The Mysterious Jacobite Verse of the National Anthem

There occasionally arises rumours that the British National Anthem actually contains an extra verse which takes aim against the Jacobites. But, how true are these claims?

The National Anthem as we know it today consists of three verses, of which we only usually sing one. It was established in the early 19th Century but its precursor was first sung during the 1745 Jacobite Rising. The anthem was performed on 28th September 1745, just a week after the Battle of Prestonpans, in the Drury Lane Theatre in London. The performance was of just the first two verses, the third was added to the anthem slightly later, but it was apparently so popular that the performance was repeated every night that week.

The verses in their original form were as follows:

God save great GEORGE our king,
Long live our noble king.
God save the king.
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us.
God save the king.
O Lord, our God arise,
Scatter his enemies,
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On him our hopes we fix,
O save us all.
Thy choicest gifts in store
On George be pleas’d to pour,
Long may he reign:
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To say with heart and voice
God save the king.

So, where did this fourth verse come from? Luckily the words help us with this answer as the fourth verse was supposedly as follows:

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!

although it also appears as:

Oh! grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy gracious aid
Victory bring;
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush,
And the French King!

Either form helps us decipher the mystery as they talk of Marshal Wade bringing victory to the British. Wade commanded part of the British army during 1745 before being replaced by the Duke of Cumberland in the New Year. Therefore there was a period of roughly three months, between Prestonpans and the New Year, where this verse may have been used.

There are no accounts of the extra verse ever being performed or sung and only a couple references in texts so it was a very short lived phenomenon. Also, it is important to note that the verse was never part of the National Anthem as this was not formalised until the early 19th Century. If anything it was a used as a temporary sing-along that would quickly have become irrelevant following the arrival of the Duke of Cumberland.

There have been a number of additional verses and alternate versions of the anthem over the years, including a peace version in 1919. The stories of the Jacobite Risings as fascinating tales and it is not surprising that this one verse has popped up over the years to stoke debate. However, it cannot be classed as an official verse of the National Anthem and so must remain a temporary event that is now held in history.

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

All the best, K & D

 

 

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Sgian Dubh

Many people who visit Scotland love discovering more about the traditional Highland dress and part of that is the Sgian Dubh.

Today the Sgian Dubh (pronounced ‘skian doo) is a small single edged blade worn at the calf, tucked into your sock. The Gaelic roughly translates as ‘black dagger’, sgian meaning dagger or knife and dubh meaning black.  The reason for the term black has had some theories over the years. Some feel it represents the most common colour of the hilt of the blade whereas others feel it has a meaning of secrecy and symbolises that the blade was hidden away as a secret weapon.

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Example of a Sgian Dubh (museumreplicas.com)

 

It is not entirely clear where the blade originated from. Some believe it was developed from an old dagger that men used to conceal in the upper sleeves of their jacket, known as the ‘armpit dagger’ or sgian achlais. Women may also have kept a similar blade tucked in the folds of their skirt. Others believe it evolved from a simple small skinning knife that was then utilised as a hidden weapon.

Regardless the sgian dubh as we know it was probably around from the early to mid 18th Century and there are some great portraits in the national Portrait gallery of clan chiefs with the sgian dubh being worn. Early blades were quite simple with hilts made from antler and simple leather sheaths. However, as time moved on and they became more widely used, along side the highland dirk, the work became more elaborate, especially for those wealthy enough to afford quality weapons. The handles were, as we said, often black and shaped to rest beside the leg, they became more intricately carved with celtic designs or clan motifs and some even had stones set into the top of the handle.

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Sgian Dubh (thekiltstore.com)

 

Today the sgian dubh are typically shorter than they would have been during the 18th Century, maybe an inch or so less on the blade. Also the modern blades made today are unsurprisingly used for ceremonial purposes rather than skinning animals and threatening enemies. Many are made with blunted edges and there are even ‘safe’ sgian dubh made from plastic so that children can wear them and for travelling.

We hope you enjoyed the insight into part of the Scottish dress and as always please share, like, comment and tweet and feel free to share your stories with us.

All the best, K & D

The Order of the Thistle

The Order of the Thistle is the highest order that can be given in Scotland and is said to have been established by King James VII & II in 1687.

