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Useful Notes / James Graham Marquis Of Montrose

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I'll make thee glorious by my pen And famous by my sword

"He either fears his fate too much/Or his deserts are small
That puts it not unto the touch/To win or lose it all."
James Graham, My Dear and Only Love

James Graham, first Marquis of Montrose, was a Scottish noble who fought for Charles I during the English Civil War. Montrose had originally been part of the Scottish Covenanters, who opposed the King’s religious policies. However, he fell out with the other Covenanters, especially the Marquess of Argyll, when he felt they had gone too far in working against the King. Montrose switched sides and joined the King’s troops in the First Civil War. Montrose led an impressive military campaign where, despite being vastly outnumbered by the Scottish Covenanters, and incompetently supported by his king, he won repeated victories, aided by his Irish troops, and almost won Scotland for the King. However, eventually he was defeated at Philiphaugh and forced to flee into exile in Europe.

Once there, he went around the various royal courts trying desperately to acquire funds for the king’s war effort. When Charles I was executed, Montrose supported his son instead, and, on the new king’s instructions, led an invasion of Scotland. However, no sooner had Montrose landed in Orkney than Charles II began negotiating with the Scottish Covenanters behind his back, disavowing all responsibility for Montrose’s expedition. Montrose, abandoned and outnumbered, was defeated again at Carbisdale. He sought refuge in a Scottish lord’s castle, but was imprisoned by the lord’s wife, who saw an opportunity to get cosy with Argyll and the Covenanters. Montrose was arrested, transported to Edinburgh, imprisoned and hanged. His body was quartered, and his head put on a spike.


After the Restoration, Montrose’s remains were gathered back together, and buried in St. Giles Church in Edinburgh.


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