Aberdeen and the Jacobites

Having recently done blog posts on Edinburgh and Stirling, today we thought we would write about another Scottish city’s connection to the Jacobites; here are some significant events that took place in Aberdeen.

During the 1715 Jacobite Rising, James Francis Edward Stuart was proclaimed King at the Mercat Crosses of Aberdeen and Old Aberdeen (the two being separate until the end of the nineteenth century). Decorated with engravings of Scottish Monarchs, thistles, roses and unicorns (Scotland’s national animal), the Mercat Crosses around Scotland, as well as being centrally located, held a lot of symbolic importance. There are more than a hundred Mercat Crosses in Scotland, and they were traditionally the site of many public occasions, including markets and fairs, executions and the proclamation of a new monarch; to this day, important public events, such as the calling of a general election, are read out at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh.

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Mercat Cross in Aberdeen

 

After James was proclaimed King, elections were held at the Kirk of St Nicholas for a new Council. The Fifteen ended up failing, and James travelled back to France in early 1716. The Jacobite army heard about his return to France in Aberdeen.

Almost thirty years later, James’s son Charles Edward Stuart came to Scotland on his father’s behalf to fight and get him recognised as King. The Jacobites attempted to replicate what had been done previously at the Mercat Cross in Aberdeen. Once they found the keys to the monument, they forced the Provost, as well as several Council officials, to go to the Mercat Cross and witness their proclamation in support of Charles and his father. A few of the councillors toasted to their health, but the Provost refused.

After arriving in Edinburgh near the beginning of 1746, the Duke of Cumberland made his way to Aberdeen with the Government army. While there, the Government army gathered supplies and Cumberland had them trained in new tactics, which he hoped, after the army’s defeats at the Battle of Prestonpans and Falkirk Muir, would ensure success. They left Aberdeen at the beginning of April.

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Duke of Cumberland

 

After the Battle of Culloden, The Tolbooth in Aberdeen held almost a hundred known or suspected Jacobites as prisoners. There were mostly made up of tradesmen and servants. Some of the upper classes did not escape being branded traitors; Alexander Irvine, 17th Laird of Drum, and his younger brother fought on the Jacobite side at the Battle of Culloden. They were listed among those ‘never to be pardoned’. Alexander escaped to Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire, and hid in a secret room, while his sister spoke to some of the Government troops. His brother Robert died in an Edinburgh prison, but after a few years in exile, Alexander was allowed to return to his estate.

We hope you found this short post interesting. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

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The Highland Clearances

A controversial chapter in Scotland’s history, the Highland Clearances are mostly looked back at with sadness and some bitterness. The ‘Clearances’ refer specifically to the period in the mid-to-late 18th century to the mid-19th century in which tens of thousands of Highlanders were evicted from their homes; it is also used more broadly to include the restriction on tartan and other rules that altered the Highland way of life forever. To many, the Clearances are an example of ethnic cleansing but others consider them an economic necessity, a result of the industrial revolution. To the latter set of people, the Clearances are known as the ‘Improvements’.

After Culloden, and the defeat of the Jacobites in 1746 the Government introduced the Heritable Jurisdictions Act 1746, which reduced the powers of the Clan Chiefs to those of a landlord. The Act of Proscription, also introduced in 1746, restricted the wearing of tartan, as well as the ownership of weapons. The Government were brutal in enforcing these laws, with many Highlanders being killed for the slightest deviation from the new laws. Charles Edward Stuart had escaped to France, and the Highlanders attempted to get by in Scotland’s changing climate.

The reduction of the powers of the Clan Chiefs weakened the relationships between them and the rest of the people. Many Chiefs, as a result of attempting to keep up with their acquaintances in the Lowlands, England and other places in Europe, were in debt. Tacksmen (Gaelic: Fear-Taic meaning ‘supporting man’) had paid an annual sum to the Clan Chief for a bit of land, and then let it out to sub-tenants for rents. Wanting to cut out the middleman, the Clan Chiefs phased out the position of the tacksman. Out of jobs, many former tacksmen emigrated to Canada and America.

