«Snatch» Scotch: how was rescued Royal relics

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This story could be the basis for the new guy Ritchie movie, because it has all the necessary ingredients — convoluted plot, intrigue, absurd and tragicomic situations, and the theft of the century. Starring: Charles Stuart, Oliver Cromwell and others. Let’s see!

To be melted!

The news of the execution of king Charles I in 1649 was a real shock for Scotland. The family of the Stuarts, which belonged to the decapitated monarch, historically, was primarily a Scottish ruling dynasty, and only then English. However, the civil war is not over, and Scotland — one in Aberdeen a few times passed from hand to hand, until in 1647 there is not a plague broke out, great buckled as supporters still alive then Carl, and his opponents.

However, shortly after the execution of Charles I and his adherents in Scotland to publicly read a Manifesto, according to which the infant son of the executed were declared the new Scottish king by the name of Charles II. He and his supporters in June 1650 landed on Scottish ground and moved to Aberdeen, where they immediately handed the keys to the city.

On the first day of 1651 Charles was crowned — now officially using the full set of Scottish Royal relics. This infuriated Cromwell, who in the struggle with all the «old regime» is already broken and melted down English symbols of Royal power and is now determined to do the same with the Scottish, and a young man, to depose.

Коронация Карла II, 1651
The coronation of Charles II, 1651

The English army marched North and routed the Scots, after which it became clear that Charles II protsarstvuet long. As often happens in such situations, approximate Stewart rushed to save the values, in particular private papers, the boy-king and symbols of Royal power. The relics were taken to the castle of Dunnottar for safekeeping.

Евгений Башин-Разумовский

Eugene Basin-Razumovskaya

Expert on historical issues

Scottish symbols of Royal power was a «hodgepodge» of items of different origin. The scepter was given in 1494 James IV to Pope Alexander VI as a sign of favour. A sword of the same Jacob in 1507 gave Pope Julius II. Only the crown was his own and belonged to a medieval Scottish kings, but in 1540 it has been remade, making it more majestic and richly decorated. For the first time a complete set in the form in which we know it now, collected in 1543 at the coronation of the young Mary Stuart.

Ironically, the owner of the castle had already sang at the tower of London, where he was by order of Cromwell, but managed right there to send home the message. He ordered George Ogilvy of Barras, an experienced soldier, to take on the powers of the commandant of the castle of Dunnottar, and to defend the Scottish crown and other Royal ornaments to the last breath.

Executive Ogilvy left only to obey. He assembled a terrifying army in the amount of sixty-nine local men (half of whom didn’t know which end shoots the gun) and took up defensive positions.

Замок Данноттар
Dunnottar Castle

The siege of the castle

In early September 1651 dunnottar to the advancing troops of Cromwell. Initial examination of the enemy’s fortifications gave to the disappointing conclusion that the castle had too good natural position, so it could take assaults. Of course, the British had no idea that instead of the normal garrison of a fortress to defend the local team on the run from the enemy, otherwise probably would have crawled on the walls. Instead, they chose to besiege the castle, along the way, waiting for the approach of heavy artillery.

Apparently, the English commander was so do not care at all that he even did not provide the full blockade of the Dunnottar — at night there by the river was moving the boat carrying the precipitated products.

Spring has arrived in 1652. Defenders of Dunnottar was hardly aware that across Scotland just over their fortress still waving the royalist flag, and Karl II fled back to France. Let me remind you: the fortress was protected by as many as 70 people.

In may, the British brought up the heavy guns, after which the castle was fired, and that — a miracle! — immediately brought results. The first attack the main castle tower killed seven of its defenders. The cannonade continued for ten days without interruption, until may 24, Ogilvie and the surviving soldiers of the garrison finally surrendered. The British released them with full military honors, and that was over eight months «the Great siege» of Dunnottar.

Данноттар
Of dunnottar

Crown under the hem

But the most interesting began then. The winners were searched in the captured fortress every corner, but never found the Royal relics and papers. Cromwellians forces commander major-General Thomas Morgan furious «punish» the castle, with orders to destroy the local chapel, and then arrested already surrendered and officially released on all four sides Ogilvie and his wife.

The couple refused to give away the secret, for that they were thrown into prison, where Mrs. Ogilvie died from ill-treatment.

So, what happened?

If Morgan would someone to blame for the missing values — so it himself, because he was tricked like a fool thimbles. Two months before the end of the siege, lady Christine Fletcher, wife of the Reverend James Granger, the priest of a neighbouring parish asked the General to let her into the castle to visit her friend Mrs. Ogilvie. And left the castle, it is the king’s crown, weighing three pounds under the hem. Her maid was carrying the king’s sword and scepter in a simple linen bag on his shoulder, and a sword whose length was equal to 1.4 meters, had to break to make more compact.

Королевские реликвии Шотландии
The Royal honours of Scotland

As the story goes, the unsuspecting Morgan himself helped the woman to sit on a horse. That night, she and her husband, the priest hid the relics in a mattress on which slept, and then when the British left, removed valuables under the floorboards in the Church, where they remained until the restoration of the Stuarts in 1660 and was thus saved.

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