Inventory Battlefield

Battle of LangsideBTL35

Date of Battle: 13 May 1568

Status: Designated


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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
Local Authority
NS 58305 61971
258305, 661971

Overview and Statement of Significance

The Battle of Langside is significant as the final act of Mary, Queen of Scots, before her flight to England, imprisonment and death. It ends Mary's hopes of reclaiming the throne of Scotland and secures her son, James VI, his position as King, although in reality he remained under the control of the Regent and the situation remained unstable for many more years.

The Battle of Langside, on the south side of modern Glasgow, was fought on 13 May 1568 between the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots, and those of the Earl of Moray, her half-brother, who since her forced abdication on 24 July 1567 had been Regent of Scotland. Mary's army was commanded by the Earl of Argyll, and was en route from Hamilton to Dumbarton. Moray marched out of Glasgow to intercept them and won a decisive victory, resulting in the end of Mary's attempts to retake the throne. She fled to England, imprisonment, and ultimately execution.

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 Inverlochy I is defined on the accompanying map and includes the following areas:

  • The area of Queen's Park, which is the largest expanse of open ground associated with the battle. It is the likely location of at least part of Moray's line.
  • The area to the north of Queen's Park, accommodating Moray's likely route to the battlefield.
  • The area to the south of Queens Park, where the village of Langside and its associated gardens were situated.
  • Clincart Hill and the area around Cathcart, to the east where Mary's army was positioned. The location at the junction of Langside Avenue and Battlefield Road is marked by the 1887 Langside Battlefield memorial.
  • The area to the south, taking in Court Knowe, where Mary herself was taken to watch the battle. The site of this is marked by a memorial located in the small park to the east of the site of Cathcart Castle.

Historical Background

Moray's forces managed to reach the village of Langside ahead of Mary's and arrayed for battle on Langside Hill and in the village itself. Meanwhile, Mary withdrew to nearby Court Hill to observe, leaving Argyll to command the army, even though he was ill.

Mary's forces appear to have underestimated both the strength of Moray's army, and the advantage of his position, when they began their attack. The battle began with an exchange of artillery before some of Argyll's force began an assault on Moray's right wing with both infantry and cavalry, in an attempt to gain control of the village. Despite initial success, Argyll's cavalry were forced to withdraw, leaving the infantry engaged in the fighting without cavalry support. Their fate was sealed when William Kirkcaldy of Grange led reinforcements from the left wing to attack the flank of Argyll's infantry, beginning a rout which may have lasted for up to two hours, and which told Mary her cause was lost.

The Armies

Mary's army was commanded by the Earl of Argyll, a man of little military experience. Scott (1885) notes that the army consisted of cavalry, ordnance, pikemen and fire-arms such as hagbutts, arquebuses and culverins. The majority of the troops would have worn steel 'morions' upon their heads and leather jacks, which would give some protection against pikes.

Moray was supported by the Earls of Morton, Mar, Glencarne, Monteith and many lords. Moray had military experience at home and Morton, Semple, Home and Lindsay had all fought overseas. Mar had despatched cannon from Stirling, and hagbutters and the royal archers had been dispatched from Edinburgh.


Mary's supporters, including the Earls of Argyll, Eglinton, Casselis and Rothes and a number of lords and bishops, rallied to her with the result that she could call upon a force of between 6000 (according to Scott's 19th century account) and 6500 (as indicated in Buchanan's near contemporary History of Scotland).

Moray's force, aside from his noble supporters and their retainers, included 600 Glasgow citizens. All in, the army facing Mary numbered around 4000 men (Buchanan). At least 200 of these were cavalry.


Among the Queen's forces, Buchanan (1843) reckons that 300 were killed during the flight, although this would have been many more had not Moray given orders for there to be no more killing. The only deaths in the course of the battle itself were in the fighting between Mary's vanguard and Moray's right wing. According to the contemporary Advertisement of the conflict in Scotland these did not exceed 140 and, according to Melville (1827), resulted from the fire of the hagbutters. If true, this would mean that nobody was killed during the set-to with pikes. While the credibility of this claim has not been tested, it is potentially a fair account of this particular encounter.

