Inventory Battlefield

Battle of FyvieBTL22

Date of Battle: 28-30 October 1644

Status: Designated

Documents

Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/termsandconditions).

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

Summary

Date Added
30/11/2011
Last Date Amended
14/12/2012
Local Authority
Aberdeenshire
NGR
NJ 77082 39012
Coordinates
377082, 839012

Overview and Statement of Significance

The Battle of Fyvie is significant as one of Montrose's string of victories on behalf of Charles I in aid of the Royalist cause, and one of only two of his victories won without the aid of his Irish ally Alasdair Mac Colla. It is also notable as one of very few battlefields within the British Isles with surviving field fortifications. The failure of Argyll also leads the Covenanter government of Scotland to withdraw some of their experienced forces from England, where they were aiding the Parliamentarian cause, to deal with Montrose's force.

Fyvie was a scrappy encounter between the 1st Marquis of Montrose and the Covenanter army of the Marquis of Argyll. It came after a period of campaigning by Montrose in the north-east, with Argyll being sent to bring him to battle to bring an end to the Royalist cause in Scotland. The two armies met at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire, where Montrose was entrenched on high ground above the castle. Argyll attacked Montrose's position repeatedly over the course of several days, before withdrawing due to supply shortages and giving Montrose the opportunity to escape.

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 Fyvie is defined on the accompanying map and includes the following areas:

  • The River Ythan and the valley it has formed.
  • Fyvie Castle, in whose grounds the fighting took place.
  • The high ground to the east of the castle where Montrose was camped and which was defended by the ditches and banks in the woodland.
  • The small gorge running E-W down to the Ythan from the high ground, where the trap was to be sprung on Argyll's cavalry.
  • The area around Bairnsdale, where lead shot that may relate to the battle was found and where Argyll may have based his force for their attacks.
  • The area north of Fyvie Castle, through which Montrose retreated after the battle.

Historical Background

The action took place on the high ground to the east of Fyvie castle. Montrose decided not to use Fyvie Castle, which was poorly fortified, and instead occupied the higher ground to the east of the castle, which included ditches and dykes that could be used as entrenchments.

Argyll's men attacked the hill and took the lower dykes, but Montrose ordered Colonel O'Cahan to drive them out. O'Cahan pushed back superior numbers of foot and supporting cavalry, capturing some much needed bags of black powder. Lothian, one of the Covenanter commanders, then sent five troops of horse in, but they fell back under musket fire. Argyll then mounted a cavalry attack, but Montrose withdrew his men to ground where they could not be seen by the horsemen, intending to lure them into a trap. However, the Atholl men fired too early before the cavalry had been fully drawn into the trap; the cavalry retreated, pursued by the Royalists who killed Lord Keith and at least forty officers. A third charge took place involving both a regiment of infantry and some troops of horse, and the Royalists were forced to retire back to the main body of the army, whom Argyll did not dare engage because they were on the high ground. That evening, Argyll withdrew about two miles. Skirmishing continued for at least another two days before shortage of feed for his horses caused Argyll to pull back two miles to Crichie. Montrose took this opportunity to withdraw, first to Turriff and then west into Badenoch and, from there, into Atholl (Reid 2003).

The Armies

The Royalist army was commanded by the Marquis of Montrose, the Covenanter army by the Marquis of Argyll. Montrose had mainly infantry, including Colonel O'Cahan's Irish troops. He had a very small number of cavalry. The Earl of Argyll had infantry and cavalry, with a much larger force than Montrose.

Numbers

The contemporary accounts differ on numbers.

Royalist: Wishart says that Montrose had 1,500 foot and not more than 50 horse (Wishart 1893). Spalding at one point in his account comments that it was admirable that Montrose was successful at Fyvie, given that he had so few men, which is an odd statement to make in the light of his reporting lower Covenanter numbers. However, in a note alongside this entry the different number is given, in rather obscure terms, of '1,800 foot and horss by baggage horse' (Spalding 1851). Ruthven says Montrose had 1,600-1,700 men, including one troop of fifty dragoons, under Gordon (Ruthven 1844). Reid believes Montrose had 1,500-1,600 foot. Cowan (1977) gives Montrose 1,000 foot and fifty horse (Reid 2003).

