Wars of the Three Kingdoms

The Wars of the Three Kingdoms,[b] sometimes known as the British Civil Wars,[c][d] formed an intertwined series of conflicts that took place in the kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland between 1639 and 1651. The English Civil War proper has become the best-known of these conflicts; it included the abolition of the monarchy and the execution of the kingdom's monarch, Charles I, by the English Parliament in 1649.

The history of these wars is often extended to include the uprisings and conflicts that continued through the 1650s until the English Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and sometimes to include Venner's uprising the following year. The wars were the outcome of broadly set tensions over religious and civil issues. Religious disputes centred on whether religion was to be dictated by the monarch or by choice, the conscience of the individual, with many people feeling that they ought to have freedom of religion (freedom of conscience). The related civil question was settling the extent to which the king's rule was to be constrained by Parliament—in particular the right to raise taxes and armed forces without consent of the Parliament.

The wars also had elements of national conflict, as Ireland and Scotland rebelled against England's primacy within the Three Kingdoms. The broad and durable victory of the English Parliament—ultimately (under Oliver Cromwell and the Army) overcoming the king, the Irish and the Scots, and then outlasting the Cromwellian Protectorate itself—helped establish the future of Great Britain and Ireland as a constitutional monarchy with political power centred on the Parliament in London.

These wars included the Bishops' Wars of 1639 and 1640; the Irish Rebellion of 1641; Confederate Ireland, 1642–1649; the Scottish Civil War of 1644–1645; and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649 (collectively the Eleven Years War or Irish Confederate Wars); and the First, Second and Third English Civil Wars of 1642–1646, 1648–1649 and 1650–1651.



After 1541, monarchs of England styled their Irish territory as also a Kingdom—replacing the Lordship of Ireland—and ruled there with the assistance of a separate Irish Parliament, while Henry VIII integrated Wales more closely into the Kingdom of England. Scotland, the third separate kingdom, was governed by the House of Stuart.

Via the English Reformation, King Henry VIII made himself head of the Protestant Church of England and outlawed Catholicism in England and Wales. In the course of the 16th century Protestantism became intimately associated with national identity in England: English folk in general saw Catholicism as the national enemy, especially as it was embodied in the rivals France and Spain. But Catholicism remained the religion of most people in Ireland; for many Irish it was a symbol of native resistance to the Tudor conquest/reconquest of Ireland in 1541.

In the Kingdom of Scotland the Protestant Reformation was a popular movement led by John Knox. The Scottish Parliament legislated for a national Presbyterian church—namely the Church of Scotland or the "Kirk"—and the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate in favour of her son James VI of Scotland. James grew up under a regency disputed between Catholic and Protestant factions; when he took power he aspired to be a "universal King" favouring the English Episcopalian system of bishops appointed by the king. In 1584, he introduced bishops into the Church of Scotland, but met with vigorous opposition, and he had to concede that the General Assembly would continue running the church without his say.

The personal union of the three kingdoms under one monarch came about when King James VI of Scotland succeeded Elizabeth I to the English throne in 1603, when he also became King James I of England and of Ireland. In 1625, Charles I succeeded his father, and marked three main concerns regarding England and Wales: how to fund his government, how to reform the church, and how to limit (the English) Parliament's interference in his rule. At that time he showed little interest in his other two kingdoms, Scotland and Ireland.[6]


Riot against Anglican prayer book 1637
The spark—riot in St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, reputedly started by Jenny Geddes

James VI remained Protestant, taking care to maintain his hopes of succession to the English throne. He duly became James I of England in 1603 and moved to London. His diplomatic and political skills now concentrated fully in dealing with the English Court and Parliament—at the same time running Scotland by writing instructions to the Privy Council of Scotland and controlling the Parliament of Scotland through the Lords of the Articles. He contravened the sovereign authority of the Scottish General Assembly and stopped it from meeting, then increased the number of bishops in the Church of Scotland. In 1618 he held a General Assembly and pushed through Five Articles of Episcopalian practices, which were widely boycotted.

