Battle of Glenlivet

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Battle of Glenlivet
Glenlivet - - 599424.jpg
Date 3 October 1594
Location near Allanreid and Morinsh, in Glenlivet, Scotland
Coordinates: 57°20′56″N 3°15′04″W / 57.348964°N 3.251002°W / 57.348964; -3.251002
Result Marquess of Huntly and Earl of Errol victory
Clan Gordon, Clan Hay, Clan Comyn, Clan Cameron Clan Campbell, Clan Murray, Clan Stewart, Clan Forbes, Clan Macgillivray, Clan Maclean, Clan Grant, Clan MacNeil, Chattan Confederation - Clan Mackintosh.
Commanders and leaders
George Gordon, 1st Marquess of Huntly
Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll
Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll
2,000 10,000
Casualties and losses
14 500

The Battle of Glenlivet was fought on 3 October 1594 near Allanreid and Morinsh in Scotland.[1]


This battle is often seen as a religious conflict, and was fought by the Catholic forces of George Gordon, 1st Marquess of Huntly and Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, who were victorious over the Protestant forces of Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll. When the decree of 12 November 1593 came out, by which Catholics were ordered to give up their faith or leave the country, Huntly refused to obey. His continued resistance culminated in the Battle of Glenlivet, where, accompanied by the Earl of Erroll, he engaged Argyll's army above Allt a' Choileachain.


The Earl of Huntly's forces consisted of 2,000 Highlanders from Clan Gordon, Clan Hay, Clan Comyn, and Clan Cameron.

The Earl of Argyll's forces consisted of 10,000 Highlanders from Clan Campbell, Clan Murray, Clan Stewart, Clan Forbes, Clan Macgillivray, Clan Maclean, Clan Grant, and the Chattan Confederation of Clan Mackintosh.[2]

The battle[edit]

Huntly's retainers prepared for battle by confession and communion. Mass was said at Auchindoun for them by Father James Gordon, S.J., before they set out on their march through Glenrinnes. Their weapons were sprinkled with holy water, and a cross placed on their armour symbolised that they fought in defence of the Cross of Christ.

The Earl of Huntly's force of 2,000 men routed the Earl of Argyll's force of 10,000. Huntly's victory was a dramatic victory of horse and artillery over irregular infantry.[3]

The location of the battlefield is approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) east of Glenlivet. The site of the battle is currently under research, to be inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Scottish Historical Environment Policy of 2009.[4]


A group of standing stones near to the site of the battle are said to have an association with the Battle of Glenlivet, although it is not known when the stones were set.[5]


  1. ^ Peter Hume Brown (1911). History of Scotland: From the accession of Mary Stewart to the Revolution of ... Before the arrival of James in the north, Argyle had met Huntly and Errol at Glenlivet in Banffshire (Oct. 4). Argyle's army was greatly superior in numbers, but to his Highland infantry in their plaids and bonnets were opposed a strong body of cavalry armed with lances and clothed in mail. Treachery in Argyle's ranks gave another advantage to the enemy; and, though the accounts of the action are somewhat conflicting, Argyle appears to have sustained a severe defeat ... 
  2. ^ MacKinnon, Charles. Scottish Highlanders. Barnes and Noble Publishing. 1995.
  3. ^ Battle of Glenlivet Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Inventory battlefields". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  5. ^ RCAHMS. "Achdregnie - Glenlivet (16299)". Canmore. Retrieved 29 June 2013.