Friday, June 18, 2010

Pacification of Berwick

...The Presbyterian form of religion, though deprived of the weight formerly attached to its sentences of excommunication, and compelled to tolerate the coexistence of Episcopacy, and of sects of various descriptions, was still the National Church; and though the glory of the second temple was far inferior to that which had flourished from 1639 till the battle of Dunbar, still it was a structure that, wanting the strength and the terrors, retained at least the form and symmetry, of the original model...

From Walter Scott's "The Heart of Midlothian".  The passage above describes a period beginning with the Pacification of Berwick, which occurred on June 18, 1639.

The Pacification of Berwick ended the First Bishop's War, which pitted England's Charles I, who favored a bishop-led episcopalian form of church government for Scotland, against Scots interested in a bishop-free presbyterian church.

Charles' efforts to impose a new liturgy on Scotland began with the introduction of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in 1637.  This led to a riot in Edinburgh, instigated by a woman named Jenny Geddes, who threw a stool at a minister in St. Giles Cathedral.

By 1639, Covenanters on the Scots side were skirmishing with Charles' forces.  There was little bloodshed, however.  At Berwick, Charles drew troops of 18,000 against Covenanter forces led by Alexander Leslie.  Rather than fight, both sides determined they had not enough advantage, and a truce was drawn.

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