Religious Reformation to the Act of Union


John Knox the Scottish protestant reformer was born in this year near Haddington.


Queen Margaret, the late James IV wife acted as regent until her marriage to the Earl of Angus. Albany succeeded Margaret as regent following her marriage and she fled to England in fear of her life, aided by Lord Hume, who, in turn, concocted with Lord Dacre, measures to overthrow Albany’s regency. In retaliation Albany’s army marched in the East March, overran Hume’s Estates, captured Hume Castle and razed Fast Castle. Hume made his peace with Albany but still contrived with Lord Dacre to turn the Scottish and English East Marches into places of ‘constant robberies, fire-raising and murders’. For these crimes Hume was eventually executed.


Battle of Haddon-rigg. Cross border ‘reiver’ raids were common during this period with innumerable minor raids being supplemented by the odd big raid. This was a big raid organised by England’s East March warden, Sir Robert Bowes, who was intent on pillaging the Scottish East and Middle Marches. The Earl of Huntly organised a fierce and protracted defence at Haddon-rigg, east of Kelso, and with the timely arrival of 400 hundred East March lancers led by Lord Hume, they succeeded in capturing six hundred of the enemy, including Bowes, with seventy English dead.


Lord Hume, and the Earl of Huntly and Seton harass a formidable English army led by the Duke of Norfolk in the East March. The harassing was so successful that the army retired to Berwick within a week and was disbanded.

1545 Battle of Ancrum Moor.

Scotland was again left without a king following the early death of James V. England, pushing her territorial ambitions, proposed a marriage alliance and was rebuffed, and so resorted to an aggressive policy known as the ‘rough wooing’, which took the form of a campaign of terror of Scotland’s East and Middle Marches by Sir Ralph Eure the English Middle March warden. The Earl of Angus organised Scotland’s response by defeating Eure at Ancrum Moor, inflicting 600 deaths and taking 1000 prisoners.

1547, 10th September

Battle of Pinkie. The last decade had seen an escalation of cross border raids. Englands Lord Protector the Duke of Somerset lost patience with what he saw as Scotland’s intransigence and raised an army, which mustered at Newcastle. They moved north and passed through Ayton Parish on the 4th of September. On the 9th, Lord Hume’s borderers moved forward to harry the English army only to be caught by surprise and in the chase which followed Hume fell from his horse and eventually died from his wounds.
The next day Scotland’s army, led by Regent Arran, were out gunned and out manoeuvred by Somerset and in the battle lost up to 10000 men to England’s 250. Hume’s wife defended Hume Castle against Somerset, but ultimately surrendered and the castle was then garrisoned by English troops.

Mid 16th Century

Bastleridge, now a farm to located in the south of Ayton Parish, belonged to the Humes and there is a deed in which the Homes of Bastleridge is styled as Bailiff of the Barony of Peelwalls.


The fifth Lord Hume supports the reformation and sat in the parliament which abolished Popery and established the Protestant Church.


Battle of Langside – Lord Hume and six hundred East March spearmen, join an array of nobles who joined forces in defence of the infant king (King James VI) and defeated Queen Mary (Queen of Scots) and Lord Bothwells army west of Glasgow.


The Union of the Crowns

James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England. He travelled down the Great North Road through Ayton Parish to London in order to accept the crown of England.


The Border Reiver problem in both England and Scotland is tackled by James VI/I. Hundred are hanged, many families are sent abroad and the towns/villages destroyed, never to be rebuilt. The governmental organisation, known as the Marches, of the borders are dismantled and the East March – the smallest of the marches – becomes Berwickshire under the new set-up.


James VI/I made his only return to Scotland. He travelled once more through Ayton Parish on his road north to Edinburgh. The royal requirements for assistance almost bankrupted Berwickshire as he demanded 336 horses, fodder and men to assist his entourage of 5000 courtiers. To the relief of the people of Berwickshire James decided to return to London via Carlisle.


The first documented evidence that the parish of Ayton had a (Latin) school. The master is believed to be a Mr Leonard Houston, who left Ayton to become minister of Ellem.

Mid 1630’s

The political power of the Humes of Hume comes to an end. For the next 150 years and through several generations, this branch of the Hume family showed extreme political ineptitude. They were Roman Catholic when they should have been Protestant, Episcopalian when they should have been Presbyterian, Nationalists when they should have been Unionist and Jacobites when they should have been Hanovarian.

