Battle of Dunbar, 3 Sep 1650

Published: 7 March 2013
Updated/Edited: 17 May 2015

Reid, Stuart, Dunbar 1650: Cromwell’s most famous victory (Oxford, England: Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Google eBooks:
Bisset, Andrew, Omitted Chapters of the History of England From The Death of Charles I. to the Battle of Dunbar, (LONDON: John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1864). A FREE digital book at Google Books with a very complete description of the events leading up to and including the Battle of Dunbar and treatment of the Scottish prisoners.

You Tube:
Consultation on the Durham Remains, November 30, 2015: Press Conference Version
Battles of East Lothian 5 – Dunbar II by APJHeritage 20 April 2013
The Battle of Dunbar by Bill Bowles a descendant of Malcolm McIntyre.

Web Sites:
Battlefields Trust, UK Battlefields Resource Centre:
Battle of Dunbar II

BCW Project, British Civil Wars, Commonwealth & Protectorate, 1638 – 1660:
The Battle of Dunbar, 1650. Excellent starting point! Site includes maps, links, and other sources.

Scot Clans:
1650, Battle of Dunbar

Scots Wars (old site, no longer maintained):
Battle of Dunbar, 1650

Scottish Archive Network:
Alphabetical list of Scottish officers taken at Dunbar

Battle of Dunbar (1650) at Wikipedia

Easy Web in the UK:
The Battle of Dunbar


The following photos are mine and were taken in June 2011:

The public entrance to Durham Cathedral.

Public entrance to Durham Cathedral.

Public entrance to Durham Cathedral.

Inside Durham Cathedral where our Battle of Dunbar Scottish prisoners-of-war were kept.  It is a magnificent place!

Inside Durham Cathedral June 2011 on a privately arranged tour!

Inside Durham Cathedral June 2011 on a privately arranged tour!

cropped-england-and-scotland-2011-910.jpgSupposedly, the Scottish thistle clock in Durham Cathedral was preserved by the Scots when they were prisoners in the cathedral. They burned almost everything else to stay warm but left the clock because of the Scottish symbol.

20 Responses to Battle of Dunbar, 3 Sep 1650

  1. I really appreciate this link and your family research – I found you to learn more about these events where my great grands x 11 were present and active but on the winning side – I want my character to notice them and wonder what is going to become of them!

  2. cch says:

    “The March of Shame” What happened to the Scottish POWs has been an obsession of mine. Reading in my mother’s family genealogy I found my 8th great grandfather, George Gray, and another 8th great grandfather, Alexander Cooper who participated in this battle. The endured the 8 day march to Durham Cathedral and the harsh conditions once there which resulted in many deaths. After many years of research I was finally able to find George Gray’s Scottish roots. Unfortunately, my mother, a Gray, was no longer living.

    • How were you able to find George Gray’s Scottish roots, in Scotland, I presume you mean?

    • Gail says:

      Dear cch, My 8th great grandfathers are George Gray and Alexander Cooper as well! I am trying to find out where in Scotland George was from and who is parents were. If you have any information regarding this, I would love to hear from you:)

      • I do not have anymore information other than what is on this site. Did you search for “George Gray” and “Alexander Cooper” in the search window? You should also make sure you join our Scottish War Prisoners Yahoo Group where you will meet your cousins and can probably get some help. There are now over 250 members/descendants in that group!

      • Harry Lee Gray says:

        The Grays in Hancock County of Maine (USA) seem to have information (but might be vague) on George Gray’s immediate background, i.e. his parents and where he may have lived. Google George Gray ancestry in Hancock County of Maine USA. You might find something. My cousin Jeanne who lives in England states that it is hard to go back beyond George Gray with any certainty. Jeanne and I found his grave in So. Berwick, Maine adjacent to the Cooper property and that was almost by a miracle. George died in 1692 at the time of the nearby Salem Witch-trails. Good hunting!

    • Harry Lee Gray says:

      My ancestor is George Gray. Fortunately, my line can trace back person by person to The Battle of Dunbar. George Gray and Alexander Cooper came over together and they were the best of friends. Two years ago, a cousin and myself with the So. Berwick historian located the Gray family plot on what was then George Gray’s farm of 50 acres (not an easy find). All the headstones are rocks with no inscription. One headstone was a little set of from the others so I looked at it more closely. And what did I see? In the upper left I could make out two very faint initials. g g (the small g as we write it today but larger because back then the capital G did not exist. So, I declare with 99% certainty, this to be the gravesite of George Gray. I have his mark in a copy of his will and I suspect it was chiseled in at the base but I need to return for more study. It is tick city so we did stay long. I found out recently there may have been more than one George Gray at Dunbar. And our George Gray may have had a brother at the Battle. Can anyone through some light on this? Thank you, Harry Lee Gray

  3. Wentworth says:

    I have been working on the ‘march and imprisonment for some time’. Cromwell was landed with 10,000 prisoners. 5,000 he released because they were sick, injured, or STARVING. Many of the men had not eaten for four days before the battle. THey hed been unsheltered and improperly fed since the beginning of July. The weather had been foul and the night before the battle, the men were out on Doon Hill in a storm with sleet. Cromwell sent trumpets out to tell people to come and collect their sick and wounded ‘without hindrance’. He was by Dunbar where it on record that he had had to feed the town and those nearby because of famine. Scorched Earth may be bad for an invading army but it is hell for the population. Cromwell was sho9rt of food for another reason… Weather. He couldn’t land provisions. Does he release the men into the already starving locality? Does he release them so he can fight them agtain tomorrow?
    Even if the men had not eaten for four days before the Battle, by the time they reached Durham, they were well outside the time when death from starvation happened. Check it out!
    THen, If you want to follow this find out about Refeeding Syndrome. See how difficult it is today, under hospital conditions.
    Then wonder why valuable Pews would have been left in the Cathedral and if the guards had issued choppers or tools to cut the pews up. I’m lucky I’ve been to the Cathedral and looked everywhere for bonfire damage. THere is a church near Chelmsford that has part of the Organ Casing from Durham the 17th century.
    So. Please find Sir Arthur Heslerig’s letter to the Council of State for Scotland. then try to read it in light of refeeding syndrome and the possibility that Heslerig was telling the truth. Especially look at how people didn’t die on the march until they had eaten a whole field full of cabbages.

    I assure you that I am a serious Historian but amateur.

  4. Keith L Ritchie says:

    My ancestor is Daniel Robins (Robbins) who ended up in Connecticut and then in Monmouth County New Jersey. Does anybody have any further information on this Scottish captive of the Battle of Dunbar (1650)?

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