History of the Stewarts | Battles and Historic Events
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Mary had made her way from her prison at Loch Leven to her main supporters in the west of Scotland, but they were defeated at the Battle of Langside by her half-brother James Stewart, earl of Moray. After the Queen´s departure for England, the earl of Moray ruled Scotland as Regent . Mary had depended on the support of the Hamilton family at Langside, and existing rivalries with Hamiltons determined in part those who came to join her side. Other supporters of the Queen objected to Moray as a ruler
Moray moved against the supporters of Queen Mary in their south-west homelands with a military expedition in June 1568 called the ´Raid of Dumfries´ or Hoddom. The Regent´s army and the royal artillery was taken to Biggar, where his allies were commanded to muster on 10 June, and from there on to Dumfries. Along the way Moray captured houses belonging to supporters of Queen Mary. Moray then took Lochmaben Castle, which the Laird of Drumlanrig was left to hold. He subsequently captured Lochwood and Lochhouse before returning to Edinburgh . Moray was also responsible for the destruction of Rutherglen castle, which he burned to the ground in 1569 in retribution against the Hamiltons for having supported Mary at the Battle of Langside.
The supporters of the Queen had control of Dumbarton Castle, a fortress and port that commanded the Clyde. The castle was held by Lord Fleming. It was rumoured that armed support for Mary would land there; in December 1569, William Drury, Marshall of Berwick heard the Spanish Duke of Alva was sending troops there from Flanders. The Spanish troops did not come however the King´s men did not take Dumbarton Castle till April 1571.
In May 1571, Edinburgh, held on behalf of the Queen by William Kirkcaldy of Grange, was besieged by the forces of regent James Douglas, 4th earl of Morton. In what became known as ´The Lang Siege´, the Netherbow was barricaded; the walls repaired and nearby houses pulled down to improve fields of fire and to prevent their use by the besiegers. Unable to make headway, the besiegers soon withdrew but returned on 16 October, this time under the Regent Mar. Although the defences had again been strengthened, the besiegers breached the Flodden Wall but were turned back by the inner defences. This siege was lifted on 21 October although the town was blockaded until July 1572 when a truce was agreed which handed the town over to the Regent´s party.
In the north of Scotland, Adam Gordon of Auchindoun, brother of the Earl of Huntly fought for the Queen. Regent Mar encouraged the Clan Forbes who had long feuded with Gordons in Aberdeenshire to fight for him. Gordon´s force was attacked by the Forbes commanded by Black Arthur Forbes at the battle of Tillieangus on 10 October 1571, and the Forbes were defeated. The Forbes were again defeated when they marched against the Gordons at Aberdeen at the battle of Craibstone on 20 November 1571, and Arthur Forbes was killed. The son of Lord Forbes, the Master of Forbes, was imprisoned at Huntly Castle. One of Adam Gordon´s men, Captain Thomas Ker, was sent to demand the surrender of Corgarff Castle. Adam ordered the castle to be burnt with its occupants, thirty eight members of the family including Margaret Forbes, Lady Towie. Gordon then marched on Montrose and forced the town to submit to him and give him £2000 and two tuns of wine.
Soldiers sent to support Adam Gordon were captured at Cramond Bridge in 1572 and executed
One of Adam Gordon´s men, Captain Thomas Ker, was sent to demand the surrender of Corgarff Castle. Adam ordered the castle to be burnt with its occupants, thirty eight members of the family inclunding Margaret Forbes, Lady Towie. This incident was remembered in a ballad, "The ballad of Edom o’Gordon." Gordon then marched on Montrose and forced the town to submit to him and give him £2000 and two tuns of wine. Also at this time Broughty Castle was captured by a Queen´s man, the Laird of Parbroath, apparently by a trick, "a slight." Broughty was delivered back to the Regent in April 1572.
On 24 April 1572, there was another attempt to send soldiers north from Edinburgh to fight for Adam Gordon in the Queen´s cause. The men were to have embarked from Blackness Castle but were forced to surrender by a much larger force of horsemen and infantry at Cramond Bridge, lead by the Earl of Morton. Fifteen of the prisoners were executed there, and the remaining five men were taken back to Leith and hanged. According to the anti-Morton chronicle Historie of James the Sext, this "forme of law" was called the "Dowglas Warres." Adam Gordon was besieging the House of Glenbervie in the Mearns in July 1572, when he encountered and defeated the King´s army at Brechin.
The truce in Edinburgh ran out on 1 January 1573, and Grange began bombarding the town. His supplies of powder and shot, however, were running low, and despite having 40 cannon available, there were only seven gunners in the garrison.The King´s forces, under the new Regent, the Earl of Morton, progressed plans for a siege. Trenches were dug to surround the castle, and St Margaret´s Well was poisoned. Peace talks involving the English diplomat Henry Killigrew and the Queen´s party resulted in the "Pacification of Perth" on 15 February 1573, and after the Earl of Huntly had met Morton at Aberdour Castle, all Queen Mary´s other supporters in Scotland surrendered to Morton except Grange and the Castilians.
Grange resolved to continue in the Castle, despite water shortages. With him remained William Maitland of Lethington, Mary´s former secretary, his brother John Maitland, Alexander Lord Home, Robert Melville of Murdocairnie, Robert Crichton Bishop of Dunkeld, Robert Logan of Restalrig, and the Castle´s Governor, Henry Echling of Pittadro. The garrison continued to bombard the town, killing a number of citizens. They also made sorties to set fires, burning 100 houses in the town, and then firing on anyone attempting to put out the flames. The townspeople,moved to Leith, and set up an alternative Edinburgh burgh council there.
In April, a force of around 1,000 English troops, led by William Drury, arrived in Edinburgh. They were followed by 27 cannon from Berwick-upon-Tweed, including one that had been cast within Edinburgh Castle and previously captured by the English. Drury´s men built a battery on Castle Hill, facing the east walls of the castle, and five other batteries to the north, west and south. By 17 May these were ready, and the bombardment began lasting 12 days. On 26 May, the English attacked and captured the Spur, the outer fortification of the castle. The following day, Grange came out, calling a ceasefire whilst a surrender could be negotiated. When it was made clear that he would not be allowed to go free, Grange resolved to continue the resistance, but the garrison threatened to mutiny. Grange negotiated for Drury and his men to come into the castle on 28 May, surrendering to the English rather than to Regent Morton. Edinburgh Castle was delivered to George Douglas of Parkhead, the Regent´s brother, and most of the garrison were allowed to go free. William Kirkcaldy of Grange, his brother James, with the two jewellers James Mossman and James Cokke who had been minting coins in Mary´s name inside the castle, were hanged at the Mercat cross on 3 August.