Historic Scotland’s Battlefield Inventory Map

In the August of 1644 James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose, combined his force of cavalry and Highland foot soldiers with Alasdair MacDonald’s Irish soldiers to begin a campaign against the Covenanters for Charles I.

Their first target for reclamation was Perth, and on the 1st September they arrived at Tippermuir, a village four miles to Perth’s west. Lord Elcho was in command of the area’s Covenanters, more numerous with better equipment than the Royalists.

Montrose had at least reached an area with a slight strategic advantage. MacDonald positioned his men centrally, flanked by Montrose’s men and cavalry. When the advancing Covenanters were within a hundred yards of their enemy a section of their cavalry raced ahead to draw the fire. The Irishmen attacked at once with such ferocity that Elcho’s men lost their co-ordination, broke their ranks and began to flee the field.

Only a few Covenanters died on the field but the rout that followed took two thousand of their lives. Perth belonged to Charles and the military genius of Montrose had brought triumph, despite the odds, for the first of many times.