NOTE…(by Keith Miller)

“I have included historical fact on this website if I believed from the evidence that Ayton Parish was directly affected by events or the citizens of the parish were involved in the events and that is why, for example, the Battle of Falkirk is detailed yet the Battle of Stirling Bridge is not. Falkirk is detailed because the English army marched through the parish looting and pillaging as they went on its way to Falkirk. Stirling Bridge is not detailed because the English army which fought there was raised from the army of occupation (and I have yet to find evidence that citizens of the parish fought at Stirling Bridge)

However, the period 1638 until 1716 creates a problem. I have shown that I prefer to be a brief as possible yet Ayton was directly affected by the Battle of Sherriffmuir in so much as a branch of the Hume family lost the Ayton Castle estates because they supported the Stewart claim to the thrown. So I’ve been forced to provide a little more detail in explaining the most screwed up period in Scotland’s history as, previously, the plot was simple: with the exception of reiver feuds, Scotland battled with England. During this period several sub-plots were thrown in including: Presbyterian Protestantism and Catholicism; Stewart, Orange and Hanoverian claims to the thrown; the English civil war; Covenanters fighting first alongside Cromwell and then against him; and the house of Stewart wobbling between Protestantism and Catholicism. Confused? Then read on for enlightenment…


The National Covenant was signed by the populus who are outraged by the introduction of the Book of Canons by King Charles I, which was considered more popish than the English Prayer Book. In Scotland covenant resistance was organised by the protestant Presbyterian Committee of the Estates. To join the covenanter army an oath proclaiming discipline and strict morality had to be sworn.


Simple hand mills known as querns were left behind at the farm of Chesterbank in Ayton Parish by the covenanter army of Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven, on their way south during a route march to the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644. Alexander Leslie’s covenanter army fought alongside the English Parliament/Cromwell’s new model army and defeated Charles I army commanded by his cousin, Prince Rupert.


Battle of Kilsyth.

The Marquess of Montrose, a supporter of King Charles I, raised a Highland army in support of the King. Montrose flush from his recent victories against the Scottish covenanters at the Battles of Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Fyvie, Inverlochy, Auldearn and Alford was confronted by Baillies covenanter army at Kilsyth.

The covenanters army had been joined by Colonel Robert Home’s Borderers who had recently returned from their successes in the Irish wars. However, a large contingent of the army was inexperienced levies. The covenanters’ battle plan fell apart virtually straight away, with Montrose’s army outmanoeuvering and out fighting them. The covenanter army retreated to the safety of Stirling.

Montrose, bolstered by his success at Kilsyth, marched south hoping (in vain) for lowland recruits for his army, although the Marquis of Douglas at Galashiels volunteered 1000 men.

David Leslie’s (the Earl of Levens son), now the commander of the veteran covenanter army, returned north to confront Montrose. On the 13th of September Leslie’s army defeated Montrose at the Battle of Philiphaugh near Selkirk. In the post battle slaughter, Leslie allowed the Protestant ministers to let the Lord’s work be seen to be done and the prisoners were shot. The entourage of women and children associated with Montrose’s army were drowned in the Ettrick Water.


King Charles I surrendered to the Scottish covenanter army at Newark.


The Committee of the Estates sent 3 commissioners to meet the incarcerated Charles I on the Isle of White. A compromise or ‘engagement’ was reached whereby, with Covenanter army support, Charles would push Presbyterianism down English throats – this gave rise to the pro-Royalist engagers led by Hamilton.


Hamilton’s engagers persuaded the Committee of the Estates with his royalist view. They raised a 20 000 army, including a regiment of Berwickshire men led by the Earl of Hume, which marched into England in an attempt to reinstate Charles I on the thrown. Hamilton’s engagers army was drawn into south Lancashire by the retreating enemy. Cromwell’s new model army counter attacked at Ribbleton Moor. The engagers army was totally routed incurring 500 dead, with Hamilton being captured at Uttoxeter…his ultimate fate was to be sent to the block.


Charles I was executed in the scaffold at Whitehall. The committee of estates promptly hailed the exiled heir as Charles II.


Battle of Dunbar. Charles II landed in Scotland in the June of this year and rode into Edinburgh where he forged an alliance with the committee of the estates. In July Cromwell moved his 16,000 strong army, supported by a fleet of the coast, through Ayton Parish up the great north road. The estates favoured a resort to arms and a covenanter army was formed, led by David Leslie. However, this army was plagued by religious councillors who recruited on religious grounds rather than military qualifications.

