28th February 1638

Adoption of the National Covenant leads to war

Charles I wanted to unite the Churches of Scotland and England on Episcopalian lines, with which Scottish church leaders disagreed. In 1637, a new Prayer Book was introduced, which proved unpopular, not helped by the fact that, in 1638, Charles I took personal credit for its creation.

Thus, Church of Scotland representatives signed the National Covenant, as drafted by Alexander Henderson to protect the independence of the Church of Scotland and its Presbyterian doctrine. It held the authority of the Church above that of the monarch but was carefully worded to not explicitly oppose to the king, or align the signatories strictly to Presbyterianism.

Covenant gains support

The Covenant was distributed throughout Scotland and gained widespread support. The king, seeing his authority challenged, acted, and dispatched soldiers to Scotland to enforce his rule. He was roundly defeated, and this apparent weakening of the monarch led to more widespread questioning of his authority.

This was just the start of a long-lasting conflict between the Scottish Church and the monarch, which led in 1688 to the execution of James Renwick, the last of the Covenanter Martyrs.

Glorious Revolution

Renwick’s death was a closing act in the conflict that came to an end with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and 1689, which established that events happening in one kingdom did not necessarily bind the other. Scotland and England, although joined by a unified throne, were separate countries, and should be governed as such, on matters political, regal, and religious.

Less than two decades later, the Acts of Union removed this distinction and, to all intents and purposes, created a United Kingdom.



Other events that occured in February

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