Scots Covenanter 1644 :
This is the first of a series of figures I’m working on from what we should now call the British Civil Wars , to reflect the fact that all the countries were involved .
Since the War effectively started in Scotland , with the revolt of the bulk of the population against the King’s policies in 1639, it’s appropriate to give this Scotsman first place .
Scotland was a separate kingdom in 1639 , ruled by Charles 1st ,who was also King of England. Charles , himself a Scot , disliked the way the inhabitants of his Northern Kingdom organised their religion , and attempted to impose his new ideas on their Kirk : a dreadful mistake . Such was Scottish fervour to preserve their own Presbyterian church that they organised a national petition , known as the National Covenant ( hence the name of Covenanters ) then raised a formidable Army , commanded by large numbers of experienced professional officers recalled from the ongoing European wars.
This army saw off two very unwilling English Royal Armies sent to crush them , almost without fighting.
The eventual results of this debacle for Royal policy were the revolt of the English Parliament , who allied themselves with the Scots , and the outbreak of the War in England , once the King realised that he could get his own way only by fighting .
Once the war started in earnest in 1642 , the Parliament made an agreement with the the ruling party in Scotland to hire their army to assist its own in bringing the King to terms : the agreement was known as The Solemn League and Covenant , after which the Scots Army was named.
This Army moved south into England in early 1644 , laying siege to Newcastle , then on to be part of an allied Army besieging York.
The arrival of a Royalist relieving force led to the fateful battle of Marston Moor, in which the Royalist northern armies were effectively destroyed , and the North lost to the King .
Note for overseas readers : it’s important to understand that Scotland, a completely independent Kingdom until 1603 , when the Crowns were united , contained at this time , and for four centuries , two mutually hostile cultures :
The majority Lowlanders , English speaking , Protestant ( extremely Protestant ) , largely agricultural or involved in small industries . They were poorer than their English counterparts , largely for climatic reasons , but essentially similar to them culturally. The Covenant forces came almost entirely from this population.
And the minority Highland culture : Gaelic speaking , cattle-herding and crofting , divided into warring Clans and ruled by their Chiefs rather than central government .They had an Oral rather than a written culture , and a minority remained Catholic . Many of them supported the King in the fighting that broke out in Scotland whilst the Army was in England .
The Figure :
Apart from the modified DML body inside , this figure is completely scratchbuilt .
Scots Armies at this period were a rather drab looking Host , uniformed largely in undyed ” Hodden Grey “ cloth , made from the wool of white and brown sheep .This clothing was partly issued and partly whatever the man happened to be wearing when enlisted .
Their arms were mostly imported from Europe , having little in the way of a native arms industry.
From the top : The Scots bonnet : knitted , felted and blocked , these were the almost universal headgear throughout the Land for several centuries ; and the later Kilmarnocks, Glengarries and Balmorals are all derivatives of the original , which probably started its career in the late 1400s .This one , to get the knitted effect , is made from the end of an old “ Granny stocking “ , worked over a bonnet of felt , then painted with indigo .
His face bears the scars of smallpox , a common disfigurement at the time : at least he survived .
The coat and breeches are of a simple design capable of bulk production. The buttons are “ dumplings “ , made from scraps of cloth sewn into balls. Under the coat is the man’s own doublet . All the clothing is made from brushed cotton dyed with Dylon .
He has recently received a new issue of breeches and stockings , hence their relative cleanliness relative to the coat.
The sword is a common European export type , sometimes called the
“ Sinclair “ hilt , suitable for both Horse and Foot , with a very simple hilt and a broad blade. He also visibly carries a long knife with a carved bog-oak handle, used for eating , a fashion long abandoned further south.
The sword and knife have steel blades , with a pewter and Fimo hilt respectively .The scabbard is made by hollowing out two strips of jelutong until the blade fits , then gluing them together and sanding down the scabbard until it's paper thin , thencovering with leather .
The sword is worn on a waist belt : despite the common use of the baldric over the shoulder , the older waist carriage of swords continued in parallel through the period .
He carries a plaid , used as a combined overcoat and blanket , universal in Scotland , not just in the Highlands .This is a piece of plaid from Little Trimmings , a scale 8 foot by 5 foot.
On his back is a snapsack , made rather like a modern duffel bag , which could be leather or oiled and waxed linen , in which his rations
of oatmeal and cheese and any spare items were carried .
The stockings ( knit in this case , but they could be tailored ) and shoes are entirely conventional for the time : they wore out rather quickly.
His cheap bandolier , with wooden bottles, was turned on my Emco lathe : here he primes the pan :
Notice the burning match in his left hand : I've made this from tar impregnated twine : it's perfect , and burns just like the real thing !
The matchlock musket ( resin and pewter ) is copied from an original from the Netherlands .The rope is a link of match , essential for firing the musket .
Each bottle contains one charge , and you can see the bullet bag above the spouted priming bottle at the bottom of the bandolier .
The Army of the Solemn League & Covenant had mixed fortunes: it succeded in driving the Royalist forces south from the area around Newcastle, eventually besieging York along with two English armies. The siege was lifted on the approach of Rupert’s forces , leading quickly to the decisive and very chaotic battle at Marston Moor ( 5 miles from where I write this ), where parts of it ran away along with many of its English allies .
Despite this , the Scots army shared in the victory , and went on with its allies to besiege and eventually capture Newark , a critical strategic town.
It was the very existence of the Scots Army that helped tip the balance against the King’s forces, who were forced to find men to counter it ; and that threat freed up English troops to build Parliament’s New Model Army in the spring of 1645 : that army went on to win the war .
This figure is pretty typical of Scots soldiers of whatever party in the 1640s and ‘50s ( and there were several parties and many changes of side as the war changed direction ). Whilst many of their officers would be more fashionably dressed , and some Highlanders would have retained their traditional plaids , the bulk of the rank and file of the Foot would have resembled him , including the pikemen , who never seem to have had the luxury of armour .
May I recommend the Osprey No:331 “ Scots Armies of the English ( ! ) Civil Wars “ , by Stuart Reid.