The 17th Century was a time of turmoil in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. Violence and warfare typified the period as Catholic and Protestant, Church of England and Presbyterian; King and Parliament all sought control over the institutions of the state.
Open warfare started with the attempt by Charles I to impose the structure and teachings of the Church of England on Scotland. The Scots created a ‘Covenant’ to fight this and a Covenanter Army confronted Charles I’s Army in 1639.
This ‘First Bishops’ War’ was inconclusive but then in 1640 the situation deteriorated again and in the Second Bishops’ War the Covenanter army swept into the northeast of England, defeating the Royalist Army at the Battle of Newburn on the Tyne. The Scottish army then occupied the counties of Durham and Northumberland and the River Tees became a military frontier.