Covenanter: Wishart says that Argyll had 2,500 infantry and 1200 horse. Spalding puts Argyll's forces at 1600 foot and 14 troops of horse (800 horse?). Ruthven reports that intelligence from prisoners taken by the royalists before the march to Fyvie indicated that Argyll had 3,000 foot and 800 horse. Reid calculates that Argyll had 2,000 foot and 'a considerable body of cavalry'. Cowan states that Argyll had 2,500 infantry and 1,000 cavalry (Cowan 1977).

Losses

There is very little information on losses in the sources.

As mentioned above, Spalding notes that in the hot skirmishing Captain Alexander Keith and various others of Argyll's men were slain, and that in the following two days there was little loss to Montrose and daily slaughter to Argyll's forces, with many wounded being brought into Aberdeen (Spalding 1851).

The only specific numbers mentioned in the contemporary records are the 40 dead Covenanters quoted by Ruthven (1844).

Williams talks of the 'appalling cost in dead and wounded' suffered by Argyll's forces, but does not give his sources (Williams 2000).

Action

The action took place on the high ground to the east of Fyvie castle. There are some differences between the commentators on the phases of the action, and the time it lasted, although there is agreement that the command of the higher ground was critical to Montrose's success.

Wishart, a friend and supporter of Montrose, thought that it would have been madness for Montrose to have gone onto the lower ground with so small a force. He reported that Montrose considered that to have shut himself up in Fyvie Castle, which was poorly fortified, was dishonourable and would undo the reputation he had gained in his recent victories. He therefore occupied the higher ground overlooking the castle, which Wishart describes as:

'rugged, broken with ditches, and dikes raised by farmers to fence their fields, in appearance like a camp' (Wishart 1893).

Patrick Gordon of Ruthven, another royalist, states that Montrose chose Fyvie

'as also because the country there was well provided of victual for his armie; and if his army [Argyll's] should intend ane surpryce, or force him to feight, the ground was more advantageous for the defendant than the assailzeant, having the river of Ithen on his right hand, a woode on his left hand, and a deepe hollow bruike that ran befor him, which served as a ditch or trich to brake the furie of an united charge of horsemen' (Ruthven 1844).

Reid says that Ruthven's description implies that Montrose was facing southwards, but, as Argyll's cavalry was quartered around Rothienorman and Auchterless, west of Fyvie, this initial position was abandoned in favour of a westward facing one on the high ground overlooking the castle. He believes that Ruthven's 'hollow bruike' is a stream 300 m south of the castle, with an area of dead ground at the foot of the hill created by a low rise between the castle and the hillside. There was a series of turf walls on the rise and the adjacent hillside, which Reid interpreted as being agricultural in nature (Reid 2003).

Wishart, who was in prison at this stage and therefore relying on secondhand information, stated that Argyll's men attacked the hill and took the dykes, but Montrose ordered Colonel O'Cahan to drive them out, which he did successfully, pushing back superior numbers of foot and supporting cavalry. O'Cahan was also able to capture some bags of powder, which was providential as Montrose was short on this. Lothian, one of the Covenanter commanders, then sent five troops of horse in, but they fell back under musket fire. That evening, Argyll withdrew about two miles. He renewed the attack the next day, but without conviction, and the only action was light skirmishes of 'flying parties'. Meanwhile Montrose's men were melting down all the pewter they had for balls. Towards the end of the second day Argyll withdrew.

Spalding describes the action in very general terms:

'thair was hot skirmishing betwixt the trouperis persewing the wood, and Montrose manfully defending his few forces against such ane huge multitude of horses and men. He like a skilful capitane issuis out of the wood, and returnit back again, and did grate skaith that day'.

His account goes on to talk of further hot skirmishing on Tuesday and Wednesday, with little loss to Montrose, but daily slaughter to Argyll's troops, with many wounded being taken to Aberdeen (Spalding 1851). He has the action extending over at least three days.

Ruthven states that Montrose's horse were away seeking provisions, when Argyll came into sight 'who draws up his armie upon ane hill without distance of schot and sends first a regiment of foote to force them, or to draw them from their strenth' He goes on to say that this regiment occupied a 'fald' or enclosure , allowing them to fire on Montrose's men, but they were in turn attacked by Royalist troops under Donald Farquharsone of Monaltrie, who beat them back 'with great loss and discredit and to the no small encouragement of the Royalists'.

Argyll then mounted a cavalry attack, but Montrose withdrew his men to ground where they could not be seen by the horsemen with the intention of luring them into a trap,

'and ceartanely of those horsemen there had not a man escheaped, for they had been invironed before they had known where they ware, and the deep hollow ditch or bruike at their backs'.