Wool sold for a high price, and the Highland landlords realised that they could make more money from sheep, specifically the Cheviot and the Blackface, than from people. The rents were increased, and when inevitably many of the tenants were unable to come up with the money, they were evicted. Sheep farmers from the Lowlands and northern England came up to take their place. An addition financial benefit for the landlords was that as there were fewer people to collect from, the administrative costs were lower.

The former tenants moved either to industrial cities in Scotland, other countries or small crofts, mainly located on the coast. The weather made for hard working conditions, and there are reports of the women, while they worked, having to tie their children and livestock to posts to prevent them from being blown into the sea or off a cliff.

Despite the uncertainty and hardship endured by many of the Highlanders, there were still a significant number of people motivated purely by profit. The Duchess of Sutherland had about 15,000 people evicted from the Sutherland estates, ordering hundreds of crofts to be burned in the process; her factor went to trial for presiding over the burning of a croft that contained an old woman who had refused to leave and for letting his sheep eat the other crofters’ corn. For both he was acquitted, which the crofters put down to many of the jury members being landowners.

The population continued to grow. People viewed it as proof of Scotland’s strength, but in reality it was putting increasing strain on everything. In the 19th century, the combination of the failure of the kelp industry in the 1810’s and famine led to more and more Highlanders emigrating, mainly to Canada, Australia, the US and the rest of Europe.

It is believed that around 150,000 Highlanders were removed from or left their homes in the entire process of the Highland Clearances. Of this number, many, either immediately or after further attempts at living in Scotland, emigrated. Today the descendants of these people are now scattered across the world resulting in a massive sharing of Scottish heritage.

We hope you found this article interesting. As always we love to hear your comments and read your thoughts on these topics.

All the best,

The Culloden Team

The Palazzo Muti: 18th Century Stuart Court

Located in the Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, Rome, the Palazzo Muti Papazzurri (also known as the Palazzo Balestra) is an important place for those interested in Jacobite history; technically, there is more than one building that has the title Palazzo Muti, but together they formed a complex, and the Papazzurri was the central base. In the 18th century it was the permanent residence of the exiled James Francis Edward Stuart, and as such it was known as the Palazzo de Rei – The King’s Palace.

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James Francis Edward Stuart succeeded to the Jacobite claim in 1701. His father, the deposed James VII and II, had been given residence in France and treated as a king by Catholic Monarch Louis XIV from his deposition up until his death. Things were different, however, for James Francis; after an unsuccessful Jacobite Rising in 1715, he returned to France and found that he was no longer welcome. Louis XIV had died and the French Government refused to offer further assistance. James Francis travelled around, and then Pope Clement XI offered him a home at the Palazzo Muti.

James Francis married Maria Sobieska in 1719 and Pope Clement considered them the true King and Queen of Britain. In addition to the Palazzo Muti, he also provided James with papal protection, a villa in the country and an annuity of 12,000 crowns. The Palazzo Muti functioned like a court, with painters gaining patronage, new works by composers being performed for James and meetings with people from abroad. Apart from once in 1719, there was not another serious attempt to overthrow the Hanoverians until 1745.

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Charles Edward Stuart, James and Maria’s first child, was born in 1720; five years later, Maria gave birth to a second son who was named Henry Benedict. The relationship of James and Maria became more and more strained as time went on, and by the time of her death in 1735, they had spent much of their time apart. Both sons were brought up as Princes, with the focus on Carluccio, as his father called him, as heir.

After the defeat at Culloden in 1746, Charles Edward Stuart travelled around Europe, and Henry Benedict was made a Cardinal. James Francis died in 1766, and although Pope Clement XIII allowed him to be given a state funeral, he refused to recognise Charles Edward as King. Charles was allowed to keep the Palazzo Muti, but the papal guard was removed, and so was the royal coat of arms. Charles Edward died there in 1788. Henry Benedict attempted to arrange for his brother to receive a royal funeral and burial at St Peter’s Basilica, where their mother and father had been buried, but he was refused.

