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by BBC Radio 4
In Our Time: History

The Covenanters


Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the bonds that Scottish Presbyterians made between themselves and their monarchs in the 16th and 17th Centuries, to maintain their form of worship. These covenants bound James VI of Scotland to support Presbyterians yet when he became James I he was also expected to support episcopacy. That tension came to a head under Charles I who found himself on the losing side of a war with the Covenanters, who later supported Parliament before backing the future Charles II after he had pledged to support them. Once in power, Charles II failed to deliver the religious settlement the Covenanters wanted, and set about repressing them violently. Those who refused to renounce the covenants were persecuted in what became known as The Killing Times, as reflected in the image above.


Roger Mason
Professor of Scottish History at the University of St Andrews

Laura Stewart
Professor of Early Modern British History at the University of York


Scott Spurlock
Professor of Scottish and Early Modern Christianities at the University of Glasgow

Producer: Simon Tillotson



by BBC Radio 4