ABSTRACT – THE MONTROSE SOCIETY WEBSITE, http://www.montrose-society.org.uk/index.html Homepage of a society for the appreciation of the life and times of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose. The story of his role in the Civil Wars of the 1640’s is not as well told, as it ought to be. Initially a supporter of the Scottish Covenant, Montrose defected to service of King Charles 1st, and raised an army of Scottish and Irish warriors to fight against his former allies. His plan had been to force a way through Scotland to Help the King (Charles 1st) in his struggle against the English Roundheads. Ultimately the plans were doomed due to betrayal and divisions in his ranks, as well as the indecisiveness of the King himself. With Charles defeated, Montrose went into exile in Europe and later returned to Scotland with an army of mercenaries in the hope of securing the throne for Charles the 2cd, but he was captured at the battle of Carbisdale and executed. He remains one of Scotland’s greatest cavalier figures, a poet, and a man of extraordinary principle. The society aims to promote educational awareness of his life and times, The Society was founded in 1996, and its website is basic, and mostly still under construction. It provides a brief biography of Montrose, and describes Society events ranging from their Annual General Meetings to expeditions to visit the battlefields, such as Alford and Auldearn and other locations of importance in Montrose’s career.
There is an extensive bibliography of books on The Graham, which includes textbooks, and some minor delights such as the doggerel poem about Montrose penned by bad bard William McGonagal. The most important feature by far is the website forum, which has recently been restored after being blighted by spam mailings. Topics of discussion range from website and society information to a discussion on the fate of Montrose’s arms. He was executed by being hanged drawn and quartered. His limbs were sent to different Scottish cities, and legend has it that in the course of time, his arms somehow survived to end up somewhere in Yorkshire. That his life can provide entertainment and information of an educational value shows how interesting Montrose continues to be, and it is thanks to groups like the Montrose Society that history remains so vibrant in Britain today, at least outside the schools, which should be teaching us about all this.