THE Romans went no further into Scotland in terms of occupation of the country than the Antonine Wall just north of Glasgow and they only stayed there for eight years after its completion in 154 AD before heading back behind Hadrian’s Wall.

Making Bothwell Castle just south of Glasgow his headquarters, King Edward Longshanks and his English invasion crew never bothered with the Highlands and Islands, and anyway, they were thrown back south within a few years.

You could argue, therefore, that Scotland was never fully conquered. Except, of course, that this entire country was indeed conquered and subjugated by the exceptional military forces of one man – Oliver Cromwell.

As we saw before this series was briefly interrupted, James Graham, the Marquess of Montrose, had been in Glasgow until his campaign for King Charles I ended with defeat at Philiphaugh, and he left his home at Mugdock Castle just outside Glasgow to try and raise troops for Charles on the Continent. Montrose would visit Glasgow only once more – rather a bit of him came to the city, for with his lord and master Charles I executed in London, Montrose returned to avenge his king, only to be defeated at the Battle of Carbisdale. He was captured and hanged and quartered as a traitor on May 21, 1650, on the order of the Scottish Parliament and one of his limbs was then displayed in Glasgow, though it went back to Edinburgh when Montrose was buried with full honours in 1661 after the restoration of the Monarchy.

That was all in the future, however, and from 1645 to 1648, Glasgow was rather more preoccupied with an outbreak of bubonic plague.

The city had mostly recovered when Oliver Cromwell, below, came north with his large, experienced and disciplined army in 1650. The Scottish Parliament, partly through rage at the execution of Charles I, crowned his son King Charles II, and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland backed this new king who seemed prepared to assert Presbyterianism as the national religion of his lands. Cromwell famously sent the Assembly his plea: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken?” only to be told “would you have us to be sceptics in our religion?”

Cromwell’s invasion was actually going rather badly as the Scottish general David Leslie was vastly experienced at the harrying and delaying tactics that had Cromwell’s army on the brink of returning south.

The ministers of the kirk seeing Cromwell’s plight at Dunbar on September 3, 1650, ordered a full-scale attack and left a strong position to attack the English army.

Cromwell could not believe his luck and his much better army duly smashed the Scots to pieces, killing as many as 4000 and capturing more than twice that number. Cromwell’s treatment of his prisoners was hardly Christian – many were executed out of hand, many died on the march south and many more were sold into a form of slavery.

Cromwell then paid a visit

to Glasgow where he lodged with the Campbell family in the Saltmarket and was royally entertained.

On Sunday, October 13, he went to the Lower Church of the Cathedral to take part in a presbyterian service – the seat he occupied during which he was harangued by the city’s best known minister, Zachary Boyd, was preserved for many years.

One of Cromwell’s officers took offence at the Rev Boyd’s denunciation of Cromwell’s Puritanism as a lesser form of religion that Presbyterianism, and offered to remove Boyd from the pulpit. Cromwell declined and then invited Boyd to dine with him.

It is said that Cromwell insisted they pray together and he kept Boyd on his knees for hours – Zachary was rather nicer to the Englishman after that ordeal.

Still the Scots rallied for their Stuart king and the following year a Scottish army was raised in which Glasgow played at full part. We know that because a letter from Charles II to the city council still survives.

It gives a fascinating insight into how the Stuart monarchs exercised their power with a combination of wheedling and exhortation mixed with that Divine Right element that was aye their undoing.

“CHARLES R.—Trustie and weelbeloved: Wee greet yow weell. The necessitie of our affaires forceth ws at this tyme (the most pairt of our propper rent lyeing whair the enemie hes power, our custumes made ineffectuall, and what was granted to ws by the parliament being for our necessare enterteinment and other neidfull affaires alreddie superexpended) to crave your assistance for the present advance of some money for our furnisheing and necessarie provision agains our goeing to the feilds.

“These are earnestlie to desire yow presentlie to advance to ws five hundreth pund sterling, for the which soume yow shall have securetie either vpon any of our propper rentes, custumes, impost, or casualiteis within this our kingdome, or otherwayes what other privat securetie yow can crave from the commissioneris of our thesaurie for the same, and interest thairof ; and for that effect that yow send one whome yow trust to Stirling vpon the 20 day of this instant, whare wee shall authorize the commissioneris of our said thesaurie to give yow such securitie, either privat or publict as in reason can be demanded. And the publict securetie shalbe authorized and confirmed by the nixt ensweing parliament for your better securitie. So, expecting your care in provideing with all diligence the said soume as yow tender the good of our service and the honour of this our kingdome, wee bid you fareweell.

“From our court at Stirling, the 9th of May 1651. To our Trustie and weelbeloved, The Magistrates, Counsel, and Comountie of our Burght of Glasgow.”

Glasgow paid up and supplied men and arms. So the Scottish Royalists fought one more time at Worcester on September 3, 1651, losing heavily even as Charles II escaped into exile.

Now Cromwell was determined to deal with the Scots once and for all and he imposed an occupying army under General George Monck who duly sacked Dundee, killing hundreds of men women and children in the city.

Outposts were established all across the country as Cromwell incorporated Scotland into his Commonwealth.

Glasgow was no different, though its occupiers and the city itself were to receive a huge shock in 1652.