Henry Benedict died in 1807. Near the courtyard of the Palazzo Muti complex, there is a plaque in remembrance of him. Below is its English translation.

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THERE LIVED IN THIS PALACE

HENRY, DUKE LATER CARDINAL OF YORK

WHO, SURVING SON OF JAMES III OF ENGLAND

TOOK THE NAME OF HENRY IX

IN HIM IN THE YEAR 1807

THE HOUSE OF STUART EXPIRED

We hoped you enjoyed this post. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best,

The Culloden Team

 

 

 

 

Stirling and the Jacobites

A short while ago we wrote a blog post detailing some notable Jacobite events that took place in the city of Edinburgh; today we thought we would continue in the same vein with a post about Stirling (and some surrounding areas) and its Jacobite history.

The deposed James VII of Scotland and II of England and Ireland died in 1701. Since his deposition in 1688, which had been made official in 1689, the Jacobites had been attempting without success to get him restored to the throne. His son James Francis Edward Stuart succeeded him to the Jacobite claim.

In 1707 the Acts of Union merged the Scottish and English Parliaments, and Stirling Castle became one of the four Scottish fortresses to be permanently garrisoned by troops of the new British army. During the Jacobite Rising of 1715, an attempt was made by the Jacobites to take control of Stirling Castle.

The Jacobite Rising of 1715 is commonly referred to as The Fifteen, but also sometimes as Lord Mar’s Revolt. John Erskine, Earl of Mar, had been involved in the developments that led to the Acts of Union. By 1714 his opinion on the matter had changed; this, combined with a public snub from the new King, Hanoverian George I, led him to raise the Stuart standard and declare for James Francis Edward Stuart at Braemar in September 1715.

Mar managed to gather more than 10,000 men to the cause, and he and the army travelled around Scotland in a bid to gain control. An attempt to occupy Edinburgh Castle was unsuccessful, but he managed to gain control of most of northern Scotland by November. Stirling Castle remained the most northerly garrisoned castle, and so the Earl of Mar and the (around 8000) troops marched towards Stirling with the intention of taking it.

A small Government army (around 3000), headed by the Duke of Argyll, was waiting and intercepted them at Sherrifmuir, near Dunblane (around five miles from Stirling), and the two armies fought. The result of the Battle of Sherrifmuir was considered inconclusive; the Government army did lose more men, but the Jacobite army needed an outright victory to go on and take Stirling Castle. Around the same time, Inverness was captured by Government soldiers, and Jacobites surrendered at the Battle of Preston.

This combination of events so close to one another pretty much ended the Jacobite Rising of 1715. It carried on for a few months longer, but by the time James Francis Edward Stuart arrived in Scotland, the momentum had been lost, and he soon returned to France.

As time passed, James Francis Edward Stuart became known to some as The Old Pretender, and in 1745 his son Charles Edward Stuart travelled to Scotland to rally support and fight on behalf of his father. After spending time in Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Jacobites had marched to England expecting new recruits. The trip was disappointing, and Charles and his army returned to Scotland.

At the beginning of 1746, having failed to occupy Edinburgh Castle a few months earlier, the Jacobites decided to besiege Stirling Castle, which was under the control of Major General Blakeney. To assist Blakeney, Lieutenant General Henry Hawley brought 7000 men to fight the Jacobites. The two armies fought at Falkirk Muir, and the Jacobites were victorious.

As the Government army had suffered a loss at Prestonpans under Sir John Cope, an immediate result of the attempt to besiege Stirling Castle and the Battle it resulted in was the arrival of the Duke of Cumberland to take charge of the Government troops.

The Jacobites ultimately abandoned their siege of Stirling Castle. They instead decided to go north to their Highland lodgings and renew the campaign in the spring.

We hope you enjoyed this post, as always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Nairn and the Night Attack

On the 16th of April 1746, the Government army and the Jacobite army fought at Culloden Moor (then known as Drumossie Moor) for their final battle. The day before, the Duke of Cumberland, leader of the Government side, turned twenty-five. He and his troops stopped in Nairn, a seaside town about twelve miles east of Culloden, and celebrated with some brandy. The Jacobites planned to take advantage of this, and in an aim to replicate their success at Prestonpans, they employed one of the same tactics they had used for that battle: a night attack.

