The Battle of Muirdykes, 1685: Erskine of Carnock’s Version #History #Scotland


On 28 June, 1685, while he was in hiding at Gribloch, John Erskine of Carnock heard from a participant in the Battle of Muirdykes, which was fought on Thursday 18 June:

‘I met with James Bruce, who gave me an account of the parting of Sir John Cochran, Sir Patrick Home, and other gentlemen, with about fourscore men, two days after they had fought with three or four troops, and killed Captain [William] Cleland with some others, being advertised by a gentleman that it was impossible for them to keep longer together, severall thousands of the forces gathering about them, so they parted about two miles from Renfrew [at Blackstoun on 20 June], with this resolution that every one of them should with the first opportunity join to the first standing party of their friends; that failing, some resolved to go into England to Monmouth.’ (Erskine, Journal, 132.)

Erskine’s account gives a slightly lower estimate than Polwarth’s account for the number of men in Cochrane’s force. Erskine records ‘about’ 80 men with accompanying gentlemen, while Polwarth estimated ‘in all about 100 men’. He provides corroboration that Lord Fountainhall was correct when he stated that this fragment of Argyll’s forces parted at Blackstoun, which lies near Renfrew.

Map of Blackstoun

For further accounts of the Battle of Muirdykes, see the versions of Patrick Hume of Polwarth, Lord Fountainhall, George Brysson and his escape after it, and the visit of Maxwell of Cardoness to the field.

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on June 24, 2017.

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