The Battle of Bothwell Bridge and the Covenanters Prison

The Battle took place on Sunday 22nd June 1679.

On one side four thousand men formed Covenanting forces and around five thousand fought with the Duke of Monmouth who was Charles II’s eldest illegitimate son.

Around three hundred covenanters held the bridge against the Royalist army and had only one cannon to use against them. They sent for help as they ran out of ammunition but sadly none appeared.

They were forced to surrender the bridge and retreat back to the main body of Covenanting forces. Under attack from the Royal troops and abandonment from their commanders the Covenanting forces panicked and fled, meaning all order and structure was gone.

Around 1200 Covenanting troops were taken prisoner, they were marched to Edinburgh and imprisoned in the south side of Greyfriars’ Kirk. They were held there with no shelter and forced to brave the elements for over four months and allowed only a small amount of bread per day. Many died of starvation, many executed and only a few were freed after signing loyalty to the crown.

In November of 1679 the remaining 257 were sent to colonial America, on the way their ship was wrecked in the Orkney Islands with only 48 survivors.


Monuments to these events still stand to this day.


The Bothwell Bridge memorial is found on the north-east side of Bothwell Bridge.

A Covenanters Monument was erected at Deerness in 1888 only 300 yards from where the ship went down.

The Scottish Covenanters’ Plaque was erected in Greyfriars Church Yard.

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