After his death in 1625, James was succeeded by his son Charles I, who was crowned in St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh—the Scottish coronation—in 1633, with full Anglican rites. Charles was less skillful or restrained than his father; his attempts to enforce Anglican practices in the Church of Scotland created opposition that reached a flashpoint when he introduced the Book of Common Prayer. His confrontation with the Scots came to a head in 1639, when he tried and failed to coerce Scotland by military means, the Bishops' wars.


See also the English Civil War (Background).

Charles shared his father's belief in the Divine Right of Kings, and his persistent assertion of this standard seriously disrupted relations between the Crown and the English Parliament. The Church of England remained dominant, but a powerful Puritan minority, represented by about one third of Parliament, began to assert themselves; their religious precepts had much in common with the Presbyterian Scots.

The English Parliament and the king had repeated disputes over taxation, military expenditures and the role of the Parliament in government. While James I had held much the same opinions as his son regarding royal prerogatives, he had discretion and charisma enough to often persuade Parliamentarians to his thinking. Charles had no such skill in political or human management; faced with multiple crises during 1639–1642, he failed to prevent his kingdoms from sliding into civil war. When Charles approached the Parliament to pay for a campaign against the Scots, they refused; they then declared themselves to be permanently in session—the Long Parliament—and soon presented Charles a long list of civil and religious grievances requiring his remedy before they approved any new legislation.


Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Ireland (proclaimed such in 1541 but only fully conquered for the Crown in 1603), tensions had also begun to mount. Thomas Wentworth, Charles I's Lord Deputy of Ireland, angered Roman Catholics by enforcing new taxes while denying them full rights as subjects; he further antagonised the native Irish Catholics by repeated initiatives to confiscate and transfer their lands to English colonists. Conditions became explosive in 1639 when Wentworth offered Irish Catholics some reforms in return for them raising and funding an Irish army (led by Protestant officers) to put down the Scottish rebellion. The idea of an Irish Catholic army enforcing what many saw as already tyrannical government horrified both the Scottish and the English Parliaments, who in response threatened to invade Ireland.


Modern historians have emphasised the lack of inevitability of the civil wars, noting that the sides resorted to 'violence first' in situations marked by mutual distrust and paranoia. Charles' initial failure to quickly end the Bishops' Wars informed the antagonists that force could serve them better than negotiation.

In Ireland, alienated by English Protestant domination and frightened by the rhetoric of the English and Scottish Parliaments, a small group of Irish conspirators launched the Irish Rebellion of 1641, ostensibly in support of the "King's Rights". The rising featured widespread assaults on Protestant communities in Ireland. In England and Scotland, rumours spread that the killings had the king's sanction, which, for many, foreshadowed their own fate if the king's Irish troops landed in Britain. Thus the English Parliament refused to pay for a royal army to put down the rebellion in Ireland; instead Parliament decided to raise its own armed forces. The king did likewise, rallying those Royalists (some of them members of Parliament) who believed their fortunes were best served by loyalty to the king.

The armies embrace
The English and Scots armies lovingly embrace each other

The English Civil War ignited in 1642. Scottish Covenanters (as Presbyterians there called themselves) joined forces with the English Parliament in late 1643 and played a major role in the Parliamentary victory. Over more than two years the king's forces were ground down by the efficiency of those of Parliament, including the New Model Army, backed as they were by the financial muscle of the City of London. On 5 May 1646 at Southwell, Charles I surrendered to the Scottish army besieging Newark-on-Trent. What remained of the English and Welsh Royalist armies and garrisons surrendered piecemeal over the next few months.[7]

Meanwhile, the rebellious Irish Catholics formed their own government—Confederate Ireland—intending to help the Royalists in return for religious toleration and political autonomy. Troops from England and Scotland fought in Ireland, and Irish Confederate troops mounted an expedition to Scotland in 1644, sparking the Scottish Civil War. There, the Royalists gained a series of victories in 1644–1645, but were crushed after the main Covenanter armies returned to Scotland upon the end of the first English Civil War.

