The origins of the British and Irish civil wars of the mid-seventeenth century have proved an endless fascination for historians. For the most part these origins can be traced to the early years of the reign of Charles I, and in particular to the onset of his prerogative rule. Essentially what emerged in the late 1620s was a style of government that was uniformly non-consensual across all three of his kingdoms. But it was in Scotland that the resultant rise in discontent first became apparent. The major contributory factors included the highly unpopular and unworkable revocation scheme, the onset of damaging royal economic policies such as the common fishing, the renewed elevation of the bishops to positions of temporal power, and the decision of the king and the archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, to champion controversial liturgical changes, most notably as advocated in the Book of Canons of 1636 and the Scottish prayer book of 1637. It was this latter innovation that was to prove the main catalyst for the revolutionary process in Scotland. From July of that year anti-prayer book riots in Edinburgh and Glasgow heralded a wave of discontent and in February 1638 the National Covenant was drawn up – a document that was widely subscribed to across much of Lowland Scotland.