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The Battle Of Langside
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schiehallion
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:57 pm    Post subject: The Battle Of Langside  Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Having had some free time over the christmas holidays I decided to try my hand at depicting a wee bit of Glasgow history using google earth images and a wee GIF animator.

I've always had a big interest in the battle and it kinda bugs me how little regard is shown for the events of that day in May 1568 by history programmes and books. It wasn't the biggest, grandest battle ever but if Mary had broken through beyond Langside and reached Dumbarton Castle where she would've raised a large loyal army from the west Highland clan chiefs, who knows how history would've turned? She could've regained her throne and regained her infant son, who in all likelihood, would've been raised a Catholic and would not have become James VI and 1st of Great Britain.

Even the recent history of Scotland programme with Neil Oliver glossed over Langside. So, to put the record straight, drawing on what I can, here is an account of the events that led to bloodshed on the Lang Loan, right outside the present day Victoria Infirmary ironically enough!

By way of an intro here's my wee potted history for anyone interested in the events leading up to the battle.

Born in Linlithgow in 1542, Mary is crowned Queen of Scotland one year later. Although Henry VIII wants her to marry his son to unite the crowns, Mary instead marries the French Dauphin, Francoise when aged 16. One day they will be monarchs of both Scotland and France. Three years later her young husband dies and she returns home to her Scottish crown but Scotland has changed as protestantism sweeps the country. At 23 years of age she marries Lord Darnley and proclaims that she will respect and be tolerant of the new protestantism even although she is a Catholic. John Knox is not impressed.

The following year she gives birth to a baby boy, the future James VI, and sends him to Stirling Castle for his safety fearing the Protestant Scottish lords will not want the boy raised a Catholic. Shortly afterward her husband. Lord Darnley is murdered and the Protestant lords accuse Bothwell of the crime. Mary subsequently marries Bothwell and both are now hunted by the nobles. At Carberry Hill both are captured and at the age of 25 Mary is imprisoned in Lochleven Castle. She is forced to abdicate her throne and her son, now being raised by Protestant lords, is crowned King James VI.

One year later in 1568, Mary escapes prison and raises a force of 6,000 men to win back her crown. Her half brother, the Regent Moray, is running Scotland while he raises his nephew, and her son, James VI who is too young to perform the role of king. The future course of James VI's life now depends on the outcome of a meeting at Langside between his estranged mother and his uncle.

Mary is at Hamilton Palace planning to travel through Glasgow to Dumbarton Castle for refuge and to reinforce her numbers, already at 6,000.

The Regent Moray is in the Bishop's Castle in Glasgow where he urgently raises a force of 4,000 including 600 Glasgow men.



Mary held a council of war at Hamilton on the evening of May 12th 1568. This was her army and where they gathered in Hamilton near to Hamilton Palace. She made the Earl Of Argyll her commander.



Meanwhile the Regent on hearing from a messenger that she was planning to march, moved his army out onto the moor of Glasgow which was the area just outside the Gallowgate Port. The Port was exactly where I've marked it and the army would've been gathered on the site of present day Barras.



On the morning of May 13th 1568, Mary began her march. She followed the River Clyde up to Rutherglen before spotting the Regents' forces amassed the the moor of Glasgow. She decides to head due west for Clincart Hill, Langside Hill, Crookston Castle then on to Erskine where she can ford the Clyde.

The Regent, seeing (and anticipating) her changing her course rushes his forces over Glasgow Bridge and out the Langside Road to Path Head Farm and Langside village.

The race is on for the high ground......and Mary loses as her commander, Argyll is repeatedly unwell en route.



So now the two sides face each other from neighbouring hills. The Regent is spread across Langside Hill. His right flank at Langside village. His left flank spread scross the Queen's Park behind the Victoria Infirmary.

The Queen's forces stop on Clincart Hill, the hill into which Mount Florida train station is cut. The Queen herself moves south to a site near to Cathcart Castle to view proceedings from safety.



Here is the starting position. The Regent places Kirkcaldy of Grange as commander of both flanks as the two sides begin firing cannon at each other across the sites of Langside College and the Victoria Infirmary.




In the first phase of the battle, Mary's forces try a twin pronged attack. Hamilton leads an army along the Bus 'n Aik (bush and oak) road to the foot of the Lang Loan. The Bus 'n Aik road and the Lang Loan would later become Battlefield Road.