The Scots handed Charles over to the English and returned to Scotland, the English Parliament having paid them a large sum for their expenses in the English campaign. After his surrender, Charles was approached by the Scots, the Presbyterians in the English Parliament, and the Grandees of the New Model Army, all attempting to reach an accommodation with him and among themselves that would gain the peace while preserving the crown. But now, a breach between the New Model Army and Parliament widened day by day, until the Presbyterians in Parliament, with allies among the Scots and the remaining Royalists, saw themselves strong enough to challenge the Army, which began the Second English Civil War.[8]

The New Model Army vanquished the English Royalist and Parliamentarians, and their Scottish Engager allies. On account of his secret machinations with the Scottish Engagers, Charles was charged with treason against England.[9] Subsequently, the Grandees and their civilian supporters would not reconcile with the king or the Presbyterian majority in Parliament. The Grandees acted; soldiers were used to purge the English Parliament of those who opposed the Army. The resultant Rump Parliament of the Long Parliament then passed enabling legislation for putting Charles I on trial for treason. He was found guilty of treason against the English commons and was executed on 30 January 1649.[10]

After the execution of King Charles I the Rump Parliament passed a series of acts declaring England a republic and that the House of Commons—without the House of Lords—would sit as the legislature and a Council of State would act as the executive power. In the other two kingdoms the execution of Charles caused the warring parties to unite, and they recognised Charles II as king of Great Britain, France and Ireland, which would lead to a Third English Civil War.

To deal with the threat to the English Commonwealth posed by the two kingdoms (Ireland and Scotland), the Rump Parliament first charged Cromwell to invade and subdue Ireland. In August 1649, he landed an English army at Rathmines shortly after the Siege of Dublin was abandoned by the Royalists following the Battle of Rathmines. Then, in late May 1650, Cromwell left one army to continue the Irish conquest and returned to England and to take command of a second English army preparing to invade Scotland. On 3 September 1650, he defeated the Scottish Covenanters at the Battle of Dunbar; his forces then occupied Edinburgh and Scotland south of the River Forth. Cromwell was advancing the bulk of his army over the Forth towards Stirling, when Charles II, commanding a Scottish Royalist army, stole the march on the English commander and invaded England from his base in Scotland. Cromwell divided his forces, leaving part in Scotland to complete the conquest there, then led the rest south in pursuit of Charles.[11]

The Royalist army failed to gather much support from English Royalists as it moved south into England; so, instead of heading directly towards London and certain defeat, Charles aimed for Worcester in hopes that Wales and the West and Midlands of England would rise against the Commonwealth. This didn't happen, and one year to the day after the Battle of Dunbar the New Model Army and English militia regiments vanquished the last Royalist army of the English Civil War at the Battle of Worcester, on 3 September 1651. It was the last and most decisive battle in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.[12]


Having defeated all organized opposition, the Grandees of the Parliamentary New Model Army and their civilian supporters dominated the politics of all three nations for the next nine years (see Interregnum (1649–1660)). As for England, the Rump Parliament had already decreed it was a republic and a Commonwealth; but Ireland and Scotland were now ruled by military governors, even as constituent representatives from both nations were seated in the Rump Parliament of the Protectorate—all which were dominated by Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector. When Cromwell died in 1658, control of the Commonwealth became unstable, until. in early 1660, General George Monck, commanding English occupation forces in Scotland, ordered his troops from the Coldstream barracks, marched them south into England, and seized control of London by February 1660.[13] There he accumulated allies and agreements among the English and London establishments including the newly constituted Convention Parliament, to which Monck was elected a member.[14] First a Royalist campaigner, then a Parliamentary soldier, he now contrived for the Restoration of the monarchy; Monck arranged that the Convention Parliament would invite Charles II to return as king of the three realms—which was done by act of Parliament on 1 May 1660.