Scott (1885) notes that there were claims that only one of Moray's men was killed, but later trials of some of Mary's followers make it clear that several more died, although the numbers were still small. On Moray's side, Lords Home and Ochiltree and several other noblemen were severely wounded.


At dawn on 13 May, Moray drew up his troops on what was then known as 'The Moor of Glasgow', on the north bank of the Clyde, using the eastern, or Gallowgate, Port. This position commanded a view of Rutherglen, south of the Clyde. Although his scouts would have been able to track the march of Mary's forces from Hamilton, Moray knew they could seek to deceive him by crossing and re-crossing the Clyde.

Scott, who in 1885 provided the most detailed historical assessment of the battle, believes that had the line of Mary's march been decided at Mary's Council of War on 12 May, Moray would have known of it, such was the speed and quality of information reaching him from Mary's camp. In fact, the Earl of Argyll, the commander of her army, was not appointed until the 13 May and it was probably he who would have decided upon the line of march. By taking position on the Moor, Moray had selected the best possible position as he could stand and fight there if Mary's army crossed the river to take the road north, or he could move to intercept her, if her army followed a route south of the river.

Once Moray realised that Argyll intended to march south of the Clyde rather than through Glasgow, he made haste to move his forces. He aimed to seize the high ground of Langside Hill first as this commanded the route west, and Argyll would either be forced to fight or divert a long way south to find an alternative route to Dumbarton. To achieve this Moray, apparently at the suggestion of Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange, mounted a hagbutter behind each of 200 horsemen and sent them ahead, crossing the ford across the Clyde whilst the foot hurried behind.

The village of Langside was small and the main street, known as 'Lang Loan', was long and narrow, being 'a strait lane...not above 40 feet wide'. The hagbutters were placed behind cover in the gardens of the houses in positions which would enable them to fire upon Mary's troops. Whilst this was happening, Argyll fell ill, and the resulting confusion hindered the march of Mary's forces, not least because there was no good alternative leader. It was also necessary to get Mary to a place of safety as it was clear that battle would take place, and she was escorted away by cavalry to what is believed to be 'Court Knowe' or 'Court Hill', near the now demolished Cathcart Castle. These delays and distractions enabled Moray's foot to reach Langside first. Scott believes the foot marched there in 40 minutes, whereas the cavalry carrying the hagbutters only took 20 minutes.

The left wing, under Moray's command, stretched north-eastward behind what was then Pathhead Steading and along the eastern flank of Langside Hill, in what is now Queen's Park. He had with him the Earls of Mar and Glencarne, Lord Cathcart, men of Lennox and 600 Glasgow men. The right wing, which was not visible to the left, held the village at the end of 'Lang Loan', with the Earl of Mar, and Lords Hume, Lindsay and others. Moray's cavalry were placed between the farm steading and the village to the south-west, in order to provide support to either wing, and the artillery was also placed there. Grange was given the task of riding between the two wings as necessary. Melville, a contemporary chronicler, says William Kirkcaldy 'was given the special care, as an experienced captain, to oversee every danger, and to ride to every wing and encourage and help where the greatest need was.' This precaution was to prove critical to Moray's success.

The Queen's army, deprived of the high ground of Langside Hill, took position on Clincart Hill, to the east. Buchanan, writing near to the time of the battle, points out that the terrain here did not favour the Queen's forces, as the undulating ground prevented clear line of sight of their antagonists. As a result they seem to have taken their number, which indeed was far from great, to be smaller than it really was, and in that belief 'they both despised the foe and neglected the advantage of the place'.

