Thursday, October 28, 2010

Battle of Corrichie

'The Earl of Huntley, incensed at the recall of the royal gift of 1548 in his favor, now conceived that the ruin of his house was resolved upon, and determined to take up arms. Ho summoned together his vassals, and menaced an attack upon the new Earl of Murray and the forces who escorted the sovereign's person.

The queen [Mary, Queen of Scots], in the meantime, proceeded to Darnoway, the principal messuage of the earldom of Murray; and having put her brother in possession of the honors and estates belonging to that great lordship, she summoned the neighboring barons and clans to join her array, and protect her against Huntley and his army. They brought their men to the queen accordingly, and the Earl of Murray led them against the Gordons, who were posted near Corrichie. Huntley had but seven or eight hundred men, but reckoned on his interest among the northern barons, who had ostensibly joined Murray, but who, in reality, neither loved his person nor were willing to endure his power.
The Earl of Murray drew up on a rising ground the small phalanx of southland men in whom he could confide, and commanded the northern clans, whose faith he doubted, to commence the attack on the Gordons, October 28, 1562. They did so, but with no desire of making a serious impression ; and recoiling from the charge came running back with their antagonist close behind them on Murray's band of spearmen, who received both fliers and pursuers with levelled lances. The onset of the Gordons, made in the Highland fashion, with drawn swords and disordered ranks, was unequal to the task of breaking so firm a battalion. The assailants retired in disorder; and the instant they did so the neighboring clans, who had begun the fight, anxious to secure the favor of the victors, turned their swords upon the repulsed party, and endeavored to atone for their former flight by making slaughter among those before whom they had just retreated.
The consequences of the loss of this battle of Corrichie were most disastrous to the family of Huntley. The earl himself, thrown from his horse, and too unwieldy to rise from the ground, was smothered in the retreat. His body, brought to town on a pair of panniers, was afterward produced in parliament, where a doom of forfeiture was pronounced against him. His son, Sir John Gordon, condemned to be beheaded, was butchered at Aberdeen by an unskilful executioner. The doom of forfeiture was pronounced against this powerful family, and was not reversed until the 19th of April, 1567. It was supposed that the Earl of Huntley's purpose, had he possessed himself of the queen's person, was to have united her in marriage with one of his sons; but as there is no evidence to prove such a charge, we cannot extend his guilt beyond his avowed designs against Murray, his feudal enemy.'

The text above is from "Scotland", by Sir Walter Scott, with a supplement by Mayo Hazeltine.  The Battle of Corrichie took place, according to Rampant Scotland, on October 28, 1562.  This clan battle pitted the Gordons of Clan Huntly against Stewart forces of the Earl of Moray, which were loyal to Mary Queen of Scots.  George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, died in captivity following the battle, and several members of the clan forfeited their estates as a result of their participation in the uprising.

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