The Wars of the Three Kingdoms pre-figured many of the changes that ultimately would shape modern Britain; but in the short term, the conflicts actually resolved little for the kingdoms and peoples of the times. The English Commonwealth did achieve a notable compromise between monarchy and a republic, even one that survived destabilizing issues for nearly the next two hundred years. In practice, Oliver Cromwell exercised political power through his control over Parliament's military forces, but his legal position—and provisions for his succession—remained unclear, even after he became Lord Protector. None of the several constitutions proposed during this period were realized. Thus the Commonwealth and Protectorate of the Parliamentarians—the wars' victors—left no significant new forms of government in place after their time.

Still, in the long term, two abiding legacies of British democracy were established during this period:

  • after the execution of King Charles I for high treason, no future British monarch could expect their subjects would tolerate perceived despotism—'the divine rights of kings' was no more;[15]
  • the excesses of the New Model Army, particularly that of the Rule of the Major-Generals, left an abiding mistrust of military dictators and military rule that persists until today among peoples of British descent or national association.[e]

English Protestants experienced religious freedom during the Interregnum, but there was none for English Roman Catholics. During the term of their control, the Presbyterian partisans abolished the Church of England and the House of Lords. Cromwell denounced the Rump Parliament and dissolved it by force,[16] but he failed to establish an acceptable alternative. Nor did he and his supporters move in the direction of popular democracy, as the more radical Parliamentarians (the Levellers) wanted.

During the Interregnum, the New Model Army occupied Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland, the new government confiscated almost all lands belonging to Irish Catholics as punishment for the rebellion of 1641; harsh Penal Laws also restricted this community. Thousands of Parliamentarian soldiers settled in Ireland on confiscated lands. The Commonwealth abolished the Parliaments of Ireland and Scotland. In theory, these countries had representation in the English Parliament, but as this body never held real powers, representation was ineffective. When Cromwell died in 1658 the Commonwealth fell apart—but without major violence. Historians record that adroit politicians of the time, especially George Monck,[17] prevailed over the looming crisis; Monck in particular was deemed the victor sine sanguine, i.e., "without blood", of the Restoration crisis.[13][18] And in 1660, Charles II was restored as king of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Under the English Restoration the political system returned to the constitutional position of before the wars. Although Charles II's Declaration of Breda, April 1660, offering reconciliation and forgiveness, had promised a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War, the new régime executed or imprisoned for life those directly involved in the regicide of Charles I. Royalists dug up Cromwell's corpse and performed a posthumous execution. Those religious and political radicals held responsible for the wars suffered harsh repression. Scotland and Ireland regained their Parliaments and some Irish retrieved confiscated lands; the New Model Army was disbanded. However, the issues that had caused the wars—religion, the powers of Parliament vis-á-vis the king, and the relationships between the three kingdoms—remained unresolved, postponed actually, to re-emerge as matters fought over again leading to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Only after this later time did the larger features of modern Britain foreshadowed in the civil wars emerge permanently, namely: a Protestant constitutional monarchy, and with a strong standing army under civilian control.

