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"Scottish Restoration" redirects here; not to be confused with the Restoration of the Scottish hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

King Charles II, the first monarch to rule after the Scottish Restoration

The Restoration period of Scottish history spanned 3 decades of the late 17th century, from 1660 until the Revolution and Convention of Estates of 1689, during the early modern period. It is usually depicted as an era of authoritarian government, profound religious division, and economic depression, with only modest signs of cultural renaissance in the 1680s.[1]

The restoration of the monarchy occurred in 1660 when the Scottish, English and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the government of the Commonwealth that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The term Restoration may apply both to the actual event by which the monarchy was restored, and to the period following the event.

It had been hoped by Presbyterians that Charles would implement a Presbyterian settlement for the Kirk, Charles having agreed to the Solemn League and Covenant under the Treaty of Breda (1650). However, Charles instructed his privy council to the restoration of the Scottish Episcopacy. This led to a series of conflicts between Presbyterians and the Bishops of the Episcopalian establishment, culminating in The Killing Time.

End of the republic

With the collapse of the The Protectorate in England during May 1659 the Commonwealth of England which had been forced upon Scotland by the New Model Army quickly began to crumble. The occupying forces in Scotland lay in the hands of General Monck. He engaged in discussion with the royal court during the summer of 1659 but made no promises, particularly after the failure of Booth's revolt.[citation needed]

Monck indicated his support of parliament rather than the new radicals in the army in England. Distrusting Monck the English Committee of Safety sent General Lambert to negotiate, Lambert camped at Newcastle but his army began to desert. Officers loyal to Monck seized Dublin Castle in December 1659 strengthening Monck's hand. On 24 December he ceased negotiations with Lambert. On 1 January 1660 Monck crossed the River Tweed at the village of Coldstream and marched on London. Lambert's forces vanished before him and Monck occupied London on 3 February 1660. There, Monck would oversee the dissolution of the Long Parliament and the calling of the English Convention Parliament. In March 1660 Monck entered into discussion with Charles II to ensure his return to all his thrones.[citation needed]

Charles II bestowed on Monck the title Duke of Albermarle in gratitude for his part in the Restoration,[citation needed] and after Monck's death in 1670, his regiment was renamed the Coldstream Guards.[citation needed]

Return of Charles II

Charles was proclaimed king in Edinburgh on 14 May 1660 (for the second time the first being more than ten years earlier on 6 February 1649). He was not crowned again in Scotland (having been previously crowned at Scone in 1651). The Restoration "presented an occasion of universal celebration and rejoicing throughout Scotland".[2]

Charles II summoned his parliament on 1 January 1661, which began to undo all that been forced on his father Charles I of Scotland. The Rescissory Act 1661 made all legislation back to 1633 'void and null'.[3]

In 1661, 29 May was made a public holiday.[citation needed]

The Earl of Middleton and the 9th Earl of Glencairn were initially the main political figures in the Restoration. In 1663, The Earl of Lauderdale was made Secretary of State and rapidly became the predominant political figure of the Restoration period.[citation needed]

General pardon and exceptions

Execution of Rev James Guthrie in Edinburgh; the second man, after the Duke of Argyll, to be executed for high treason after the Restoration of 1660.

On 9 September 1662 the Scottish parliament passed the Act of indemnity and oblivion. It was a general pardon for most types of crime that may have been committed by Scots, between 1 January 1637 and before 1 September 1660, during what the Act calls "the late troubles" (the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the Interregnum).[4]

The Act was structured in a similar way to the English Indemnity and Oblivion Act 1660, it legislated for a general pardon with exceptions, but (like Cromwell's Act of Grace) it contained many more exceptions than the English act. The act did not reverse the provisions of any previous act passed by the same Scottish Parliament or the provisions of the Committee of Estates passed since August 1660. It explicitly mentions the of forfeitures of "Archibald Campbell, late marquis of Argyll, Archibald Johnston, sometime called Sir Archibald Johnston of Wariston, John Swinton, sometime called of Swinton, James Guthrie, William Govan, John Home and William Dundas, James Campbell, sometime called of Ardkinglas and James Campbell, sometime called of Orinsay".[4][5] An additional act called the Act containing some exceptions from the act of indemnity was passed that included heavy fines for about 700 former adherents to the Covenant. The exceptions act specified that if an excluded person did not pay the fines by the date specified he (they were all men) would lose the benefit of the general pardon, but on timely payment he would "enjoy the benefit of his majesty's pardon and indemnity to all intents and purposes".[6][7]

A few members of the previous regime were tried and found guilty of treason. Some were executed: Archibald Campbell (8th Earl of Argyll), beheaded 27 May 1661, James Guthrie and Captain William Govan hanged 1 June 1661, and Archibald Johnston (Lord Warriston) hanged 22 July 1663.[7][8][9][10][11] John Swinton (1621?–1679) was condemned to forfeiture and imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle, where he remained for some years before being released.[12] In 1661 John Home of Kelloe had is estates sequestrated for being with the English army against the King's army at the battle of Worcester in 1651.[5][13] After the Glorious Revolution of 1688 the estates were restored to his son George.[14]

