Jacobites of Strathearn - the'45 Put Into Perspective

Jacobites of Strathearn

                                                                  Charles Edward Stewart

"Butcher"  Cumberland 
The Union of 1707 between Scotland and England was highly unpopular with the vast majority of the population in Scotland. Several articles of the Act of Union agreement were economically favourable to landowners in Scotland, but failed to deliver any economic advantages to the majority of the population for over thirty years. Discontent was widespread and food riots occurred in the east coast burghs as the effects of famine were compounded by union taxes. Although the situation induced resistance to union-economics, it didn’t translate as universal support for the Jacobite cause of keeping the Stuarts on the throne in London. Many in Scotland now associated the Stuarts with Catholicism and suppression of the Protestant Kirk. The Union was designed to put an end to Jacobite hopes of a Stuart restoration by ensuring the German Hanoverian dynasty succeeded Queen Anne upon her death. However, the Stuarts did still command a lot of loyalty in Scotland, France and England - the British Union did inevitably re-ignite the Jacobite cause.

In 1708 the Jacobite claimant to the throne, the putative James VIII, and his French allies had attempted land in Scotland to incite a rising, but were foiled by adverse weather and outmanoeuvred by the Royal Navy. Six years later a motion in the House of Lords to dismantle the Union only just failed by four votes. Then, in the same year, Queen Anne died and was succeeded by George I of Hanover. The controversial question of succession intensified and the following year many nobles and Tories, disaffected with their lot within the union, rose in favour of a Stuart monarchy.

The 1715 Jacobite Rising

The ’15 rising was led by John Erskine, Earl of Mar  - a man who had voted for the Union originally and had been Secretary of State until 1714. He drew most of his support from north of the River Tay, in the north-east and Highlands of Scotland - areas where landowners had not benefited much from the Union and where Episcopalianism (which viewed the Stuarts as head of their church) was dominant.

However, the Earl of Mar proved to be no great military leader. He fought a badly commanded battle at Sheriffmuir, where the Jacobites outnumbered the Hanoverian forces under the Duke of Argyll by two to one, but failed to win a decisive victory. Not even the arrival and coronation of James Stuart as King James VIII could reverse Jacobite fortunes. Eventually the rising fizzled out when 6000 Dutch troops landed in support of the Hanoverian government and the forces of King James scattered under the pressure of bad leadership and lack of foreign aid.

Fortress Scotland: The Military Solution

The ‘15 led to the dismissal of the Duke of Argyll, the Government’s commander north of the border, after he complained that he had lost control of Scotland north of the River Forth and trusted few south of it. Argyll along with many other Scots viewed Jacobitism as a political problem which could be resolved through political means by persuading the Jacobite nobles of the benefits of a regime in London. The Government in London saw things differently, viewing Jacobitism as a military problem which required a military solution. Like Cromwell before them, they opted to garrison the Highlands, building barracks like Ruthven to quash further rebellion and constructing a system of roads and bridges, under the command of General Wade, in order to supply the new system of forts and allow the rapid deployment of troops. Wade oversaw the construction of over 250 miles of road and numerous bridges which are in use to this day. It was a hugely expensive operation which was scaled down by the early 1740’s when the Jacobite threat appeared to have receded, but it showed how seriously the House of Hanover took the Jacobite threat.

The 1745 Jacobite Rising

The final threat to the Union came with the 1745 Jacobite Rising when Charles Edward Stuart, or Bonnie Prince Charlie as he was known, disappointed at French unwillingness to invade in 1744, decided to finance his own rising. Initially it was a startling success, once again drawing most of its support from the north-east and the Highland clans. The Jacobite army rapidly broke out of the Highlands, capturing Edinburgh, courtesy of Wade’s roads, and advancing as far south as Derby in England. However, with no sign of French support, the army retreated back to their stronghold in the Highlands and was finally defeated at Culloden Moor near Inverness in 1746. Charles was  something  of  a 5 minute  wonder . He picked up the emotional support of the Highland and Lowland Jacobites who  would follow him without question . He failed to utilise the military genius  of Lord George Murray and  to tie in the necessary  support from across the Channel. His  choice of Drumossie Moor (Culloden ) as the  place  to face  the Hanoverian army was disastrous and allowed the somewhat psychopathic Cumberland his first and indeed only military victory .


The Stewart Dynasty had both the loyalty and the admiration  of the vast majority of the Scottish  population . On reflection it  has  become  clear  however that the behaviour and attitude of  many of the Stewarts monarchs  fell  well below  what the loyal populous  expected .Both Charles 1 and Charles ll were lacked a caring attitude  towards their people and were dogmatic and  self centred . The other Charles - Charles Edward Stewart better known a Bonnie Prince Charlie was undoubtedly a romantic  figure who left an indelible image in the history  books  of a swash buckling dare devil   who came close to upsetting  more than a few apple carts in a short period of time .

