How did the 1715 Rising begin?

The 1715 Jacobite Rising is largely considered to be the Rising that should have worked. It had many points in its favour, including a large amount of support across Scotland and England, but it’s mismanagement and poor communication led to its ultimate demise. For many the end of the Rising may be most significant but the start is just as interesting.

From as early as March in 1715 James III & VIII ( the Old Pretender) appealed to the Pope for help with a Jacobite Rising and small events throughout the year increased the tension throughout Britain. The Riot Act was brought out in response to the threat of invasion, the Habeus Corpus Act was suspended and a reward offered for the capture of James.

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John Erskine, Earl of Mar

 

Still it was not until 6th September 1715 that the Rising began in somewhat unorthodox fashion. A couple of weeks earlier at the end of August the Earl of Mar had travelled from London north to Braemar. Mar was one of the most powerful men in Scotland, he was governor of Stirling Castle and from 1705 was Secretary of State for Scotland. However, when King George I came into power, in 1714, he fell out of favour and left the capital, returning to his estate in Scotland where he took up the Jacobite cause. Here he summoned clan leaders to a grand hunting match. Some say there were as many as 800 men present who went hunting in Glen Quoich. At the Linn of Quoich, a natural bowl carved into the rock was filled with brandy or whisky and the men drank to a Jacobite rising. To this day the ‘Earl of Mars punchbowl’ can still be seen.

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Earl of Mar’s punchbowl at Linn of Quoich

Following his hunting party the Earl of Mar declared James II & VIII King of Scotland, England and Ireland at Kirkmichael in Braemar. On 6th September 1715 Mar had begun the 1715 rising. Unfortunately, he had done this without any authority and had neglected to tell James in advance of his planned uprising. Not a wise move. He also failed to recognise that there were wider plans being put into action and he had not coordinated with risings happening south of the border. To add more disaster to the event the ceremony itself did not run smooth.

As the Earl of Mar raised the new standard for James III & VIII an ornamental globe fell from the top of the pole. This caused alarm amongst the many spectators and the suspicious Highlanders as it recalled the time when the head of Charles I’s staff fell as he stood trial. It was considered an omen of bad things to come. The site where the standard was raised is now home to the Invercauld Arms Hotel.

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20th Century illustration of the 1715 rising of the standard

 

The Rising had begun in a less than ideal manner and unfortunately for Mar his fortune did not turn around. He was considered a poor general and when the Rising fell apart he was held for high treason. He was exiled, his title removed and his lands forfeited.

The 1715 would remain a rising of possibilities that never achieved it’s potential. Had it been better coordinated who knows what would have happened but for Mar the Rising was a failure from the beginning to the end.

We hope you enjoyed this short account. As always please like, share, tweet, comment and hopefully events will be more fortuitous for you than Mar.

All the best, K & D

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The Old Pretender

James Francis Edward Stuart was nicknamed ‘the Old Pretender’ after his father was deposed and the throne of Scotland and England was passed to William and Mary. Here we take a look at his life.

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James VIII & III

 

James was born on 10th June 1688 at St James’s Palace in London and his birth was controversial to say the least. James was the son of existing king James VII & II and his second wife, Mary of Modena. James would be a Catholic heir to the throne of Scotland and England and this was not something that was favourably look upon. Almost as soon as he was born rumours began to spread that James was an impostor. It was believed that the true child had been a stillborn and James was smuggled in in a warming pan to replace the sadly deceased baby. James’ father was forced to publish several eyewitness testimonies to put a stop to these rumours and assure everyone that James was indeed their son and heir.

Less than a year after James’ birth the Glorious Revolution began with William of Orange arriving from Holland to contest the throne. On 9th December 1688 James’ mother Mary, supposedly disguised as a laundress, escaped Britain taking James over to the relative safety of France. It was here that he was brought up with the French court regarding him and his family as the true monarchs.

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The Old Pretender

 

When James’ father died in 1701 King Louis XIV of France along with Spain and the Papal States recognised James as James VII of Scotland and III of England. However, as a result of accepting this title he was attainted for treason in London and all his English estates were forfeited. The next twenty years would see James make various attempts to retake the throne which he felt was rightfully his.

