This photo is taken from a little Blantyre booklet in 1904 called Gilmours Directory. It was likely included amongst the Blantyre articles, as the monument had only recently been built in 1903 and although in Bothwell, outwith Blantyre Parish, it may have been of interest to many nearby Blantyre people.
Funded by public subscription, it was erected near the 224th anniversary of the battle. The monument was to remember that battle. That Saturday, on 20th June 1903, “over 25,000 people assembled at Bothwell Bridge to witness the unveiling of a monument to the Covenanters who fell in battle at that place.” (FP Magazine Vol. 8, p. 120) to listen to a speech by Lord Overtoun. In time, the monument has lost its railings.
The Battle of Bothwell Bridge is significant as it brought to an end the 1679 Covenanter rebellion. This was the largest of the Covenanter uprisings of the 17th century and featured many figures who were prominent in Scottish political and military history in the latter part of the century. It was also final major battle between the Covenanters and their Government opponents.
The Battle of Bothwell Bridge was a major defeat for the Covenanter army against the Government troops lead by the Duke of Monmouth. The catalyst for the Covenanter uprising was the hard-line repression of their conventicles by Government forces. An attempt by Government dragoons to break up a conventicle at Drumclog in Lanarkshire on 1 June 1679 had resulted in a battle victory for the Covenanters.
Following this triumph a confident Covenanter army marched on Glasgow but failed to take the city. A Government army under the Duke of Monmouth hurried north to meet the Covenanters positioned to the south of Hamilton. The overwhelming Government victory at Bothwell Bridge effectively signalled the end of the Covenanters’ military activities.
An archaeological evaluation and metal detecting survey was undertaken in 2006 in advance of a proposed housing scheme within a field 50m from the north end of Bothwell Bridge known as the Covenanter’s Field. A number of musket balls were recovered which may represent bullets fired at the Government army as they took up position on the high ground against the Covenanters stationed on the bridge.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016
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