Restoration (Scotland)

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"Scottish Restoration" redirects here; not to be confused with the Restoration of the Scottish hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
King Charles II, the first monarch to rule after the Scottish Restoration

The Restoration period of Scottish history spanned 3 decades of the late 17th century, from 1660 until the Revolution and Convention of Estates of 1689, during the early modern period. It is usually depicted as an era of authoritarian government, profound religious division, and economic depression, with only modest signs of cultural renaissance in the 1680s.[1]

The restoration of the monarchy occurred in 1660 when the Scottish, English and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the government of the Commonwealth that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The term Restoration may apply both to the actual event by which the monarchy was restored, and to the period following the event.

It had been hoped by Presbyterians that Charles would implement a Presbyterian settlement for the Kirk, Charles having agreed to the Solemn League and Covenant under the Treaty of Breda (1650). However, Charles instructed his privy council to the restoration of the Scottish Episcopacy. This led to a series of conflicts between Presbyterians and the Bishops of the Episcopalian establishment, culminating in The Killing Time.

Background: civil wars and Commonwealth[edit]

The Scots holding the young Charles II's nose to the grindstone of the Engagement, from a satirical English pamphlet.

Having defeated Charles I's English armies in the Bishops Wars, and then aiding the Parliamentarians to victory in the First English Civil War (1642–46), the Scottish Covenanter regime supported the king in the Second Civil War (1648–49),[2] in which their forces were defeated at the Battle of Preston.[3] England was increasingly dominated by the New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell. The king was executed and England was declared a Commonwealth. As soon as news of Charles I's execution reached Scotland, his son was proclaimed king as Charles II. Charles accepted the offer from the Covenanters, arriving in June 1650 and signing the Covenants. The English responded with an invasion that defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar. Charles was crowned at Scone on 1 January 1651 and a new army was assembled. The Scots army with the king set off for England, but there was no rising in their favour and the army was caught at Worcester on 3 September and decisively defeated, bringing the civil wars to an end. Charles escaped to the continent, an English army occupied Scotland and Cromwell emerged as the most important figure in the Commonwealth.[4]

In 1652, the English parliament declared that Scotland was part of the Commonwealth. Various attempts were made to legitimise the union, calling representatives from the Scottish burghs and shires to negotiations and to various English parliaments, where they were always under-represented and had little opportunity for dissent. However, final ratification was delayed by Cromwell's problems with his various parliaments and the union did not become the subject of an act until 1657.[5] The military administration in Scotland, led by General George Monck, was relatively successful. It managed to enforce law and order, suppressing the banditry of the Moss-troopers and enforcing a form of limited religious toleration, but by introducing English judges largely suspending the Scots law. In 1653–55 there was a major Royalist rising in the Highlands led by William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn and John Middleton, which was defeated at the Battle of Dalnaspidal on 19 July 1654.[6]

End of the republic[edit]

After the death of Cromwell in 1658, Monck remained aloof from the manoeuvring in London that led to the brief establishment of a regime under Richard Cromwell and the subsequent contest for power between army leaders. In 1659 he opened negotiations with Charles II and began a slow march south with his army. He then restored the English Long Parliament, which, having received assurances, voted for a restoration of the monarchy and then dissolved itself, creating a de facto restoration of the monarchy in Scotland, but without safeguards.[7]

Charles II bestowed on Monck the title Duke of Albermarle in gratitude for his part in the Restoration,[citation needed] and after Monck's death in 1670, his regiment was renamed the Coldstream Guards.[citation needed]

Return of Charles II[edit]

Charles was proclaimed king in Edinburgh on 14 May 1660 (for the second time the first being more than ten years earlier on 6 February 1649). He was not crowned again in Scotland (having been previously crowned at Scone in 1651). The Restoration "presented an occasion of universal celebration and rejoicing throughout Scotland".[8]

Charles II summoned his parliament on 1 January 1661, which began to undo all that been forced on his father Charles I. The Rescissory Act 1661 made all legislation back to 1633 'void and null'.[9]

In the event Scotland regained its system of law, parliament and kirk, but also the Lords of the Articles, bishops and a king who did not visit the country and ruled largely without reference to Parliament through a series of commissioners. These began with Earl of Middleton and ended with the king's brother and heir, James, Duke of York (known in Scotland as the Duke of Albany).[10]

9th Earl of Glencairn was also an important figure in the Restoration. In 1663, The Earl of Lauderdale was made Secretary of State and rapidly became the predominant political figure of the Restoration period.[citation needed]

General pardon and exceptions[edit]

Execution of Rev James Guthrie in Edinburgh; the second man, after the Duke of Argyll, to be executed for high treason after the Restoration of 1660.