See also


  1. ^ "While it is notoriously difficult to determine the number of casualties in any war, it has been estimated that the conflict in England and Wales claimed about 85,000 lives in combat, with a further 127,000 noncombat deaths (including some 40,000 civilians)."[2]
  2. ^ Gentles 2007, p. 3, citing John Morrill, states, "there is no stable, agreed title for the events.... They have been variously labeled the Great Rebellion, the Puritan Revolution, the English Civil War, the English Revolution and most recently, the Wars of the Three Kingdoms."
  3. ^ Although the term Wars of the Three Kingdoms is not new, having been used by James Heath in his book A Brief Chronicle of all the Chief Actions so fatally Falling out in the three Kingdoms, first published in 1662,[3] recent publications' tendency to name these linked conflicts the term represents a trend by modern historians aiming to take a unified overview rather than treating some of the conflicts as mere background to the English Civil War. Some, such as Carlton and Gaunt have labelled them the British Civil Wars.[4][5]
  4. ^ Trevor Royle published his 2004 book under different titles. In the UK it was called Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms while in the US it was called The British Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 1638–1660 Royle 2004 and Royle 2005
  5. ^ "Around the rule of the Major-Generals there has grown a legend of military oppression which obscures the limits both of their impact and of their unpopularity" (Worden 1986, p. 134)
  1. ^ a b "ENGLISH CIVIL WARS". History.com. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  2. ^ Ohlmeyer, Jane H. (24 April 2018). "English Civil Wars : Causes, Summary, Facts, & Significance". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  3. ^ Raymond 2005, p. 281.
  4. ^ Carlton 1994.
  5. ^ Gaunt 1997.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Atkinson 1911, pp. 403–417.
  8. ^ Atkinson 1911, p. 417.
  9. ^ Gardiner 1906, p. 371.
  10. ^ Atkinson 1911, pp. 417–418.
  11. ^ Atkinson 1911, pp. 418–420.
  12. ^ Atkinson 1911, pp. 420–421.
  13. ^ a b Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Monk, George" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 723-.
  14. ^ Henning 1983.
  15. ^ Jane 1905, pp. 376–377.
  16. ^ Cromwell 1939, p. 501.
  17. ^ Burnet 1753.
  18. ^ Pepys 1660, Entry for 16 March 1660.


Further reading

Great Britain and Ireland

  • Bennett, Martyn (1997). The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland, 1638–1651. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19154-2.
  • Bennett, Martyn (2000). The Civil Wars Experienced: Britain and Ireland, 1638–1661. Oxford: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-15901-6.
  • Kenyon, John; Ohlmeyer, Jane, eds. (1998). The Civil Wars: A Military History of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1638–1660. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866222-X.
  • Russell, Conrad (1991). The Fall of the British Monarchies, 1637–1642. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-822754-X.
  • Stevenson, David (1981). Scottish Covenanters and Irish Confederates: Scottish-Irish Relations in the Mid-Seventeenth Century. Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation. ISBN 0-901905-24-0.
  • Young, John R., ed. (1997). Celtic Dimensions of the British Civil Wars. Edinburgh: John Donald. ISBN 0-85976-452-4.


  • Aylmer, G. E. (1986). Rebellion or Revolution?: England, 1640–1660. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-219179-9.
  • Hill, Christopher (1972). The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution. London: Temple Smith. ISBN 0-85117-025-0.
  • Morrill, John, ed. (1991). The Impact of the English Civil War. London: Collins & Brown. ISBN 1-85585-042-7.
  • Woolrych, Austin (2000) [1961]. Battles of the English Civil War. London: Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-175-8.
  • Worden, Blair (2009). The English Civil Wars: 1640–1660. London: W&N. ISBN 978-0297848882.


  • Lenihan, Pádraig (2000). Confederate Catholics at War, 1641–1649. Cork: Cork University Press. ISBN 1-85918-244-5.
  • Ó hAnnracháin, Tadhg (2002). Catholic Reformation in Ireland: The Mission of Rinuccini, 1645–1649. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820891-X.
  • Ó Siochrú, Micheál (1999). Confederate Ireland, 1642–1649: A Constitutional and Political Analysis. Dublin: Four Courts Press. ISBN 1-85182-400-6.
  • Ó Siochrú, Micheál, ed. (2001). Kingdoms in Crisis: Ireland in the 1640s. Dublin: Four Courts Press. ISBN 1-85182-535-5.
  • Perceval-Maxwell, M. (1994). The Outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-2173-9.
  • Wheeler, James Scott (1999). Cromwell in Ireland. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-2884-9.


