The First Bishops' War — The Pacification of Berwick — Wentworth recalled from Ireland — Prorogation of the Scottish parliament


  (Early January) Covenanter leaders issue instructions to Scottish shires to recruit and train for war. An appeal issued to Protestant Scottish soldiers serving abroad to return and fight for the Covenant. Source: TSR
7 George Winram of Libberton sent to London with the supplication to the King from the Glasgow Assembly. He remains in London for some time, but is not allowed to approach the King. TSR
18 The Marquis of Huntly rallies opponents to the Covenanters at Kintore in Aberdeenshire. TSR
26 King Charles proclaims his intention of raising an army against the Scots and requires all English noblemen to attend him in arms at York. TSR
31 The nobles and gentry of Inverness agree to support the Covenanters. TSR


  (Early February) Covenanters seize arms and ammunition sent by the Marquis of Huntly to Inverness Castle. Source: TSR
1 Mobilisation of Scottish volunteers begins. SA
4 The Covenanters issue an appeal to all English Christians denying their intention to invade England and urging that their case should be judged in an English Parliament. Most English Puritans are sympathetic towards the Covenanters. TSR
14 The Marquis of Huntly withdraws from a confrontation with several hundred Covenanters assembled at Turriff in Aberdeenshire. TSR
27 The King issues a denunciation of the Covenanters, accusing them of attempting to overthrow him. TSR


13 The Marquis of Huntly musters Royalist forces in north-eastern Scotland. Source: SA
20 The Royalist Earl of Douglas abandons his castle to the Covenanters. TKP
21 Alexander Leslie seizes Edinburgh Castle for the Covenanters without loss after blowing in the main gate with a petard. TKP, SA
22 The Covenanters issue a remonstrance lamenting that the King has been misled by the bishops. TSR
23 Lord Rothes seizes Dalkeith Castle, containing the King's main Scottish arsenal and the Scottish crown jewels which are transferred to Edinburgh; the Earl of Traquair flees into England. TSR
26 Dumbarton Castle captured by the Covenanters, thus denying the Royalists the use of the main western seaport in Scotland for the landing of reinforcements from Ireland. TSR, TCW
27 King Charles sets out for York. The Marquis of Hamilton goes to Yarmouth to assemble a fleet to transport troops to land behind Scottish lines.
  The Marquis of Huntly sends an embassy to the Earl of Montrose suggesting a gentleman's agreement that neither should invade the territory of the other. Montrose rejects the proposal. TKP
30 King Charles arrives at York. TKP
  The Earl of Lindsey appointed governor of Berwick. ODNB
  The Earl of Montrose occupies Aberdeen, meeting no resistance from the Marquis of Huntly. TSR


5 Negotiations between the Marquis of Huntly and the Earl of Montrose at Fyvie Castle. Huntly agrees to meet other Covenanter leaders at Aberdeen. Source: ODNB, TSR
7 King Charles commissions the Marquis of Hamilton commander of the forces to be used against the rebels in Scotland. TSR
12 Lord Huntly voluntarily travels to Edinburgh from Aberdeen, effectively abandoning leadership of the Royalists in Scotland. ODNB
20 The Marquis of Huntly imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle after refusing to declare for the Covenanters. ODNB
21 Lord Saye-and-Sele and Lord Brooke imprisoned at York after publicly refusing to take a military oath to fight the Scots. ODNB
25 The King issues a proclamation at York promising to pardon all rebels if they submit within eight days. The Marquis of Hamilton sails for Scotland, intending to publish the proclamation there. TSR
26 The King releases Lords Saye and Brooke from prison. Lord Brooke leaves York, taking his entire contingent of troops with him. TKP