In 1708 his first attack was launched. Initially delayed because James had contracted measles he set out from France with almost 30 ships carrying some 5,000 men to reach Scotland. This would be the largest ever French expedition to come within striking distance of Britain in support for James. Unfortunately, as the fleet approached the Royal Navy were ready. James’ measles may have given them the time needed to prepare for James’ attack. The French ships were forced to flee under the strength of the Royal Navy and took flight along the north coast of Scotland, with many ships being destroyed along the rocky coastline. After this James joined the French army for a while before he was asked to leave France in 1713 as part of the conditions of Frances peace agreement with Britain.

In 1715, James tried again. This time he reached mainland and most people suggest that this was the uprising that should have worked. See our blog on 1715 for more info. Unfortunately, once again James was denied. Despite winning at the Battle of Sheriffmuir, and in Preston, James ultimately gave up the fight when he heard Government reinforcements were on the way. He fled Scotland and returned to the continent but his apparent abandonment of his men left a poor impression on many and his welcome back was not great.

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James VIII & III

 

After the failed 1715 invasion he eventually took up residence in Rome where the pope recognised him as the rightful king and gave him the Palazzo Muti to have as his home. James made one finally attempt on the British throne in 1719 with some Spanish support but this ultimately came to nothing. Then in May 1719 James married Maria Sobieska by proxy and later, in September, they renewed their vows in person. The following year they gave birth to their first son Charles Edward Stuart. This was followed five years later by another son Henry Benedict Stuart.

By 1745 it was Charles who was looking to take the British throne and it is said that James and Charles clashed many times over Charles plans to attempt his own rising. As we know the rising did not succeed and Charles returned to the continent. The relationship was further damaged when James helped his son Henry in his goal of becoming a cardinal. AS such Henry would have no legitimate children to carry on the Stuart line and Charles was said to be angry that the decision had been made without him being consulted.

James lived in Rome for the rest of his life where he was well treated. He died on 1st January 1766 in his home at the Palazzo Muti. Later he was buried in St Peters basilica in Vatican city and his tomb is marked by a monument to the Stuarts. After James’ death the Pope refused to recognise Charles as the rightful king and finally accepted the Hanoverian succession to the throne.

Interestingly James ‘reign’ had it been recognised would have lasted for 64 years, 3 months and 16 days longer than any other monarch until Queen Elizabeth passed this total in May this year.

We hope you enjoyed this brief insight into the life of James and as always please like, share, tweet, comment and keep coming back for more.

All the best, K & D

 

 

 

Inverness and the Jacobites

Inverness, now the capital of the Highlands, changed hands a few times over the course of the Jacobite Rebellions. Here we look at some of the key moments in its Jacobite history.

During the 1715 Jacobite Rising the town and castle was held by Clan MacKenzie who were led by Sir John Mackenzie of Coul. Locals clans loyal to the Government made their move in November of 1715 to take the town into Government hands. Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat along with John Forbes of Culloden and Hugh Rose, Chief of Clan Rose all joined forces against the Jacobites and began to plan a course of action.

However, before they had a firm plan in place , on 10th November, Arthur Rose, younger son of Hugh Rose, and a handful of his men seized boats in Inverness harbour and river to ensure the Jacobites could not use them to supply the town or escape. During this they managed to capture one of the Jacobite guards and forced him to take them to the towns tollbooth which was used as a Jacobite guard house. The men inside opened the door but as Rose pushed his way in the alarm was sounded and Rose was shot and mortally wounded.

Angered by his sons death Hugh Rose immediately sought revenge. Mackenzie of Coul  sent a letter of condolence to Rose and allowed him to come and bury his son but Rose was apparently too incensed with grief and threatened to put the whole town of Inverness to sword and flame.

On 12th November the Government, led by Simon Fraser, took position along the side of the River Ness. Here they were able to prevent support, from the MacDonalds of Keppoch and the Mackintoshes at Moy Hall, from coming to the Jacobites aid. Realising the weakness of their position the Jacobites asked to march south, and join Mar and the main Jacobite army at Sherriffmuir, but Rose denied this and instead offered them the chance to hand over their weapons and return home. Later that day Government forces occupied Inverness, the only fatality of the short siege being Arthur Rose two days before.

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Inverness Castle from roughly 1745

 

In the 1719 Jacobite Rising there were plans for the Jacobites to head to Inverness and take the town but the men never made it that far east and Government men marched out of the town heading the Jacobites off at Glen Shiel. Thus, Inverness escaped any serious action in 1719.

Finally, in 1745, Inverness was held mainly by the Government, with an initial force of roughly 750 men based there to defend the site. After the Battle of Prestonpans John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudon, arrived at Inverness with arms and funds and took over command of the men that Lord President Duncan Forbes had been raising in the area but it wasn’t until early 1746 that the Jacobites actually came to Inverness.