The battle opened with Mary's artillery firing from Clincart Hill in an attempt to dislodge Moray's right wing, with Moray's own artillery returning fire. The Queen's artillery fell silent as a party of Hamiltons moved behind Clincart Hill and proceeded along the 'Bus'-an'aik' road to storm the village. 'The Advertisement of the conflict in Scotland' says there were 2000 in this vanguard, led by the Earl of Arbroath. Simultaneously their cavalry, which outnumbered Moray's, deployed under Lord Home on the side of Clincart Hill in order to support the vanguard of the attack. As soon as Moray realised what was happening, his artillery ceased fire and he sent out cavalry under Douglas of Drumlanrig to counter Mary's cavalry, and 40 hagbutters went down the Lang Loan and over the Overdale Ground to harass the attack by the Hamiltons. Several were killed but the rest pressed on, only to be fired on by the hagbutters positioned in the gardens of Langside village. Melville says that the hagbutters 'set down at the strait lon head' fired on the Hamiltons who were 'out of wind' from their attack.

When the cavalry met, Moray's retreated. Herries, Mary's cavalry commander, advanced, hoping to throw Moray's left wing into confusion. Moray ordered his archers from the left to advance whilst his cavalry re-grouped. Herries then fell back in his turn, leaving the vanguard trying to force the village, without any cavalry support. As the two forces of foot met, the fighting became 'at push of pike', with both sides so closely interlaced, as points stuck in opponents' jacks, that when the soldiers behind threw their discharged pistols, broken pike staves and daggers at their opponents they never fell to the ground but rested on the tightly packed pike staffs (Melville 1827).

Hamilton's men were still under hagbut fire, but the rear of Moray's right wing on the slope of the road on the west side of the village made to retreat, thinking that their front ranks were giving way. However, Kirkcaldy assured them that it was the enemy falling back which had caused the change in movement ahead of them and he ordered them to hold fast whilst he brought up reinforcements. He then rode to the left wing, which was watching Mary's rearguard which looked as though it was intending to turn Moray's northern flank. Kirkcaldy then led extra troops from the left back to the village and took the head of Mary's vanguard in the flank.

In the face of this assault, the vanguard retreated upon the main body of Mary's army and precipitated a headlong flight. Moray's forces, including 200 Macfarlane clansmen who had just arrived, pursued them, but Moray gave orders not to kill and fewer were slain in the pursuit than would otherwise have been the case. All Mary's cannon were taken as well as many notable prisoners, including the Earls of Cassilis and Eglinton, and a number of sheriffs. It was reported that Argyll was taken prisoner but was then released ' this may be correct, as he was known to be a friend of Moray's.

Scott believes the battle began at 9.00 a.m. He calculates the start time by estimating the time at which Moray was first informed of Mary's march by his spies, and allowing for mustering the troops, which took place at dawn, and the time needed to reach the battlefield. The Hollinshead Chronicle claims the battle lasted 45 minutes, but the 'Diurnal' reports an hour long battle and a two hour flight.

According to Melville (1827), Mary 'lost courage, like never before'. She fled the battlefield and eventually made her way to England, where she was imprisoned and later executed.

Aftermath & Consequences

Black, writing of the battle in 1936, states:

'Of all the many battles in which Scots have fought against Scots, perhaps the only one which can be claimed to have exercised a decisive influence on the fortunes of the nation was at Langside. There was much more at stake than in any other engagement during Scotland's tragic and frequent civil wars. Compared to any of the great battles of Scottish history, the engagement was no more than a skirmish, yet for the time it settled the destiny of Scotland. It established the reformed church, put an end to the French alliance and shattered the last hope of Mary Stuart.'

This is somewhat overstating the case, as French influence had previously taken a major back seat with the death of Mary of Guise in 1560 and it would in fact take several years and civil war before the authority of James VI under the Regency and Protestantism as the religion of Scotland were fully established.

The immediate result of the battle was Mary's flight to England, where she was effectively held under house arrest at various castles by Elizabeth I, who could never bring herself to trust her first cousin once removed. Indeed it was Mary's yearning for the English throne that was to lead to her execution. After being implicated in a number of alleged and apparent plots against the English Queen, she was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle on 8 February 1587.

