James Graham

(1st Marquis of Montrose)

1612 - 1650

Romantic Covenanter, who turned Royalist. Graham was brought up in Kincardine Castle and educated at St. Andrews University. On returning from Europe in 1637, he observed that King Charles I (1600 - 49) was increasingly trying to control the Church and was one of the four noblemen who drew up the National Covenant in Greyfriar's Kirk (Edinburgh) in 1638 in an attempt to curtail the King's influence. However, he became concerned about the opposite extreme, a Protestant oligarchy led by Archibald Campbell (1598 - 1661), the 8th Earl of Argyll, who imprisoned Graham in 1640. Therefore, in 1644, Graham raised the Royal Standard in Perthshire and sided with the King against the Covenanting Army under Argyll, which was allied to the English army under Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1654). Graham showed himself to be a remarkable tactician, winning six successive battles (1644-5) at Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Inverlochy, Auldearn, Alford and Kilsyth, before being defeated by David Leslie (1601-82) at Philiphaugh (1645). He escaped to the continent but, shocked at the execution of Charles I, he returned to avenge the old King and support the young King Charles II (1630 - 85), but his small force was defeated at Carbisdale (1650). He was betrayed by MacLeod of Assynt, captured, hung, quartered and his head impaled on a stake at the Mercat Cross on Edinburgh's Royal Mile on the 21st May, 1650. He was reburied in St. Giles Kirk some 11 years after this terrible execution and his grave was marked in 1888 with a monument by Robert Rowand Anderson (1834 - 1921).

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