It is believed that James established the Order to help engage with, and maintain his close relationship with, the Scots. He asked two of his ministers of state to come up with something that would portray both the importance of the people receiving the Order whilst also carrying the air of exclusivity and royal support. Thus, the Order of the Thistle as it is known today was formed.

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Order of the Thistle Badge and Sash

 

However, there are some who argue that James VII & II simply resurrected a much older idea. Legend has it that in 809 the Scottish King Achaius gave the Order to Charlemagne. This may have some truth to it as Charlemagne was known to employ Scottish bodyguards but most consider the exchange to be a gift. Reference to an Order of the Thistle crops up again with James III who bestowed the “Order of the Burr or Thissil” on King Francis I of France in the fifteenth century but again there is little evidence to support this. If there was indeed an Order at this time it would appear to be sporadic and was not an enduring cause.

Ultimately it is James VII & II who is largely credited with being the Order of the Thistle creator. The problems don’t end with him though as issues arise when he was deposed  in 1688 and his successors to the throne, William and May, did not continue the tradition of the Order of the Thistle. It was however brought back by Marys sister Anne in 1703 after she took the throne and since then it has continued to exist to this day.

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Book Cover from the Thistle Chapel at St Giles Cathedral

 

As we said earlier the Order of the Thistle is the highest honour in Scotland and is second only to the Order of the Garter in England. It is a special honour to have bestowed upon you as it is a personal gift from the monarch, there is no government involvement. It is also a very exclusive club. Today there are only 16 knights of the Order of the Thistle at one time as well a handful of officials and a few ‘extra’ knights, who are mainly members of the Royal Family.

Knights gather once a year at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, where they wear their ceremonial robes of deep green and display the Order of the Thistle star on their left breast with the motto ‘Nemo me Impune Lacessit’  which means ‘no-one provokes me with impunity’, or who dares meddle with me. This is considered to be the motto of Scotland and appears on the royal coat of arms and on some pound coins.

We hope you enjoyed discovering a bit about the history of the Order of the Thistle. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, K & D

 

 

 

Stranger than fiction : ‘The Adventures of William Home’

If you have recently visited Culloden Battlefield, you might have gone on one of our museum highlight tours run by the volunteers in the learning team.

We all have our favourite objects and stories that we can talk about for hours, and for this blog John, one of our volunteers, is sharing one of his favourite stories:

Ensign William Home .

During war exceptional people can emerge from the carnage of battle as representing the true character of a hero and they are worth taking notice off. One of these individuals is William Home. At just 14 years old he carried the standard at the Battle of Falkirk and here at Culloden.

William was born at Duns in Berwickshire around 1731, the only son of Patrick Home of Langrig, who was a maltster by trade. He signed up to the Jacobite army in the role of a Cornet (Ensign) in Lord Balmerino’s Life Guards and fought at Prestonpans, Falkirk, and Culloden. On occasion he acted as aide-de-camp to Prince Charles Edward Stuart ,who presented him with a miniature of himself , a medal and Quaich . These items, along with Williams carbine, are on display in the first corridor at the Culloden Visitor Centre .

We know about William Homes activities at Culloden and the immediate aftermath, through a letter he wrote to a John Home.

The first troop of Lifeguards , commanded by Lord Echo and posted on the right of the front line were the first that gave way and in a very short time the infantry of this line broke their ranks and left their ground , no efforts were made by the second line , at best none of any consequence .As for the French auxiliaries, they did not fire a shot and indeed through the whole of the uprising from their landing in Scotland I never thought them of much use .

From the line giving way and the second line not being very forward , the rout became general and the confusion inexpressible in that situation of affairs the Prince quitted the field and not before as has been alleged by some ,and even then he went off with the utmost reluctance , the bridle of his horse having been seized and forcibly turned about after crossing the river , he dismissed the horsemen that were with him, they were ordered to proceed to Ruthven Barracks in Badenoch and there to wait the arrival of Lord George Murray , he accordingly came on the Saturday immediately following the day of the battle /( Wednesday ), he drew us all out and made a short speech, which he concluded by telling us to shift for ourselves as there were no more occasion for our services .”

