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The Covenanting Trail
A journey through Scotland's "killing times"

The covenanters were put into very simple terms, the people of Scotland who signed the national covenant in 1638. This covenant confirmed their opposition to the intereference by the Stuart Kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

The Stuart Kings believed in the divine right of the Monarch, whereas the Covenanters couldn't accept that the King was the spiritual head of the church(only Jesus Christ could be the spiritual head of any church). This belief clearly put them at odds with the Crown and they were willing to fight for their beliefs.

King Charles 1 had introduced the book of common prayer in 1637 and any dissension (such as preaching ) from this, became an act punishable by heavy fines or ultimately death. These times became known as "the killing times" and was a particularly dark period in Scottish history. There were a few battles such as those at Drumclog, where armed worshippers routed the battle hardened Dragoons led by John Graham of Claverhouse (later Viscount Dundee)

covenanters memorial drumclog battlefield picture photograph

Unfortunately for the Covenanters the success was short lived and they were heavily defeated at the battle of Bothwell Bridge some three weeks later.

Following their defeat conditions, worsened for the covenanters and memorials can be found all over south west Scotland testifying to this. Some are to be found in Kirkyards whilst many will be found on open hillside marking the spot where many, trapped, offered the chance to make an oath of allegiance, refused and were summarily executed.

There are some buildings remaining from the time which were not burned or raised to the ground. Dalserf church(1655) is an interesting little church in a very quiet village in the clyde valley(or garden valley as it is becoming more popularly known as). It has seven exit doors, so that lookouts could be posted facing every direction to give the congregation ample time to flee.
Dark days indeed for Scotland but as with many of these events it helped to shape a Nation

For a full account of the Covenanters see the article by Brian Orr