Bergen refuge for fleeing Scottish Marquis
John Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose (1612-50), Covenanter turned Royalist, was forced to flee Scotland after defeat at the battle of Philiphaugh. Choosing to escape to Norway, he had his men search all the coast and harbours to the north of his Montrose home to find a ship bound for Bergen. With good fortune, a Norwegian bark was anchored at Stanehyvie (Stonehaven) and arrangements were made to slip the Marquis onboard.
Dressed in coarse cloth, disguised as a servant, Montrose was rowed out to the bark. Local covenanters had attempted to cut the anchors, hoping the bark might found on the rocks and cliffs, but the escape party got away. On 3rd September 1646, with a ‘fair wind’ they put to sea with their Marquis ‘maid’ and began their voyage to Norway.
But within a few years, Montrose’s luck ran out. An educated, charismatic and determined leader, he took a force of men back, via Orkney, to the Scottish mainland. A Covenanter at heart, he thought the Royalist cause the better only for Scotland’s immediate political stability, and was wont to follow thought with action.
But his return proved one risk too many and he was captured, taken to Edinburgh and executed there in 1650. Today, the Bergen-bound Marquis lies at rest in St Giles Cathedral.
© SLKG 2011