The Duke of Cumberland was a son of the Hanovarian King George II. After the Jacobite victories at Prestonpans and Falkirk Muir, the Duke arrived in Edinburgh to take over the command of the Government army. He planned to go to the Highlands, where Charles Edward Stuart was, but deciding to wait until spring for another battle, he first went to Aberdeen. There he had the troops trained in a tactic that rendered the Highland Charge less effective; this was deemed very important as the Highland Charge had been instrumental in the Jacobites’ victories in the previous two battles. From Aberdeen, the Government army marched towards Inverness, and just outside of the town of Nairn, it was decided that they should rest and drink in celebration of the Duke’s birthday.

Charles Edward Stuart, Lord George Murray and the Jacobites were in Culloden. Rather than wait there, it was decided that they should all march to Nairn and attack the Government army during the night. There were immediate obstacles, however; provisions had dwindled, and that day many of the Jacobite troops had only had some hard bread to eat. Some had been wandering around in search of food, and when called back, had responded that they would rather be shot than starve any longer.

The plan was to set out at dusk, with George Murray leading the first column, mostly made up of the clans, and Charles and the Duke of Perth leading the second column, which mainly consisted of the Lowland regiments. The projected arrival time in Nairn was around two in the morning.

The Jacobites set off. Houses were avoided on their journey, as well as anything else that could have alerted the Government army to their whereabouts. From the beginning it was difficult; an aide-de-camp of George Murray and Charles’s later wrote,

“This march across the country, in a dark night, which did not allow us to follow any track, had the inevitable fate of all night-marches. It was extremely fatiguing, and accompanied with confusion and disorder.”

The second column found it difficult to keep up with the first, but even the clansmen, more used to the terrain, struggled due to hunger and exhaustion. George Murray, having been informed that the second column had fallen behind, slowed his pace considerably. They all struggled on until two in the morning, when it was judged that they were still three or four miles away from Nairn. The leaders deliberated, before reaching the conclusion that they should turn back; they reasoned that even if their troops were able to quicken their pace, which seemed unlikely, there was still little chance that they would all get to Nairn before daylight broke.

There was confusion, with not all of the troops being made aware of the changed plan. Charles, not realising that the first column had turned back, carried on to Nairn. When it got to him that the first column had gone back to Culloden, he turned back too. Others had almost reached Nairn before they realised that they were alone, and that many members of the Government army were awake, celebrating the Duke of Cumberland’s birthday. The Government army found out about the planned attack and set off for Culloden between four and five in the morning, eager to fight with the knowledge that the Jacobites would be weaker after walking all night.

We hope enjoyed this short post on the infamous failed night attack. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Exploring Culloden : The Weapons

As you walk through the exhibition at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre it is perhaps unsurprising that there are number of weapons on display. It may be easy to pass some of them by but each piece holds its own unique story and so we’ve pulled some of the best together to whet your appetite.

One of the first weapons you come across is the Brodie Sword, a magnificent 18th Century broadsword with intricate hilt and gleaming steel blade. First impressions may lead to you think that it would have been part of the battle but this sword was far too nice for anything as messy as battle. The sword is in fact one of a pair that were made for Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his brother, Henry. The exquisite nature of the sword is such that it would have been used as an ornament rather than a weapon, perhaps part of the reason why it still looks so good today.

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Hilt of the Brodie Sword

 

Rounding the corner and you quickly see the difference between an ornament and a real weapon as you experience those weapons used in combat. Standing proud is a large targe which would have been used by the Jacobite army as a shield. The dark leather outer layer hides within it the marks of musket balls that penetrated the outer skin piercing through to the wooden centre of the targe. These small details make the artefact come alive with history and stories of the past as you try to imagine the terror of being in the midst of battle with guns firing down upon you.

