known as Bluidy Tam, General Dalyell, an ancestor of today's
Labour MP, became notorious for his suppression of the Covenanters
at the Battle of Rullion Green, in the Pentland Hills, in
1666. Little more than a thousand Protestant 'rebels' had
marched from Dumfries towards Edinburgh, armed only with scyhes,
pitchforks and staves.
They wanted to enter the city to air
their grievances about the religious persecution inspired
by Charles II. But they were turned back -and found their
route home blocked by General Tam and his well armed government
About 50 Covenanters were killed before
gathering darkness stopped the slaughter. Of the 80 men
taken, 21 were later hanged while others were transported
to America as slaves. Dalyell had supported the royalist
cause since his youth.
When he learned of the execution of
Charles I, he vowed not to cut his hair or beard again until
the monarchy was restored. But it was noted that when Charles
II gained the throne, Dalyell still wore his hair long.
Among other exploits, Tam managed
to escape from the tower of London, where he had been imprisoned
after Oliver Cromwell won the Battle of Worcester. He fled
to Russia where he achieved high rank in the army of Tsar
Mikhailovitch, until Charles II recalled him to Scotland
to be commander~in~chief of his forces. With him, Tam brought
back a useful Russian invention: the thumbscrews.
So another nickname was The Muscovite De'il.