Events & Participants

Mary, Queen of Scots was a Catholic and the wife of Francis II of France until his death in December 1560. The Protestant Reformation of 1559-60 in Scotland resulted in the rejection of French influence in Scotland, the blame for which had been laid at the door of the Queen's mother, Mary of Guise. The Protestant success, assisted by an English force sent by Elizabeth I, resulted in the end of the siege of Leith and the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh in July 1560, following the death of Mary of Guise on 11 June. As a result of the treaty all French troops in Scotland returned to France and their fortifications, including the walls of Leith, were slighted. With French influence removed, the stage was set for Mary to return as Queen of Scots in 1561. Her reign was not a happy or stable one and her eventual execution at the hands of Elizabeth I remains a potent symbol of England's perceived ill treatment of her northern neighbour.

James Stewart, half brother of Mary and first Earl of Moray, was an illegitimate son of James V. He was the regent of his nephew, James VI, from 1567 until he was assassinated in 1570. Prior to his regency, which came about due to the forced abdication of Mary, he had earned a reputation as someone who was prepared to take up arms against her, which he did in response to her marriage to Darnley in 1565. The result was the Chaseabout raid, in which both factions pursued one another without actually coming to blows. Support for Moray fell away and after being declared an outlaw he fled to England. His appointment as regent was to set him on course to a perhaps long overdue military encounter with the Queen at Langside.

A number of individuals are particularly mentioned in the records of the battle. On Moray's side these include Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange, who clearly played a key role in the victory, and Andrew, the laird of the Macfarlanes, who had apparently been condemned to death for a crime only weeks earlier, but pardoned at the urging of the regent's wife. On Mary's side, Lord Herries, who led her cavalry, is also singled out.


Despite being raised a Catholic, Mary did not seek to impose Catholicism or restore French influence on her return to Scotland. It is generally considered by historians of the period that either course would have been ill-advised given the strength of the Protestant cause and a general distrust of the French (the auld alliance was not always a strong one). Her tolerance of Protestantism, in the face of being preached against by the likes of John Knox, inevitably drew criticism from her Catholic supporters. This lack of support within Scotland led Mary to concentrate on her claim to the English throne - Catholics regarded Elizabeth I as illegitimate due to her mother, Ann Boleyn, being Henry VIII's second wife - but it was a cause over which she would eventually lose her head.

Mary married Lord Darnley, in July 1565. In the eyes of the Catholic Church however their marriage was null and void as they were first cousins and had not acquired a Papal dispensation for such a match. Nor did the marriage please Elizabeth, who saw the coupling of two Catholic Stuarts as an enhanced threat to her own position. Mary's half brother, the Earl of Moray, was also incensed at this Catholic match and in response he joined with other Protestants and led a rebellion against her. Rather than being put down, though Mary did not lack the forces to achieve this, the rebellion eventually fizzled out for want of support and Moray found sanctuary in England.

Following Moray's failure, Darnley became overawed by his rapid ascendancy and requested equality in status with the Queen ' which would allow him to take the crown if she died before him . This was turned down by Mary, leading to his disenchantment with Mary, and he subsequently participated in the conspiracy against his wife. Another cause of discontent was his jealousy of Mary's intimacy with her personal secretary, Davide Rizzio, who was rumoured to be the father of her as yet unborn child, James. As a result Rizzio was murdered in front of the pregnant Mary by a party which included her husband, in February 1567.

The royal couple became estranged and it was at this time that Mary renewed her acquaintance with James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who had supported her cause during Moray's rebellion. In late 1566 Darnley fell ill (allegedly as a result of suspected poisoning), but Mary remained at his side during his recuperation at his brother's house in Edinburgh through January of 1567. One night Mary was attending a social engagement when an explosion ripped through the house and Darnley was found dead in the garden, apparently smothered. Bothwell was suspected of the murder, and went to trial for the crime. In the absence of evidence against him, largely thanks to Mary hurrying the proceedings on before it could be gathered, he was acquitted. Mary and Bothwell were married in May 1567, just 12 days after his divorce from his previous wife.

