The Battle of Langside
Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son (James VI of Scotland, the future James I of England) on July 24, 1567 . Her injudicious marriages first to the unpopular and arrogant Darnley then to his possible murderer Bothwell had made her personal position so weak that her capture and imprisonment at the hands of the Scottish aristocracy was inevitable.
But on May 2 1568 Mary escaped, immediately revoking her abdication. She gathered some supporters, eventually numbering more than 5000, and on May 13 quit her refuge in Hamilton Castle with the intention of reaching Dumbarton Castle , a stronghold loyal to her still and well-placed to provide a rallying point for further Royalist recruits. But on the way her army was intercepted by the regent, James Stewart, Earl of Moray.
The battlefield was in Langside, to the south of Glasgow (the site marked now by a monument between Langside Avenue and Battlefield Road). Moray’s army was smaller than the Royalist force, but proved to be better organised. Unluckily for Mary her general, the Earl of Argyle, became ill as the fighting began; happily for Moray, his appointment of Sir William Kirkaldy as a free-ranging deputy proved a brilliant stroke, the latter turning near defeat into victory at the tipping point.
Mary’s hopes in Scotland died as did perhaps 1000 of her followers. She fled to England, where rather than support she found suspicion. Her foolish plotting against Elizabeth I would eventually see Mary executed at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587 .
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