In the battle exploration zone large glass cabinets display the power of the two armies as weapons face each other across the display space. Alongside the muskets and swords sits a rather unique weapon, the blunderbuss. Rather than the sleek long muskets this gun is short and stocky and is probably best described as an 18th Century shotgun. The wide barrel allowed multiple projectiles to be fired towards the enemy. Upon the barrel is an inscription ‘Taken at the Battle of Culloden 16th April 1746 by Capt John Goodenough with 18 balls in it ‘ which adds yet more intrigue to this special piece.

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Typical Highland Targe

 

Every piece in our exhibition is special and has its own story. Just stopping for that moment to get up close and study the objects allows such a rich history to come forward and brings the story of Culloden alive for everyone who visits the site.

We hope you enjoyed this blog about Culloden. As always please comment, tweet, like, share and hopefully you will be able to come and see these weapons for yourself one day.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Mary of Modena

In 1673, Mary of Modena married James, who would go on to become James VII & II (King of Scotland, England and Ireland) twelve years later, before being deposed in 1688. In the same year that her husband was deposed, Mary gave birth to a son they named James Francis Edward Stuart. The Jacobites fought across two centuries to get these two Jameses (Jacobus being Latin for James) crowned. Mary, as wife and mother, was at the centre of the civil war from its beginnings to her death in 1718.

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Mary of Modena

 

Born in 1658, Mary, whose full name was Maria Beatrice Anna Margherita Isabella d’Este, was the only daughter of Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena, and his wife, Laura Martinozzi. Her father died when she was young, and her brother inherited the title. Mary grew up multilingual and a devout Catholic. She expressed interest in becoming a nun, but when it reached Italy that James, Duke of York, was looking for a new wife, following the death of his first, she was convinced to reconsider.

James and Mary were married by proxy, before having a second ceremony when she arrived in England. The union was unpopular, with many Protestants viewing Mary with suspicion, believing her to be an agent of the Pope. Things worsened for James and Mary when a secretary of theirs was implicated in the fictitious Popish Plot, a plan to assassinate Charles II. This led to the Exclusionist Crisis, an attempt to bar the Catholic James from ever becoming King.

In an effort to ease tensions, Charles II sent his brother and Mary away from London, with them first going to Brussels and then Edinburgh for a few years, only returning to London for brief periods, such as when Charles got sick. In 1683, they enjoyed a boost in popularity after the Rye House Plot was discovered. The Rye House Plot had sought to assassinate both Charles II and James, which prompted many people to sympathise with them. Aware of this shift, Charles invited his brother and sister-in-law back to London. Charles II died in 1685, leaving no legitimate children. His brother was crowned James II and VII.

Since getting married, Mary had suffered several miscarriages, and all of her and James’s children had been stillborn or had died young. In 1688, she gave birth to a healthy son who was named James Francis Edward Stuart. James’s two daughters from his first marriage had been raised as Protestants, despite James’s own beliefs; because of this, Protestants had hoped that one of them would succeed their father. The new child became known by many as the “warming-pan Prince”, named so because of the rumour spread that Mary’s own child had been stillborn and swapped out for a random healthy baby. This, combined with a negative response to James’s policies, led to the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in James being deposed and him and Mary living in exile in France.

Louis XIV of France presented James and Mary with Château de-Saint-en-Layne, where they resided for the rest of their lives. Mary also spent a lot of time at Versailles, where she was well-liked. In 1692, she gave birth to a daughter, Louisa, who lived until 1712. The Jacobites referred to Mary as “The Queen Over the Water”.

In 1701, James VII & II died, and his young son succeeded him to the Jacobite claim. Mary, acting as regent, pushed for her son to be recognised as King. France, Spain, Modena and the Papal States acknowledged him, but in London he was declared a traitor. Though she wanted to promote his claim, she was against him being apart from her before he was of age. She acted as regent until her son turned sixteen.

Mary spent her later years assisting and visiting convents. She died of cancer at the age of fifty-nine. She was buried in the Convent of the Visitation at Chaillot, which was later destroyed during the French Revolution.