However, the Atholl men fired too early before the cavalry had been fully drawn into the trap and they retreated, pursued by the royalists who killed Lord Keith and at least forty officers.

A third charge took place, involving both a regiment of infantry and some troops of horse, and the Royalists were forced to retire back to the main body of the army, whom Argyll did not dare engage because they were on the high ground. He then retired three miles and did not take up the attack again (Ruthven 1844). According to Ruthven all this took place on one day.

Reid says that the constrained and partially wooded terrain meant that the fighting did not develop into a general engagement. Strathbogie's men deserted Montrose at the start of the fighting, and Lothian's Irish troops took the enclosures at the bottom of the hill before being easily repulsed by a Royalist counter-attack, probably by Monaltrie's men. Argyll then sent forward five troops of cavalry. The Royalists abandoned the position without a fight, apparently seeking to lead the cavalry into a trap. However, Inchbrackie's men fired too early from the woods and the cavalry pulled back. Royalist infantry pursued them, but were, in turn, attacked by Keith's cavalry troop. Keith was killed, but his charge enabled the other four troops to escape although the Royalists retook the enclosures. Argyll attacked again with both infantry and cavalry in the afternoon, but to little effect, probably because he was reluctant to use his inexperienced and poorly armed levies and without them his infantry force was not strong enough to succeed. Skirmishing continued for another two days before shortage of feed for his horses caused Argyll to pull back two miles to Crichie. Montrose withdrew, first to Turriff and then west into Badenoch and from there into Atholl (Reid 2003).

In Williams' account, Montrose took advantage of the trees, dykes and broken ground and also started digging new trenches. Gordon and the horse, when they returned, were probably posted to the rear of the Royalist position where the bluff merged with the high ground behind it and was more accessible to troops who might cross lower down the valley where that ground was firmer and thereafter circle round to attack the ridge from this direction. It was also likely that a further body of Royalist troops held the causeway south of the castle entrance. Two hundred Gordons ran when Lothian attacked the dykes at the outset, and Montrose asked both Farquharson and O'Cahan to attack. The fact that the attack by 500 cavalry was pushed back by musket fire emphasised the difficulty caused to Argyll's troops by the boggy and broken terrain (Williams 2001).

Aftermath & Consequences

Fyvie was undoubtedly one of the less dramatic of Montrose's battles. However, it had a number of important consequences. Montrose had been able to resist a larger and better equipped Covenanter army; this bolstered the confidence of the Royalists in future battles, and gave them an air of invincibility that undermined morale in Covenanter armies. In addition, drawing off Covenanter support from England was one of Montrose's campaign goals, which he achieves following Fyvie with the recall of experienced troops to Scotland under the command of Lieutenant-General William Baillie (Roberts 2000). At the same time, as Reid noted, Montrose's forces do fragment after Fyvie; this means that Argyll had been partially successful because the Royalists had been effectively contained within the Highlands, and therefore their campaign could be counted as a failure overall (Reid 1990). As a result, it is debatable which side gains the most from the battle overall.

Events & Participants

Having won a victory at Tippermuir, Montrose went on to soundly defeat the Covenanter forces under Burleigh at Aberdeen on 13 September 1644. Aberdeen was sacked, and the civilian population was badly treated by the Royalists, with widespread theft, beatings, rapes and murders. Montrose then withdrew his forces on 16 September to Rothiemurchus near Aviemore. The Marquis of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, and commander of the Covenanter forces, pursued them with three regiments of Highland levies and two regular regiments from Ireland, a force of some 4,000 infantry. His cavalry numbered about 900 in all. One troop was detached shortly afterwards and replaced by a third regiment of regular infantry (Reid 2003).

Montrose's forces split when Montrose's major-general, Alasdair Mac Colla of the Clan MacDonald, took 500 of his men to the West Highlands, apparently to relieve his garrisons there. Argyll took advantage of this to split his own forces, one part garrisoning and fortifying Inverness, the other pursuing Montrose, who first went south past Perth and then north, back towards Aberdeen. His route was blocked by Ramsay at Brig o' Dee, and he was forced to cross at the Mills of Drum from where he marched north to Strathbogie, where he recruited some hundreds of Highlanders. On 24 October Argyll reached Aberdeen and recommenced his pursuit the next day (Reid 2003). Montrose moved towards Fyvie, near Turriff, Aberdeenshire, on 26 October, either because he had heard Argyll was in pursuit again (Spalding 1851), or because he needed to seek provisions for his forces (Wishart 1893),or from the twin desires of saving the lands of Huntly from ravage by Argyll and finding food for his army (Ruthven 1844). Whatever his reasons, his intelligence was poor and Argyll took him by surprise at Fyvie on Monday 28 October (Reid 1990).

