David Leslie, 1st Lord Newark

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David Leslie, Lord Newark
David Leslie, Lord Newark portrait.jpg
David Leslie, Lord Newark
Born 1600
Died 1682
Allegiance Sweden Swedish Empire (? - 1639)
Scottish Covenanters (1644 - 1650)
Scottish Royalists (1650 to 1651)
Years of service ? – 1651
Rank General

Thirty Years' War
Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Relations Patrick Leslie, 1st Lord Lindores (father)

David Leslie, 1st Lord Newark (c. 1600–1682) was a cavalry officer and General in the English Civil War and Scottish Civil Wars. A son of Patrick Leslie, 1st Lord Lindores, he fought for the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus as a professional soldier during the Thirty Years' War.

Civil war[edit]

On the outbreak of the Civil Wars in Great Britain and Ireland, he returned to his native Scotland to take up a commission in the Scottish Parliament's Army of the Covenant. Leslie was second in command of the Scottish army which was sent to fight alongside the forces of the English Parliament in 1644. He won the day at the critical Battle of Marston Moor, west of York by leading a successful cavalry charge against the Royalist Cavaliers while Oliver Cromwell was wounded, and subsequently commanded the force that besieged Carlisle, Cumbria.

In 1645 Leslie was sent back to Scotland to deal with the Royalists there during the Scottish Civil War. He routed the main Royalist force under James Graham, Marquis of Montrose at the Battle of Philiphaugh and afterwards mopped up the remaining Royalists in Kintyre in the west of Scotland.

In 1647 Leslie besieged Dunaverty Castle which was a Clan MacDonald stronghold. The MacDonalds surrendered and then perhaps 300 of them were killed (the Dunaverty Massacre).

Leslie then laid siege to the Royalist garrison at Kincardine Castle. The Castle was being held by the Chief of Clan MacNab. When MacNab found that it would not be possible to maintain defence, he led the defenders, sword in hand at the head of 300 men, who cut their way through the besieging force. All made it through apart from the MacNab chief himself and one other man who were captured and sent to Edinburgh as prisoners of war. The chief was sentenced to death but he escaped, rejoined King Charles and continued to fight. MacNab was later killed at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

In 1650, after Montrose had made another attempt at a Royalist uprising, he was captured by Neil Macleod of Assynt. Macleod, who had fought with Montrose at the siege of Inverness, delivered him up to the Covenanters (see Battle of Carbisdale). General Leslie, who was then at Tain, sent Major General James Holborne with a troop of horse to fetch Montrose to meet his judges. Whilst Montrose was being led to his death Leslie dispatched five troops of horse, including some from Holborne’s and the John Gordon, 14th Earl of Sutherland's regiments to Dunbeath Castle. The defenders refused to yield, holding out valiantly for some days until their water supply was cut off, forcing them to surrender. They were finally marched under escort to Edinburgh, where Montrose was executed.

Royalist from 1650[edit]

By 1650, the Scottish Covenanter government had grown disillusioned with the English Parliament, and instead backed Charles II in the hope that, in return for their support against his English enemies, he would impose their political and religious agenda on Great Britain. Leslie accordingly now found himself fighting for the King. When the Parliamentarian army under Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland in July 1650 Leslie commanded the Scottish forces. By refusing battle, Leslie withstood Cromwell's attempts to attack Edinburgh and when the English were forced to retreat in August 1650 he pursued them down the east coast, eventually trapping 11,000 English soldiers south of Dunbar. Although the 14,000 strong Scottish army had the numerical advantage, divisions within the Committee of Estates and Kirk instructing Leslie gave Cromwell the opportunity to inflict a decisive defeat on the Scottish at the Battle of Dunbar on 3 September 1650. Leslie escaped with a tiny remnant of his army which then joined Charles II's Royalist forces in the Stirling area.

Leslie led the Royalist army on another invasion of England in 1651, where he was again defeated by Cromwell, at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651. After his capture he was sent to the Tower of London.

Released from captivity on the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, Leslie was granted the title Lord Newark. David Leslie, 1st Lord Newark, died in 1682. His son David was the 2nd Lord Newark. His daughter Jean Leslie (d. 1740) styled herself as 3rd "Lady Newark" [1], as a lady in her own right. She married Sir Alexander Anstruther of Anstruther in 1694, and their sons William and Alexander were known semi-officially as the 4th and 5th Lords Newark.

See also[edit]