  • Stevenson, David (1973). The Scottish Revolution, 1637–1644: The Triumph of the Covenanters. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-6302-6.
  • Stevenson, David (1980). Alasdair MacColla and the Highland Problem in the Seventeenth Century. Edinburgh: John Donald. ISBN 0-85976-055-3.

External links

Aberdeen doctors

The Aberdeen doctors or Doctors of Aberdeen were six divines working at Marischal College and King's College in Aberdeen, Scotland in the seventeenth century. Until 1635, they enjoyed the leadership of Patrick Forbes, Bishop of Aberdeen. They are distinguished not only for their positions at Aberdeen, but also by their irenicist opposition to the National Covenant of 1638. Their adherence to Episcopacy and their support for the Articles of the Assembly at Perth (1618), which prescribed several English forms of worship, form the backdrop of their opposition to the Presbyterian Covenanters.

Battle of Cheriton

The Battle of Cheriton was an important Parliamentarian victory in the English Civil War. It took place on 29 March 1644 and resulted in the defeat of a Royalist army, which threw King Charles I onto the defensive for the remainder of the year.

Battle of Dalnaspidal

The Battle of Dalnaspidal was a battle during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and one of the last engagements of the Scottish Civil War, bringing an end to the Royalist rising of 1651 to 1654.

Battle of Tullich

The Battle of Tullich, in 1652, also known as the Battle of the Pass near Tullich was part of the Royalist rising of 1651 to 1654 in Scotland, which itself was part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

Bishops' Wars

The Bishops' Wars of 1639 and 1640 are generally viewed as the starting point of the 1639–1652 Wars of the Three Kingdoms that ultimately involved the whole of the British Isles. They originated in long-standing disputes over control and governance of the Church of Scotland or kirk that went back to the 1580s. These came to a head in 1637 when Charles I attempted to impose uniform practices between the kirk and the Church of England.

Charles favoured an episcopal system, or rule by bishops, while the majority of Scots advocated a presbyterian system, without bishops. The 1638 National Covenant pledged to oppose these 'innovations' and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland voted to expel bishops from the kirk. When Charles resorted to force, the Covenanters defeated Royalist forces in Aberdeenshire in 1639, then an English army in 1640, leaving them in control of Scotland.

Committee of Estates

The Committee of Estates governed Scotland during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms when the Parliament of Scotland was not sitting. It was dominated by Covenanters of which the most influential faction was that of the Earl of Argyll.The Committee derives its name from the "Estates of Scotland" which was an alternative name for the Parliament of Scotland (see the Three Estates of Scotland).

Cromwellian conquest of Ireland

The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland or Cromwellian war in Ireland (1649–53) refers to the conquest of Ireland by the forces of the English Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Cromwell invaded Ireland with his New Model Army on behalf of England's Rump Parliament in August 1649.

Following the Irish Rebellion of 1641, most of Ireland came under the control of the Irish Catholic Confederation. In early 1649, the Confederates allied with the English Royalists, who had been defeated by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War. By May 1652, Cromwell's Parliamentarian army had defeated the Confederate and Royalist coalition in Ireland and occupied the country—bringing to an end the Irish Confederate Wars (or Eleven Years' War). However, guerrilla warfare continued for a further year. Cromwell passed a series of Penal Laws against Roman Catholics (the vast majority of the population) and confiscated large amounts of their land.

The Parliamentarian reconquest of Ireland was brutal, and Cromwell is still a hated figure in Ireland. The extent to which Cromwell, who was in direct command for the first year of the campaign, was responsible for the atrocities is debated to this day. Some historians argue that the actions of Cromwell were within the then-accepted rules of war, or were exaggerated or distorted by later propagandists; these claims have been challenged by others.The impact of the war on the Irish population was unquestionably severe, although there is no consensus as to the magnitude of the loss of life. The war resulted in famine, which was worsened by an outbreak of bubonic plague. Estimates of the drop in the Irish population resulting from the Parliamentarian campaign range from 15 to 83 percent. The Parliamentarians also transported about 50,000 people as indentured labourers. Some estimates cover population losses over the course of the Conquest Period (1649–52) only, while others cover the period of the Conquest to 1653 and the period of the Cromwellian Settlement from August 1652 to 1659 together.


