King Charles I after original by Van Dyck

Civil War had begun in earnest by 1642. Charles I was the enemy of the Presbyterians in Scotland and the parliamentarians in England.

His lack of ability at negotiation and conciliation had compounded his situation. Montrose had done well for him in undermining the Calvinists and Campbells for a time but by 1646 he was defeated and in Europe.

With the power of the Roundheads in England unstoppable, Charles opted to surrender to the Scots army. Yet again negotiations did not go in the King’s favour.

In return for paying an indemnity Charles had promised in the Treaty of Ripon, the Calvinists sold him to the English Parliament. The Calvinists were to learn that the King was more disposed towards them than Cromwell. A faction of moderate Presbyterians, known as the Engagers, therefore helped Charles escape from prison to try and reinstate him.

After their defeat at Preston in 1648, Charles was back in Cromwell’s custody. He was noted for the courage and dignity he displayed as he listened to a biased Parliamentary trial and went to his execution.