James Graham – A Scottish Hero
Written by: Doug
Published: 17th August 2017
James Graham, Scottish Hero
Everyone has heard of William Wallace since his name was made famous all over the world with the film Braveheart. There are a few other native sons of Scotland who enjoy worldwide fame, but the concept of the Scots as warrior poets came from multiple people throughout history.
One of the Scots whose actions were worthy of a cinematic masterpiece was James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. This man was a vocal protester against Charles Stuart I. He detested the king’s childish behavior and demands. There were few people in Scotland who were more anti-royalist than Graham.
Imagine his surprise when the king himself showed up one day at his door asking for his help. Charles had no money and no army but he needed someone to help him and he believed that James was just the man for the job. He thought the man’s famous passion would make him a good leader even in the face of few resources.
Against all expectations, James Graham took him up on it. He assembled a few men and went to ask his cousin, Black Pate Graham, for help. While he was visiting, James sent a message to the famed Alastair MacDonald (Colkitto) to ask for his assistance. His message arrived just in time to prevent Colkitto’s men from fighting men on the Stuart side. Colkitto agreed to help in his goal of fighting for the king, and just like that, the two armies joined together instead of fighting. They sang and drank together as they continued on across Scotland.
Their biggest challenge was waiting over the crest of a hill, where they discovered an entire army of Covenanters. The soldiers were well-equipped, with armor and weaponry, horses and shields. They carried banners that read “Jesus and No Quarter.”
When Graham’s men saw this, they asked what they could do. They didn’t have any weapons apart from the rocks they had picked up earlier to fight against each other. The Irish had only one shot left in their muskets.They were good fighters and they were willing, but they were ill-equipped.
From astride his horse, James stared down at the army below and thought for a while. Then, he pointed down the hill and said “There are weapons for the taking. Go!” The assembled men listened to him and threw themselves into the fray. The Irish used their single shot and then used the muskets as clubs. Not only did they acquire weapons dropped by the Covenanting army, they also won the day. Triumphant, James and his army continued to progress through Scotland, winning incredible battles and displaying impossible feats of strength.
Although James Graham was ultimately betrayed, the man’s upright bearing never wavered. The night before he was to be hanged, one of his jailers asked him why he was spending time arranging his hair. He quipped, “My head is still my own. Tonight, it will be yours to do with as you please.”
When he died, people were amazed at his composure, and an English commentator at the time stated that his countenance did not change even when facing his own death. James Graham was one of the great heroes and adventurers of Scottish history, and his story is one of the most romantic in all of Scotland. You may not be as brave as James Graham, but you can still display your Scottish pride by getting a Scottish souvenir plot with Highland Titles and becoming a lord, laird or lady.
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