Damn Rebel Bitches: Women of the ’45

On the 30 September Maggie Craig will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of her classic book Damn Rebel Bitches: Women of the ’45. drb20

Damn Rebel Bitches takes a closer look at the roles women played in the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and the consequences it had on their lives.

Most people visiting Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre have heard the name Flora MacDonald, normally mentioning she helped Bonnie Prince Charlie when he dressed up as a woman, right…? Not necessarily knowing much else about her.

Many other women involved in the ’45 are virtually unheard of to some of our visitors. Here are just a couple which Maggie Craig looks at in her writing.

Barbara Campbell, red haired, age 19, and from Perthshire. She was described as tall and clever, she was arrested with seven other women on the Carlisle road in November 1745. On the 8 May 1747 Barbara was on the Veteran, a ship with 149 people destined for indentured service in Antigua. However, in a strange twist of fate Barbara and her fellow prisoners were rescued by a French ship.

Anne Stewart of Burray from Orkney was arrested for treason at her home in August 1746. Anne was transported to London by ship, she was then imprisoned on a prison hulk by Tilbury in Essex. She was imprisoned in a cabin on the ship (not the hold where common folk were kept) she slept on the floor and had the basic rate of subsistence, 4pence per day. She was transferred with the help of Colonel James Stuart, a government officer, to a house in Derby Court. After a trial, where her tenants testified against her, she was released under the general amnesty in July 1747 and went to live in Quality St in Leith.

Charlotte Robertson, Lady Lude was a young widow in her early 30’s and daughter of Jacobite supporter Lady Nairne, her cousin was the Jacobite Duke of Atholl, William. She threatened her tenants into joining the Jacobite army. Charlotte was described as a “…light gigelet…” and presented Prince Charles Edward Stuart with his first Pineapple! Her home was later plundered and vandalised by government soldiers and she was arrested. She was later released without charge.

Isabel Haldane of Ardsheal came to the attention of Captain Caroline Fredrick Scott of the government army. Scott, a notoriously nasty man,  arrived at her home in August 1746 and ransacked her entire house and cut down the trees in the orchard. The doors and wood panelling were removed and the contents were taken to Fort William to be sold. At the time Isobel was pregnant and had her children with her.

Hopefully the stories of these ladies has inspired you to join us at Maggie Craig’s celebration of Damn Rebel Bitches or pick up a copy of the book and be inspired by the stories of women caught up in the turbulent events of 1745/6. #DRB20

maggie craig

As always please like, share, comment, tweet and share your love of Maggie Craigs amazing works.

All the best, K & D

 

Advertisements

A week at Culloden

 

This week we have a guest post from our S5 work experience student! Hope you enjoy:

After spending a week completing work experience in the educational sector of Culloden Battlefield centre, I have broadened my understanding of this particular historical profession as well as enriching my knowledge of the battle that has deeply influenced the Highlands. Initially I was apprehensive but was immediately reassured by the friendly welcome I received from every member of staff. The atmosphere throughout the week was great and everyone I worked with was extremely positive and motivational; making me feel like the work I was doing was valued. With little knowledge of what happened at the battle when I began, I found that I learned so quickly by immersing myself in this environment.

Throughout the week I worked on a project in which I created a database cataloguing the handling objects that were being stored at the centre. Through this, I learned so much about the way of life of both the Jacobites and the Government soldiers and discovered some fascinating objects. This also gave me an insight into the nature of a curatorial profession.

I was also given the opportunity to shadow the volunteers who carried out presentations for the public. This was a very interesting experience and I was inspired by their fascination and love for the history of the site.

Throughout the week, there was also an archaeology workshop which I had the opportunity to observe, adding a more light-hearted element- yet still educational- to the day and showing me the versatility of a historical profession.

I also helped to find evidence in response to a research enquiry which involved the use of historical books which was extremely interesting and gave me an indication of the nature of historical research; something I will inevitably use if I study History at University. In addition to this, I researched a segment of the Jacobite army, the Royal Ecossaise, which was particularly fascinating for me as it referred to the involvement of French soldiers: I have French/British nationality. I created a summary of their involvement through the use of historical books for research.

Overall this week has hugely increased my knowledge of the battle, which was such a fundamental part of Scottish History, as well as developing my researching skills. However, the experience was dependant on the support and guidance of the members of the team whose passion and knowledge was an inspiration to me and has secured my ambition to continue studying history.

 

A Jacobite Tale

The Outlander Series of books is not the only time Jacobite history has appeared in works of fiction. In fact, the Jacobites and their complex history have intrigued writers for centuries.

Firstly, we step back to 1814 and Sir Walter Scott with this historical novel ‘Waverley’. This was Scott’s first venture into prose fiction and was originally published anonymously, although it is said almost every reviewer guessed it was his work and many readers recognised his hand. The novel is set during the ’45 rising and follows the story of one Edward Waverley, a young English soldier, as he is sent to Scotland and into the heart of the rebellion. When it was first published it was an astonishing success with the first edition of 1,000 copies selling out within two days. Critics widely praised Scott’s work and it became so popular that his later novels were advertised as being by the author of ‘Waverley’.

From Scott to Stevenson. Written as a ‘boys novel’ Robert Louis Stevensons story ‘Kidnapped’ was first published in the magazine ‘Young Folks’ in 1886 before becoming a novel. The story follows the adventures of David Balfour following the ’45 Rising and includes the ‘Appin Murder’ of 1752 in Ballachulish. Though many of the characters were real people the novel is not historically accurate. The book sold well whilst Stevenson was alive and he followed it up with a sequel ‘Catriona’ but the themes were more romantic than adventurous and it did not reach the same level of fame as ‘Kidnapped’.

Also on the list of Jacobite fiction authors is John Buchan, perhaps best known for the book ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’. In 1923 he published ‘Midwinter’ which is set during the ’45 and tells the tale of Alastair Maclean, confidant of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, who embarks on a secret mission to raise support for the Jacobite cause in the West of England.

Historical fiction was not just tackled by men. In 1925 the first book of ‘The Jacobite Trilogy ‘ was produced by Dorothy Kathleen Broster, better known as D.K. Broster. Featuring the dashing hero Ewen Cameron the trilogy consists of ‘The Flight of the Heron’, ‘The Gleam in the North’ and ‘The Dark Mile’.  The books follow Ewen a small landowner and close relative of the chief of the Clan Cameron across the ’45 Rising and the aftermath of the Jacobite defeat at Culloden.

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon has been the latest big success showing the interest in historical fiction remains and the Jacobite period has plenty to offer in the way of adventure and, in Outlander’s case, romance. Following the main characters of Jamie and Claire through Jacobite history and beyond, the books have now been made into a TV series filmed in Scotland showcasing the dramatic scenery of the country and encouraging many people to see Scotland for themselves.

Recently we have also seen ‘Gathering Storm’ by Maggie Craig published in 2013. The book is set in Edinburgh in 1743 where Jacobite support is growing, causing new tensions in the city. The story could be classed as an historical romance but is full of plenty of crime, politics and intrigue to keep everyone happy. Craig is probably best known for her books ‘Bare Arsed Bandetti’ and ‘Damn Rebel Bitches’ which look at the stories of the men and women of the ’45 Rising and should definitely be checked out.

We hope you enjoyed this dabble into Jacobite fiction and, of course, all these books are on sale in our shop at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre. Also, this month we have a series of talks looking into the world of the Jacobites in fiction including talks from Maggie Craig and Diana Gabaldon. For details on these check out our Events page. http://www.nts.org.uk/Culloden/Visit/Events/

As always please like, share, tweet, comment and let us know your favourite historical fiction books.

All the best, K & D