Bad and Evill Patriotts? – Royalism in Scotland during the British Civil Wars, c.1638-1651

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (not awarded by UHI)


This thesis investigates royalism within Scottish society during the British Civil Wars (c.1638-1651). From the moment the National Covenant was signed on 28 February 1638, an oppositional movement was born which sought to defend the monarchy from what it perceived as the malicious threat of covenanting. From that point onwards, until the end of the civil wars in 1651, individuals from different backgrounds and from across Scotland supported the Stuart monarchs, Charles I and Charles II, against their enemies and sought to bring about a royalist settlement to the conflict. Despite the importance of royalism in Scotland during this period, it has received little scholarly attention beyond studies of leading royalist nobles or analyses of royalist military campaigns. This thesis rectifies this by exploring the social and ideological dimensions of royalism in Scotland.

This research provides the most comprehensive assessment to date of royalism in Scotland during the civil wars. It seeks to understand the fundamental components of royalist allegiance, the social breadth and depth of royalist support and the extent to which royalist ideology was distinct in Scotland. This contributes to a number of historiographical debates on popular allegiance and participation during the civil wars; the cultural and political relationship between Gaelic and non-Gaelic Scotland by the mid-seventeenth century; the development of Scottish constitutional thought and political theory; and the long term development of loyalism towards the Stuarts, which culminated in the Jacobite movement after the 1688-1690 Williamite Revolution.

Using the three parliamentary estates (the nobility, the clergy and the burgesses) as a structural model, this thesis provides the most wide-ranging analysis of Scottish royalism to date. By drawing upon a plethora of different source materials, utilising a variety of different approaches and framing Scottish royalism within its national context, this thesis argues that Scottish royalist allegiance was built upon an ideological commitment to loyalty, legality and order. These three themes can be identified in royalist sources from across Scotland and throughout Scottish society. Moreover, this thesis argues that royalist allegiance in Scotland was primarily a political and moral position, with there being a stark paucity of Episcopalian commitment. Indeed, most royalists sought to portray themselves as politically and theologically moderate and conservative. While these aspects of Scottish royalism remained largely consistent throughout the civil wars, this thesis notes that elements of the royalist position shifted in response to events, which in turn caused periods of political realignment.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Glasgow
  • Bowie, Karin, Supervisor
  • Macgregor, Martin, Supervisor
Award date23 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Bad and Evill Patriotts? – Royalism in Scotland during the British Civil Wars, c.1638-1651'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this