On 16th February 1746 Lady Anne MacKintosh entertained Prince Charles at Moy Hall, her family home just south of the city. News of the Prince’s whereabouts reached Lord Loudon, and fearing an attack Charles left the Hall and took sanctuary in the nearby woods. When Loudon’s men approached the house Lady Anne’s blacksmith and a handful of men created the impression that the house was defended by a substantial force calling out to ‘regiments’. The tactic worked and Lord Loudon retreated back to Inverness in what is known as ‘The Rout of Moy.’

The next day a Government Council of War decided it would be impossible for Loudoun’s forces to defend Inverness and they retreated into Sutherland and Prince Charles was free to enter Inverness without contest. Only one barrier remained. There was still a small garrison holding Inverness Castle for the Government, led by Major Grant. The Jacobites quickly went to work surveying the building for any weaknesses. The walls were too thick to penetrate but they managed to find a weak point in the foundations and set about exploiting this point.

On 20th February Major Grant conceded defeat. They could not stop the strong Jacobite force and feared the rampart would be blown up beneath them. The Jacobites quickly plundered the stores and weapons held in the castle and then proceeded to blow the fortifications apart so that it would be no use if it were to fall back into Government hands.

This was the last action Inverness with the Battle of Culloden resulting in the defeat of the Jacobites in April. Hopefully you enjoyed this short history on Inverness and as always please like, share, tweet, comment and come along to Inverness where you can still see one of the walls of the old Castle burnt from the demolition.

All the best, K & D

Lord George Murray

We all know Prince Charles Edward Stuart led the Jacobite army in 1745 but he had plenty of help from his band of advisers and generals. One of the most well known members of Prince Charles’ council was Lord George Murray.

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Lord George Murray

 

Born in Perth, Scotland in 1694, George was the sixth son of the 1st Duke of Atholl, chief of Clan Murray. He joined the army in 1712 and then three years later, along with two of his brothers, he joined the Jacobites in the 1715 Rising with each brother commanding their own regiment of Atholl men. He fled to France for a while before returning to help aid the short lived 1719 Jacobite Rising. Here he was injured and spent months in hiding before finally finding his way back to the continent.

Not much is known of his life on the continent but he finally returned to Scotland in 1724 following his fathers death and settled down with a wife and five children. When the ’45 Rising began George was sceptical of Prince Charles and his scheme despite his earlier support of the Jacobites. Indeed a month after Charles landed in Scotland George went to pay his respects to Sir John Cope, commander of the government forces, and was appointed deputy-sheriff of Perthshire.

George then met Prince Charles for himself when he stayed at Blair Castle and eventually announced his support for the Jacobite cause. Something had changed his mind, though there were those that suspected he had never truly supported the government and still others that now thought he could be a government spy. Either way George quickly won the Jacobites armies confidence with his decisive leadership and by September he was practically running the army having ordered the successful attack at the Battle of Prestonpans on his own initiative.

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Battle of Prestonpans

 

Whilst he was certainly close to Prince Charles he did not always agree with the man. When the army moved into England George was against the plan but followed the Princes orders. In Carlisle George conducted the siege but after the town surrendered he resigned his command apparently claiming he felt his authority had been undermined by the Prince. His replacement, the Duke of Preth, was not well liked by the army and it was not long before George was reinstated and leading the army towards Derby.

Here George urged the Prince to retreat. He was concerned by the lack of both French and English support and felt it unwise to continue on towards London as the Prince wished. At a council of war the majority sided with Murray and a retreat was planned. Prince Charles had been out voted and was furious. He would never forgive George for turning against him.

During the retreat Murray commanded the rear guard as the Jacobites headed back north until they reached the fateful day of Culloden. Here Murray advised placing the army on the right bank of the river Nairn but Prince Charles ignored his advise at set the army on Culloden Moor to the left of the Nairn. The Jacobites were defeated, though George managed to escape the battle. He headed to Ruthven Barracks to try and piece together what was left of the Jacobite army and set about forming a resistance. It is said he managed to amass some 3,000 men however, whilst waiting he received word from Prince Charles that the cause was to be abandoned and the men were to disband.

