Strathearn’s Involvement & Attitude to the 1745 Uprising : “Hey ! Johnnie Cope are you walking yet ??”


Crieff figures in the Uprising of 1745 .On the 18th August that year, Prince Charlie raised the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan. That very day, Sir John Cope, Commander – in – Chief of the Hanoverian army in Scotland, left Edinburgh to attack the so called rebels in the Highlands, and to dispatch Charlie back to France from whence he came. Cope’s army consisted of about fourteen hundred men, with two Regiments of Dragoons.. The latter, however, he left behind as unserviceable in the mountainous regions in what we Scots call the Highlands. He carried  with him a large quantity of baggage , a drove of black cattle for food , and about a thousand stands of arms for the “ volunteers “ whom  he expected  to join  him on the way . He marched by Stirling and Dunblane to Crieff and in Crieff remained for several days .He pitched his camp to the east of the town on what is now Crieff Golf Course           or the  grounds of Ferntower. Here there was a very fine well which supplied his troops with water. That well still exists and is known to this day as” Cope’s well “. According to the “Statistical Report for the Parish of Crieff”, a sword relating to Cope’s period in Crieff was found in a bog close by the camp site.

Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?

Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning.

When Charlie looked the letter upon,
He drew his sword its scabbard from,
'Come, follow me, my merry men,
And we'll meet Johnnie Cope in the morning.'

Cope  had  assumed incorrectly that he  would collect  recruits from the local populous  on his march north but this  he found not to be the case . Although the contretemps of the ‘45 was on the surface a clash  between the Catholic Stewarts fronted  by Charles Edward Stewart and the Protestant Hanoverians fronted  by  George ll , it was very much territorial .The Stewarts  were  supported not only  by Scottish Catholics  but also by the Episcopalians  . Here in Perthshire  and particularly Strathearn ,most of the landed  gentry  were of that latter faith and their tenants  would follow their laird into battle if required . With this background it was  inevitable that Cope would fail to recruit additional  troops . Records  tell us that  from Crieff Cope  ordered   that 700 arms  be sent  back to Edinburgh and it was highly  likely that Cope  himself  would have followed  suit if it were not  for a command from above  to proceed   to Fort Augustus near Inverness . By this time Prince Charlie had  gathered  together  some 2 000 battle hardened clansmen  and by using  the claim that the French were awaiting  to invade across the Channel , persuaded his  men and in particular his Commander in Chief , Lord George Murray to sweep  south to the Lowlands and the capital city of Edinburgh in particular .

Paradoxically the speed  of their move from north to south  was greatly attributable  to the excellent road  system put in by none other than  General Wade in the  aftermath of the  1715 Uprising . Cope had by this time moved north and had to back pedal at a rate of knots in pursuit of the Highland hoard. The clash took place at Prestonpans in East Lothian. The Hanoverian side was made up mainly of raw recruits and was emphatically defeated by the Jacobite forces. A feature  of the Jacobite  victory was the employment of the “ Highland charge “. The tactic  was to approach  the enemy lines  and hover just out of range of the muskets . The Highlanders  would  adopt a taunting approach  by  jeering , shouting and making false charges . This usually caused  the  enemy  to discharge their  muskets  too early . At this period of time  muskets  were  somewhat un reliable  and took  some time to reload . This  of course allowed  the Highlanders to take the initiative . They would fire their muskets into the heart of the enemy ,promptly discard them and charge at full speed  with their broad swords  swinging about them . Such was the extent of the Jacobite victory that the road  south  into England  was now  clear  . Lord George Murray advised  caution . The French  were supposedly  about to attack the Channel Ports  and panic  ensued in and around London . Charles  failed  to listen to the advice of Murray  in that  they should ensure that things  such as  coal supplies to the  embattled south should  be stopped . He had  assumed  that  Jacobite  support  from centres in the North would be forthcoming  but  this  did not materialise . He pressed  on towards Derby , having a clear run as  the Hanoverian forces  were   being  held  back to deal with what  was believed  to be an imminent invasion from France and Louis XV . It rapidly transpired that this  was not forthcoming . The French  had already  experienced a disastrous  failure  when in March 1744 they  had  set  out to invade  Southern England and a violent  storm saw twelve  vessels  lost out of Dunkirk , seven of them with all hands .
Lord George Murray realised that without French support the mission was going to be an inevitable failure. The retreat  back to Scotland  was  put under  way  and  was  carried out  with  careful planning and en route  saw  victory at Carlisle . Towards  the end of December they entered back into Scotland aware that they were now being  pursued  by the Hanoverian cavalry under the Duke of Cumberland ( the third  son of George ll ) and General Wade .They proceed from Dumfries  to Glasgow and thence  to Stirling . The town surrendered to them and they laid siege to the castle .General Hawley advanced from Edinburgh with some 8 000 men to attack them and raise the siege. The Jacobites turned to meet the threat and   the two sides clashed on the moor of Falkirk and defeated him with little loss to themselves. Hawley himself fled leaving his baggage and artillery, with 20 officers and some 500 privates killed or wounded. It was at this  stage  the Government appointed Cumberland to take  charge .