As with her marriage to Darnley, the Queen's betrothal to Bothwell was a source of discontent, not least because the man had been implicated in the murder of her previous husband. Catholics also saw the match as an illegal one as they did not recognise Bothwell's divorce ' the same reasoning which after all underpinned Mary's claim to the English throne. The Confederate Lords, a faction consisting of 26 peers, rose in opposition to the Queen, and more particularly Bothwell. In response, Mary and Bothwell recruited an army and marched out of Dunbar, where they had taken refuge, and headed for Edinburgh. They were intercepted by the Confederate Lords near Musselburgh and took up position on Carberry Hill. No fighting took place, but, after a prolonged stand-off, Mary gave herself up to the Confederate Lords on the promise that they would honour and serve her if she abandoned Bothwell. Bothwell fled and although pursued he escaped to Denmark where he was imprisoned and subsequently died in 1578.

Although Mary had apparently foresworn Bothwell, a letter, supposedly written by her to him and alleged to prove his complicity in Darnley's murder, was intercepted by the Lords and this was sufficient for them to move her to Lochleven Castle. On 24 June 1567 she signed a Deed of Abdication in favour of her son, James. Six weeks later, he was crowned James VI of Scotland at Stirling Castle, and the Earl of Moray was appointed Regent.

Mary still had her supporters, notably the Hamiltons, and on 2 May 1568 she escaped from Lochleven aided by Sir Claud Hamilton, and supporters including a number of earls, lords and bishops rallied to her at Hamilton. The abdication was revoked on 8 May, and Mary decided that she would take up residence at Dumbarton Castle. This latter move was supported by a number of her supporters who were not happy that the Hamilitons had effective control of her person. An Order of the Council of War on 12 May declared that Mary should be escorted to Dumbarton by the whole army which would then return to Hamilton. Archibald Campbell, the fifth Earl of Argyll was appointed Lieutenant of Scotland, and leader of the army. Mary and her commanders were probably not expecting a battle as they knew they outnumbered Moray's forces.

Moray at this time was in Glasgow and when he heard of Mary's escape he assembled forces as quickly as he could. Scott says Moray intended to take the initiative and march on Hamilton, but in the early hours of 13 May heard through his informers that Mary's army was about to march from Hamilton to Dumbarton.

Battlefield Landscape

At the time of the battle Langside was a village in a rural location well outside the limits of Glasgow. This rural aspect was removed over time as the modern city expanded, and by the late 19th century, tenements had been built on much of the area. Open ground does survive, notably in the Queen's Park, which includes the hill on which the centre and left flank of Moray's army was positioned.


Scott (1885) asserts that the exact location of the battlefield cannot be identified from the historical sources and local knowledge must be called upon to identify the places where the battle took place. On the basis of his assessment, which has been generally accepted, part of the battlefield is now Queen's Park; Moray's left wing was positioned close to the summit of Camp Hill, and the cavalry and artillery occupied the ground towards the south gate.

The battlefield comprised the southern portions of both divisions of Queen's Park, Clincart Hill and the village of Langside.

Moray's left wing very probably stretched westward behind the location of the later Pathhead Steading, in what is now Queen's Park. Had it been to the north it would have been on the northern slope without sufficient view of the enemy. On the east it would have been too far down the hill, and on the south too far from the road from Hamilton. If it was located to the west of the steading, part would have been on the western slope without any view eastward. It is also clear that the left wing, from the position assigned to it, could not see the right wing or observe what was happening in the village, as Grange had to ride between the two wings to inform the left of what was happening.

