Leven, Alexander Leslie, 1st earl of
Leven, Alexander Leslie, 1st earl of(lĕv`ən), 1580?–1661, Scottish general. He served in the Swedish army some 30 years, being knighted by Gustavus II and fighting in the Thirty Years War. Returning to Scotland in 1638, he led the army of the CovenantersCovenanters
, in Scottish history, groups of Presbyterians bound by oath to sustain each other in the defense of their religion. The first formal Covenant was signed in 1557, signaling the beginning of the Protestant effort to seize power in Scotland.
..... Click the link for more information. in the Bishops' WarsBishops' Wars,
two brief campaigns (1639 and 1640) of the Scots against Charles I of England. When Charles attempted to strengthen episcopacy in Scotland by imposing (1637) the English Book of Common Prayer, the Scots countered by pledging themselves in the National Covenant
..... Click the link for more information. . Charles I made him earl in 1641, hoping to gain his support. Nevertheless, following the conclusion of the Solemn League and Covenant between the Scots and the English Parliament (see English civil warEnglish civil war,
1642–48, the conflict between King Charles I of England and a large body of his subjects, generally called the "parliamentarians," that culminated in the defeat and execution of the king and the establishment of a republican commonwealth.
..... Click the link for more information. ), Leven led (1644) an army into England and took part in the defeat of the king at Marston Moor. When Charles surrendered to the Scottish army in 1646, Leven had charge of him until the royal prisoner was handed over to the English in 1647. Although Leven resigned actual command of the army to his nephew David Leslie before the Scottish Covenanters (by then royalists) were defeated (1650) at Dunbar, he was twice imprisoned briefly in the Tower of London.