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Jacobites and the Jacobite Uprisings

Jacobites and the Jacobite Uprisings

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1688 Jacobites and the Jacobite Uprisings



Beech Hedge

Jacobites and the Jacobite Uprisings

The following is an attempt to outline briefly the main events in what was a turbulent and complex period in Scotland's history, and to show the loyalty and gallantry of Jacobite followers.

CHARLES II, a Protestant, died in 1685 and was succeeded by his brother JAMES II, who was known as James VII in Scotland.  James was a Roman Catholic.  Although opposition to Catholicism was widespread in Scotland, the fact that James had two daughters who were married to Protestants, gained him support.

Before 1688, his daughter Mary, who was married to William of Orange, a staunch Protestant, was heir to the throne.


In July 1688, James VII's son JAMES FRANCIS EDWARD STUART was born, and, being male, replaced his sister Mary as heir to the throne.  It was feared that, if he became king, he would impose Catholicism.  By January 1689, the British Parliament invited Mary and her husband William to come from Europe to rule.  James VII and II was forced into exile in France.

This is known as the Glorious Revolution, and was believed to confirm a Protestant succession.


John Graham of Claverhouse, one of James' most zealous Scottish supporters, rallied troops and launched military action against William and Mary's government forces.


On 27 July 1689 government forces were defeated by the Jacobites at Killicrankie, Perth and Kinross, but the Jacobites suffered heavy casualties and their leader John Graham of Claverhouse was fatally wounded.  He was interred in a vault at St. Bride's Kirk, Blair Atholl, Perthshire.


By 21 August 1689, the Jacobite army of around 3000 men under their new leader Colonel Alexander Cannon had surrounded Dunkeld.  Government troops under Lieutenant Colonel William Cleland were ordered to defend Dunkeld at all costs.  They took up defensive positions in Dunkeld Cathedral and the Duke of Atholl's mansion Dunkeld House.  Fierce fighting took place in the streets of Dunkeld over many hours.  Cleland's men set the thatched roofs of the houses ablaze.  Although the result was  a victory for Cleland's side, Cleland himself was killed in action and his grave may be seen within the Cathedral.  Other reminders of that bloody conflict are the musket ball holes in the east gable wall.


A year later, Protestant English King William III of Orange defeated the Irish Catholics led by James II across the River Boyne near the town of Drogheda, County Meath, Ireland.


William of Orange had offered a pardon to all Jacobites in the Scottish Highlands, if they swore allegiance to him by 1 January 1692.  On 13 February 1692 government forces killed around 30 members of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe, allegedly for failing to pledge allegiance.


Folllowing the death in December 1694 of Queen Mary, William III continued as King.  In June 1701 the Act of Settlement stated that if William III and Mary's sister Anne died without heirs, the throne should pass to Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of James I.

In March 1702 William III died after suffering pneumonia following a broken collarbone as a result of a fall from his horse.  His horse had tripped on a molehill, and many Jacobites toasted 'the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat'.  Jacobites would also raise their glasses to 'the King over the water'.

The deposed James VII and II died in September 1701.  His Jacobite followers hoped that his son James Francis Edward Stuart would claim the crown to become King James III of England and Ireland, and King James VIII of Scotland.  He had the support of his cousin Louis XIV of France


However, following the death of William III, Anne, the Protestant younger sister of Queen Mary, was crowned Queen and she reigned until her death in 1714.

As decreed by the 1701 Act of Settlement, the throne would then have passed to Sophia.  However, since Sophia had died two months before Anne, the throne passed to Sophia's son George.

King George I was the first British monarch of the House of Hanover.


On 6 September 1715, John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar, declared James Francis Edward Stewart (the Old Pretender) to be King of Scotland and marched south with an army of around 12000 men.

John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, led the government army of around 4000 men.

The two armies met on 13 November 1715 at Sheriffmuir, near Dunblane.  The battle was inconclusive, with both sides claiming victory.

On 23 December 1715, James Francis Edward Stuart, who had been exiled in France, landed at Peterhead.  He met with Mar, but was unable to rouse the disheartened army.  James Francis Edward Stuart returned to France and the army was dispersed.


On 21 September 1745, a Jacobite army led by Charles Edward Stewart(known as the Young Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie) defeated a government army, led by Sir John Cope, at the Battle of Prestonpans, near Edinburgh.  This was a huge boost for Jacobite morale.

On 17 January 1746, the two sides met again at the Battle of Falkirk Muir.  The outcome was described as a 'hollow' victory for the Jacobites, since they failed decisively to defeat the opposition.  Government troops withdrew to Edinburgh, while the Jacobites withdrew to Inverness.


On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart suffered defeat by the government army under William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, at the Battle of Culloden on Drummossie Moor, near Inverness.  This was the last battle to be fought on British soil.

Following Culloden, the Duke of Cumberland aimed to eliminate the Jacobite threat once and for all.  Across Scotland, anyone suspected of Jacobite sympathies was punished by government troops.  Jacobite properties were seized.  The wearing of the kilt and tartan was banned.

Charles Edward Stuart ordered Jacobite soldiers to disperse and he went into hiding.  A huge reward was offered for his capture, but he escaped first to the Isle of Skye and then to France, where he was treated as a celebrity at first, but in 1748 he was expelled from France.  He died in Rome in 1788.

Read more in "The Real Macbeth and Other Stories from Scottish History" by Maurice Fleming which gives full accounts of the Glencoe Massacre in ' The Glen of Weeping' and of Bonnie Prince Charlie's escape to the Isle of Skye in 'Flora and the Prince'.

For further information visit,_1st_Viscount_Dundee


The Jacobite Rebellion (In Our Time ) - BBC Podcasts

How the Battle of Culloden Unfolded with Dan Snow - History Hit

Tour of the Visual Culture of the Jacobite Cause-National Galleries

10 Jacobite Songs from Scotland-God, King and Country

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