Poems of the Sixteenth Century, i. Edinburgh:

Fraser, W. 1883. The Chiefs of Grant, 3 vols. Edinburgh

Gordon, G. 1791-9. Parish of Mortlach. New Statistical Account of Scotland. Vol. 28: 413-46

The historie and life of King James the Sext : being an account of the affairs of Scotland, from the year 1566, to the year 1596; with a short continuation to the year 1617, T. Thomson (ed). Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club

Keith, R. 1844-50. History of the Affairs of Church and State in Scotland, from the beginning of the Reformatin to the year 1568, 3 vols. Edinburgh: Spottiswoode Society

Law, T. G. (ed) 1893. Documents illustrating Catholic Policy in the Reign of James VI, 1596-1598 in Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, First Volume (SHS, 1893)

Letters from Robert Bowes, the English Ambassador, to Sir Robert Cecil, 8 October 1594 in Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary, Queen of Scots, 1547-1603. 13 vols, J. Bain et al. (eds). 1898. Edinburgh: HMSO

Miscellany of the Scottish History Society. 11 vols. 1893. Edinburgh: T & A Constable for the Scottish History Society

Miscellany of the Spalding Club 1844-52. 5 vols. Aberdeen: Spalding Club

Moysie, D. 1830. Memoirs of the Affairs of Scotland, 1577-1603, J. Denniston (ed). Edinburgh: Maitland Club

Pitcairn. R. (ed) 1833. Criminal Trials in Scotland, 1488-1624. Edinburgh

Pollen, S. J. 1921. Sources for the History of Roman Catholics in England, Ireland and Scotland from the Reformation Period to that of the Emancipation, 1533 to 1795. London: SPCK

Registrum Magni Sigilli Regnum Scotorum (Register of the Great Seal of Scotland), J. M. Thomson et al} (eds), 11 vols. Edinburgh

The New Statistical Account of Scotland. 1834-45. Vol. 13

National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh

E.34: Household Papers and Accounts of James VI

E.34/36 Report by the Privy Council on the estate of the king's household, 1582

E.34/50 Papers regarding James's visit to Scotland

GD 26: Leven and Melville Muniments

GD26/7/393 Manuscript volume of 17th Century transcriptions of 15th and 16th Century papers relating to Scotland

GD 44: Gordon Castle Muniments

GD44/1/1/6-10 Inventory of Writs, i

GD44/5/2/4 Enzie Estates

GD44/5/6/16 Auchindoun Estates

GD44/5/13/8 & 11 Auchindoun Estates

GD44/15/3/2-3 Patronages

GD44/15/6/1 Patronages

GD44/16/4/13 Patronages

GD44/16/7/1 Patronages

GD44/22/9 & 33 Lordship of Enzie, Miscellaneous Papers, 1585-1725

GD44/23/14 Lordship of Enzie, Miscellaneous Papers, 1585-1725

GD 176: Mackintosh Muniments

GD176/158 Copy of Parliamentary Act in favour of Huntly, Angus, Erroll and followers, 1592

National Register of Archives, Edinburgh

NRA/224 Atholl Manuscripts

NRA/925 Errol and Bannerman of Crimontgate sections ii and iii

Cartographic & Illustrative Sources

No further information.

Secondary Sources

Brooks, R. 2007. Cassell's Battlefields of Britain and Ireland, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson

Brown, K. M. 1986. Bloodfeud in Scotland, 1573-1625: Violence, Justice and Politics in an Early Modern Society. Edinburgh: John Donald

Burton, J. H. 1867. The history of Scotland from Agricola's invasion to the revolution of 1688. London: W Blackwood

Church of Scotland General Assembly. 1839. The booke of the universall Kirk of Scotland : wherein the heads and conclusion is devysit be the ministers and commissionaris of the particular kirks thereof are specially expressed and contained. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Printing and Publishing Co.

Darton, M. 1994. Dictionary of Place Names in Scotland. Kent: Eric Dobby Publishing

Dunlop, J. 1955. The Clan Gordon: 'Cock o' the North'. Edinburgh: W & A K Johnston

Gordon, C. A. 1890. Concise History of the Ancient and Illustrious House of Gordon. Aberdeen: Wylie

Grant, R. 2010. George Gordon, sixth Earl of Huntly and the politics of the counter-Reformation in Scotland, 1581-1595. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Edinburgh

Hume Brown, P. 1902. History of Scotland: From the accession of Mary Stewart to the Revolution of 1689. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

MacGregor, A. 1907. The Feuds of the Clans: Together with the history of the feuds and conflicts among the clans in the northern parts of Scotland and the Western Isles. Stirling: Mackay

Shaw, G. P. 1926. An Old Story of a Highland Parish. London: Sands & Co

Small, J. 1876-8. Original Letter of Queen Elizabeth to Anne, Queen of James VI., dated at Richmond, 20th January 1595, with Relative Letter of Sir Robert Bowes, the English Ambassador at the Scottish Court, dated 24th February 1595. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 12. 92-7

Williamson, A. H. 1979. Scottish National Consciousness in the Age of James VI: the Apocalypse, the union and shaping of Scotland's public culture. Edinburgh: Donald

Wormald, J. Kirk, Court and Community: Scotland 1470-1625. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University press

Catholic Pamphlets. 2011. [Last accessed: 01/09/2011]

Te Deum Laundamus hymn. Available digitally at [Last accessed: 02/09/2011]

Lyrics for the Ballad of Balrinnes. Available digitally at [Last accessed: 04/08/2011]

Photograph of visitor board at Glenlivet battlefield site. [Last accessed: 30/08/2011]

About the Inventory of Historic Battlefields

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

The inventory is a list of Scotland's most important historic battlefields. Battlefields are landscapes over which a battle was fought. We maintain the inventory under the terms of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We add sites of national importance to the inventory using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

The information in the inventory record gives an indication of the national importance of the site(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the site(s).

Enquiries about development proposals requiring planning permission on or around inventory sites should be made to the planning authority. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications of this type.

Find out more about the inventory of historic battlefields and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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