Meanwhile Lord Herries leads a cavalry charge across the site where the new hospital is being built and is met by Douglas of Drumlanrig. However Douglas retreats meaning Hamilton feels confident in pushing forward with Herries to back him.

Decisively though, hagbutters (troops with rifles) are sent down from Langside to shelter behind the walls and in the gardens of villas bordering the Lang Loan.




As Hamilton's men move up the Lang Loan they are met with resistance from the top of the hill and hagbutters are firing into their left flank. Douglas of Drumlanrig, bolstered with archers, attacks Lord Herries again and pre-occupies him. Kirkcaldy of Grange, realising the left flank is secure instructs them to flood down over the site of the Victoria Infirmary and attack the right flank of Hamilton's forces.

Hamilton's men are now trapped on that wee bit of Battlefield Road from the Battlefield Rest to the monument. Between 300 and 400 are killed and the rest flee back along the road.

The Regent instructs his men to spare the lives of the escapees.



The battle is over, men flee to avoid imprisonment and Mary sets off to England to try to work things out with her cousin Elizabeth I. She never gets to meet Elizabeth. After 19 years imprisonment, she is stitched up in a sting and is beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle.

It is rumoured that the dead from Langside are buried in the marshland that would later become the Queen's Park boating pond on Pollokshaws Road.






Last edited by schiehallion on Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:56 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

This is a fantastic post full of informaion and well illustrated.

I have often wondered what the situation was like for the two forces who faught the Battle of Langside.

Great work Schiehallion.

This has got to be the top post for 2008. It gets my vote anyway.
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schiehallion
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Cheers for your kind words Alex.  Hopefully it is a bit more 'real'.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Good work should always be recognised Schiehallion.

I really like the idea of using Google Earth to illustrate the position of the competing forces. The narrative helps to explain the modern locations which makes it bring the battle to modern life. I am sure others will appreciate the work you have done here and enjoy it as much as I have.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Brilliant post.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

'kin hell!!  That was one of the best illustrated Scottish history threads I've seen on a forum. I know the present area of the battle quite well but the graphics put me right in amongst the action as I read the text

This thread is worthy of a UG Gold Star Award for Excellence

 
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Fantastic work and a really enjoyable read!  

Maybe you can put truth or fiction to a story I was told about Queen Mary and the area now known as Polmadie.... The story went that Mary rode her horse hard and it threw her and as she lay on the ground she muttered 'Paul My Die' hence Polmadie.... problem with that lovely story is, who was paul? A person? The Horse?
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Stu

Just reading Jack House's book - The Heart Of Glasgow - he tells the same story but adds that in an earlier map of Scotland there is a reference to Polmadie so the story can't be true. There is the other one associated to Crossmyloof which is said to refer to Mary Queen of Scots as well.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Stuball wrote:
Fantastic work and a really enjoyable read!

Maybe you can put truth or fiction to a story I was told about Queen Mary and the area now known as Polmadie.... The story went that Mary rode her horse hard and it threw her and as she lay on the ground she muttered 'Paul My Die' hence Polmadie.... problem with that lovely story is, who was paul? A person? The Horse?


As Alex says, the Polmadie story is fiction. The myth was that Pol was her horse and the rhyme went "Pol may dee so I must flee".

Crossmyloof has been linked to her but quite simply, that area was west (behind) the Regent's line. I have read that areas such as Crossmyloof are remnants of areas where a cross marked the perimeter of a parish. Crosshill being an example of another one.

Of course she and her half brother left their mark all over the area with Lochleven Road (the castle she escaped from), Dundrennan Road (the castle she sheltered in en route to England), Bolton Drive up on Clincart Hill (Bolton Castle was one of the strongholds she was held in while in England), Queen Square, Regent Park Square and Moray Place over at Pollokshaws Road, the New Regent pub and the Fotheringay pub in Nithsdale Road (mispelled as she was actually executed in Fotheringhay Castle with an 'h'!). Even Grange Road at the Victoria Infirmary is named after Kirkcaldy of Grange who's decisive command ended the battle.

I was amazed to see the old name of Battlefield Road, the Bus 'n Aik road appear in the 1892 ordnance survey map as the 'Bushinaike Dairy' immediately east of the Mount Florida to Cathcart railway line.  The Mount Florida mineral depot is where the two multi storeys are. The 'Aik' (oak) of course also featured in the head of the oak forest road which later became Aikenhead Road.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Schiehallion I think you'll need to arrange a guided walk in the New Year covering this subject due to your heavy historical evidence. Count me in as it's fecking fascinating

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