Lord George Murray

The Jacobite Sojourn at Crieff En Route to Culloden

It  was at this stage in the campaign that the Jacobite forces  decided  to stopover in Crieff . Bonnie Prince Charlie  stayed with Lord John Drummond at Ferntower House on February 2nd 1746 . Lord John Drummond an uncle of the last Duke of Perth had purchased it in 1743 (the ’45 proved disastrous to the Perth family and their lands were forfeited  with the Duke dying on board ship attempting to escape to France after Culloden) . The bedroom he occupied in the older  part of the  house was very much as it  was  right  up until the eventual demolition of the building in the 1960s. It was here in Crieff at a Council of  War  held in premises  to the rear  of  what is  now  the empty and dilapidated Drummond Arms Hotel, that the decision  was taken to head  north to Inverness  .

It was perhaps as a retribution for Crieff having played host to the Jacobite army that Cumberland’s men entered the town  and burnt  to the ground the linen factory owned by the Drummond family and employing numerous  Crieff citizens . I am afraid the various pieces  written during the 18th and 19th Centuries by an assortment of Presbyterian clerics regarding the attitude and antagonism  of the town and district  to the Highland host is  in all probability way off beam . I append a listing of local people who joined  the Jacobite  army . It is a small  selection  from a  lengthy  list from an  authenticated research published in 1998 and entitled  “ Jacobites  of Perthshire 1745 “ by Frances McDonnell of St Andrews.

As a historian , I strongly believe that the truth cannot  be covered up and ignored . I would repeat that much of the information pertaining to the '45 and what it  was like in Strathearn,  has suffered  from the somewhat  biased reporting of the incumbents of the resident Presbyterian Kirk . As  a body  they regarded  Jacobites  as a somewhat alien body comprising Catholics ( or Papists as they were referred  to ) and Piscies or Episcopalians .That is blatant mistruth !

Culloden and the Aftermath

What followed was a shocking indictment of not only the King’s son but of the British Government and the London establishment. It was the Syria of yesteryear .The following is a synopsis of the savage events of the aftermath.

·         The first lasting through  the summer  until the departure of Cumberland involved the hot pursuit of Jacobites

·         “Rebels “were sought out and given no quarter as they were subjected to “arbitrary “justice.

·         Known Jacobite districts were treated to longer and sustained repression.

·         Coastal villages were bombarded from the sea.

·         Cattle and crops were wilfully destroyed to impoverish the people.

·         Soldiers roamed in search of Jacobites

·         Women who helped starving or wounded prisoners were likely to be stripped searched and raped.

·          Houses were searched and if arms were found, the occupier was put to death.

·         Many Highlanders , Jacobites or  not , fled the advancing troops fearing draconian measures .Their abandoned  houses were torched  or, if left  intact ,  were used  for the “ quartering “ of troops  who were encouraged to live off the local inhabitants , like locusts !

Strathearn Men Recorded As Fighting  For The Jacobite Cause

James Campbell ( or McGregor ) from Crieff – piper  in Glengyle’s regiment , imprisoned in Carlisle  , pleaded guilty  at his trial  on 9th September  1746 and sentenced to death He was reprieved  and tried  to escape  the night before he was transported   on Elizabeth, Master Daniel Cole   from Liverpool to Jamaica   but landed in  Antigua .