James Graham was the fifth Earl of Montrose and the first Marquis of Montrose. He was the chief of Clan Graham. Montrose had been a supporter and signatory of the National Covenant in 1638, but had then become a Royalist, although he was driven by motives other than a desire to impose the Divine Right of Kings upon Scotland. He and Archibald Campbell, the eighth Earl of Argyll, were bitter rivals, and Montrose believed that the Covenant had become nothing more than a vehicle for Argyll's ambition. Always a moderate among the Covenanters, Montrose considered that the agreement in 1641 with Charles that had removed episcopacy from Scotland had fulfilled the demands of the Covenant and that to continue in opposition to him would be breaking that agreement. Following the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant in September 1643, Montrose presented himself to Charles I service at his headquarters in Oxford. On behalf of the King, he then fought a campaign intended to draw Covenanter forces away from supporting the Parliamentarians in England, and in this it was a success. Montrose fought a series of seven battles against Covenanter armies across the Highlands in 1644 and 1645, beginning with Tippermuir and ending at Philiphaugh, where he suffered his only defeat He attempted to do the same on behalf of Charles II in 1650, but on this occasion fought only a single battle at Carbisdale. After his defeat there, he was captured and brought to Edinburgh for trial. On 21 May 1650, he was hanged and then beheaded. His head was fixed to a spike on Edinburgh's Tollbooth, his body quartered, and his limbs were displayed in Stirling, Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen. Following the Restoration of Charles II as king in 1660, Montrose's remains were collected together once more and were interred in the High Kirk of St Giles in Edinburgh in May 1661.

Manus O'Cahan was the colonel of the Irish regiment that fought in all of Montrose's battles and which was the backbone of all his victories. He was a cousin of Mac Colla, and came over from Ireland with him. He and his regiment were sent to Scotland to ease pressure on the Irish Confederacy, who were fighting Scottish Covenanters and English Parliamentarians in Ireland. As Mac Colla had a recruiting role for the Royalist cause throughout 1644-5, he was occasionally absent in the west seeking fresh troops, but O'Cahan remained with Montrose throughout and was with Montrose for the Battle of Philiphaugh. He was captured after the defeat, his men were executed and he was taken to Edinburgh where he was hanged without trial. He was responsible for the invention of the Highland charge along with Mac Colla, although it is Mac Colla who is generally given sole credit.

Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquis of Argyll, was one of the leading Covenanters in Scotland. He had been opposed to Charles I's absolutism but had not been particularly in favour of Presbyterianism until 1638, when his refusal to support Charles led the King to send the MacDonnell Earl of Antrim to invade Argyll and raise the MacDonalds against the Marquis of Argyll. Although this was a failure, the Earl of Antrim was to later send his kinsmen Mac Colla and O'Cahan to support Montrose. Argyll became the most influential of the Covenanter lords, and was instrumental in the Solemn League and Covenant that sent Scottish Covenanters into England in support of the Parliamentarians. He was present at several of the battles fought by Montrose, being personally defeated by him at Fyvie and at Inverlochy, but was also the head of the Commission of Estates that had such a deleterious effect on Baillie at Alford and at Kilsyth. In later years, he led the Parliament that crowned Charles II as King of Scotland in 1651, but had lost control of events in Scotland and was reluctantly dragged into the invasion of England. He was imprisoned several times under the Protectorate for debt, and arrested for treason on the Restoration in 1660. He was cleared of any involvement in the execution of Charles I, but letters he had sent to Monck showed the extent of his cooperation with Cromwell and he was executed even before Charles had signed the death warrant.