The  cause of Highland unrest in the 1740s  is well summarised  by historian Michael Lynch who wrote :

The real Highland problem in the 1740s already pointed the way towards the future and not the past; it was , as one  rent collector complained in 1744 about "the extaordinary poverty of the countrie, occasioned  by the death of cattle and scarcity of victuale ". The real crisis  was not  about law and order but  about economics ; the lack of cash for investment and estate improvement which would scar Highland history  for the next century and a half had already become obvious " .
Strathearn and its Jacobite  Tendency

Much has been  written ( particularly in the Victorian era )  regarding  Strathearn and its alleged support  for the anti Jacobite faction . There  are two  sources of mis -information which  have tended  to distort  what in fact , I believe  , was the  actual situation at the time . The burnings  of  Crieff and  the other  villages of Strathearn by the Jacobite forces after Sheriffmuir was well documented in various   articles   .These  were  based  mainly on the writings  of the Presbyterian Parish ministers  who were invariably of an anti Jacobite disposition and understandably tended  towards the Covenanter view point . Again our  local ministers  were found  guilty  of bias  when they came  to pen those superb Scottish Historical treasure chests with the  boring titles – The Statistical Accounts of Scotland . These  came in basically two volumes . The first written in the 1790s and the second in the 1840s , they cover all the  extant parishes in Scotland and were written usually by the  incumbent parish minister . Religious  bias  does  tend to percolate through  but in reality they are a superb account of  local interests in  two by gone eras . They can be read on line for no charge  by clicking on http://stat-acc-scot.edina.ac.uk/sas/sas.asp?action=public or just Googling “ Statistical Accounts “.

Many Strathearn men  joined  the Jacobite cause in the second uprising and I include  below  a brief  biography of some  of them mentioning  where they came from and indeed  what happened  to them after the disaster that was Culloden .The aftermath  of that bloody  encounter  has now been proven  to have been an early example of ethnic cleansing with the odious Duke of Cumberland exhibiting a brutality and purpose  which until comparatively recently has been air brushed out of the history books . Cumberland  was known as the “ Butcher “ and  such was the disdain felt in Scotland  for him that the plant known elsewhere as “ Sweet William “ was  here  termed “ Stinking Willie “.  The  following  soldiers and  the many , many others  have  not  been forgotten . This  information was obtained, amongst other sources ,  from the Muster Roll of Prince Charles Edward Stewart’s Army (1745 – 1746) and from  other sources in the public domain .

As a historian , I consider  my recounting of the past to be  fair and balanced . I believe I am genetically well placed to do this with a great grand mother on the maternal side whose  first language  was Gaelic coming from Kintyre Argyll and a great grand father  on the paternal side who was a woodman  from the West Riding of Yorkshire !

A dh’aindeoin gach ionnsaih a thugadh le namh

A choirichean priseil  a spuinneadh o’n Ghaidheal

Cha lassaich e ‘chaoidh gus am figh e a’bhuaidh

Thar gach mi-ruin is eucoir a dh’fhaodas a ruaig

Strathearn Men of the 1745

David Baxter : weaver in Murray of Niviland’s Factory, Crieff formerly of Cupar Fife. Duke of Perth’s Regiment . Imprisoned and transported 20 March1747 from Tilbury .

Dr James Binnievis : doctor of medicine aged 54 shipped on Margaret and Mary to Tilbury Possibly died there .

John Bourne : Ogilvy’s Regiment , 30 December 1745  in Carlisle Prison and Chester Castle  from Huntingtower  - cordwainer ( shoemaker ) . Taken at the capture of the town .

Robert Bresdie :  Resident of Muthill, pressed out by Lord Drummond but returned , now at home .

Donald Brown :Whitefield’s , Athol Brigade

John Bruce : Whitefield’ s, Athol Brigade

Donald Campbell : Aged 20 , herd to Dalchonzie , Lord G Murray’s Regiment, taken south in May 1746 on board Jane of Leith transported 31 March 1747  from Tilbury  to Jamaica  on St George or Carteret

James Campbell ( or McGregor ) : From Crieff, piper in Glengyle’s Regiment, imprisoned in Carlisle , pleaded guilty at his trial on 9 September 1746 and sentenced to death . He was reprieved sand tried to escape the night before  he was transported to Jamaica . Landed in Antigua .

Mungo Campbell : Ensign in Glengyle’s regiment , late soldier in Lord John Murray’s Regiment , Crieff. Imprisoned in Perth .

Ludovic Caw : Surgeon , Crieff, acted as surgeon  to Duke of Perth’s Regiment  and went with rebels , wherabouts unknown .

Duncan Comrie : Resident of Woodend of Mevie Parish of Comrie, carried arms  but pressed thereto , wherabouts unknown .

Alexander Cuming : Captain , Duke of Perth’s Regiment , sen. Farmer , Meikl Crichie , brother to Kinnimonth , Catholic , Miln of Drummond , Muthill , volunteer , taken prisoner  , discharged .