The Engagers were a faction of the Scottish Covenanters, who made "The Engagement" with King Charles I in December 1647 while he was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle by the English Parliamentarians after his defeat in the First Civil War.

Glencairn's rising

Glencairn's rising was a Royalist revolt in Scotland against the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell from 1653 to 1654. It was led by William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn (1610–64), who was given command of the Royalist forces in Scotland by Charles II. Initially successful it began to suffer divisions when John Middleton arrived to replace Glencairn as commander, resulting in a series of duels between officers. It was defeated when Thomas Morgan caught Middleton's army at Dalnaspidal on 19 July 1654. Although the rising was unsuccessful it forced a change of policy by the Cromwellian regime, which now looked for a reconciliation with former Royalists and Engagers.

Holt Castle

Holt Castle was a medieval castle in the town of Holt, Wrexham Borough, Wales. Work began in the 13th century during the Welsh Wars, the castle was sited on the Welsh–English border by the banks of the River Dee.

In the medieval period, the five-towered fortress was actually known as Castrum Leonis or Castle Lyons because it had a lion motif carved into the stonework above its main gate. In the 17th century, almost all the stonework was removed from the site; only the base of the sandstone foundation remains.

Irish Confederate Wars

The Irish Confederate Wars, also called the Eleven Years' War (derived from the Irish language name Cogadh na hAon Bhliana Déag), took place in Ireland between 1641 and 1653. It was the Irish theatre of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms – a series of civil wars in the kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland (all ruled by Charles I). The war in Ireland began with a rebellion in 1641 by Irish Catholics, who tried to seize control of the English administration in Ireland to force concessions for Catholics. This developed into an ethnic conflict between Gaelic Irish and old English Catholics on one side, and English and Scottish Protestant colonists on the other. Catholic leaders formed the Irish Catholic Confederation in 1642, which controlled most of Ireland and was loosely aligned with the Royalists. The Confederates and Royalists fought against the English Parliamentarians and Scottish Covenanters. In 1649, a Parliamentarian army led by Oliver Cromwell invaded Ireland and by 1653 had conquered the island.

The war was both a religious and an ethnic conflict – fought over who would govern Ireland, whether it would be governed from England, which ethnic and religious group would own most of the land, and which religion would predominate in the country. It was the most destructive conflict in Irish history.

Irish Rebellion of 1641

The Irish Rebellion of 1641 (Irish: Éirí Amach 1641) began as an attempted coup d'état by Irish Catholic gentry, who tried to seize control of the English administration in Ireland to force concessions for Catholics. The coup failed and the rebellion developed into an ethnic conflict between the Gaelic Irish and old English Catholics on one side, and both ethnically English Protestants and Scottish/Presbyterian planters on the other. This began a conflict known as the Irish Confederate Wars.

The rising was sparked by Catholic fears of an impending invasion of Ireland by anti-Catholic forces of the English Long Parliament and the Scottish Covenanters, who were defying the authority of King Charles I (king of England, Scotland, and Ireland). In turn, the rebels' suspected association with Charles helped start the English Civil War. The English and Scottish Parliaments refused to raise an army to put down the rebellion unless it was under their command rather than the King's.

The Irish rebellion broke out in October 1641 and was followed by several months of violent chaos before the Irish Catholic upper classes and clergy formed the Catholic Confederation in the summer of 1642. The Confederation became a de facto government of most of Ireland, free from the control of the English administration and loosely aligned with the Royalist side in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The subsequent Irish Confederate Wars continued in Ireland until the 1650s, when Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army decisively defeated the Irish Catholics and Royalists, and re-conquered the country. The 1641 Irish Rebellion is seen as a key event in the mid-17th century collapse of the Stuart monarchy.

