Story of the Regiments - The Covenanters
There are two documents that have a famous place in the history
First - The National Covenant, drawn up by Alexander Henderson
in 1638 on the lines of the Covenant of 1581. It pledged those who
signed it to maintain the principles of the Protestant Reformation
and the Presbyterian faith and discipline. But it contained this
important clauseWe promise and swear that our means
and lives stand to the defence of our Dread Sovereign the Kings
Majesty, his person and authority, in the defence and preservation
of the aforesaid true religious liberties and laws of the Kingdom.
It was signed by many of the nobles and gentry, with the Marquis
of Montrose at their head, and by 300 ministers and a great multitude
of the people.
Second - The Solemn League and Covenant. It dates from
1643, and it was virtually an agreement between the Presbyterians
in Scotland and the Presbyterians in England to unite in defending
the civil and religious liberties of the two Kingdoms.
The Scottish Covenanters were the men and women who stood for
the principles laid down in these two great documents; and their
loyalty to these principles was put to a severe test. Presbyterianism
did not find favour with the Stewart Kings, and the crisis came
when Charles II was established on the throne in 1660. Charles II
had repeatedly signed the Covenants and sworn to be faithful to
them, but he set himself at once to make them null and void. As
King, he claimed to have the right of imposing the Episcopal form
of Church Government upon the Scottish people. The Scottish Parliament
bowed to his will, and the Covenants were declared to be unlawful.
Thereafter, things went from bad to worse. Over 300 Presbyterian
ministers had to leave their churches and their homes, and, as far
as possible, Episcopal Curates were brought in to fill their places.
The Covenanters were driven to worship in the open air; but by and
by their field meetings, or Conventicles, as they were
called, were forbidden under heavy penalties. Then came exactions
and persecutions of the most grievous kind, which culminated in
the horrors of the KillingTime. The story is too long
to be told here, but it makes one of the saddest pages of Scottish
Source: '300 Years of Service' published by the Regimental Trustees