Friday, 5 May 2017

Sir James Scott of Rossie/Rosyth

I have to admit dad and I knew nothing of this Covenanter until dad had an impromptu visit to a coffee shop with my brother. The cafe is located in the grounds of Rossie House, near Auchtermuchty in Fife, where the ruined mausoleum to this Covenanter is also to be found. The mausoleum is said to contain the bodies of Sir James Scott and his wife Lady Rossie, Antonia Scott, who died in 1663. After their visit, I did some research into the history of the place.

Sir James Scott was a colonel and veteran soldier who commanded a cavalry regiment on the Covenanter Army's left wing at the Battle of Tibbermore (Tippermuir) in September 1644, having received his received his commission in the Covenanter Army in August of that year.  James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose was the leader of the Royalist army, which was greatly outnumbered by the Covenanters, but their experience and motivation was their advantage during the battle.

The two armies met at Tibbermore, three miles outside of Perth. On the Covenanters' side, Lord Elcho commanded the right wing, James Murray of Gask the centre, and the left flank was given over to Sir James Scott of Rossie, the only veteran soldier present in the Covenant army that day. Montrose put Lord Kilpoint and 400 men on the left, directly in front of Elcho. Montrose took the left side himself, and in the centre he placed the Irish. Montrose drew up his troops in a line only three deep, thus making the front of his line much longer than Elcho's.
At this point Montrose is said to have delivered a speech saying: "Gentlemen: it is true you have no arms; your enemy, however, to all appearance, have plenty. My advice to you therefore is that as there happens to be a great abundance of stones upon this moor, every man should provide himself, in the first place, with as stout a one as he can manage, rush up to the first Covenanter he meets, beat out his brains, take his sword, and then I believe he will be at no loss how to proceed!"

It has been said that the Covenanter army lost 2,000 men in that battle and Montrose's army only one, but the fact that he could only muster 44 men for the Battle of Aberdeen less than two weeks later does not add weight to this claim. The fact remains that the Royalist army won that bloody battle and many Covenanters now lie in unmarked graves in the graveyard at Tibbermore Church.

The date of Sir James Scott's death is unknown. He survived the battle of Tibbermore and possibly went on to fight other battles with the Covenanters. He is last mentioned as living in February 1648 in the charter conveying Rossie to Sir John Brown on his betrothal to Mary, the eldest daughter of Sir John and Lady Antonia Scott. A later charter in 1653 made it clear that he was no longer alive.

(Information from Wikipedia and with thanks to my brother, Tim Drew, for the photos.)

Information in the grounds of Rossie House

The ruined mausoleum which probably contains the bodies of Sir James Scott and his wife, lady Rossie

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Covenanters' Guard House

Thanks to James Denham for this photo and information which he has posted on Geograph. New things come to light all the time!
A Covenanters' guard house   NT867 532
The lower half of this old building is said to be a guard house for Covenanting soldiers and was probably built to protect a nearby Conventicle in 1670. At the Conventicle at Allanbank, formerly known as East Nisbet, The great convenanting minister, Reverend John Blackadder, offered communion to an audience of over 3,200 people all keen to preserve Scotland's chosen church amidst the onslaught of Royalist soldiers.
As you will notice, the lower half of the building contains gun loops while the top has been added much later to form a shed.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Video now online!

Thanks to my brother, Jonathan, and Paul's expertise, we now have a video with dad introducing the website and the meaning of the title 'What mean ye by these stones?' They have chosen Donald Cargil's memorial at Rattray as the location for the video. Apparently mum was standing there trying to shut out the sound of the wind and rain with an umbrella. I said the raindrops on the screen and the cows in the background give it an authentic look. Still, it was necessary to dub the video afterwards in the warmth of Johnny's house - hence the poor quality. All this technology is too much for dad - he hasn't even seen the website yet! I'm awaiting his approval before we make it too public!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Welcome to our Covenanting blog!

Dad and I are pleased to announce the launch of our new website, This is the result of decades of work on my dad's part and nearing one decade on mine! Many miles have been undertaken by car and foot in search of these remote graves and many emails have been sent and phone calls made to request permission to use photographs and texts from a myriad of sources. Our thanks to everyone who has made this work possible. We look forward to its continuation in these pages.