As a result the Earl of Hume and his Berwickshire regiment did not participate in the battle. The opening stages of the campaign went well for Leslie with Cromwell’s army retreating to Dunbar. Leslie moved his army to a strong position on Doon Hill close to Dunbar. His religious councillors urged attack to drive Cromwell from Canaan by the swords of the righteous. Leslie moved his men to lower ground with the view to attack the next day.

Cromwell noted a strategic error in Leslies positioning and attacked at dawn. Leslie’s covenanters were hemmed in and in the battle which followed 3 000 lost their lives and 10 000 surrendered. The Earl of Hume could not have been much of a diplomat either because after the battle, Cromwell sent Colonel Fenwick to Hume Castle, which he captured following a brief siege. Charles II moved into England and raised an army which was also defeated by Cromwell at Worcester; Charles fled the scene and went into exile.


The Committee of the Estates was captured en-masse at Stirling by Monck, one of Cromwells generals.


Charles II becomes King of both Scotland and England following the death of Oliver Cromwell.


The Committee of the Estates was reintroduced. Various pieces of legislation were introduced over this period, including the recognition of the ecclesiastical establishment – the Episcopal system – an anathema to the covenanters, who considered it the back road to popery as it was not a creature of the Covenant signed in 1638. Presbyterian rebellion grew and in 1666 an attempt was made to take Edinburgh with the kings troops defeating the covenanters in the Pentland Hills.


Jean the only daughter of the late Laird of Ayton, who was under age (age being 14 and she was 12), was summoned to appear in front of the Privy Council in Edinburgh, with the view to witnessing her chose the curators of her inheritance lands around Ayton. Prior to this appearance she was carried across the border by several members of the Hume family where she was was married to a boy called George Hume. Upon their return to Scotland, and for breaking the law, the couple were fined and imprisoned for 3 months and all other Humes involved in the affair were fined.


Battle of Drumclog: although defeated and repressed by the establishment, covenanter rebellion simmered until early June of this year when a motley army numbering 1500 and led by a firebrand named William Clelland, confronted the Government troopers of John Graham of Claverhouse – also known as Bonnie Dundee. In the short battle which ensued Clelland’s Presbyterian covenanters routed Bonnie Dundee’s men from the field of battle. Dundee and his men retreated to Glasgow where he was joined by a squadron of borderers led by Home and a defence of the city was made.

Later in June the Scottish Government raised more troops to join Bonnie Dundee and Homes borderers. Charles II sent his favourite bastard, James, Duke of Monmouth, to lead this army which confronted the covenanters at Bothwell Brig. The poorly armed covenanters discovered that prayer was no protection against canonade roundshot which collapsed whole lines of men. A bloody route quickly followed and in the end 800 covenanters lay dead with 1000 taken prisoner.


Charles II died and his brother James VII of Scotland and II of England took the thrown. He was even more openly catholic than his brother and at his coronation he deliberately omitted to undertake the preservation of the English Anglican church. In Holland, William of Orange was conspiring to overthrow his father-in-law James VII/II. He sent a carefully worded message to the Scottish presbyterians supporting their cause. This support caused an uprising of resentment against James. The rebellion spread to England and in March 1689 William landed and sent James into embittered exile. A convention followed to support William as the new King: only one person refused to recognise him and that was Bonnie Dundee, whose loyalty to the House of Stewart remained unshakeable.


Battle of Killiecrankie – Following the death of Bonnie Dundee at this battle the House of Stewart lost their last foothold in Scotland. David Leslie and Hume led a regiment of Border men to fight for the protestant cause of William of Orange against Dundee. It is considered that this body of men formed the regiment which years later became known as The Kings Own Scottish Borders


Battle of the Boyne- Following his defeat by William of Orange, James VII/II of the House of Stewart lost his last foothold in the British Isles. Sir Patrick Hume, a staunch supporter of William, participated in the Irish campaign which led to this battle and was rewarded with the title of the Earl of Marchmont for his endeavours.


Union of the Parliaments of Scotland and England. Sir Patrick Hume, Earl of Marchmont, along with Sit Andrew Hume voted for the union while Sir Patrick Hume of Renton and George Hume voted against the union. It should also be noted that Sir Patrick Hume, Earl of Marchmont was paid £1104 17 shillings and 7 pence by the English parliament for his yes to the union vote. Many of Scotland nobility were paid to vote for the union, however the Earl of Marchmont was paid the most. The population rioted in the streets of Edinburgh and other towns, in anger at the decision.

So ended Scotland as an independent nation state, largely for selfish, financial reasons, giving rise to Robert Burns later reference to Scotland’s nobility as a “parcel of rogues in a nation”.