Religious settlement

The "Act Recissory" that revoked legislation back to 1633 removed the Covenanter gains of the Bishops' Wars, but an act passed later the same day renewed the discipline of kirk sessions, presbyteries and synods, suggesting that a compromise was possible.[15] The Restoration of episcopacy was proclaimed by the Privy Council of Scotland on 6 September 1661.[16] James Sharp, minister of Crail, who was in London to represent the interests of the Resolutioners, changed sides and accepted the position of Archbishop of St. Andrews. Soon an entire bench of bishops had been constructed.[15] During the parliamentary session of 1662 the Church of Scotland was restored as the national Church and all office-holders were required to renounce the Covenants. Church ministers were forced to accept the new situation or lose their livings. Up to a third, at least 270, of the ministry refused.[15] Most of the vacancies occurred in the south-west of Scotland, an area particularly strong in its Covenanting sympathies. Some of the ministers also took to preaching in the open fields in conventicles, often attracting thousands of worshippers.[17]

The government responded with alternating policies of force and toleration. In 1663 and act was passed that declared dissenting minsters as seditious persons and allowed the imposition of heavy fines on those who failed to attend the parish churches. In 1666 a group of men from Galloway captured the government's local military commander and marched on Edinburgh. They were defeated at the Battle of Rullion Green and fifty prisoners were captured. Thirty-three were executed, two after torture, and the rest were transported to Barbados. There were then a series of arrests of suspected persons. The rising resulted in the fall of the king's commissioner John Leslie, 1st Duke of Rothes.[18] The new commissioner John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale attempted a more conciliatory policy, issuing Letters of Indulgence in 1669, 1672 and 1679. These allowed evicted ministers to return to their parishes, if they would avoid political dissent. One-hundred and fifty refused to accept the offer and some episcopalians were alienated by the compromise. The failure to reach an accommodation led to a return to severity. Preaching at a conventicle was made punishable by death and attendance was punishable by severe sanctions. In 1674 heritors and masters were made responsible for their tenants and servants and from 1677 they had to enter bonds for the conduct of everyone living on their land. In 1678 3,000 Lowland militia and 6,000 Highlanders, known as the "Highland Host", were billeted in the Covenanting shires as a form of punishment.[19]

The Covenanter's Prison in St Giles Kirkyard, Edinburgh, where prisoners were held after the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679

In 1679 a group of Covenanters killed Archbishop Sharp. The incident led to a rising that grew to 5,000 men. They were defeated by forces under James, Duke of Monmouth, the King's illegitimate son, at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. Two ministers were executed and 250 followers shipped to Barbados, 200 drowning when their ship went down off Orkney. The rebellion eventually led to the fall of Lauderdale, who was replaced by the king's brother, the openly Catholic James, known in Scotland as the Duke of Albany.[20] The dissenters, led by Donald Cargill and Richard Cameron called themselves the Society People, but would be become known after their leader as the Cameronians. Reduced in number, hiding out in the moors, they became increasingly radical. On 22 June 1680 the Sanquhar Declaration was posted in Sanquhar, renouncing Charles II as king. Cameron was killed the next month. Cargill excommunicated the King, Duke of Albany and other royalists at the Torwood Conventicle and his followers now separated themselves from all other Presbyterian ministers. Cargill was captured and executed in May 1681. The government passed a Test Act, forcing every holder of public office to take an oath of non-resistance. Eight Episcopal clergy and James Dalrymple, Lord President of the Court of Session resigned and the leading nobleman Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll was forced into exile. In 1684 the remaining Society People posted an Apologetical Declaration on several market crosses, which informed servants of the government that they pursued the lives of its members at the risk of their own. In response to this new element of outright political sedition, the Scottish Privy Council authorised extrajudicial field executions of those caught in arms or those who refused to swear loyalty to the King.[21] This more intense phase of persecution, later known in Protestant historiography as "the Killing Time", led to dissenters being summarily executed by the dragoons of James Graham, Laird of Claverhouse or sentenced to transportation or death by Sir George Mackenzie, the Lord Advocate.[22]

See also


  1. Brown 2012a.
  2. Jackson 2003, p. 14.
  3. Jackson 2003, p. 78.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Scottish Parliament 1662, Pardon.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Brown 2012.
  6. Scottish Parliament 1662b, Exceptions.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harris 2005, p. 111.
  8. Gordon 1890, pp. 237–239.
  9. Aikman 1842, p. 50–51.
  10. Howie & M'Gavin 1830, pp. 73–75.
  11. Crooks.
  12. Swinton 1898, pp. 237–239.
  13. Morison 1803, p. 42.
  14. Edinburgh Magazine staff 1819, p. 582.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, pp. 231-4.
  16. F. N. McCoy, Robert Baillie and the Second Scots Reformation (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1974), ISBN 0520024478, p. 216.
  17. R. Mitchison, A History of Scotland (London: Routledge, 3rd edn., 2002), ISBN 0415278805, p. 253.
  18. J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, pp. 235-6.
  19. J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, pp. 237-8.
  20. J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, pp. 238-9.
  21. J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, pp. 239-41.
  22. J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, pp. 241-5.


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