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Ruthven Barracks

 

George managed to make his way to the continent where he was received well by Prince Charles’ father, James who granted him a pension. In 1747 he travelled to Paris to see Prince Charles but despite his fathers hospitality the Prince refused to meet with him. During the next decade George travelled through the continent living in numerous places before he eventually died in Holland in 1760 at the age of 66.

We hope you enjoyed this little insight into George Murray. As always please like, comment, reblog, tweet and feel free to suggest other figures you’d like to learn more about.

All the best, K & D

The Battle of Sheriffmuir

This week saw the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Sheriffmuir which took place on 13th November 1715. As such we decided to look a little more at this key battle of the 1715 Jacobite Uprising.

First, a little bit of background just to set the scene.  In 1714, George I succeeded Queen Anne to the throne as the first ruler of the Hanoverian line. Tensions were already high in some areas following the 1707 Union which was not fully supported across the country. Following his ascension George I, a German from Hanover who could not speak English, managed to alienate more people including a range of former supporters of Anne and now there were more people willing to try to return a Stuart to the throne.

The Earl of Mar had initially been an enthusiastic supporter of George I,  but after being publicly snubbed by the new king, Mar decided to back a different horse, and on 1 September 1715 raised a standard for King James VIII at Braemar. Mar began to raise forces to march south to join with English Jacobites, in an attempt to return a Stuart to the throne. To counter the uprising the government dispatched a combination of Scottish and English regiments under the command of the Duke of Argyll. During October there were various manoeuvres between the two armies. Then on the 10th November the Jacobite army marched south from Perth, reaching Kinbuick, just north east of Dunblane on the 12th November. The Duke of Argyll had marched north and was already at Dunblane, intending to intercept the Jacobite force.

On the 13th November the Jacobites drew up in battle formation on Kinbuick Muir, presumably in order to gain control of the road north to Dunblane, but they had to move more than two kilometers south east from here to Sheriffmuir, to the east of Dunblane, to engage the government force.

Argyll led one squadron of volunteer cavalry, 10 squadrons of dragoons and eight battalions of foot (1,000 cavalrymen and 3,500 infantrymen). The elite of the government army was Portmore’s Dragoons, later to be renowned as the Scots Greys.

Mar led seven squadrons of cavalry (1,000 troopers) and 18 battalions of foot (7,000 infantrymen). Most of Mar’s men were Highlanders fighting with basket-hilted broadswords. Both armies had cannons, but neither side used them although Mar may well have lacked the gunpowder and ammunition to do so. In total there were roughly 6,000 Government forces against 12,000 Jacobite men.

Argyll was seriously outnumbered by the Jacobite army and his left wing, commanded by General Whetham, was far shorter than the Jacobites’ opposing right. However, Mar was inexperienced at commanding such a sizable army (the largest Jacobite army ever raised in Scotland) whilst Argyll was much more proficient in deploying his well trained troops. Argyll’s right wing managed to drive the Jacobites back but then his left wing was overpowered by the overwhelming Jacobite numbers. Over the course of the day the battle see-sawed between the two armies.

By evening, both armies were seriously reduced, and although Mar had a great advantage in numbers, he refused to press home his advantage and risk the entirety of his army and both armies withdrew.The battle was inconclusive with both sides claiming victory although in strategic terms Argyll had halted the Jacobite advance preventing them meeting with the Jacobites in England. The Jacobite army was demoralised by the loss and though the rising continued for another two and a half months it seemed to never truly recover from the loss at Sheriffmuir.

Hopefully you enjoyed this little insight into the Battle of Sheriffmuir. As always please like, follow, share, tweet, comment and if you have any suggestions for topics you’d like to know more about please let us know.

All the best, K & D

 

The Brodie Sword.

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The Brodie Sword

This week we thought we’d take the chance to highlight one of the artifacts on display in our Culloden Exhibition and have chosen the Brodie Sword.

Reportedly commissioned and gifted by the Duke of Perth it is one of two swords and targes made for Prince Charles and his brother Henry. The sword would have been a symbol of power and used for display only, not as a weapon. The sword came to the Brodie family through the marriage of Elizabeth Brodie to George, 5th Duke of Gordon in 1813 with the tradition that it had been taken from the Princes baggage train after Culloden.

The sword is a basket-hilted broad sword from the 18th Century. The hilt is unmarked silver most likely of north European origin whilst the blade is German. The basket is a conventional shape outlined with rococo scrolls and is made from numerous small pieces cast in low relief and soldered together. It is highly decorative, and includes many symbols of Jacobitism, including the Medusa head.

