Civil War broke out in England in August 1642, following a long power struggle between King Charles I and Parliament over religious freedom and the rights of the King. The conflict which followed engulfed the whole of the British Isles and claimed proportionately more British lives than were lost in the First World War. Towns took up arms against towns, villages fought villages and, worst of all, families became divided. Following a trial for treason against his people, the King was beheaded in London on a cold morning in January 1649.
The execution of the king did not bring peace however. Charles's son gained the allegiance of the Scots putting them at odds with Parliamentarian England. Conflict followed and on September 3rd 1650, Scottish forces were defeated by Oliver Cromwell's army at Dunbar in southeast Scotland. The surviving Scots became prisoners of war and were marched south to Durham where they were imprisoned in the cathedral.
You can find out more about the story of the Scottish Soldiers in the book 'Lost Lives, New Voices' available here (opens external link)
This section explores the story of the Scottish Soldiers through an interactive map, charting their story from the Battle of Dunbar until the present day.
This section presents a timeline of the main historical events which shaped the lives of the Scottish soldiers who fought at Dunbar in 1650.
In this section, the remarkable stories of the lucky few who survived both the Battle of Dunbar and captivity in Durham are told.