1689 – 1745 Jacobite Risings ~ Glencoe Massacre

First Jacobite uprising – Battle of Killiecrankie
William of Orange, invited to England by a Parliament displeased to have a Catholic king, invaded in 1688. King James fled the country on 23 December and, in February 1689, the English Parliament declaring that, by fleeing, James had abdicated. Parliament then offered the throne jointly to William and Mary, the Protestant daughter of James to whom William owed his claim to the throne.
Scotland was a divided country politically, culturally, and religiously. The Stuarts had ruled Scotland since the time of Robert II in late 14th century, and had also sat on the English throne since 1603. The Scottish Gaelic-speaking, mostly Catholic and Episcopalian Highlanders tended to stay loyal to the Stuart king James VII, while the English-speaking, mostly Presbyterian Lowlanders – who were the majority and held most of the political power in Scotland – tended to support William of Orange.
The Battle of Killiecrankie was fought between Highland Scottish clans supporting King James VII of Scotland (also known as James II of England) and troops supporting King William of Orange on 27 July 1689, during the first Jacobite uprising. Although it was a stunning victory for the Jacobites, it had little overall effect on the outcome of the war and left their leader dead. Their forces were scattered at the Battle of Dunkeld the next month. The battlefield has been inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Scottish Historical Environment Policy of 2009. John Graham of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee (c. 21 July 1648 – 27 July 1689), known as the 7th Laird of Claverhouse until raised to the viscountcy in 1688, was a Scottish soldier and nobleman, a Tory and a Episcopalian remained loyal to King James II of England (James VII of Scotland) after the Revolution of 1688. He rallied those Highland clans loyal to the Jacobite cause and, although he lost his life in the battle, led them to victory at Killiecrankie. This first Jacobite rising was unsuccessful, but Claverhouse became a Jacobite hero, acquiring his second soubriquet “Bonnie Dundee”.

The 1745 Jacobite Rising –  Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The Hanoverian victory at Culloden decisively halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne; Charles Stuart never mounted any further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.
Charles Stuart’s Jacobite army consisted largely of Scottish Highlanders, as well as a number of Lowland Scots and a small detachment of Englishmen from the Manchester Regiment. The Jacobites were supported and supplied by the Kingdom of France and French and Irish units loyal to France were part of the Jacobite army. The government force was mostly English, along with a significant number of Scottish Lowlanders and Highlanders, a battalion of Ulster men from Ireland, and a small number of Hessians from Germany and Austrians. The battle on Culloden Moor was both quick and bloody, taking place within an hour. Following an unsuccessful Highland charge against the government lines, the Jacobites were routed and driven from the field.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle, while government losses were lighter with 50 dead and 259 wounded, although recent geophysical studies on the government burial pit suggest the figure to be nearer 300. The aftermath of the battle and subsequent crackdown on Jacobitism was brutal, earning Cumberland the sobriquet “Butcher”. Efforts were subsequently taken to further integrate the comparatively wild Highlands into the Kingdom of Great Britain; civil penalties were introduced to weaken Gaelic culture and attack the Scottish clan system.

The Massacre of Glen Coe
Early in the morning of 13 February 1692, in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite uprising of 1689 led by John Graham of Claverhouse, a massacre took place in Glen Coe, in the Highlands of Scotland. This incident is referred to as the Massacre of Glencoe, or in Scottish Gaelic Mort Ghlinne Comhann (murder of Glen Coe). The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen—Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achnacon—although the killing took place all over the glen as fleeing MacDonalds were pursued. Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, on the grounds that the MacDonalds had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William and Mary. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.


Charles Edward Stuart and the French Invasion of Britain

As part of the scheme the French considered trying to start a Jacobite Rebellion, as they had in 1745, by sending the heir apparent of the Jacobite movement Charles Edward Stuart with or ahead of the invading forces. A secret meeting was arranged with Charles Stuart in Paris in February 1759, but it went badly. Charles turned up late and drunk, and proved surly and uncooperative. Convinced that the Jacobites were of little material help, Choiseul dropped them from the plan. From then on, any French landing would have to be entirely accomplished by French troops. He did however consider sending Bonnie Prince Charles to Ireland where he could be declared King of Ireland and lead a rebellion. Eventually the French decided to try to recruit Jacobite supporters without involving Charles directly in the operation – as he was considered a potential liability.

“The Prisoner of Love” by Father Lasance

“On one occasion the Pretender Charles Stuart , when in exile, paid a visit to the church of the Dominicans at Brussels, accompnied by the Prince of Condé, and several other personages of high rank. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed for the devotion of the Forty Hours. Charles Stuart did not heed this, but began to converse with members of his suite. The Religious who were in the church thought themselves obliged to conceal the indignation which this irreverence caused them. But Father Ambrose only saw in the prince and the coutiers who surrounded him Christians on whom it was incumbant to pay homage to the King of Kings; he went up to them and quietly but firmly reminded them of the respect due to the Holy Eucharist. Charles Stuart took the reproof in good part; he admired the zeal for the house of God which actuated Father Ambrose. Kneeling down immediately, he said a prayer and left the church in silence.”

One Response to “1689 – 1745 Jacobite Risings ~ Glencoe Massacre”

  1. Grant Says:

    I’ve written at my blog, the Eagle Clawed Wolfe about Macaulay’s take on the Glencoe massacre.


    Incidentally, Macaulay’s account of Killiecrankie is superb.

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