The symbology on the basket is based on Greco/Roman mythology suggesting an intellectual owner. Symbols include two serpents forming the wrist guard for wisdom and guardianship, a lion  for royalty and a dolphin on the pommel to represent power of earth and sea.

The labrys or doubled headed axe (later used as a Fascist emblem) is a symbol of power and appears in the centre of faches (pronounced fatch-ey), a bundle of birch rods tied with a leather strappins. Faches were dipped in pitch and lit for use as a flaming torch. Their symbolic meaning is of power through unity and civilization/enlightment by force if necessary. Interestingly this is also where the term fachism comes form.

The medusa head was to strike fear into the enemy and was also a Jacobite symbol, in Greek myth if the medusas’ head was cut of the body would die but the head would continue to live, The Stuarts used this metaphor to infer that Britain would suffer without its natural head of state i.e. the Stuarts.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about this piece and you know where to come to see it in real life! As always please like, share, follow, tweet, comment and let us know if you’ve seen this sword or its brother, which is on display in Glasgow.

All the best, K & D

1715 – The rebellion that should have worked…

Culloden essentially marked the end of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 and as such it is marked as one of the most well known moments in Jacobite and Scottish history. But, there were quite a few other rebellions that took place before the ’45 and this year marks the 300th anniversary of one of these – the 1715 Rebellion.

The 1715 uprising is widely considered to be the Jacobite Uprising that should have worked. It had a large amount of support, across both Scotland and England, but it failed largely due to poor management and organisation.

In 1714 Queen Anne died and the throne passed to George I and the Hanoverian line. George I thought the Tory government were pro-Jacobite and thus replaced them with a Whig government. There was widespread unrest about the new king and riots ensued in favour of the Jacobites across England.

In March of 1715 King James VIII & III petitioned the Pope for money and military aid for a Jacobite uprising to capatilise on this tension. The plan was for two Jacobite uprisings to happen in England. First a diversionary smaller uprising in the north. Once the British army had rushed north to deal with this uprising, the main uprising in the south west of England would start.

However, matters soon got complicated. In August the Earl of Mar returned to his estate in Scotland having failed to convince King George that he was not a Jacobite sympathizer. Here he held a council of war with leading Jacobites apparently unaware of James’ plans. On 6th September Mar and other local Jacobites raised the standard at Braemar and caught everyone by surprise. The timing of Mars’ independent rising could be fatal to King James’ plans. It could pull large parts of the British army North before the planned diversionary rising.

Mars’ Jacobites took Inverness, attempted to take Edinburgh and then headed south and met up with English Jacobites in Northern England. All this action lead to leading Jacobites in south west England being arrested by the Government which effectively stopped the plans for a main rising in the south.

In November 1715 the Jacobite actions came to their climax.

From 10th-12th November remaining Jacobites in the Highlands took part in the Siege of Inverness which occurred when Government forces tried to take back the town. In the process of this Government man Arthur Rose, son of Kilravock was killed and Kilravock seeked revenge. With threats to burn Inverness to the ground the Jacobites met to discuss surrender. The Jacobites wanted to march south and join Mar but this was not allowed and eventually they agreed to hand over their weapons and return home and hand Inverness back to the Government.

Meanwhile from 12-14th November the Battle of Preston occurred with the English Jacobite rising trapped in Preston and eventually forced to surrender to the Government.

Finally on 13th November the Battle of Sheriffmuir occurred, this was the main battle of 1715. The Government were seriously outnumbered by Mars’ Jacobites but Mar refused to press home the advantage and risk his entire army so allowed the Government to withdraw after a day of fighting. There was no conclusive victor but the battle caused demoralisation amongst the Jacobites who should have won based on numbers.

After this nothing major happened only a few minor skirmishes. In an attempt to maintain the rising King James VIII & III arrived in Scotland in December but by this time the Jacobite army was suffering heavily from desertions and he left in February 1716 as the rising had essentially fizzled out.

Overall Government losses for the 1715 Uprising are estimated around 1,000 men whilst Jacobites lost roughly 250 men. If the men had been more coordinated in their attacks and had formed a united front rather than seperate groups who knows what the outcome may have been?

This September we will be marking the 300th anniversary of the rising with a special 1715 exhibition . So far plans are going well and we have letters from the Highland Archive Centre to showcase and hopefully a renactment of the raising of the standard at Braemar.

Hope you enjoyed the post. As always like, share, comment, blog and follow us to your hearts content.

All the best K & D