After the Battle of Culloden William was captured and imprisoned in Stirling Castle before being transferred to Carlisle Castle. He was tried for treason and condemned to death on 19th September 1746. William was to be executed on 17th October at Carlisle. The day was chosen because it was market day for the town and therefore greater numbers than usual would observe the executions.

The Crown Solicitor Mr Philip Webb wrote the following remarks “ William Home who was in the “most guilty class “bore the Pretender’s standard at Falkirk and Culloden , but was at that time 14 years old ..”

Whilst in prison, under sentence of death, considerable efforts were made to secure a reprieve including a petition on behalf of William Home to the King George II .

“When the rebellion broke out and your unhappy petitioner was first seduced to depart from his allegiance he was not yet 14 years of age , one fitter to be employed at school , than in waging rebellion : but the appearance of some with whom your petitioner had been acquainted, and the temptations of a military dress were the only inducements , which first engaged , and since hurries him on to the taking of those steps which must now inevitably bring him to a miserable end , unless it should graciously please your Majesty , out of your Royal mercy otherways to dispense of him and to spare that life which he has forfeited by his crime of rebellion.”

Conditions in the prisons were bad and there was concern for Williams health because of a fever that was raging among the prisoners. Also, there was growing apprehension from Williams family that the petition would not work as news of more and more executions came in.

However, William was eventually offered a pardon upon condition that he enlisted in an independent company in the service of the East India Company. He was sent to Portsmouth  but, along with a number of others, he refused to enlist and was sent back to Carlisle. William never enlisted nor was he transported , instead, due to an error in paperwork, he was exiled and went to live on the continent . He entered service in the Prussian Army of Frederick the Great where he rose to the rank of Colonel .

We hope you enjoyed this post by our lovely volunteer John. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, K & D

 

A Family Affair…

The Jacobite story is a long one and has many complexities to it, from religion, to politics, to economics; there is a lot to contend with. But, the first thing you need to get you head around is the family connections, of which there are many.

family tree

Firstly, let’s look at the Jacobites. We can start with James VII & II who was king from 1685-1688 when he was deposed. This is what kicked off the first Jacobite Rising in 1688, known as the Glorious Revolution. We then follow a pretty simple line with his son James VIII & III becoming ‘the Old Pretender’ and trying to take back the throne, and then his son Prince Charles Edward Stuart as ‘the Young Pretender’ making his attempt in 1745.

Meanwhile, there are obviously changes in the monarchy when James VII & II was deposed. The crown first passed to his daughter Mary, who ruled with her husband William of Orange. When they both died without heirs it then moved to James VII & II’s other daughter, Anne, who ruled until 1714.

At this point though there was a problem. The next successor should have been James VIII & III but many in the government did not want this. So, whilst Anne was still on the throne,  they passed a law that prevented Catholics from taking the throne, thereby ruling James VIII & III out of contention.

 

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House of Stuart – made by local school pupils

 

 

To find the next monarch they went back through the family tree to find the closest, suitable, relative. This takes us back to James VI & I whose granddaughter was Sophia of Hanover. She was named as the successor to the throne. Unfortunately, she died shortly before Anne so the next monarch was her son, George I.

By the time we reach the 1745 rebellion we have George I’s son, George II on the throne and it is his younger son, William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland who fights Prince Charles Edward Stuart at Culloden. Both men were 25 years old and were distant cousins.

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House of Hanover – made by local school pupils

 

 

 

In terms of other key historical figures which we sometimes get asked about at Culloden. Mary Queen of Scots was the mother of James VI & I. She was also the great niece of Henry VIII and challenged his daughter Elizabeth I to the throne but failed. Robert the Bruce was alive from 1274-1329, so quite a while before the Jacobites, but he was a direct ancestor of the Stuarts as James VI is his 8x great grandson.

We hope that helped you make a bit more sense of the family tree and the succession of the monarchs. As always please like, share, tweet, comment and feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

All the best, K & D

 

 

Jacobite Jaunt

This week was time for our annual Jacobite Jaunt, where we head off with our volunteers to explore more sites that tackle Jacobite history. This year there was really only one choice for our destination and that was the National Museum of Scotland, which is running a special Jacobite exhibition, from 23rd June to 12th November, this year.

