British Civil Wars

(1.1.3) British Civil Wars - Volume 1 Episode 3 - North Of The Border

Fiona heads North of the border to Scotland, where Charles is getting more involved, a prayer book is edited in the shadows and a chair gets thrown.


Writer and Presenter: Fiona Barnett @stitchthisfiona

Producer: Emily Benita @BenitaEmily

Technical Producer and Sound Engineer: Ali Alnajjar @Alithelampie

Historical Consultant: Mary Jacobs @msmaryjacobs

Music Composer and Performer: Harry Harris @CmonHarris



One thing I discovered writing this episode is that a good, accessible history of Scotland that doesn’t skip from Bannockburn to Glencoe (and also isn’t 50+ years old) is like the holy grail. The best one I’ve found is Rosalind Mitchison’s book, A History of Scotland. It’s comprehensive without being gigantic, it’s intelligent but easy to read for lay people, and it’s the only history of Scotland I’ve found that covers everything from the eleventh century to the twentieth century, without obviously getting bored and skipping forward to the post-Union period. For what it’s worth, I got the idea to list the important players at the end of every “chapter” from Professor Mitchison. If only everyone wrote so well, or footnoted so clearly. I would be her Sir Galahad any day.



Charles I - 1600-1649; King of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1625-1649. Leader of the Royalist (Cavalier) faction; ultimately beheaded for treason.

James VI/I - 1566-1625; King of Scotland 1567-1625; King of England 1603-1625. Father of Charles I, Henry Frederick, and their younger sister Elizabeth. Only son of Mary, Queen of Scots. Staunch Presbyterian, and commissioner of the King James translation of the Bible.

Mary Queen of Scots - 1542-1587. Queen of Scotland 1542-1567 until she was forced to abdicate in favour of her son, James VI. Catholic; brought up in France. After being deposed, she sought refuge in England under the protection of her cousin, Elizabeth I, but was imprisoned by Elizabeth for eighteen years from 1568. In 1586, she was convicted of attempting to assassinate Elizabeth. She was beheaded for treason in 1587.

John Elphinstone, Lord Balmerino - ??-1649. One of Charles I’s most prominent critics in Scotland, he was tried for sedition and libel by Charles, for having an annotated copy of the 1635 supplication against the Book of Common Prayer in his possession. He was pardoned a year later. He’d end up being a leading Covenanter.

John Calvin - 1509-1564; French theologian and leading figure in the Protestant Reformation across northern Europe. Known for his “crusading” attitude towards religion. For our purposes, he was also a strong influence on John Knox.

Jenny Geddes - Scotswoman best known for throwing a chair at the Dean of St Giles in Edinburgh. We know very little about her. If she existed, she was probably a servant of some kind. But she was probably made up for propaganda purposes. Oh well.

John Hampden - 1594-1643; MP for Buckinghamshire and leading critic of Charles during his Personal Rule. Best known for strongly opposing Ship Money, and for being the defendant in Rex v Hampden when he refused to pay it. He lost the case, by a narrow margin, and would end up being a leading Parliamentarian in the Civil War.

John Knox - 1514-1572; theologian and leading figure in the Scottish Reformation. Best known for giving Protestantism and Calvinism a foothold in Scotland, for having no sense of humour, and also for arguing publicly with Mary Queen of Scots.

William Laud - 1573-1645; English Privy Councillor from 1627, Bishop of London from 1628, and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633. Steered Charles’s religious policy during the 1630s, which made him increasingly unpopular.

John Stewart, Lord Traquair - ??-1659. Scottish Privy Councillor who was Deputy Treasurer of Scotland 1630-1636, and Treasurer 1636-1641. Nominally a Royalist, his dealings with both Royalists and Covenanters meant that nobody really trusted him, and from 1640 onwards he didn’t have much influence.




Anderson, Virginia Dejohn. “Migrants and Motives: Religion and the Settlement of New England, 1630-1640”, The New England Quarterly 58 no. 3 (1985) 339-383.

Buchan, John. Montrose. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd., 1928; and electronic edition, Perennial Press, 2015.

Cressy, David. Coming Over: Migration and Communication between England and New England in the Seventeenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “John Calvin”, <>, accessed 23/08/17.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “John Knox”, <>, accessed 23/08/17.

Foster, Walter Roland. The Church Before the Covenants: The Church of Scotland 1596-1638. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1975.

Kishlansky, Mark. A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603-1714. London: Penguin Books, 1997.

Lee, Maurice. The Road to Revolution: Scotland under Charles I, 1625-37. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1985.

Lynch, Michael. Scotland: A New History. London: Pimlico, 1992.

Mackie, J. D. A History of Scotland. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd., 1964.

Mitchison, Rosalind. A History of Scotland. 2nd edn. Bristol: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1982.

Plant, David. The BCW Project: British Civil Wars, Commonwealth & Protectorate 1638-1660. <>

Royle, Trevor. Civil War: The War of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660. London: Abacus, 2004.

Sharpe, Kevin. The Personal Rule of Charles I. London: Yale University Press, 1992.

Stevenson, David. “The King’s Scottish Revenues and the Covenanters, 1625-1651”, The Historical Journal 17 no. 1 (1974) 17-41.

Stevenson, David. The Scottish Revolution 1637-1644: The Triumph of the Covenanters. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 2003.

Stewart, Laura A. M. Urban Politics and the British Civil Wars: Edinburgh 1617-53. Leiden: Brill, 2006.

Stewart, Laura A. M. Rethinking the Scottish Revolution: Covenanted Scotland 1637-1651. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

(1.1.i) British Civil Wars - Volume 1 Bonus 1 - Hamilton And Montrose

(1.1.2) British Civil Wars - Volume 1 Episode 2 - Personal Rule