Today in Celtic History – May 21, 1650 – Scotland: James Graham, the1st Marquess of Montrose is executed.
James Graham was the 1st Marquess of Montrose, also referred to as the Great Montrose. He was a Scottish nobleman and poet, and from his military endeavors, a soldier, lord lieutenant and later viceroy and captain general of Scotland.
Montrose originally joined the Covenanters, a Scottish religious and political movement in the 17th century, in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The War of the Three Kingdoms is also occasionally known as the British Civil Wars. These were a series of conflicts taking place between 1639 and 1653 in England, Scotland, and Ireland.
As the English Civil War took hold, Montrose supported King Charles I, who was king of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Between 1644 and 1646, and once more in 1650, Montrose fought in the civil war in Scotland, on behalf of the King. The English Civil War is the most well-known conflict within the Wars; the English Parliamentarian army defeated all others engaged in conflict, King Charles I was executed, the monarchy was abolished, and the Commonwealth of England was founded. The Commonwealth controlled the British Isles until 1660.
After being defeated and escaping capture at the Battle of Carbisdale on April 27, 1650, Montrose was turned in and taken as a prisoner to Edinburgh. There, he was tried and sentenced to death by hanging on May 20, 1650. The next day, Montrose was hanged, beheaded, and quartered.
Once identified as a traitor or martyr, his reputation became that of a romantic hero, know for his victories in battle, often taken his opponents by surprise. Over time, Montrose even became the subject of works by Walter Scott and John Buchan.
Images c/o: Lisby from Western Maryland, United States, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons,