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

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

All the best, K & D

 

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