Worse was to come for the Covenanters when Charles II was "restored nine years later. Firmly seated upon the throne, Charles renounced the covenants, which in 1662 were declared unlawful oaths to be abjured by all persons holding public offices. Argyll himself was executed for treason, "episcopacy was restored, "James Sharp was appointed "Archbishop of St Andrews and Primate of Scotland, the court of high commission was revived, and ministers who refused to recognize the authority of the bishops were expelled from their livings. Archbishop Sharp survived an assassination attempt in 1668 only to be killed by another group of Covenanters in 1679.
Following the restoration of Episcopacy, rebel ministers began to preach at secret open-air meetings in the countryside known as "conventicles". A period of sustained persecution began. Oppressive measures against these illegal field assemblies where attendance was made a capital offence led to an outbreak of armed rebellion in 1666, originating in Galloway. Advancing from the west towards Edinburgh, a small force of poorly armed Covenanters was defeated at the "Battle of Rullion Green in the "Pentland Hills, a location which caused the whole tragic episode to be misleadingly named the Pentland Rising. To quell unrest in south-west Scotland, the government brought in 6,000 "Highland soldiers, described by its enemies as an "inhumane and barbarous Highland host", which were quartered on suspected Covenanters and were accused of committing many atrocities.
A further rebellion broke out in 1679, after the unexpected success of a group of covenanters, armed with pitch forks and the like, against government forces led by "John Graham of Claverhouse at the "Battle of Drumclog. For a time the authorities looked in danger of losing control of the south west of Scotland, as more and more people joined the rebel camp at Bothwell near "Glasgow; but only a few weeks after Drumclog the rebels were defeated at the "Battle of Bothwell Brig. In the weeks before the battle the Covenanters spent more time arguing among themselves than preparing for the inevitable counterstroke, which did much to contribute towards their downfall. Of 1,200 captured rebels taken to Edinburgh, some 400 were imprisoned in an area of Greyfriars Kirkyard over the winter months.
Inevitably, the government behaved harshly at first towards some of those caught in arms. On the initiative of "James, Duke of Monmouth, who led the king's army to victory at Bothwell Brig, a more conciliatory policy was followed for a time, though this met with limited success.
Through the period of repression the Covenanters held their convictions with a zeal that was only intensified by the persecution. For them it was a matter of belief. For the government, in contrast, the whole conventicle movement was seen as a problem of public order, which they attempted to deal with often using very inadequate resources. However, after the collapse of the 1679 rebellion a more dangerous element entered into the whole equation.
In 1680 a more extreme mood appeared among sections of the Covenanter underground, which found expression in a document known as the "Sanquhar Declaration. This was the manifesto of the followers of the Reverend "Richard Cameron, soon to be known as the "Cameronians. Hitherto, many in the Covenanter underground maintained an outward loyalty to the king, despite their opposition to the religious policy of his government; but the Cameronians took matters to a new height, renouncing their allegiance to Charles and denouncing his brother, James, as a papist. One extreme position inevitably led to another: the government in attempting to stamp out sedition authorized field executions without trial. This was the beginning of what "Robert Wodrow later called "the Killing Time. Cameron himself was killed in a clash with government forces at "Airds Moss in July 1680, but his followers, now a tiny part of the Covenanter movement, continued to exist. After the accession of "James VII in 1685 the King issued a series of Letters of Indulgence allowing such "ousted ministers as had lived peaceably and orderly to return to their livings". This succeeded in luring many ministers away from the struggle, but those remaining became more determined. When "William of Orange summoned a Convention of the Estates which met on 14 March 1689 in Edinburgh to consider whether Scotland should recognise him or James, forces of Cameronians arrived to bolster William's support. In the subsequent "Jacobite rising, the "Cameronian Guard helped to defeat the "Jacobite Highlanders, particularly at the "Battle of Dunkeld. Although the Cameronians had helped to defend the Revolution, they were disappointed that their religious views were not adopted by the new government. The binding obligation of the National Covenant (1638) and the Solemn League and Covenant (1643) was passed over since the acts of parliament in favour of these had been rescinded by Charles and were not revived under William and Mary. For some Covenanters even William of Orange was an "uncovenanted" King since he was head of the Church of England which was an episcopal church. Perhaps 1000 people in the south west made an issue of the failure to maintain the covenants and also, with some justification, viewed the new establishment as tainted by "Erastianism. They formed the United Societies refusing to recognise the "usurped" Church of Scotland.
Martyrs and memorials
Though the rebellion had ended and a degree of Presbyterian tolerance for other faiths had been suggested by thanks given for James's Indulgence of 1687, for allowing all "to serve God after their own way and manner", memories of ""the Killing Time" were now kept alive by monuments and tombstones at the many "martyr graves across the south of Scotland, particularly the south west. "For the word of God and Scotland's work of Reformation. Scotland's heritage comes at a price which invokes our greatest heart felt thanks for the lives sacrificed on the anvil of persecution, when innocent blood stained the heather on our moors and ran down the gutters of our streets with sorrow and sighing beyond contemplation."
