James Livingston, Lord Almond, 1st Earl of Callendar, d.1674

Scottish nobleman and soldier of uncertain loyalty, his obstructiveness towards the Duke of Hamilton resulted in the failure of the Engager invasion in 1648.

Portrait of James Livingston, Earl of CallendarThe third son of Alexander Livingston, first Earl of Linlithgow, James Livingston became a soldier in the Netherlands. By 1633, he was a colonel in the Scottish brigade of the Dutch army. In the same year he married Margaret Hay, widow of the Earl of Dunfermline, and was created Lord Livingston of Almond by King Charles I.

Almond's allegiance was uncertain during the Bishops' Wars. He was appointed lieutenant-general to Alexander Leslie in the Army of the Covenant during the Second Bishops' War, but he also signed the loyalist Cumbernauld Bond with James Graham, Earl of Montrose, and others to oppose the ambitions of the Earl of Argyll. Almond's association with the Covenanters cost him his command in the Dutch army, which was rescinded at the request of King Charles.

During the King's visit to Scotland in the aftermath of the wars, Almond was created first Earl of Callendar (6 October 1641) as a gesture of reconciliation. The King also proposed him for the post of Lord-Treasurer of Scotland, but this was opposed by the Covenanters owing to Callendar's alleged involvement in "The Incident", a bungled Royalist conspiracy against leading Scottish noblemen.

Despite continuing doubts regarding his loyalty, Callendar was again appointed lieutenant-general of the Covenanter army in 1643. After the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, Alexander Leslie led the Scottish invasion of England in alliance with Parliament while Callendar took command of around 8,000 Covenanter troops guarding the Scottish border. In June 1644, Callendar advanced into England to suppress Royalist activity in the north-east. His forces blockaded Newcastle until they were joined by the main Scottish army in August. He was offered command of a new army raised in Scotland against Montrose, but he remained at Newcastle and took part in the successful storming of the city in October 1644. Callendar's reluctance to fight Montrose added to the doubts over his loyalty and motivation. In 1646, the Scottish Parliament ordered him to lead the campaign against the Royalists in northern Scotland but Callendar's demands that he should have authority over all other commanders were rejected and his commission was revoked.

Callendar played a leading role in the negotiations that led to the Engagement between the Scots and King Charles in 1647. He hoped to be appointed commander-in-chief of the Engager army raised to invade England and was disappointed to receive a commission as second-in-command to James, Duke of Hamilton. Consequently, his attitude towards Hamilton was argumentative and obstructive, resulting in a disastrous campaign that ended in the total defeat of the Engagers at the battle of Preston in August 1648. Callendar is said to have been the only survivor of the Engager army to succeed in escaping abroad. He returned to Scotland in April 1651 when, like other former Engagers, he was absolved by the Kirk after performing suitable penance. However, he was refused another military command.

Callendar surrendered to General Monck after the defeat of the Scots-Royalist alliance at the battle of Worcester in September 1651. He continued to be regarded with suspicion by the English and was briefly imprisoned in 1654 and 1659. Fully rehabilitated at the Restoration, Callendar was one of fourteen nobles who carried Montrose's coffin at his ceremonial reburial in Edinburgh in May 1661.

David Stevenson, James Livingston, first earl of Callendar, Oxford DNB, 2004
David Stevenson, The Scottish Revolution 1637-44 (Newton Abbott 1973)
David Stevenson, Revolution & Counter-Revolution in Scotland 1644-51 (Newton Abbott 1977)