In the past six months, we have written blog posts on Jacobite connections to the cities of Edinburgh, Stirling, Aberdeen and Glasgow; today, here is one about Dundee.
After the deposition of James VII and II in 1688, his loyal supporters felt the need to do something to get him reinstated as King, and the Jacobite cause was born. In April 1689, the Parliament of Scotland, located in Edinburgh, declared for William and Mary. John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee, angered at the decision, marched with fifty men to the top of Dundee Law, a volcanic sill, and raised the Stuart Royal Standard. This signalled the beginning of the first Jacobite Rising.
The immediate response to Viscount Dundee raising the standard was rather unenthusiastic in the surrounding area. Dundee Law was outwith the burgh walls, and when Viscount Dundee attempted to enter Dundee, he found that the gates were locked and the walls were guarded with Government men. Despite the fact that he had just declared himself a ‘rebel’, curiously the garrison at Dundee made no attempt to capture or fight him, and so he travelled north in an effort to rally support for James.
Viscount Dundee would die at the Battle of Killiecrankie a few months later. Though the outnumbered Jacobites won against the Government troops, his absence as leader would be felt deeply. The Jacobites’ loss at the Battle of Dunkeld a month later ended the first Jacobite Rising.
In 1715, there was another rising, with the Jacobites aiming to get James’s son, James Francis Edward Stuart on the throne. The Earl of Mar proclaimed for James VIII and III at Braemar, and at first the Rising was successful, with the Jacobites holding several places, including Dundee. Their success was not to last, and by the time James Francis arrived in Scotland in December, the momentum had been lost. He visited a few places, including Dundee, in an attempt to spur people on, but soon, acknowledging that things had not worked out, he returned to France.
Following the 1715 Rising a number of Jacobite supporters lost their positions including Mr Wedderburn, the Clerk of Dundee. However, this did not stop his son John Wedderburn, revealing himself to be just as loyal to the Jacobite cause as his father had been when the 1745 Rising began. He fought with the Jacobites at Falkirk Muir and Culloden, and at the end of the latter he was arrested and moved to London for a trial.
His signature recorded on tax receipts he collected for the Jacobites condemned him and he was sentenced to death. His young son rode to London to ask their contacts there for help in pleading for his fathers life, but tensions were high, and he was refused by them. His son also tried to convince John to dress up as a woman and attempt to escape from prison but John refused to do so. Afters months in capture John was hanged, drawn and quartered at the end of 1746.
These are just a couple of stories about the Jacobites and Dundee but we are sure there are plenty more to be found.
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All the best, The Culloden Team