“Engagement”  and Mauchline Moor – 12 June 1648

skirmish at Mauchline Moor was an important event in the
Covenanter story because it was a tangible and evident
expression of the people  against both support for
the King and, curiously, opposition to the growing power
of Oliver Cromwell. It was these Covenanters of the west
of Scotland and their military wing – the `Western
Association`, who would later march on Edinburgh to seize

Mauchline Moor

was greatly resented by the smaller land owners
and tenants, the rural landless and poor, and by the
ministers. They wanted the full Solemn League and Covenant
implemented including the introduction of Presbyterianism
in England and Ireland. The Engagement forced a split from
the English Parliamentarians and led to more civil war and
required levies to be raised. Many Scots went to Ulster to
avoid military service and a gathering of some 2000
protesters at Mauchline Moor in Ayrshire, 12 June 1648 ,
was broken up by troops from Glasgow under the command of
the Earl of Middleton who, with his ally Hurry, was

The scale
of the skirmish was relatively small as the meeting was
breaking up anyway when attacked, but the implications
were great. The readiness for armed resistance by the
Western Association was followed by the “ Whiggamore Raid
“  in September 1648. This was the march on Edinburgh
and capture of the Castle, that displaced the Engagers
from power and made way for the two year rule of the Kirk.

Present at
Mauchline Moor were some leading figures of the
Covenanters including John Nevay and his patron the Earl
of Loudon and William Guthrie. The attack on the
gathering, who were celebrating the Communion ( according to Sir James Turner “with swords in their hands”), was by the
Earl of Callender and Major General Middleton who were
bent on harassing the Covenanters for opposing the
Engagement. The Earl of Loudon obtained the word of
Middleton to allow the gathering to disperse peacefully
but on the Monday morning he attacked them. Also present
was Captain John Paton who was less trusting of the
Engagers, and had with him his people from Fenwick who
were armed. A stout defence was put up with Paton himself
credited with killing eighteen of the Engager forces.

The principal Covenanter battles:

Rullion Green 28 November 1666

Drumclog  1 June 1679

Bothwell Brig 22 June 1679

Ayrs Moss 22 July 1680