On 9 September 1662 the Scottish parliament passed the Act of indemnity and oblivion. It was a general pardon for most types of crime that may have been committed by Scots, between 1 January 1637 and before 1 September 1660, during what the Act calls "the late troubles" (the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the Interregnum).[11]

The act was structured in a similar way to the English Indemnity and Oblivion Act 1660, it legislated for a general pardon with exceptions, but (like Cromwell's Act of Grace) it contained many more exceptions than the English act. The act did not reverse the provisions of any previous act passed by the same Scottish Parliament or the provisions of the Committee of Estates passed since August 1660. It explicitly mentions the of forfeitures of "Archibald Campbell, late marquis of Argyll, Archibald Johnston, sometime called Sir Archibald Johnston of Wariston, John Swinton, sometime called of Swinton, James Guthrie, William Govan, John Home and William Dundas, James Campbell, sometime called of Ardkinglas and James Campbell, sometime called of Orinsay".[11][12] An additional act called the Act containing some exceptions from the act of indemnity was passed that included heavy fines for about 700 former adherents to the Covenant. The exceptions act specified that if an excluded person did not pay the fines by the date specified he (they were all men) would lose the benefit of the general pardon, but on timely payment he would "enjoy the benefit of his majesty's pardon and indemnity to all intents and purposes".[13][14]

A few members of the previous regime were tried and found guilty of treason. Some were executed: Archibald Campbell (8th Earl of Argyll), beheaded 27 May 1661, James Guthrie and Captain William Govan hanged 1 June 1661, and Archibald Johnston (Lord Warriston) hanged 22 July 1663.[14][15][16][17][18] John Swinton (1621?–1679) was condemned to forfeiture and imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle, where he remained for some years before being released.[19] In 1661 John Home of Kelloe had his estates sequestrated for being with the English army against the king's army at the battle of Worcester in 1651.[12][20] After the Glorious Revolution of 1688 the estates were restored to his son George.[21]

Religious settlement[edit]

The "Act Recissory" that revoked legislation back to 1633 removed the Covenanter gains of the Bishops' Wars, but an act passed later the same day renewed the discipline of kirk sessions, presbyteries and synods, suggesting that a compromise was possible.[22] The Restoration of episcopacy was proclaimed by the Privy Council of Scotland on 6 September 1661.[23] James Sharp, minister of Crail, who was in London to represent the interests of the Resolutioners, changed sides and accepted the position of Archbishop of St. Andrews. Soon an entire bench of bishops had been constructed. During the parliamentary session of 1662 the Church of Scotland was restored as the national Church and all office-holders were required to renounce the Covenants. Church ministers were forced to accept the new situation or lose their livings. Up to a third, at least 270, of the ministry refused.[22] Most of the vacancies occurred in the south-west of Scotland, an area particularly strong in its Covenanting sympathies. Some of the ministers also took to preaching in the open fields in conventicles, often attracting thousands of worshipers.[24]

The government responded with alternating policies of force and toleration. In 1663 and act was passed that declared dissenting minsters as seditious persons and allowed the imposition of heavy fines on those who failed to attend the parish churches. In 1666 a group of men from Galloway captured the government's local military commander and marched on Edinburgh. They were defeated at the Battle of Rullion Green and fifty prisoners were captured. Thirty-three were executed, two after torture, and the rest were transported to Barbados. There were then a series of arrests of suspected persons. The rising resulted in the fall of the king's commissioner John Leslie, 1st Duke of Rothes.[25] The new commissioner John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale attempted a more conciliatory policy, issuing Letters of Indulgence in 1669, 1672 and 1679. These allowed evicted ministers to return to their parishes, if they would avoid political dissent. One-hundred and fifty refused to accept the offer and some episcopalians were alienated by the compromise. The failure to reach an accommodation led to a return to severity. Preaching at a conventicle was made punishable by death and attendance was punishable by severe sanctions. In 1674 heritors and masters were made responsible for their tenants and servants and from 1677 they had to enter bonds for the conduct of everyone living on their land. In 1678 3,000 Lowland militia and 6,000 Highlanders, known as the "Highland Host", were billeted in the Covenanting shires as a form of punishment.[26]