Robert Bresdie  resident of Muthill pressed out by lord Drummond  but returned , now at home  .

James Balnevis  aged  58  imprisoned  in Inverness  shipped  on James & Mary  to the Medway , servant to  Drummond of Broich ,” only on suspicion “ – may have died .

David Baxter , weaver in  Murray of  Niviland’s factory , Crieff . Duke of Perth’s Regiment , imprisoned , transported  20 March 1747  from Tilbury .

John Buchanan , Auchterarder , aged  22 , Duke of Perth’s Regiment , Buchanan’s Company , carried arms as a volunteer  in the rebel army , imprisoned  at Auchterarder 7.5.1746 , Stirling Castle and Carlisle prisons , servant to Capt Alexander Buchanan , transported  24 February 1747  from Liverpool to Virginia  on the  Gildart arrived at Port North Potomac , Maryland  5 August 1747 .

Barbra Campbell aged 19 spinner Perthshire , red hair, clever , imprisoned  in Carlisle and Chester Castle ; transported 5 May 1747 from Liverpool  to the Leeward Islands on the Veteran liberated by a French Privateer and landed  Martinique  June 1747

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

Duncan Comrie resident of Woodend of Mevie  , Parish of Comrie  carried arms  but  pressed  thereto , whereabouts  not known .

Gavin Drummond , brewer , Auchterarder was active  forcing people into rebellion by the Duke of Perth’s order , whereabouts not known .

Lt William Dow , Duke of Perth’s Regiment Auchinshelloch Comrie ; imprisoned on 3.1.1747 in Perth , discharged 13.7.1747,” acted as an overseer under the French engineer; said to be pressed “ .
James Drummond ,Comrie , carried arms , said to be pressed , now at home.
James Drummond, Cochquhilie Muthill , volunteer , whereabouts  not known .
James Drummond Lieutenant Colonel Master of Strathallan , escaped.                                                                                              
John Drummond Captain, Duke of Perth’s Regiment, Millinow Comrie , now lurking .
William Ferguson from Moevie Comrie Duke of Perth’s Regiment , imprisoned near Nairn House 11.2.146, Perth 30.3.1746, Edinburgh 8.8.1746,  Carlisle . Tenant of Duke of Perth in Moevie. Does not appear in transportation lists  may have died in prison .
James Lockhart wright , Crieff , volunteer in some superior station, now lurking .
Allan MacDonald, brewer, Crieff, volunteer, whereabouts not known.
Ewan McLean weaver of  Tullohghallan Strathearn, Glenbucket Regiment , imprisoned  30.12 .1745 Carlisle ,Chester Castle. Taken  at capture of Carlisle , transported 1747 .
Alexander McQueen  from Comrie , 3rd Battalion  Duke of Atholl’s Regiment , imprisoned  10.6. 1746 Perth, discharged on bail 31.7.1746. “ On suspicion “.
John McRobbie, younger of Drummond, went as a volunteer, taken prisoner at Culloden. d Muthill , Duke of Perth’s Regiment  on the occasion
Lewis McRobbie, Drummond Muthill
Murray, --- younger of Dollairie Crieff volunteer, whereabouts   not known.  Mr Murray of Dollary, Sheriff - Depute of Perthshire is mentioned on the occasion of the arrival of the Chevalier at Perth, as having left the town along with the officers of the revenue. It is doubtless his son who is named on the list.
William Murray, Postmaster, Crieff, carried arms in some superior station, whereabouts not known.
Duncan Roy, Drummond Muthill volunteer, now at home.
Aeneas Sinclair, Comrie pressed by the rebels into their service, now at home.
James Stewart Drummond Parish of Muthill, volunteer, whereabouts not known
James Stewart of Cannband Comrie carried arms but forced out, now at home
George Taylor, Muthill. Duke of Perth’s Regiment imprisoned Muthill 23.3.1746 Stirling, Edinburgh, discharged 17.7.1747. Hireman to Duke of Perth. “On suspicion. “ “Witnesses declared he was seen driving the rebel’s cannon wearing the white cockade. After the Battle of Falkirk was seen riding a dragoon horse armed with pistols with a dragoon cloak about him.

