Today in Celtic History – May 27, 1661 – Scotland: Archibald Campbell beheaded in Edinburgh.
His title was Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess and 8th Earl of Argyll. His full title was Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess and 8th Earl of Argyll, Lord Campbell, Lord Lorne, and Lord of Kintyre. Phew.
Campbell was the leader of Scotland’s anti-Royalist party during the English Civil Wars between King Charles I and Parliament. He was originally a Covenanter and navigated Scotland to a short period of independence from the political and religious oppression imposed by England.
His nemesis was James Graham, the 1st Marquess of Montrose, who was a key part of the Scottish Royalists.
With a newly formed government resulting from the ultimate defeat of the Scottish Royalists attempting to invade England, Campbell became an ally of Oliver Cromwell in 1648. Cromwell was the Parliamentarian commander. King Charles I was executed on January 30,1649 by Cromwell’s regime, beginning the period of the Commonwealth, where England, Ireland, and Scotland were ruled as a republic. Campbell even served for a brief period in Cromwell’s parliament.
In 1660, the monarchy was restored in England after Cromwell had passed and Charles II was king. He had Campbell arrested and placed in the Tower of London. He was ultimately sent to Edinburgh for his complicity in the death of Charles I, standing trial for high treason. While he successfully defended himself, a series of letters were produced demonstrating Campbell’s collaboration with Cromwell and his government. As a result of this evidence, Campbell was immediately sentenced to death. He was beheaded on May 27th, 1661. The execution was so swift, the death warrant wasn’t even signed by the king.
Image c/o David Scougall, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.