The British Isles in Conflict 1644–51


Map Code: Ax01765

The English Civil War (1642–46) in turn created a Scottish civil war, in which Royalists, under the 1st Marquis of Montrose, fought the Covenanters. The Covenanters were Scottish Presbyterians, who controlled Parliament and allied themselves with the anti-Royalist English Parliament. After the king’s capture in 1646 he made a secret contract with the Scots, who agreed to help him regain his throne if he promised to re-establish Presbyterianism in England. The Royalists rose once again and the short-lived resumption of the war (1648–49) was followed by Charles’s eventual defeat, recapture and execution. In Scotland Montrose returned from exile to resume hostilities on behalf of Charles I’s successor, Charles II. Supported by pro-Royalist Irish Confederates, he was finally defeated in Carbisdale (1650) by pro-government clans and Scottish Covenanters and was swiftly executed. The Covenanters, angered at being excluded from negotiations by the English Parliament, switched sides and became pro-monarchy, endorsing Charles II’s right to the throne in 1651. Meanwhile, an Irish insurrection in 1649–50 by a pro-Catholic, pro-Royalist Confederacy ended in Oliver Cromwell massacring both soldiers and civilians at Drogheda and capturing the Confederate fleet at Wexford (1649). By 1650, Cromwell, having already defeated Royalists in England, was now Lord Protector of the Realm, which included all three kingdoms: England, Scotland and Ireland.

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