The Covenanter's Prison in St Giles Kirkyard, Edinburgh, where prisoners were held after the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679

In 1679 a group of Covenanters killed Archbishop Sharp. The incident led to a rising that grew to 5,000 men. They were defeated by forces under James, Duke of Monmouth, the king's illegitimate son, at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. Two ministers were executed and 250 followers shipped to Barbados, 200 drowning when their ship went down off Orkney. The rebellion eventually led to the fall of Lauderdale, who was replaced by the king's brother, the openly Catholic James, known in Scotland as the Duke of Albany.[27] The dissenters, led by Donald Cargill and Richard Cameron called themselves the Society People, but would be become known after their leader as the Cameronians. Reduced in number, hiding out in the moors, they became increasingly radical. On 22 June 1680 the Sanquhar Declaration was posted in Sanquhar, renouncing Charles II as king. Cameron was killed the next month. Cargill excommunicated the king, Duke of Albany and other royalists at the Torwood Conventicle and his followers now separated themselves from all other Presbyterian ministers. Cargill was captured and executed in May 1681. The government passed a Test Act, forcing every holder of public office to take an oath of non-resistance. Eight Episcopal clergy and James Dalrymple, Lord President of the Court of Session resigned and the leading nobleman Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll was forced into exile. In 1684 the remaining Society People posted an Apologetical Declaration on several market crosses, which informed servants of the government that they pursued the lives of its members at the risk of their own. In response to this new element of outright political sedition, the Scottish Privy Council authorised extrajudicial field executions of those caught in arms or those who refused to swear loyalty to the king.[28] This more intense phase of persecution, later known in Protestant historiography as "the Killing Time", led to dissenters being summarily executed by the dragoons of James Graham, Laird of Claverhouse or sentenced to transportation or death by Sir George Mackenzie, the Lord Advocate.[7] The persecution ended with the accession of William of Orange as King William II of Scotland in 1688 and the establishment of the Scottish Presbyterian Church by the Act of Settlement 1690.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brown 2012a.
  2. ^ Mitchison 2002, p. 223.
  3. ^ Mitchison 2002, pp. 225–6.
  4. ^ Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 221–4.
  5. ^ Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 225–6.
  6. ^ Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 226-9.
  7. ^ a b Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 241-6.
  8. ^ Jackson 2003, p. 14.
  9. ^ Jackson 2003, p. 78.
  10. ^ Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, p. 29.
  11. ^ a b Scottish Parliament 1662, Pardon.
  12. ^ a b Brown 2012.
  13. ^ Scottish Parliament 1662b, Exceptions.
  14. ^ a b Harris 2005, p. 111.
  15. ^ Gordon 1890, pp. 237–239.
  16. ^ Aikman 1842, p. 50–51.
  17. ^ Howie & M'Gavin 1830, pp. 73–75.
  18. ^ Crooks.
  19. ^ Swinton 1898, pp. 237–239.
  20. ^ Morison 1803, p. 42.
  21. ^ Edinburgh Magazine staff 1819, p. 582.
  22. ^ a b Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 231-4.
  23. ^ McCoy 1974, p. 216.
  24. ^ Mitchison 2002, p. 253.
  25. ^ Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 235-6.
  26. ^ Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 237-8.
  27. ^ Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 2338-9.
  28. ^ Mackie, Lenman & Parker 1991, pp. 239-41.


Further reading[edit]

  • Browning, Andrew (1996). "228. Order of Council for the Restoration of Episcopacy, 1661". English Historical Documents: 1660-1714. Early modern 6 (2, illustrated, reprint, reissue ed.). Routledge. p. 608. ISBN 9780415143714.