In 1650 Oliver Cromwell marched with his conquering army from Glasgow to Linlithgow along the Great Road. A tough job he had, with his heavy guns and cannon, to surmount at Shotts Kirk “undulating ridges from 700 to 900 feet high.” Probably that was why he encamped near Kirk o’ Shotts on his way back in the mid summer of 1651.
We can picture the scene; flickering camp fires, hungry soldiers, and local farmers fading into the night with all their available livestock!Cromwell himself also stayed at Allanton House where, a hundred years before, George Wishart had hid at the invitation of the Laird, a close friend of John Knox. The intervention of the Laird and his men at the Battle of Langside turned the battle against Mary, Queen of Scotland, in 1568. Prince Charlie and his men also encamped at Kirk o’ Shotts during his retreat from England in the ’45. Smuggling, too, was rife in our parish at this time.
Between the visits of Oliver and Charlie clans of Highlanders were quartered in our parish in 1660, by the king’s command, to “dissuade” our forefathers from their Covenanting zeal.Which brings us to our Covenanting period.