1 The Marquis of Hamilton's fleet anchors off Leith in the Firth of Forth, but Hamilton is unable to land his troops or to publish the King's proclamation. Source: TSR
5 King Charles at Durham. TKP
6 King Charles arrives at Newcastle. TKP
7 Hamilton writes to the King informing him that there is no hope of the Covenanters submitting peacefully. TSR
9 The Covenanters call a Convention at Edinburgh in preparation for a future Parliament. Alexander Leslie commissioned commander of the Army of the Covenant. TSR
10 Royalist Sir George Ogilvy of Banff leads an attempt to recover arms seized by Covenanters from Lord Huntly and held at Towie-Barclay Castle near Turriff. A servant, David Prat, is killed — the first fatal casualty of the British Civil Wars. TSR
14 King Charles issues a proclamation from Newcastle announcing that he will settle all Scottish grievances as soon as order is restored. He will not invade Scotland providing the Covenanter army remains at least ten miles north of the border. TSR
  Sir George Ogilvy drives the Covenanters out of Turriff and forces the inhabitants to sign the King's Covenant (the "Trot o' Turriff"). TSR
15 Sir George Ogilvy occupies Aberdeen and plunders the houses of prominent Covenanters. TSR
20 Unable to sustain the occupation of Aberdeen, Ogilvy withdraws and disbands his forces. TSR
  The Covenanter army begins to muster on the English border at Duns in Berwickshire. SA
21 Lord-Deputy Sir Thomas Wentworth imposes the "Black Oath" in Ulster: all adults of Scottish descent required to abjure the Covenant and swear an oath of loyalty to the King. TCW
23 Covenanter forces re-occupy Aberdeen. TSR
25 Montrose arrives at Aberdeen with 4,000 troops, but all Royalist forces in the area have dispersed. Montrose marches north to besiege the strongholds of Royalist lairds. TSR
30 The King joins his army camped near Berwick. TSR


1 The Earl of Arundel, Earl Marshal of England, crosses the border into Scotland and reads the King's proclamation at Duns, calling the Scots back to obedience. Arundel then returns into England. Source: TKP
2 Viscount Aboyne with several of the King's ships appears off Aberdeen. TSR
3 The Earl of Holland's cavalry advances to drive the Scots out of Kelso but retreat when they find themselves greatly outnumbered. Morale in the English camp collapses. TSR
4 King Charles orders the Marquis of Hamilton's expedition to return to England. TSR
5 The main Covenanter army advances to Duns. The King agrees to negotiate with the Scots. TSR
  The King secretly commissions the Earl of Antrim to use troops from Ireland to attack Covenanters in western Scotland (the plan comes to nothing). TSR
6 Viscount Aboyne, son of the Marquis of Huntly, occupies Aberdeen for the King. TSR
  One of the King's Scottish pages arrives in the Covenanter camp and suggests that they should supplicate the King to open peace negotiations. TSR
7 The Earl of Dunfermline sent to the King to request a treaty. TSR
  The Marquis of Hamilton returns to Berwick. ODNB
11 Treaty negotiations begin at Berwick. TSR, TKP
14 Viscount Aboyne advances to Stonehaven but is driven back to Aberdeen by Earl-Marischal William Keith. TSR
15 King Charles refuses to ratify the acts of the Glasgow Assembly. The Covenanters insist that no settlement is possible unless bishops are removed from the Scottish church. TSR
18 The Earl of Montrose bombards Viscount Aboyne's forces defending the Brig o' Dee outside Aberdeen. TKP
19 The Pacification of Berwick signed between the King and the Covenanters. The King agrees to summon a General Assembly and Parliament in Edinburgh. Both sides agree to disband their armies. Other controversial issues left deliberately vague. TSR, TKP
  Viscount Aboyne withdraws; Montrose occupies Aberdeen. The burgh is saved from being sacked by the arrival of news of the ceasefire. TKP, SA
20 The Scottish army withdraws from Duns and disbands. TSR
21 The Scottish commissioners return to Edinburgh, where they are met with general dissatisfaction over the inadequacy of the Berwick treaty. TSR
24 Peace proclaimed in Edinburgh. The Marquis of Hamilton occupies Edinburgh Castle for the King. TKP


