Celtic Dimensions of the British Civil Wars

Published in Confederate War and Cromwell, Features, Issue 2 (Summer 1995), News, Volume 3

The University of Strathclyde hosted the second conference of theResearch Centre in Scottish History on 5 April 1995. The organiser,John Young, brought together a new generation of historians engaged inoriginal research to explore the ‘Celtic Dimensions of the BritishCivil Wars’. Although the ‘British problem’ has been the focus of muchdebate in recent years, and engaged the minds of many capablehistorians from G.A. Pococke, J.S. Morrill to C. Russell, it has oftenbeen conducted from an Anglo-centric stand point.
In the first session, chaired by Aidan Clarke, John Scally andBilly Kelly (featured in HI Summer 1993) provided original andcomparative analyses of the careers of the Marquis and first Duke ofHamilton and James Butler, Earl of Ormond. Pádraig Lenihan (alsofeatured in HI Summer 1993) concluded with a stimulating appraisal ofIrish confederate warfare in the 1640s.
With Allan Macinnes in the chair for the second session, SharonAdams supplied an insight into the radical south-west of Scotland, thehatchery of the covenanting movement between 1625-1649, while Tadhg ÓhAnnracháin’s examination of the stance of the Catholic Confederateclergy provided a contrasting backdrop. Following up on PádraigLenihan’s paper in the previous session, Éamonn Ó Ciardha concentratedon the breakdown of the Confederate and Royalist armies in Ireland andScotland and the emergence of political banditry in the laterCromwellian period.
The third session, chaired by Ted Cowan pursued the theme ofScottish radicalism. John Young’s stimulating analysis of the Scottishparliament and the covenanting revolution provided a backdrop forRonnie Lee’s paper on the Scottish parliament in the Restorationperiod. John Coffy’s examined the political thought of SamuelRutherford, the conscience of the covenanting movement, while ClaireJackson concluded the session in the Restoration with an analysis ofthe political thought of Sir George MacKenzie of Rosehaugh.
The concluding discussion was chaired by John Morrill withcontributions from the various chairpersons, as well as Keith Brown,Kenneth Nicholls and members of the audience. A lengthy instalment ofthe ongoing exchange between John Young and John Scally provided awitty backdrop to Dr Morrill’s concluding remarks. The proceedings willshortly be published by John Donald Publishers (Edinburgh).


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