The new Scottish range of miniatures for Pike & Shotte Epic Battles, especially the new Covenanter plastics, has caused quite a stir, so I’ve been asked to step in and help contextualise the Covenanter movement of the 17th century’s significance in the War of the Three Kingdoms. Scottish troops were to play a pivotal role in the outcome of the British Civil Wars and Scottish officers and troops gained valuable experience on the battlefields of Europe in the Thirty Years War, particularly in service of the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus.

The Covenanters were a political and religious movement in Scotland that protected the rights and freedoms of the Scottish church from outside interference and took their name from the National Covenant that was signed in 1638 in opposition to changes that King Charles I sought to impose.

Opposition to the imposition of a new prayer book was almost universal in Scotland and the Covenanter movement had massive support, even from people such as James Graham, the Marquess of Montrose (later to lead the Scots Royalists).

Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven

King Charles was to compound the situation by raising an army to enforce his will. Unfortunately for him, he was opposed by two giants of the Covenanter cause, politically by Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyle and militarily by Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven. The English forces sent north were completely unprepared for the strength, organisation and battle readiness of the Scots and the Bishop’s Wars of 1639 and 1640 were to see an embarrassing stand down by the King as the Scottish army marched south and captured Newcastle.

The signing of the Solemn League and Covenant in 1643 forged an alliance between the Covenanters and the English Parliament against the Royalist forces in the British Civil Wars. Covenanter forces were to play a role across all the main theatres. In Scotland they were engaged in a struggle against the Scottish Royalist forces of Montrose, in Ireland their troops were deployed to protect protestant settlements and interests, especially in Ulster, and in England, they were to tip the balance of the war in the north with the major victory at Marston Moor in 1644 alongside their Parliament allies.

Scots Covenanter Battalia Commander

Charles I was to finally surrender to the Scottish Covenanter forces outside Newark rather than to Parliament, largely to attempt to drive a wedge between the allies. Eventually, this would cause a rift that meant that in the Second British Civil War of 1648, the Covenanters supported King Charles in return for support of the Covenant and the acceptance of the Presbyterian Church in England.

This revolt was quickly put down and the more hardline elements of Parliament put the king on trial for his life and executed him in 1649 much to the dismay of the Scots who had no say in this matter.

The Covenanters were quick to support Charles II as the rightful king, and a collision course was set against parliament’s New Model Army. The Battle of Dunbar in 1650 was a resounding defeat for the Scots, but their support for Charles II was unwavering and they crowned him King of Scotland at Scone in January 1651. Later that year they were to be defeated in battle again, this time at Worcester, and the Covenanter cause was much weakened. In the restoration of 1660, Charles II was to become King and almost immediately reneged on his promises on the Covenant. The Covenanter movement lost control of the political situation in Scotland and Argyl was executed in 1661. Leven was to die later that same year and the Covenanter movement became a persecuted minority with many losing rights and property and the period that followed became known as the ‘Killing Time’ as revolts were brutally quashed.

Scots Covenanter combined pike and musket regiment.

Start Collecting Scots Covenanters

The Covenanters were well equipped and motivated, as is our Pike & Shotte Epic Battles starter army! The new boxed set is absolutely stuffed with:

  • 12 Scots Covenanter regiments of 80 combined pike & musket (plastic)
  • 12 Scots Covenanter frame guns (plastic)
  • 12 mounted Scots Covenanter battalia commanders (plastic)
  • 24 Scots Lancers (plastic)
  • 24 Scots Dragoons (plastic)
  • 60 dismounted Scots Dragoons (plastic)
  • 3 mounted battalia commanders (plastic)
  • 3 ensigns (plastic)
  • 30 harquebusier cavalry (plastic)
  • 18 commanded shotte (plastic)
  • 6 Cuirassiers (plastic)
  • 3 mounted cornets (plastic)
  • 9 Dragoons (plastic)
  • 15 dismounted Dragoons (plastic)
  • 3 Saker medium guns (plastic)
  • 3 Falconet light guns (plastic)
  • Lord Leven (Warlord Resin)
  • Marquis of Argyll (Warlord Resin)
  • Calvinist Minister (Warlord Resin)
  • 9 casualty markers (Warlord Resin)
  • Plastic bases
  • Full-colour flag sheet

Additional troops are also available to supplement your new force or augment an existing one, perhaps as an allied contingent for a Parliamentarian army.

Scots Covenanters are also available as 28mm miniatures!

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