The King's Only Champion
James Graham, First Marquess of Montrose
- Dominic Pearce
15th May 2023
James Graham was a Scottish nobleman, poet and soldier who joined the Covenanters but sided with Charles I as the English Civil War progressed. Through a string of brilliant military victories, Montrose won the civil war in Scotland until it was plain that Charles I’s failure in England was so total that nothing could be salvaged.
Montrose mesmerised all Europe. His triumphs make him one of the outstanding figures of the era. In the end he was a victim of politics, a fate he gave every sign of welcoming. If he could not prevail as a warrior, he preferred to pay the ultimate price. In his own exuberant writings, both prose and poetry, Montrose expresses an astonishing confidence in his Godgiven role as hero. Hanged and with his body mutilated and cut to pieces in 1650, in 1661 his limbs were brought back from Glasgow, Perth, Stirling and Aberdeen, his head removed from a spike and he was re-buried in Holyrood Abbey. This is the first full biography of this extraordinary man in fifty years.