1 The King issues a proclamation summoning archbishops, bishops, commissioners and others to attend the General Assembly to be held in Edinburgh. The Covenanters issue an immediate protest. Disturbances break out in Edinburgh. TSR
8 The Marquis of Hamilton resigns as King's Commissioner because of his unpopularity with the Scots. The Earl of Traquair appointed to replace him. ODNB, TSR
  By order of the King, work begins on strengthening the defences of Edinburgh Castle. TSR
13 Leading Covenanters meet to discuss whether to obey an order from the King summoning fourteen Covenanter nobles to Berwick for consultations. Only six obey the summons. TSR
16 Six Covenanter leaders, including Rothes, Wariston and Montrose, arrive in Berwick to a cold reception from the King. TSR
17 King Charles issues secret instructions to the Marquis of Hamilton to ingratiate himself with the Covenanters in order to learn their plans. TKW
19 The King sends to the Tables a paper listing eighteen breaches of the Pacification of Berwick by the Covenanters; they reply with six breaches committed by the King. TSR
20 The Covenanter leaders sent back to Scotland with orders to bring back those who had stayed away. They do not return. TSR
27 The King sends the Bishop of Raphoe as an emissary to Sir Thomas Wentworth, Lord-Deputy of Ireland, recalling him to England. TKP
  (End of July) King Charles leaves Berwick and returns to London. TSR


5 The Bishop of Raphoe deliver the King's instructions recalling Wentworth. Source: TKP
12 The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meets at the High Kirk of St Giles in Edinburgh. The King is represented by the Earl of Traquair. Bishops are instructed not to attend. TSR
17 The General Assembly unanimously passes an act ratifying the decisions of the Glasgow Assembly of 1638 and declaring governance of the church by bishops to be unlawful. TSR
30 At the request of the General Assembly, Traquair and the Privy Council sign the Covenant. TSR
  The General Assembly dissolves itself, having agreed to meet again a year later in Aberdeen. TSR
31 The Scottish Parliament meets in Edinburgh with no bishops present. Eight noblemen elected to the Committee of the Articles. TSR


4 The Earl of Traquair and the Lords of the Articles begin their deliberations to decide which policies are to come before the Scottish Parliament. Source: TSR
15 Battle of the Downs: the Dutch admiral Maarten Tromp destroys a Spanish fleet transporting troops to Flanders while it shelters in English waters. TCW
  (Late September) Sir Thomas Wentworth arrives in London to advise the King. A committee of eight privy councillors set up to deal with Scottish affairs. ODNB, TSR


4 The Earl of Traquair announces that Parliament will assemble on 8 October to vote on the acts presented to it by the Lords of the Articles. Source: TSR
5 Against Traquair's wishes, the Lords of the Articles vote that internal constitutional proposals may be decided by the present Parliament without being referred to the King. TSR
8 Traquair postpones the full meeting of Parliament. TSR
23 The Earl of Loudoun and other commissioners complain about the delays in procedure and request that Traquair authorises the meeting of Parliament. TSR


1 The Earl of Loudon and Earl of Dunfermline commissioned by Parliament to go to the King and ask for his consent to the acts passed by the Articles. Source: TSR
7 The King refuses to receive Loudon and Dunfermline on the grounds that Traquair has not signed their commissions. TKP, TSR
14 On the King's instructions, Traquair prorogues the Scottish Parliament until June 1640. The Estates declare that the prorogation is illegal and appoints a committee to await the King's reply to their remonstrance. TSR
20 The Covenanters send William Cunningham of Brownhill to the King with a supplication to receive their representatives and to ratify the acts passed by the Articles. TSR
21 The Earl of Traquair removes from the Privy Council records the act by which he had signed the Covenant. Traquair leaves Edinburgh for London. TSR
27 The Earl of Traquair appears before the committee for Scottish affairs in England to explain the situation in Scotland. TSR


5 After hearing Traquair's testimony, King Charles and his Privy Council agree to prepare for another war with Scotland, to be financed by calling a Parliament in England. Source: TSR
11 The King grants the Covenanters' supplication to send representatives to London. The Earl of Traquair sent back to Scotland with his reply. TSR


ODNB: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

SA: Scots Armies of the English Civil Wars, Stuart Reid (Osprey 1999)

TCW: The Civil Wars, a military history of England, Scotland & Ireland 1638-60, Kenyon and Ohlmeyer (eds) (Oxford 1998)

TSR: The Scottish Revolution 1637-44, David Stevenson (Newton Abbott 1973)

TKP: The King's Peace 1637-41, C.V. Wedgwood (London 1955)

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