A page-turning account of often misunderstood events set in train by religious zealotry that cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Britain.
This is an innovative, controversial history of Scotland, Ireland and England in the early modern period. Its originality lies in new research pinpointing Fife, especially St Andrews, as the area where a group of men instigated not just Scotland's wars of religion but also triggered three civil wars in England and Ireland. Covenanters, Catholics, Royalists, Presbyterians, Independents, Remonstrants, Malignants, Gibbites, The Indulged, The Unindulged - the extraordinary factions and schisms that led to so much bloodshed are explored and explained through this series of bloody holy wars.
Oliver Thomson demonstrates that only in Fife and nowhere else in Britain in the 1630s was there such a combustible concentration of rebel priests, articulate politicians and unemployed mercenaries, many sharing strong family ties. They were powerful enough to promote the two Bishops' Wars leading to a series of Scottish invasions of England and consequently all three of the English Civil Wars (the Wars of the Three Kingdoms) and over 600,000 deaths. Would there have been an English Civil War if the Scots had not invaded England in 1640? And why did the Scots change from the winning side to the losing side?
This book provides a new explanation for major events in British history, by showing how a small group of people living in unstable, religiously-charged times sparked a much wider conflict. In doing so, it offers an insight into how religiously fuelled civil and regional wars come about, both in Britain and in other parts of the world even today.
Oliver Thomson is a well-known author and has written several books including The Great Feud: The Campbells and the MacDonalds. He is the Managing Director of one of Scotland's largest advertising agencies.