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 www.backhouserossie.co.uk 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

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