Context

In 1638 the National Covenant was signed by many in Scotland, pledging opposition to the reforms proposed by Charles I, the King of the two separate nations of England and Scotland. Amongst other proposals Charles wanted to replace the democratic Presbyterian system with a hierarchy of bishops and create a church modelled on High Anglican lines, and to finance his reforms by re-possessing the former land holdings of the Catholic Church which had been sold on at the Reformation and now formed the basis of many landowners' status and wealth. In 1639 and 1640 Charles was defeated in the two Bishop's Wars. Desperately short of finance, Charles was forced to recall the English Parliament, the so-called Long Parliament, and they reached a peace with the Covenanters in the Treaty of London in 1641. However, Charles and the English Parliament remained at odds over who should control the army, and the first English Civil War began in 1642. Initially the Royalists and the Parliamentarians were relatively evenly matched, and the Parliamentarians opened negotiations with the Covenanters for their assistance in breaking the deadlock. In 1643, under the terms of the Solemn League and Covenant, the Covenanter government of Scotland allied itself with the English Parliament and entered the war in England in early 1644, marking a major turning point in the war. Charles attempted unsuccessfully to foment rebellion in Scotland and the Scottish army went on to make a major impact in the campaign for the north of England. Following crushing defeat at Marston Moor on 2 July 1644 the King tried again, appointing James Graham, the 5th Earl of Montrose, as his military commander in Scotland. Montrose had been part of the abortive rebellion and was a former Covenanter himself who had joined the King in 1643. On 28 August 1644, Montrose raised the royal standard and embarked on a campaign against the Covenanter forces in the Highlands (Reid 2003).

Over the next two years, Montrose, with forces which changed constantly in size and composition, won a series of victories over the Covenanters under a number of different commanders, including: Tippermuir (1 September 1644), Aberdeen (13 September 1644), Inverlochy (2 February 1645), Auldearn (9 May 1645), Alford (2 July 1645) and Kilsyth (16 August 1645) and was elevated to 1st Marquis of Montrose by Charles as reward. However, he was defeated at Philiphaugh near Selkirk on 13 September 1645 by much superior Covenanter forces commanded by Lieutenant-General David Leslie. He endeavoured to carry on his campaign in the North-East, and also tried to threaten Glasgow, but lack of co-operation and poor relations between the leading Royalist commanders meant that they achieved little success and Montrose's campaign petered out in early May when his forces besieging Inverness were taken by surprise by Major-General Middleton's advance and fled without a fight. Although Huntly, another Royalist commander, stormed Aberdeen on 14 May, a few weeks later Charles, who had surrendered at Newark on 5 May, ordered his forces in Scotland to lay down their arms. Although Montrose was reluctant to do so, he finally disbanded his forces at Rattray on 30 July after agreeing terms with Middleton and then fled abroad (Reid 2003).

Battlefield Landscape

The area is relatively unaffected by modern development. The area is still predominantly rural and has undoubtedly benefited from being part of the castle's environs. The trees on the high ground have had the effect of protecting the ditches and banks from weathering and ploughing, although undoubtedly the roots will have been less beneficial. The approaches from the south and east are still open and the few houses built since the battle do nothing to alter the understanding of the battlefield.

Location

The fighting took place around the high ground east of Fyvie Castle, marked on the map as Montrose's Camp. The ground on the east is steeply sloping, and there are several ditch and bank features running along it. It is wooded, with trees at the summit of the hill. To the south, the ground forms a steep-sided gulley that leads E-W; this is probably the place that Montrose's men hoped to trap the Covenanter cavalry. The eastern side is gently sloping, which explains the deep ditch behind the field wall that encloses the woodland. The north slopes down to Monk's Burn. The only indication of Argyll's position prior to the fighting is the collection of musket and pistol balls found at Bairnsdale.

Terrain

Williams states that Fyvie castle stands in a loop of the River Ythan and at the time of the fighting the narrow valley bottom was mainly marsh and meadowland, undrained bogland, accessible by narrow spits of hard ground which constituted the only possible lines of approach for an attacking force. The castle itself stood on a sort of terrace of firm ground, surrounded on three sides by waterlogged scrub and connected to the small village to the south by a thin spine or causeway where, again, a small band might hope to hold off a strong attacker. Modifications to the original castle at the beginning of the seventeenth century left it less defensible and poorly fortified, so Montrose did not use it. To the east was a small loch, marsh banked , while behind the castle and rising above it , between the river and the loch a low bluff or ridge climbed steeply for about a hundred feet. This was rugged, broken up by ditches and dykes and, unusually for the time, thickly wooded (Williams 2001).

Condition

No further information.

