Battle of Drumclog
Battle of Drumclog
1st June 1679
Name: Battle of Drumclog
Date: 1 June 1679
War period: Stuart Uprising
Start time and Duration: Morning? Duration unclear, but probably no more than one hour
Outcome: Rebel victory
Armies and losses: Rebel: possibly 1,000-1,500, mainly foot with 3 squadrons of horse: Government: 150. Losses: Government: around 40 killed
Location: Fought in the area east of Stobieside with the rebel position fronted by a ditch and protected by a marsh.
Map details: Grid reference NS6282539871 (262825, 639871); OS Explorer Map 334; OS Landranger map 71
A limited action which saw a small government force defeated by a larger rebel one, emboldening the rebels to use military force again to challenge Charles II's religious non-conformity policies.
As his reign progressed Charles II imposed increasingly extreme controls on non- conformity throughout his kingdoms. In 1679 this led to open revolt by Covenanters in south west Scotland, following the murder of Archbishop Sharp on 3rd May 1679. The assassins were pursued by John Graham of Claverhouse with a small detachment of horse and dragoons. Claverhouse marched south from Glasgow but, warned of his intention to intercept them at Loudon Hill, the rebels deployed near to the farm of Drumclog, 2km NE of Loudon Hill.
Given the numbers involved, particularly on the government side, this can be considered little more than a skirmish, despite the significance of its repercussions. According to Smurthwaite the rebels deployed behind a marsh. According to Black, and supported by the limited terrain evidence collected for this report, they were behind a ditch and with marshes all around. This effective selection of terrain by the rebels precluded a cavalry attack and so Claverhouse’s dragoons dismounted and advanced on foot to within pistol shot. In response the rebels charged against the centre and left flank of the government deployment. Heavily outnumbered, the government forces broke and fled.
A REPORT ON THE BATTLEFIELD, PREPARED FOR HISTORIC SCOTLAND BY THE BATTLEFIELDS TRUST, IS AVAILABLE FROM THE DOWNLOAD AREA ON THE LEFT.