Viscount Dundee

The first Viscount Dundee was one of the strongest supporters of the Jacobite cause in its beginning. His raising of the Standard was a mark of the start of the First Jacobite Rising in 1689, and his death at the otherwise victorious Battle of Killiecrankie a few months later was a huge blow for the Jacobites. He became known as a Jacobite hero, and can still be identified by the epithet ‘Bonnie Dundee’.

He was born John Graham of Claverhouse and was the elder son born into an old family situated near Dundee. After being educated at the University of St Andrews, he served with the French and Dutch armies, where he achieved some distinction. However, after striking a fellow soldier and subsequently being refused a promotion, he returned to Scotland in 1678.

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John Graham of Claverhouse aka Viscount Dundee

Back home, it was suggested to King Charles II, by his brother James, that Claverhouse be given charge of one of three sets of troops tasked with supressing the Covenanters in south-west Scotland. Claverhouse was frustrated at his lack of resources in this position, and was defeated at the Battle of Drumclog. He and his troops were then absorbed into the Duke of Monmouth’s army, and the Covenanters were defeated at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge a few weeks later. In the next decade, Claverhouse was given his other enduring nickname: ‘Bluidy Clavers’. The Covenanters dubbed him this for his perceived harshness in combating their movement.

James gave Claverhouse several proofs of his favour, which continued when he became King James VII and II in 1685; in 1688 Claverhouse was made Viscount Dundee. James’s rule, however, would prove rather short, and he was deposed soon after this appointment. Dundee was greatly disappointed when the Scottish Parliament ultimately ruled in favour of William and Mary as joint Sovereigns.

In March 1689, Dundee sneaked into Edinburgh Castle and encouraged the Duke of Gordon to continue to hold the Castle against the Government army. Dundee then travelled around in search of support. Before going home to his wife, he met with some Highlander allies. Although a Lowlander, Dundee was said to have had an interest in the culture of the Highlands, reading about their ancient songs, poems and customs. This knowledge, along with their united goal, probably helped to forge a bond between him and the Highlanders, who typically did not like being led by someone who was not one of them.

Dundee waited for news from the deposed King, before marching to Dundee Law to raise the Standard on 13th April 1689. He then departed and travelled around Scotland rallying support. Dundee had been branded a ‘fugitive and rebel’ and soon a reward was being offered for his immediate capture.

On the 27th of July, a Jacobite army (around 2,500), led by Dundee, met a Government army (around 4000), led by General Hugh Mackay at Killiecrankie. The Jacobites had a better position, starting on a hilltop above the Government soldiers, and the effectiveness of the Highland Charge meant that it was soon a decisive victory for them.

Dundee, however, had been hit by a musket ball and fallen off his horse. While dying, he was said to have asked a fellow Jacobite soldier, ‘How goes the day?’, to which the man replied, ‘Well for King James, but I am sorry for Your Lordship’. Dundee’s reported last words were in response to this statement: If it goes well for him, it matters the less for me’. There is a stone in Killiecrankie dubbed ‘Claverhouses’s Stone’ as he is believed to have died leaning against it.

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Claverhouse’s Stone

We hope you enjoyed this short insight into Viscount Dundee. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite winning the battle, the death of their leader at Killiecrankie was a crushing setback for the Jacobites. It is thought that they lost around 700, including some of their best men. A few weeks later, under an inferior leader, the Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Dunkeld, and before long the First Rising fizzled out.

 

 

 

 

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The Failed French Invasion of 1708

In 1701, James Francis Edward Stuart, at the age of thirteen, inherited the Jacobite claim; seven years later, with the help of the French, he attempted to invade Scotland and rule it and England as James VIII and III.

James Francis had spent most of his life in France, his family having been given shelter by King Louis XIV from 1688 onwards. Spain, Modena and the Papal States all supported James Francis, but in London the claim continued to be ignored, and when William of Orange died in 1702, James Francis’s half-sister Anne became Queen of Scotland, England and Ireland.

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Louis XIV

Louis XIV was a first cousin of James Francis’s father, and he believed wholeheartedly in the divine right of kings. The fact that James VII and II’s Catholicism had led to his deposition caused Louis, himself a Catholic, to offer support and a home in France for James and his family.