Jenny Geddes

Jenny Geddes (c. 1600 – c. 1660) was a Scottish market-trader in Edinburgh who is alleged to have thrown her stool at the head of the minister in St Giles' Cathedral in objection to the first public use of the Scottish Episcopal Book of Common Prayer in Scotland. The act is reputed to have sparked the riot that led to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which included the English Civil War.

Scotland in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Between 1639 and 1653, Scotland was involved in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, a series of wars starting with the Bishops Wars (between Scotland and England), the Irish Rebellion of 1641, the English Civil War (and its extension in Scotland), the Irish Confederate Wars, and finally the subjugation of Ireland and Scotland by the English Roundhead New Model Army.

In Scotland itself, from 1644–45 a Scottish civil war was fought between Scottish Royalists—supporters of Charles I under James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose—and the Covenanters, who had controlled Scotland since 1639 and allied with the English Parliament. The Scottish Royalists, aided by Irish troops, had a rapid series of victories in 1644–45, but were eventually defeated by the Covenanters.

The Covenanters then found themselves at odds with the English Parliament, so they crowned Charles II at Scone and thus stated their intention to place him on the thrones of England and Ireland as well. This led to the Third English Civil War, when Scotland was invaded and occupied by the Parliamentarian New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell.

Second English Civil War

The Second English Civil War (1648–1649) was the second of three wars known collectively as the English Civil War (or Wars), which refers to the series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651 and also include the First English Civil War (1642–1646) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651), all of which were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

Siege of Inverness (1649)

The siege of Inverness took place in 1649 as part of the 17th-century Scottish Civil War that was, in turn, part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

On 5 February 1649, Charles II had been proclaimed king after his father's execution. It was decided} that Charles and his allies who were in exile should again try to recover the kingdom, once again led by the royalist army leader James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose. As a result a rising took place in the north of Scotland under Colonel Hugh Fraser, who was joined by John Munro of Lemlair, Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine and Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty.

On 22 February they entered Inverness, where they expelled the garrison of Inverness Castle and afterwards demolished the walls and fortifications. On 26 February a council of war was held. Here they framed certain enactments by which they took the customs and excise of the six northern counties of Scotland into their own hands. Soon afterwards General David Leslie, Lord Newark was sent north to attack them. The clans then retreated from Inverness back into Ross-shire. Leslie placed a garrison in the Castle Chanonry of Ross, and terms of surrender were made between him and all of the clans except for the Mackenzies. As soon as Leslie left for the south, the Mackenzies attacked and retook the Castle Chanonry of Ross.

James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, landed in Ross-shire in 1650, expecting support from the clans who had rebelled in 1649. However, by this time many of them had switched sides, and opposed him at the Battle of Carbisdale.

Siege of Inverness (1650)

The Siege of Inverness of 1650 was part of the Scottish Civil War that formed part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Lewis Gordon, 3rd Marquess of Huntly, who was operating under the leadership of the royalist James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, unsuccessfully laid siege to Inverness Castle which was being held by Covenanters of the Clan Fraser of Lovat under Sir James Fraser of Brea.

Siege of Newcastle

The Siege of Newcastle (3 February 1644 – until 19 October 1644) occurred during the First English Civil War, when a Covenanter army under the command of Lord General Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven besieged the Royalist (Cavalier) garrison under, Sir John Marlay, the city's governor. Eventually the Covenanters took the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne by storm, and the Royalist garrison who still held castle keep surrendered on terms.

This was not the first time that Newcastle-on-Tyne had changed hands during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The Scots had occupied the city during the Second Bishops’ War in 1640.

Treaty of Breda (1650)

The Treaty of Breda (1650) was signed on 1 May 1650 between Charles II (King in exile of England, Scotland and Ireland) and the Scottish Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

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