Archaeological & Physical Remains and Potential

There are extensive remains of banks and ditches (NJ73NE 10) in the woods that cover the hill to the east of Fyvie Castle, centred on NJ 771 392. These cover the west-facing slopes and the approaches from the east. According to the contemporary sources, these were pre-existing agricultural features which the Royalists were able to re-use. No artefacts relating to the battle have reported. However, there was hand to hand fighting in the enclosures formed by the ditches and banks, and it is likely that there will be some material relating to the battle in them. There should be some evidence of both musketry and the use of cavalry pistols, but, since the numbers involved were small the quantity of such remains is probably not large. There is no record of artillery being used by either side. Given that there was some close quarter fighting one might expect to find small items of personal and military clothing and gear amongst the dykes. None of the sources mentions disposal of the dead, of whom there should be at least 40. The only known artefacts relating to the battle are in the collection of Fyvie Castle, consisting of musket and pistol balls that are recorded as having been found at Bairnsdale; these are said to have been from Argyll's camp prior to the fighting at Fyvie. There is no date given for their discovery, and no indication of the evidence used to ascribe them to Argyll's troops. However, they are the only artefacts currently known that potentially relate to the battle.

Cultural Association

There is no recorded onsite commemoration or interpretation relating to the battle. However, the traditional Scottish folk song 'The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie O' probably harks back to this period. There are a number of versions of this song, but in the one quoted below the soldier who falls for the lass is a Captain of Irish dragoons, and 'Ythanside' is mentioned in one of the other verses.

First verse;

'There once was a troop of Irish dragoons

Come marching down through Fyvie o

And their captain's fa'en in love

Wi' a very bonnie lass

And her name it was cried pretty Peggy o'

Last verse:

'Green grow the birks on bonny Ythanside

Low lie the lowlands of Fyvie o

Our captain's name was Ned and he died for a maid

He died for the chambermaid of Fyvie o'

The song is not a record of historical events, but it is clear that the characters in the song are intended to be linked with Montrose. The only reason for a troop of Irish dragoons to have been in the vicinity of Fyvie was Montrose's campaigning, and the song talks of the Irish dragoons heading for Aberdeen; the troops at Fyvie had been in Aberdeen the previous month.

Commemoration & Interpretation

No further information.

References

Bibliography

Cowan, E. J. 1977. Montrose for Covenant and King. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London. 170-71

Reid, S. 1990. The Campaigns of Montrose. The Mercat Press, Edinburgh. 74-78

Williams, R. 2001. Montrose: Cavalier in Mourning. House of Lochar, Isle of Colonsay. 186-88.

Information on Sources & Publication

The three contemporary accounts quoted above (Wishart, Spalding and Ruthven) are all written by royalists who can be expected to stress Montrose's qualities of generalship and leadership, but there is no doubt that Montrose's forces, using the high ground to advantage, held off a number of attacks by superior forces, causing Argyll to withdraw and enabling Montrose to move his army without further interference. None of them make much of Covenanter losses, which is perhaps surprising, although they completely fail to mention Royalist losses, which is less of a surprise.

The most detailed account is that of Ruthven, although none of the three was present. He records three separate Covenanter attacks, and also records the action as having taken place on a single day. However long it lasted, Montrose could not have withdrawn a force of infantry from Fyvie, with hardly any cavalry support, unless he was certain that Argyll, who still had large numbers of horse, was some miles away, with his tail between his legs and with no inclination to pursue.

Primary Sources

Gordon, P and Dunn, J. 1844. A Short Abridgement of Britane's Distemper; from the yeare of God MDCXXXIX to MDCXLIX. Spalding Club, Aberdeen. 90-92

Spalding, J .1851. The Trubles in Scotland and in England A.D.1624-A.D.1645, Vol II .Spalding Club, Aberdeen. 426-427.

Wishart, G.1893. The Memoirs of James, Marquis of Montrose, 1639-1650. Longman's, Green and Co., London.73.

Cartographic & Illustrative Sources

No further information.

Secondary Sources

Cowan, E. J. 1977. Montrose for Covenant and King. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London. 170-71.

Reid, S. 1990. The Campaigns of Montrose. The Mercat Press, Edinburgh. 74-78.

Reid, S. 2003. Auldearn 1645: the Marquis of Montrose's Scottish campaign. Osprey, Oxford. 29-33.

Roberts, J.L. 2000. Clan, King and Covenant. University Press, Edinburgh. 59-60 ,66.

Sadler, J. 1996. Scottish Battles. Canongate, Edinburgh. 116.

Williams, R. 2001. Montrose: Cavalier in Mourning. House of Lochar, Isle of Colonsay. 186-88.

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