James Drummond : Comrie , carried  arms , said to be pressed  , now at home .

James Drummond : (Duke of Perth) , Lieutenant General Drummond , Muthill .Very active , died escaping  to France. Son of James , Duke of Perth , by his wife , Lady Jean Gordon, daughter  of George , Duke of Gordon . James the father was in the uprising of 1715 and escaped to France, resided there until 1730 when he died in Paris. Although attainted his son succeeded to the estates under a disposition executed by him in 1713 . On the arrival of Prince Charles at Perth in 1745, he was joined by the Duke of Perth who was appointed Lieutenant – General in conjunction with Lord George Murray . He and his following were conspicuous throughout the campaign .After Culloden, he embarked for France but died at sea on 11 May 1746, at the age of 33 .His younger and only brother , Lord John Drummond  was his heir ; he was an officer in the service of the King of France, for whom he raised the Regiment then called the Royal  Scots of which he was then Colonel .In November 1745, he arrived at Montrose with some French auxiliaries and a train of artillery for the service of the Chevalier whom  he joined  just before the Battle of Falkirk. After Culloden he returned to France and died in 1747 .

James Drummond : Lieutenant Colonel, Master of Strathallan, escaped .

James Drummond : Cochquillie, Muthill , volunteer , whereabouts not known .

John  Drummond : Drummond , Muthill ,  volunteer , now at home

John Drummond : Captain , Duke of Perth’s Regiment , Millinow  , Comrie , now lurking .

John Drummond :Aged 33 Drummond , Muthill, Valet  to the Duke of Perth, Duke of Perth’s Regiment , volunteer , imprisoned Inverness June 1746, shipped on Wallsgrave Aug 1746  to Tilbury Fort , discharged .

Peter ( or Patrick ) Drummond : Ensign ,Bellnae , Comrie, imprisoned 23 Mar 1746 in Stirling, discharged 17 May 1746 .

James Lockhart :Wright , Crieff, volunteer in some superior  station now lurking .

Allan MacDonald :Brewer , Crieff. Volunteer , whereabouts  unknown.

Alexander MacDonald : Dalchonzie ( Comrie ) ,Officer, Athol Brigade , killed Culloden.

John MacDonald :Brother of Alexander , Dalchonzie , Officer , Athol Brigade , killed Culloden .

John Macgregor :Labourer , Dundurn ( St Fillans ), Duke of Perth’s Regiment , taken after siege of Carlisle 30 December 1745, transported 22 April 1747 from Liverpool to Virginia on “ Johnson “, landed at Port Oxford  Maryland  5 August 1747 .

William Murray : Postmaster , Crieff, carried arms in some superior station , whereabouts unknown .

Laurence Oliphant : Captain , younger of Gask  , volunteer , Perthshire horse , whereabouts  unknown .

Laurence Oliphant : elder of Gask . The estates of the elder and younger were confiscated  but in 1753 Mrs Amelia Nairne , spouse  to Laurence Oliphant  , late of Gask  , was found  entitled  to her liferent of portions of the estate in terms of her marriage contract , in the event of her surviving  her  husband  . On February 1754 he is mentioned as deceased  . Carolina, daughter of the younger Lawrence was married to Lord Nairne   and is celebrated as writer of the “Laird of Cockpen “and other favourite songs.

James Oswald : From Tullibardine  , Lord John Drummond’s Regiment , imprisoned at Crieff  , 2 May 1746Perth , 12 May 1746 Stirling Castle , discharged  17 July 1747. “Gardener at Tullibardine . Witnesses  assert  that he marched  and did duty with the rebel army , wore the white cocked and bore arms “

Duncan Orr : aged 14  born 1733  weaver , 4’8” tall brown hair , sprightly , transported 5 May  1747 from Liverpool  to the Leeward Islands  on “ Veteran “liberated  by a French privateer  in Martinique  June 1747 .

James Riddoch : Drummond , Muthill , volunteer  now at home .

Aeneas Sinclair :  Comrie  , pressed  by rebels into their service , now at home.

James Stewart : Drummond  , Parish of Muthill  , volunteer , whereabouts  unknown

James Stewart : resident of  Cannband  , Comrie , carried  arms  but forced out  , now at home .

William Stewart: Drummond , Parish of Muthill , carried arms as a volunteer  , whereabouts  not known .

Strathallan, Lord  :Machony  Parish of Muthill  , whereabouts  not known .

George Taylor : Muthill  , Duke of Perth’s Regiment  imprisoned Muthill,  23 March 1746 Stirling , Edinburgh ,discharged  17 July 1747 . “ Hireman to Duke of Perth “ “ On Suspicion “ “ Witnesses declared  he was  seen driving  the rebels cannon  wearing the white cockade . After the Battle of Falkirk  was seen riding a horse  armed  with pistols  with a dragoon cloak about him “ .

The above  is only a small sample of those who chose  to follow the Jacobite cause in Strathearn – men  who believed in true loyalty and honour .


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