Cromwell and the Scots

A while ago I read of a large number of skeletons found in Durham Castle. This is what has been discovered abut them, from last Thursday’s i newspaper:

“They were defeated and humiliated by Oliver Cromwell, and now, after 400 years, the fate of the Scottish prisoners of war who were marched to England has been revealed.

The skeletons of between 17 and 28 soldiers defeated at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 were discovered in 2013 in what would have been the grounds of Durham Castle.Archaeologists at Durham University have now pieced together the fate of the soldiers, some as young as 13. Professor Chris Gerrard, head of the   university’s archaeology department told i “We found that the soldiers didn’t die of injuries sustained in battle and that’s because only those fit enough were marched south. They died from disease, probably dysentery, in large numbers. I  think Cromwell would have been horrified to find out what had happened It wasn’t his intention for that to happen.”

The Battle of Dunbar was one of he bloodiest of the Civil War and saw Cromwell’s troops defeat a larger Scottish force loyal to Charles II in less than an hour. An estimated 6,000 scots were captured, with around 1,000 sic and wounded released to go home after the battle. Around 4,000 hungry and battle-shocked prisoners were marched south to Durham Castle where around 1,700 are believed to have died from malnutrition, disease and the cold. Others were shot en route and others escaped.

Members of the team travelled to Dunbar on Monday- St Andrew’s Day – to ask local people, historians and members of the Scottish Parliament their views on whether the bodies should ow be returned to Scotland. More than 1,000 signed a petition calling for the “Dunbar Martyrs” to be returned.

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