After nearly ten years of James VII & II living in France, Louis offered him the Crown of Poland. James refused it, feeling that his focus should be on the countries that he felt were his by hereditary right. Then, in 1697 Louis signed the Treaty of Ryswick, formally acknowledging William of Orange as King and agreeing not to offer James any military assistance. James still had his home at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and he lived his last few years quietly, though always making it clear to his young son that he saw him as the future King of Scotland, England and Ireland.

In early 1708, James Francis, being nineteen, felt that the time had come to do something. By this point, Louis XIV was back to being actively pro-Jacobite, having acknowledged James Francis as King. After the Acts of Union in 1707, it was believed to be an opportune time to rely on the Scottish people to fight for the Jacobite cause, as many had been angry about merging with England under Queen Anne. It was also believed that there would be few trained soldiers in Scotland to resist James’s landing, as many were away fighting in continental Europe. Louis sent someone to Scotland to judge the atmosphere, and it was reported back that the people of Scotland were eager to rise up for their true King.

 

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James Francis Edward Stuart

In February preparations were made for the journey. Six French regiments and the Irish Brigade gathered at Dunkirk. Louis XIV appointed Le Comte de Forbin Admiral of the fleet, with the instruction that, whatever happened, James Francis could not die. Almost 6,000 men filled the five warships and twenty frigates. Weapons enough for 13,000 men were taken aboard in anticipation of the large crowds that were expected to be there waiting for them.

James Francis contracted measles, so the departure was delayed until March. The journey was dangerous, as a result of the stormy weather, but de Forbin commented that James Francis faced it ‘with a courage and coolness beyond his years’. The plan had been to land close to Edinburgh, but the bad weather interfered with their navigation and they travelled too far north. A few members of the fleet were sent out in Fife, but only a small number of supporters had gathered to see James Francis.

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Le Comte de Forbin

Admiral George Byng arrived with a fleet of British warships, and proceeded to chase the French northwards. James Francis had asked to get off in Fife, but de Forbin had refused. Byng turned back, believing that he had missed the other fleet, but the French, with the belief that they were still being chased, continued to go north. They travelled across the north coast, around Cape Wrath and back to Dunkirk. Several ships were lost on the rocks.

The attempt was a failure and James Francis returned to France and joined the French army. His next attempt at taking the throne would come in the form of the 1715 Uprising.

We hope you enjoyed this short glimpse into history. As always please like, share, tweet and follow.

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.

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.

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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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

Rye House Plot

On 12th June 1683 The Rye House Plot, a plot to assassinate Charles II and his brother was discovered.

After Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 there was a certain degree of concern over his relationship with France and Louis XIV, as well as other Catholic powers in Europe. Some felt he was too close to these powers and, whilst he was publicly Anglican, he and his brother were both suspected of having Catholic sympathies in private.

To try and exclude Charles’ brother James from the line of succession the Exclusion Bill was introduced but King Charles II dissolved the parliament, thereby protecting his brothers inheritance. With tensions high there were a lot of conspirators around and many ideas on how to stop Charles and James and invoke a rebellion that would take them off the throne.

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Rye House in Herefordshire

 

There were several suggestions on how to proceed but the Rye House Plot was one of the most famous and was named after Rye House, about 18 miles from London, where a group of Protestant Whigs made their final plans. It was well known that the King regular travelled to Newmarket for the horse racing, so, a plot was formed to ambush him on his return. The assassins would wait by a narrow lane to attack and the death of Charles and James would help to instigate a rebellion.

Unfortunately, following a fire at Newmarket the races were cancelled and the King returned earlier then anticipated. The plan had to be abandoned. News of the plot however leaked out and suddenly the conspirators found themselves in trouble. The plot was used as an opportunity for the government to arrest several Whig leaders, including Lord William Russell and Algernon Sidney, despite there be little evidence they were involved in the plot. In total twelve people were executed, several fled for their lives and ten men were imprisoned.

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Elizabeth Gaunt

 

Among those executed were Russell and Sidney, as well as Elizabeth Gaunt, who helped one of the participants of the plot, James Burton, escape to Amsterdam. When Burton was captured he named her as an accomplice in exchange for a pardon. Elizabeth was sentenced to death for treason and was executed by burning. She was the last woman to be executed for a political crime in England.

Some question whether the plot was actually real and not just a manufactured tale that Charles used in order to get rid of some of his strongest opponents. Whether it was true or not the story certainly had an effect on the country and is worth sharing. As always please like, tweet, comment, share and stay away from too much plotting.

All the best, K & D