There were few roads at the time of the battle, mainly just tracks which avoided rough marshes and moors and with few safe river crossings. The road north probably went from Bothwell Bridge to Glasgow, through Tollcross and westwards to Dumbarton and this was the route used by the Covenanters in 1679. Mary was instead moving south of the river, following the Hamilton ' Blantyre - Cambuslang ' Rutherglen route, with the aim of crossing the Clyde further west at the fords of Govan or Renfrew. Scott believes that Argyll branched off to the south-west from what is now the Rutherglen ' Pollokshaws road, through the lands of Hangingshaw and along the ridge of what is now called Mount Florida and crossed the Glasgow - Ayr road at Cathcart. He would then have moved to Langside from where Mary's army would have moved by Haggs to join the public road. According to Scott, this fork took Argyll to 'high ground in the neighbourhood of his adversary'.

Moray, on the other hand, took the route of the Langside road, which no longer existed in the same form at the time Scott was writing. This road passed close to the site of the later Pathhead Steading. As carts were used to transport the heavy ordnance he may have used this road for speed.


At the time of the battle there was little agriculture in the vicinity of Langside and much of the land was covered in coarse grass and furze and was known as 'outfield'. The lower part of the eastern division of what is now Queen's Park was marshy, and flowed into the 'Mall's Mire' burn. On the south side of Clincart Hill and the village was a bog or marsh stretching to the River Cart. There was a considerably sized natural wood on the sloping ground between the village and the Cart. Between Clincart Hill and the bog, the 'Bus'-an'- Aik (bush and oak) road led from Cathcart Road to the location of the former Queen's Park Board School and continued up to the village by the 'Lang Loan'. The village ran north-south on both sides of a narrow street, with a single east-west street crossing at one end. The gardens on the east side of the narrow street were an important factor in the battle, sheltering Moray's hagbutters who lay in wait for the attack.


The area of the battlefield is now developed in many areas and lies under the modern areas of Cathcart, Langside, Battlefield, Crosshill, Mount Florida and Govanhill, with the notable exception of the area covered by Queen's Park. Despite this, open ground does survive in many areas. The Victoria Infirmary stands on the low ground between Langside Hill and Langside College on Clincart Hill.

Archaeological & Physical Remains and Potential

Scott (1885) reported that when a large trench was dug for drainage in the 1830s, leading from the village at Langside to the low ground where the Board School stood in 1885, a sword and some broken spearheads were recovered, though in a very poor state of preservation. Scott attributed the absence of any relics to the clearing of the battlefield of valuable weapons and metals. This is a feasible explanation, as removal of such items was a common practice in the aftermath of a battle. However, smaller objects such as lead balls and possibly iron cannon balls fired in the course of the battle may still survive in places.

Scott also mentions a rumour that the dead from Langside are buried in the marshland that would later become the Queen's Park boating pond on Pollokshaws Road.

Much of the area of Queen's Park was not developed at any point subsequent to the battle. As this was the location of the left of Moray's army and some combat took place in the general location, it should be presumed that survival of artefacts associated with the battle should be greater here.

Cultural Association

This area of Glasgow is now known as 'Battlefield' and the 'Bus'-an'-aik' road is now 'Battlefield Road'. A number of local streets have names linked to the battle e.g. Moray Place, Regent Park Square, Queen Mary Avenue, Grange Road, Lochleven Road and so on.

Commemoration & Interpretation

At some time prior to 1885 a commemorative stone had been set up showing Mary's monogram, and the day, month and year of the battle.

By 1887 expansion of the city had subsumed much of the village of Langside and it was at this time that the 18m (58 feet) tall Langside Battlefield Memorial was erected by public subscription at the junction of Langside Avenue and Battlefield Road, in close proximity to the main part of the battle site. A plaque explains that The battle of Langside was fought on this ground on 13 May 1568 between the forces of Mary Queen of Scots and the Regent Moray, and marked the queen's final defeat in Scotland.

The lion at the top of the memorial rests his paw on a cannonball and faces Clincart Hill where the forces of Mary Queen of Scots were positioned. While it was under construction, plans of the monument, a copy of The Abbot (by Sir Walter Scott, 1820), which features the battle, along with newspapers and coins of the day were placed under the structure.