Tombs are scattered around the moors and monuments were added later, for "if the authorities learnt that a murdered Covenanter had been given a decent burial, their bodies were usually disinterred and buried in places reserved for thieves and malcontents. Quite often the corpse was hanged or beheaded first", and burying the body in the kirkyard could result in another punitive death. In 1707 a monument was erected at Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, near the open ground known as the "Covenanters' Prison", where some twelve-hundred Covenanters were held captive after Bothwell. It gives a figure of 18,000 killed in the period 1661 to 1680, quoting an estimate which "Daniel Defoe claimed was "Collected from the Accounts both Publick and Private" for his Memoirs of the Church of Scotland (1717).
The History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution by "Robert Wodrow, published in 1721-1722, produced a detailed record and denounced the persecution of the Covenanters. This martyrology would be brought forward again when elements in the Church of Scotland felt it to be suffering state interference, as at the "Disruption of 1843.
The United Societies continued without preaching, sacraments, or government until they were joined by one ordained minister in 1706, then in 1743 the Reformed Presbytery was organised. Covenanters fleeing persecution had set up churches in Ireland and North America and several small denominations were founded, including the "Reformed Presbyterian Church.
From a religious perspective, "The king had been defeated in his attempt to dictate the religion of his subjects; Presbyterianism became the established religion. But it had been equally proved that the subjugation of the State to the Church, the supremacy, political as well as ecclesiastical, of the Kirk, was an impossibility. In this the Covenants had failed." While the exploits and the sufferings of these martyrs in the cause of religious dissent and scripture as the sole "infallible rule of faith and practice" are still remembered, often in a romantic light, their aim of denying the religious freedom they sought for themselves to other denominations is reflected in the terms of ministerial and Christian communion of some groups which include "an approbation of the faithful contendings of the martyrs of Jesus, especially in Scotland, against Paganism, Popery, Prelacy, Malignancy and Sectarianism."
Covenanters in North America
Covenanters started their migration to North America by way of Ireland. Having come to Ireland for religious, economic, and political reasons throughout the Seventeenth Century, Scottish Presbyterians, including Covenanters, once again for religious, economic, and political reasons felt compelled to migrate again. The migration is usually dated from the year 1717, when preacher "William Tennent, founder of "Log College, the first Presbyterian seminary in North America, came with his family to the Philadelphia area. In North America Covenanters became known as members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. They were among the most vocal agitators for independence from Great Britain and volunteered in large numbers as soldiers in the revolutionary armies. The Covenanters were opposed to slavery, and in 1800 the Reformed Church voted to outlaw slave-holding among its members.
- "Religion in the United Kingdom
- "Scotland in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms
- "Plantation of Ulster
- "Samuel Rutherford
- "Archibald Johnston
- "Alexander Henderson (theologian)
- "James Sharp (bishop)
- "The Killing Time
- "David Hackston
- "Richard Cameron (Covenanter)
- "Donald Cargill
- "Alexander Peden
- "James Renwick (Covenanter)
- "List of Presbyterian and Reformed denominations
- "Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland
- Buckroyd, J. Church and State in Scotland, 1660-1681. 1980
- Cowan, E. J. The Solemn League and Covenant, in Scotland and England, 1286-1815, ed. R. A. Mason, 1987.
- Cowan, I. B. The Covenanters: a Revision Article'' in The Scottish Historical Review, vol. 28, pp43–54, 1949.
- Cowan, I. B. The Scottish Covenanters, 1660-1688, 1976
- Donaldson, G. Scotland from James V to James VII, 1965
- Fissel, M. C. The Bishops' Wars. Charles I's Campaigns against Scotland, 1638-1640, 1994
- Hewison, J. K. The Covenanters, 2 vols. 1913.
- Kiernan, V. G. A Banner with a Strange Device: the Later Covenanters, in History from Below, ed. K. Frantz, 1988.
- Love, Dane. Scottish Kirkyards, 1989 (Robert Hale Publishers, London).
- Mathieson, W. L. Politics and Religion: a Study in Scottish History from the Reformation to the Revolution, 2 vols, 1902.
- Paterson, R C. A Land Afflicted, Scotland And The Covenanter Wars, 1638-1690, 1998
- Purves, Jock. Fair Sunshine. 1968
- Scott, Sir Walter. The Tale Of Old Mortality, 1816.
- Stevenson, D. The Scottish Revolution, 1637–1644, 1973.
- Terry, C. S. The Pentland Rising and Rullion Green, 1905.
- "Wodrow, R. The History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution, reissued as 4 vols., 1828–1830
- "The Covenanters, The Fifty Years Struggle 1638-1688". Sorbie.net. 1920-07-26. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- "Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh". Covenanter.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- Covenanters "The Catholic Encyclopedia
- Covie. "Who are the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church?". Covenanter.org. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- "Wodrow, Robert". ScotlandsPeople. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- Who were the Covenanters? Scottish Covenanter Memorials Association
- The Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America
- The Reformed Presbyterian Church (Covenanted)
- Edinburgh's History: The Covenanters
- The Reformed Presbytery in North America
- British Civil Wars: The Scottish National Covenant
- British Civil Wars: The Covenanters
- The History of Protestantism - Volume Third - Book Twenty-fourth - Protestantism In Scotland
- The Covenants And The Covenanters, 1895, from "Project Gutenberg
- A Photographic Index of The Covenanters
|De Facto Government of Scotland
"Commonwealth of England