The Duke of Cumberland : Better  known in Scotland as

" Butcher " Cumberland

He was the third  son of George ll ( born in Hanover )  and Caroline of Ansbach. He trained as a soldier gaining experience serving in the Low Countries in the War of The Austrian Succession .

He never commanded  any forces  after Culloden . After the Jacobite invasion into England and practically reaching London . The metropolitan hackles  were raised against “ those barbarians  from the North “.The fact that  they  got so far south was a humiliation in itself . Cumberland and the old hand Marshal Wade  were given carte  blanche to “sort them out “. A verse  was added  to the “ National Anthem “ :

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
 May by thy mighty aid
 Victory bring.
 May he sedition hush,
 and like a torrent rush
 Rebellious Scots to crush!
 God save the King!

Propaganda flowed  forth from London blackening the name  of Highland Society . They were portrayed as  bandits , thieves  and a “ a savage limb of the anti Christ in Rome “ It was claimed that Highlanders  were superstitious , uneducated and  under the control of their chiefs and priests .

Cumberland  victory at Culloden  was brought about by Jacobite tactical deficiency and the inability of Charles  to listen to his  commanders  opinions and  the fact that many of his troops had deserted .  It  was the savage  aftermath instructed  by Cumberland  that caused a deep hatred of the man  and  his attitudes . Given the soubriquet “ Butcher “ – it  was  something  that would  not  be forgotten . The plant “ Sweet William “ was named  after him . In Scotland  it  was known as “ Stinking Willie “ . The  ferocity  of  the Butcher’s  reprisals  against  his so called fellow country man has  led  to one modern historian , Allan McInnes,  describing his  policies as   a  form of  ethnic cleansing .

The London Government granted him a salary in recognition of some
          £ 20 000 per annum ( see below ) . Cumberland’s attitude towards  the so called
          rebels is well documented .

He  ordered his troops to show no quarter against any remaining Jacobite rebels (French Army personnel, including those who were British- or Irish-born, were treated as legitimate combatants). His troops traversed the battlefield and stabbed any of the rebel soldiers who were still alive. When Cumberland learned that a wounded soldier lying at his feet belonged to the opposing cause he instructed a major to shoot him; when the major (James Wolfe) refused to do so, Cumberland commanded a private soldier to complete the required duty.

The British Army then embarked upon the so-called 'pacification' of Jacobite areas of the highlands. All those the troops believed to be 'rebels' were killed, as were non-combatants; 'rebellious' settlements were burned and livestock was confiscated on a large scale.Over a hundred Jacobites were hanged. Women were imprisoned and droves of people were sent by ship to London for trial and as the journey took up to 8 months many of them died on the way.

Cumberland's own brother, the Prince of Wales (who had been refused permission to take a military role on his father's behalf), seems to have encouraged the virulent attacks upon the Duke. Cumberland preserved the strictest discipline in his camp. He was inflexible in the execution of what he deemed to be his duty, without favour to any man. In only a few cases he exercised his influence in favour of clemency. The Duke's victorious efforts were acknowledged by his being voted an income of £25,000 per annum over and above his money from the civil list. A thanksgiving service was held at St Paul's Cathedral, that included the first performance of Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus, composed especially for Cumberland, which contains the anthem "See the Conquering Hero Comes".

There is a memorial Obelisk to the Duke's military services in Windsor Great Park. It is inscribed :


According to a local park guide, the Obelisk was originally inscribed "Culloden" but Queen Victoria had "Culloden" removed.

An equestrian statue of the Duke was erected in London's Cavendish Square in 1770, but was removed in 1868 since by that time the 'Butcher of Culloden' was generally reviled. The original plinth remained.

He died unmarried and without off spring which on reflection was no bad thing !


  1. Really interesting article - thanks!

  2. Really interesting article - thanks!

  3. Thankyou for writing the other perspective of the after math of the '45, as it is harder to find. I am writing a historical fiction novel from 1603 to early 18th century. It will probably be several novels, as there is so much happening in this time period. I will remember your article!


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