Preston 17 - 19 Aug 1648 and Uttoxeter.

 In 1647-8 the alliance with the English Parliamentarians and the future of the Solemn League and Covenant were crumbling, with the English unable, or unwilling, to fulfil their end of bargain, Not least they were against the extension of Presbyterianism as the true religion in England and very cautious about action against the `Sectaries` which included the Independents or Congregationalists to which Cromwell belonged. In Scotland  `The Engagement` between the Duke of Hamilton and  royalist nobles, with King Charles I on 26 December 1647, created great division. The Committee of Estates met in February 1648 and decided that war was inevitable but the ministers were opposed to such action. However, a new Parliament assembled with strong royalist support among the nobles (but excluding Archibald Johnston, Lord Warriston and the Marquis of Argyll) and a majority agreed on war. On 11 April 1648 an ultimatum was given the English demanding the freedom of King Charles; the army to disband, the establishment of Presbyterianism and discontinuance of the Book of Common Prayer.

 The ministers and the Presbyteries, especially from Clydesdale, Carrick and Cunningham joined with Fife Covenanters to oppose the war and the inevitable levies for men to fight it (see Mauchline Moor ). With only about 10,000 men who were mostly undisciplined and untrained and had insufficient arms and support. Hamilton entered Carlisle on 8 July 1648 and was joined by Langdale with some 3,600 better equipped Englishmen. Hamilton did not help his cause by his fixation to march through Lancashire and perhaps take the Presbyterian stronghold of Manchester. All this allowed the army of the Commonwealth to clear up peripheral risings and time for Cromwell to travel north  with 8,000 of the Model Army. He came upon the Scots at Preston on 17 August where the indecision and poor strategy by Hamilton ( some described it as mental paralysis)  resulted in heavy losses.

The royalist forces were divided by the river Ribble with Langley on one side, Baillie on the other and neither force was in contact with Middleton and his horsemen. This allowed Cromwell to pick off the divisions in turn. First he overwhelmed Langdale`s force who had been denied reinforcements by Hamilton until it was too late. Secondly, he chased Baillie and his troops to Warrington where his regiment surrendered - only 397 officers and men of  the original regiment of 1500 were left standing.  Hamilton  along with Middleton and Callander left Warrington on the 19th and proceeded to Chester, from where they went to Market Drayton, Stone and finally to Uttoxeter and defeat. There Hamilton`s  men mutinied and held him prisoner for a while, but with  the Scots broken, Cromwell`s forces harried them and finally crushed them on 25 August. Hamilton was finally captured  by the Governor of Stafford  and handed over to the Parliamentarian Lt. General Lambert. Some 10,000 prisoners fell into the Parliamentarians hands.  Of the prisoners only the pressed men were released subject to an undertaking not to take arms against England; volunteers were transported to the Colonies as slaves, and to Venice as conscripts for the continental wars.

 The Engagement adventure finished the royalist support and led to the Whiggamore Raid on Edinburgh and the Covenanters taking power. On 4 October 1648 Cromwell entered Edinburgh and left again on 7 October having concluded his business with the Marquis of Argyll, who was again leader of the Covenanters.


Home Scottish Reformation The Covenanters Ulster Scots English Reformation European Reformation General Topics & Glossary My Books & Bibliography Contact