More modest than the battlefield monument is a small memorial stone raised by Sir George Cathcart in 1799 on Court Knowe, which is thought to be the position from which Mary observed the battle. The monument, which is currently in a neglected condition, is located between immediately east of Cathcart Castle and replaced a hawthorn bush which was said to have marked the Queen's location.



Black C.S. 1936. Scottish Battles pp 128-130

Buchanan, G.1843. Rerum Scoticanum Historia. History of Scotland. Fisher, Son & Co., London and Paris, pp. 464-468.

Scott, A.M. 1885. The Battle of Langside, MDLXVIII. Hugh Hopkins, Glasgow.

Information on Sources & Publication

The most detailed account of the battle is given by Scott, writing in 1885, who draws on a number of primary sources. His account was designed to give 'as accurate a description as possible of the battlefield...and is mainly aimed at local readers'. Based on a talk he gave to the Glasgow Archaeological Society, he applied local knowledge to the historical accounts and the book , is clearly aimed at readers who were familiar with the locations he discusses.

The primary sources drawn on by Scott (1885) include Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, or History of Scotland, available in a reedited publication of 1843 . George Buchanan (1506-1582) was a Protestant strongly opposed to Mary. A distinguished scholar in various European universities, he evolved a concept of 'popular sovereignty' as a safeguard against tyranny. He was at various times tutor to James V's son and to Mary, against whom he would later testify against. Denounced as a heretic for satires on the friars which James V encouraged him to write, he was imprisoned for seven months by the Inquisition in Portugal. He also served as a Moderator of the General Assembly and as Lord Privy Seal. His History which relates the history of Scotland from its origins to the death of the Regent Lennox in 1571 was dedicated to James VI with whose education he had been entrusted and was completed in the year of his death.

Scott also drew on a number of other sources derived from contemporary or near-contemporary accounts. These included the work of the unknown author of the Advertisement of the conflict in Scotland, derived from an original manuscript printed in Patrick Fraser Tytler's The History of Scotland. Scott also cited information derived from an anonymous manuscript in the library of the Maxwells of Pollok. He also cited some supplementary information derived from the Scottish volume of Hollinshead's Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland


Other primary sources include Memoirs of his own life 1549-1593 by Sir James Melville of Hallhill. Melville was a statesman and courtier to Mary and also to her son, James VI. He acted as Mary's ambassador to Elizabeth of England.

Primary Sources

Buchanan, G.1843. Rerum Scoticanum Historia. History of Scotland. Fisher, Son & Co., London and Paris, pp. 464-468.

Holinshed, R. 1808. Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, v. London: J. Johnson, et al, 1808 (Online transcription of the original at: ). Volume II, p. 347

Thomson, T. ed., Memoirs of his own life by Sir James Melville of Halhill. MDXLIX-MDXCIII. From the original manuscript, Maitland Club, 21 (1833)

Thomson, T. ed., A diurnal of remarkable occurrences that have passed within the country of Scotland since the death of King James the Fourth till the year MDLXXV. From a manuscript of the sixteenth century, in the possession of Sir John Maxwell of Pollock, baronet, Maitland Club, 23 (1833)

Tytler, Patrick Fraser (1843), The History of Scotland (1542'1573), William P Nimmo, Edinburgh. Volume III

Cartographic & Illustrative Sources

No further information.

Secondary Sources

Black C.S. 1936. Scottish Battles pp 128-130

Houston, R.A and Knox, W. W. 2001. The New Penguin History of Scotland: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day. Allen Lane The Penguin Press, London pp.188-9, 194-5.

Scott, A.M. 1885. The Battle of Langside, MDLXVIII. Hugh Hopkins, Glasgow.

Account of the battle and movement of the forces: [Last accessed: 14/5/2012] [Last accessed: 14/5/2012] [Last accessed: 14/5/2012]

Re-enactment Pike Fighting by Julian Tilbury: [Last accessed: 14/5/2012]

About the Inventory of Historic Battlefields

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