Thursday, June 01, 2017

June 1: The Battle of Drumclog OR Calvary Presbytery Org

Today many of us attended worship in the safety and warmth of a Church building, but this is a privelege that we have not always had in Scotland.
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Drumclog.
On 1st June 1679, a large conventicle, assembled for worship at the remote sight of Drumclog near Strathaven. This was attended by many people from the districts around Loudon Hill. Robert Douglas was the preacher and Sir Robert Hamilton was in charge of the company, assisted by Henry Hall, William Clelland, Balfour of Burley and David Hackstoun. There were forty to fifty (40-50) on foot, equipped with guns and one hundred and fifty (150) armed with miscellaneous agricultural implements and other weapons. Another forty to fifty (40-50) men were mounted on horseback. All came armed for self defence.
Claverhouse came upon them with a force as numerous as Hamilton’s and fully equipped. The Covenanters however, held the best position; a bog in front and a hill behind. The footmen were in the centre and a troop of horse in either wing. When Claverhouse came upon them, he summoned them to surrender, but the 76th Psalm was sung in defiance:
In Judah’s land God is well known
That were stout of heart are spoil’d
They slept their sleep outright:
And none of those their hands did find,
That were the men of might.
The Royalist troops fired and advanced, but were repulsed. Several attempts were made to overcome the Covenanters, but each time they were driven back and put to confusion. The Covenanters crossed the bog and attacked the soldiers who broke and fled. Claverhouse’s Charger was killed and he was de-horsed; he escaped narrowly by mounting an empty saddle. About forty Dragoons and twelve (12) Covenanters lost their lives in the skirmish. Some of the troopers taken as prisoners were released later.
Claverhouse reported from Glasgow the same day, saying that, “They pursued us so hotly that we got no time to rally. I saved the Standards but lost eight or ten men besides wounded.” The Dragoons lost many more men than Claverhouse had reported. Some of the Covenanters who fell that day are buried in the local Churchyards in the district, such as -- Lesmahagow, Newmilns, Strathaven, Loudon Kirk and Stonehouse. The troopers are buried near to the battle site in an unmarked grave.

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