The National Museum of Scotland (NMS), which can be found in Edinburgh, is a beautiful building and worth a visit any time you head to the capital, but this year it is extra special as it hosts one of the largest exhibitions of Jacobite history for at least 70 years.

Following on from their very successful exhibition around Mary, Queen of Scots the NMS have now formed a fantastic display of artefacts including weapons, letters, portraits and unique trinkets that take the visitor on a dramatic journey through the whole of Jacobite history.

When we arrived at the museum we were lucky enough to have a short talk with one of the curators before being shown around by one of their excellent volunteer guides. Needless to say we were all very keen and excited to be visiting and we were not disappointed.

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Ticket for the exhibtion

 

The exhibition covers the whole of the Stuart dynasty breaking down the action into sections so that the highly complex story is taken in nice manageable stages. The objects on display are fascinating and we all spent hours in the exhibit trying to take in every bit of detail. The collection is comprised of pieces from the NMS as well as many other collections throughout Britain and Europe.

One of our highlights was seeing our own sword, known as the ‘Brodie Sword’ on display in the exhibition. It was lovely to see it on display in the capital and taking part in such an iconic exhibition alongside other incredible displays. Also on display are stunning letters and articles that, if you have the time, are wonderful to read. There are some great portraits and images that carry through subtle messages of power and monarchy. We also spotted a beautiful pin cushion embroidered with the names of men who fell at Culloden which was a lovely personal and sentimental item to see.  The exhibition covers the history very well and it was great to follow the journey right from 1688 all the way through to Culloden and beyond.

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The Brodie Sword in the exhibtion

 

If you are in Edinburgh we strongly recommend visiting the exhibition. We were all very reluctant to leave and it would have been easy to spend a day in the beautiful museum. The NMS has done a fantastic job and it is a great spot to begin your introduction to Jacobites before you head north to see us!

As always please like, share, comment, tweet and let us know if you have been to the exhibition.

All the best,

K & D

 

 

 

The Atterbury Plot

Between the Jacobite Rising of 1715 and 1745 lies the Atterbury Plot. Here in 1722 many prominent men joined forces to try and instigate a Jacobite Rising that would restore the Stuarts to the throne.

The plot is named after Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, who acted as James III & VIII’s representative in England. His reasons for joining the Jacobites are intriguing, as he was not considered a supporter during the 1715 Rising, yet, a year later he was a key component in another planned rising. It appears that the changing politics in England are the main reason for his change in position. In 1714 the Tory ministry collapse and the Whigs too over, leaving the Tories excluded from high office. As a prominent High Church bishop, Atterbury feared the Tories would never be able to regain enough power to restore the church to, what he felt, was its rightful place.  Thus, we start to see a collection of Tory supporters coming together to support the Jacobites.

Atterbury is the man named in the plot but he was not necessarily considered the leader of the plot. There are many big names associated with the plan. Lord North, the Earl of Arran, General Dillon, the Earl of Mar and the Duke of Ormond all supported the plan.

The collapse of the South Sea Company in 1720 led to economic crisis and political scandals in Britain and the growing tensions held an opportunity for the Jacobites to exploit. It is suggested that the plan was to capture London and the city of Westminster and then begin multiple rising across the country. They had plans to sail men to Cornwall to begin a rising in the west and a separate group would head for Scotland and raise support to the north. The group had formed a list of all the counties where they felt they could gain support as well as those they knew would oppose the men. There was a general election scheduled in 1722 and it is believed that they planned their rising to coincide with this event.

Before the plans could take place though they were discovered. In April 1722 the Earl of Sunderland passed away and upon his death the Regent of France supposedly informed government men that the Jacobites had asked him to supply three thousand men for an attempted coup which was to take place the following month.  Sunderland papers were confiscated and amongst them was apparently a letter of thanks from James III & VIII. Despite very little evidence arrests began upon the main suspects. Atterbury himself was betrayed by the Earl of Mar and was arrested in August and confined to the Tower of London. Following his trial he was exiled and joined up with James III & VIII and became his Secretary of State.

We hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about the Atterbury Plot. As always please like, tweet, share, comment and follow us as we try and uncover more interesting tales for your to enjoy.

All the best, K & D