Love is a Battlefield
Love is a Battlefield
By:, Categories: Words & Images, 1 comment



In the hip eighties, Pat Benatar said love is a battlefield. And back in the mid-16th century,  it was not love but a giant family feud that transcended into a battlefield with one of the more unusual contests in Scottish history took place, the Battle of Langside, in the south side of Glasgow, which today would have social services becoming heavily involved, as a woman fought her half-brother who was defending the rights of her infant son.  (Be warned: There now comes a Neil Oliver-like history lesson  for the benefit of our American cousins who read the blog….)


In 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots marries Lord Darnley and proclaims that she will respect and be tolerant of the new protestantism that was sweeping the country, even although she was a more devout Catholic than the Pope. Needless to say, John Knox and his merry band of Reformers was anything but impressed by her promises.  The following year, Mary gives birth to a baby boy, the future James VI (who would also go on to become James I of England on the death of Queen Elizabeth I), and sends him to Stirling Castle for his safety fearing the Protestant Scottish lords under the influence of Knox, will not want the boy raised a Catholic.


Lord Darnley is subsequently murdered and the Protestant lords accuse the Earl of Bothwell of the crime.  Raising their suspicions is the fact that Mary quickly marries Bothwell and both are now hunted by the nobles; and Mary is then  captured and imprisoned in Lochleven Castle. She is forced to abdicate her throne and her son, now being raised by Protestant lords, is crowned King James VI of Scotland. But in 1568, Mary escapes and raises a force of 6,000 men to win back her crown. Her half-brother, the Regent Moray, is running Scotland while he raises his nephew, and her son, James VI who is too young to perform his duties as king.  The future course of James VI’s life now depends on the outcome of a meeting at Langside between his estranged mother and his uncle.


After an unsuccessful calvary charge and then finding themselves outflanked, Mary’s subsequent retreat becomes a rout, and before the full-time whistle gets blown, she somewhat hastily flees south to England for safety.   A bad move, because she was almost immediate caught and had to place herself at the mercy of her Protestant cousin, Elizabeth I, who imprisoned her for 18 years until before finally being persuaded to execute her by beheading in 1587, the fear being that if she remained alive, she could lay a claim to childless Elizabeth’s crown.


And the landmark that commemorate this historic major family squabble, a squabble that reaffirmed a change of religious faith in Scotland – and as a byproduct, ultimately led to the beginning of the formation of the Union of Gt. Britain, as James VI of Scotland also became James I of England following the death of Elizabeth, and he set in motion uniting the crowns of England and Scotland – can be found next to Queen’s Park, the scene of the battle.


And here’s where you find out just who knows their local and Scottish history.  


Queen’s Park was laid out to the design of Sir Joseph Paxton, architect of London’s famous Crystal Palace, and was opened in September of 1862, the year of Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee.  But the park was dedicated to the memory of Rome-backed Mary, Queen of Scots and not Defender of the Faith Queen Victoria, a very common misconception by many given the proximity to Victoria Road and the fact that the park was created during her reign.  


And despite the surrounding area being called ‘Battlefield’, many are actually quite ignorant of how important the area is to Scottish and British history, as few such as this intrepid photographer are willing to chance life and limb by trying to cross over a very busy traffic roundabout that’s built around the Battle of Langside monument.  I’m not saying it’s dangerous trying to get over to it, but I think you would probably have been safer off being there on the field of battle on 13th May back in 1568.


Leica M3 & 1.4/50mm Summilux pre-asph v2

Sekonic L-308S

Ilford FP4+(@64)

HC-110 (Dil. B – 6 min)

Plustek 7600i & Vuescan


1 Comment

  • I like all the other references locally to the battle in the names of streets; e.g Regent Moray Street, Fotheringay Road, and Lochleven Road.