The Incredible Rout of Moy

The Rout of Moy is a fantastic story in the Jacobite Rising of ’45 and one that we had to share with you.

In the early months of 1746 Prince Charles Edward Stuart was making his way north on his long retreat from Derby. The Jacobite army had split into two parties who were to regroup in the neighbourhood of Inverness. Lord George Murray led one faction along the coast road whilst Prince Charles heading straight through the mountains up the centre of the country.

By 16th February 1746 Prince Charles had reached the town of Moy where he and a few of his men were entertained at Moy Hall. The seat of the chief of the MacKintosh clan he was entertained by none other than Lady Anne MacKintosh who had helped raise the clan for the Jacobite army. Meanwhile in Inverness Lord Loudon, one of the Government leaders, had caught wind that Prince Charles was in Moy and planned a surprise attack to capture the Prince.

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Lady Anne MacKintosh

 

As evening came in Lord Loudon set off with 1,500 men to enact his plan for capture. As they left though it is believed that the daughter of an innkeeper heard of the plan and set off to reach Moy Hall before the Government troops. She managed to reach the Hall and warn the Prince but the Government were not far behind and unprepared for an attack he had very few men with him to provide assistance. The Prince fled into the countryside whilst the dozen or so men that had been found set about forming their own counter attack.

As Lord Loudon and his men approached the Jacobite men positioned themselves around the road and began to make a great noise, shouting out to fictional regiments, banging their targes and running about to make it appear there was  an entire army waiting. Their are suggestions that when they fired on the Government men they did so one at a time to help create the illusion of more men. As Loudons men approached they feared the worst and believing the lie that their were many men waiting retreated in panic. Thus, 1,500 soldiers were defeated by just a dozen men. (Some say it was even less with suggestions it was as few as just four men who saw the Government off)

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Illustration of the Rout of Moy (Victorian Web)

 

The next day a Government council of war decided the Lord Loudon should retreat away from Inverness and  move north over the Black Isle. This meant that Prince Charles was able to formally enter Inverness on 18th February where he regrouped with Lord Murray and the rest of his men two days later.

We hope you enjoyed this incredible story and as always please share, comment, like, tweet and keep coming back for more.

All the best, K & D

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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 Last House Besieged in Britain

270 years ago on 17th March 1746 an assault began on Blair Castle that would make it the last house to be besieged in Great Britain.

Blair Castle has been around, in one form or another, since 1269 and is the ancestral home of Clan Murray and historically the seat of their chief, the Duke of Atholl. It began as a medieval tower that was continually extended over the years. In the 1740’s it was transformed into a stylish home losing its turrets and castellations.

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Blair Castle as it looks today

During the first Jacobite Rising in 1689 the Duke of Atholl remained loyal to the government, despite two of his sons joining the Jacobites. However, the castle itself was taken by the Jacobites and it is said the Battle of Killiecrankie was fought because Viscount Dundee did not want to retreat and surrender the castle. Indeed, the Jacobites, led by  Dundee held a council of war in the castle on the eve of the battle. After the battle, Blair Castle remained in Jacobite hands for some time.

In the 1715 Rising, the house was again divided. The 1st Duke and his second son, James, supported the government, while his eldest and youngest sons, William and George, followed the Jacobites. When the Rising failed, William was stripped of his title and lands and exiled to France. In his absence, James became 2nd Duke on their father’s death in 1724.

During the 1745 Rising Prince Charles Edward Stuart stayed in the castle on two occasions. The first in September 1745 and then again in February 1746. It was after this though that the Jacobites abandoned the castle leaving it open for Government forces to occupy.

On 17th March 1746 Lord George Murray returned with the Atholl Brigade to begin the siege on his family home and put it back in Jacobite hands. George Murray was the brother of the current Duke of Atholl, James Murray so it was very much a family affair with one supporting Prince Charles and the other the government. It is said when Lord George arrived at Blair he had ‘pipes playing and colours flying’.

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Lord George Murray

The Jacobites managed to surprise the government outposts surrounding the castle and by the afternoon of the 17th terms of surrender were issued to Andrew Agnew, the commander of the government forces holding Blair Castle. Interestingly no one in the Jacobite army was found willing to deliver the summons so it was actually given to Molly of Blair Inn who gave it to a young officer of her acquaintance. He then passed it to Agnew. The Jacobites demanded the castle, garrison, military stores and provisions all be given over into the hands of Lord George Murray; the surrender was refused.

On 18th March the Jacobite opened fire with the first shot said to have been fired by Lady Lude whose nearby house had previously been plundered by the garrison. Unfortunately Lord George Murray was unable to make true headway in his attack on the castle. Equipped with only a couple of small field pieces he couldn’t dent the seven feet thick walls of the castle. After discussing various options Lord George Murray decided the best plan would be to starve the men out as they were low on provisions.

Finally after repeated demands from Prince Charles to return to Inverness in preparation of the approaching Government army Lord George Murray raised the siege on 31st March. The main body of Jacobites left to rejoin Prince Charles and Blair Castle remained in Government hands.

We hope you enjoyed the story of Blair Castle and as always please tweet, comment, like, share and why not visit Blair Castle yourself one day.

All the best, K & D.