PHOTO ABOVE: View from Doon Hill near Dunbar, Scotland looking east towards the North Sea. Site of the Battle of Dunbar 3 Sep 1650. The photo was taken by Kirsten Fredrickson in July 2015 and shared with her permission.
Published: 7 March 2013
Updated/Edited: 7 September 2016
Here’s tae the heath, the hill and the heather,
The bonnet, the plaid, the kilt and the feather.
You have found the website/blog of the descendants of Scottish prisoners of war from the Battle of Dunbar on 3 Sep 1650 and the Battle of Worcester on 3 Sep 1651. No, that is not a typo, the battles did take place on the same day, just one year apart. These are two of the battles fought during the Third English Civil War (1649-1651).
The Battle of Dunbar took place in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland. The Scottish army commanded by David Leslie fought against the English Parliamentarian forces under Oliver Cromwell. The Scots were defeated and thousands of Scottish soldiers were taken as prisoners of war. They were forced to march to Durham Cathedral in England where they arrived on 11 Sep 1650. In November 1650 approximately 150 of the survivors were deported from Gravesend, England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, arriving in Charlestown (now incorporated into Boston) in late December 1650. There they were indentured into hard labor for approximately six to eight years. Most of the men survived their indenture period and bought land, married, and settled down to rear families. They now have thousands of descendants living throughout the United States of America.
For years it was believed that many died and were buried in mass graves while at Durham Cathedral, but until recently there had been no proof. Just last year (2015) archaeological finds near Durham Cathedral confirmed that Scottish prisoners of war were buried there in mass graves. See: SPOWs in the News
The Battle of Worcester took place in Worcester, Worcestershire, England. It was the LAST battle of the English Civil Wars. The Scottish Royalists under “ Charles II attempted to forcefully regain the crown, in the fields a little to the west and south of the city, near the village of Powick,” from Wikipedia. The Scottish Royalists were defeated and thousands were taken prisoner. About 272 of them were exiled to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652 via the ketch John and Sara. There is some speculation that some of these prisoners were actually taken to the Virginia Colony as well as Barbados, possibly after arriving in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They also served six to eight years each and many of them lived to own land, marry and rear families. There are also thousands of their descendants living today in the United States.
This website/blog is an effort to bring together the known facts of these prisoners. They left their Scottish homes for war, never expecting that if they survived the battle, they would never see their homeland again.
By working together, we hope to contribute to the general knowledge of our Scottish POW ancestors and the historical events surrounding their lives. We are interested in finding out who they were, where they came from, how they came to be in the battles and what happened to them afterwards. We will be using the usual research practices to do so, as well as a Y-DNA study. Please also join us at our Scottish War Prisoners Yahoo Group, a community of 400+.
All who are descendants of or have an interest in the Battle of Dunbar and Battle of Worcester Scottish POWs are welcome to join our efforts.
Slàinte! (to your) Health!
~Teresa (Hamilton/Pepper) Rust, Founder/Owner and Super Admin
Other ways to reach us and stay in touch:
Yahoo Email Group: Scottish War Prisoners Yahoo Group – Open to the Public
Facebook: Scottish Prisoners of War @scottishprisonersof war
Scottish Prisoners Y-DNA Study: Scottish Prisoners – Transported Scottish Prisoners of the Civil Wars (1650s)
Co-Administrator of this site:
~Elizabeth (Bowe) Boggs
Administrators of the DNA Study:
~John Cleary – Lead Administrator
~Elizabeth (Bowe) Boggs
~Teresa (Hamilton/Pepper) Rust