The Battle of Langside,13
May 1568

Following the battle of
Carberry Hill in June 1567 
and her  imprisonment
Lochleven Castle the fortunes of Mary, Queen of Scots,
took a  further downturn. The revelations of her
letters to Bothwell had led to her abdication, under
pressure from the dissident nobles, on 24 July 1567. On
the continent France was in the throes of civil war, while
Spain was at war with Holland. The Pope had withdrawn his
favours, so only in England was there a woman’s word of
comfort from Queen Elizabeth I. Despite the advice of her
good friend Lord Herries, It was the latter thought that
occupied Mary`s mind if she needed to escape, as by
seeking Queen Elizabeth`s protection she would be an
English prisoner, not a Scottish one.

Mary first attempted to escape
from Lochleven in March but was however, caught. On 2 May
1568 she finally escaped and joined with supporters and
the ever faithful Hamiltons. At Hamilton Mary issued a
proclamation revoking her abdication saying it had been
obtained under duress (which was probably true). She had a
choice of trying to clear her name in Parliament or to do
battle. Choosing the option to do battle she and her
supporters headed for the west of Scotland where there was
evidence of support for her. On 13 May Mary and a
considerable force of about 6500 were making their way to
the safety of Dumbarton Castle by way of the southern edge
of Glasgow – via Rutherglen and Langside. The Earl of
Moray heard of the Queen`s movement and took his army of
about 4000 out of Glasgow to see which way the Queen would
seek to pass. Finding her on the south side of the River
Clyde Moray marched and took possession of a hill near the
village of Langside on the river Cart. With Moray were the
Earls of Morton, Semple, Hume, Mar, Glencairn, Monteith
and a goodly gathering of the citizens of Glasgow.

Prominent among the commanders
was Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange who had been involved
in the assassination of Cardinal Beaton in 1548 and a
sometime supporter of Queen Mary both before and after her
exile in England. He was sent forward with cavalry,
allegedly each rider taking with him a musketeer, to
secure the village of Langside. These musketeers were
positioned to be able to pour concentrated fire on the
narrow road. This they did when a body of foot soldiers
under Lord Claud Hamilton advanced. At this point the
royal army faltered then broke and fled with Moray`s
cavalry wreaking havoc among them. It is said the rout was
because the Commander in Chief of the royal forces, the
Earl of Argyll, fell off his horse and panicked his

 The Queen  and a small
retinue watched the rout from about a mile away. Mary
turned and rode for the English border where she crossed
the Solway into England, and exile, on 16 May 1568.