Battle of Kilsyth
Battle of Kilsyth
15th August 1645
Name: Battle of Kilsyth
Date: 15 August 1645
War period: Civil War
Start time and Duration: Unknown
Outcome: Scottish royalist victory
Armies and losses: Royalist: around 3,000 foot and 600 horse; Covenanter: about 3,500 foot and 360 horse.
Location: Modern interpretations place the fighting east and north-east of Banton Loch.
Map details: Grid reference NS7462878572 (274628, 678572); OS Explorer Map 348; OS Landranger map 64
A Scottish royalist force advancing into the Lowlands destroyed the last Covenanter army in Scotland, forcing a return of Covenanter troops in England.
The Covenanter government of Scotland had entered into alliance with the English parliament and had entered the Civil War in England in early 1644, the Scottish army having a dramatic impact in the campaign for the north of England. In response, following the royalists’ dramatic defeat at Marston Moor, the King appointed the Marquis of Montrose as his military commander in Scotland. On 28th August 1644 Montrose raised the royal standard and, for most of the time with little more than 2000 troops, fought a campaign in which he won a series of dramatic successes in the Highlands against the Covenanter forces. Heavily outnumbered, he effectively exploited the terrain to outmanoeuvre the Covenanter army. Having won victories at Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Fyvie, Inverlochy, Auldearn and Alford he now attempted to break into the Lowlands. This was the only positive news for the embattled Charles I, whose cause was now heading for destruction in England, having just lost the battles of Naseby (Northamptonshire) and of Langport (Somerset). The king’s strategy now moved towards the uniting of Scottish and English royalist forces in a final desperate attempt to salvage the war.
From Alford, the royalists headed south along the east coast making for Glasgow. Two Covenanter forces, under Argyll and Baillie, followed in pursuit. Montrose turned to engage them at Kilsyth, where the route from Stirling to Glasgow skirts south of the Campsie Fells. In the ensuing battle the royalists destroyed the last Covenanter army in Scotland, in what was to prove the high point of the royalist campaign in Scotland.
A REPORT ON THE BATTLE, PREPARED FOR HISTORIC SCOTLAND BY THE BATTLEFIELDS TRUST, IS AVAILABLE FROM THE DOWNLOAD AREA ON THE LEFT