the 1715 leaflet
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The 1715 Jacobite Rebellion
A year after King George became king, Mar, on
the 6th September 1715 raised the Jacobite
standard on his north-eastern estate. His earlier
position was the Secretary of State with
emphasis on Scotland in 1714, which largely
meant him paying various clan chiefs and other
important individual to keep the peace. Colonel
Hay of Cromlix, was one of the major
landowners around Dunblane, and was not alone
as a local major Jacobite landowner. John Stirling
of Keir, John Stirling of Kippendavie and
Alexander Drummond of Balhaldie were all local
Jacobites, and all were out in the ’15, as they had
been in the earlier rebellions. The city of
Dunblane itself was found to be Whig, because
of the control of the Kirk session over the only
church in the parish, which was Presbyterian in
character. This meant its parishioners were more
likely to be inclined to the Hanoverian
government because of their Protestant belief.
A private soldiers kit and equipment, circa 1709. ( Thom Atkinson, 2014.)
The British army uniform until the 1760s was very similar to civilian clothes, the main
differences being the red colouring and military belts. The tails of the jacket were only
pinned or sewn back in the 1740s, while the turnbacks of the jacket front might have been
The Political Parties.
The political ideals at the turn of the 18th century were split between parties
which became the Tories and Whigs. The Tories were advocates of Royal
authority, associated with the Church of England and were predominately
landowners. They were the main members of the Jacobite cause, who wished
the return of the Stuart family to the throne, and who were also more likely to
have Roman Catholics as associates. This was after the 1688 Glorious
Revolution which saw a coup against the Catholic James III/VIII by the Whigs,
who invited the Protestant William of Orange to take the throne.
The Whigs were supporters of Parliament, associated with Protestant
Dissenters but were still Church of England, and were connected to the
commercial sector. The Scottish politicians though were Presbyterian.
The Tories had a variety of influential individuals, who were not necessarily
Roman Catholics. The leader of the English Jacobite force was Thomas Forster
who was High Anglican, instead of the local Catholic landowner Lord
The 1715 was the accumulation of several issues after 1707 that helped in achieving the boost in numbers of
supporters in the 1715 in Scotland and in England. However, the ’15 was split between the two different Jacobite
forces in Scotland and England. The English half was supported by James Radclyffe Earl of Derwentwater, and William
Gordon, Viscount of Kenmure, who led a border Scottish contingent.
The ’15 can be said to have been initiated for one reason by one man, John Erskine Earl of Mar. He was a Tory and a
strong supporter of the Treaty of Union, and who gave his support to the new British King, George of Hanover in
1714. The slanderous talk by Whig ministers however immediately put him out of favour, which effectively prevented
him from ever taking office again. There was no dramatic exit from London or declaration of revenge, Mar almost
immediately decided on his course to avenge himself on his enemies in Parliament and King George.
John Erskine, 23rd Earl of Mar. By Kneller
Source: Undiscovered Scotland
1707 – The Union of the Parliaments.
The idea of a union between England and Scotland was not new in 1704,
when the proposal was put forward. It had been proposed in 1646 when
the 8th Earl of Argyll put to the Scottish Parliament that a total union
with England would benefit the Presbyterian Parliaments of both nations
in opposing the King and the remaining threats from his supporters. The
next attempt was a formality, as Cromwell initially decided to treat
Scotland as an occupied land in 1651 after the Battle of Dunbar. But the
decision to try and incorporate Scotland into a unified commonwealth,
with no king, with England was attempted with free trade. The freedom
of access to the English colonies in the Americas and into England given
to Scottish traders, as well as the business produced with the garrisons,
helped industries and trade, especially in Tobacco.
These trade benefits, and re-imbursement of the loss of capital from the
Darien Venture, and the agreement of preserving the Scottish legal and
religious institutions, helped reduce opposition to the Union. Public
opinion was opposed to the Union, over the idea that Scotland would
lose its identity and be subject to English law.
The document which laid down what the future would be for a British
subject was the Treaty of Union, drawn up in July 1706. The English
Government passed the Act of Union with Scotland in a matter of weeks.
The Scottish Government passed the Act of Union with England on the
16th January 1707. The Act came into force on the 1st May 1707. That
day the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland came into being.
Map of Panama of the colony, Wikipedia 2014.
The capital was New Edinburgh and the first settlers numbered
1200 but the environment was inhospitable to the Scots as it
consisted of a tropical climate with swamps and no fresh water.
The trading relations with England were complicated as the continual threat of conflict and the Border Wars kept
land trade to a minimum. The coastal trade of small boats and large vessels from London and Newcastle, to
Edinburgh and Glasgow brought in the main goods. The number and type of goods were manufactured goods
such as textiles and silk, and metalwork, particularly pewter. The change in political alignments and the wars of
the 1600s affected the export trade to Holland and France, and forced the Scottish traders to look increasingly at
English markets. One major event which was to provide leverage for the English Parliament in 1707 was the
Darien Venture. The Darien Venture launched in 1698 was the Scottish attempt at creating a colony that would
support a growing trading empire. Unfortunately the colony was in Spanish territory, who did not want these new
rivals. The English in turn disliked the possible rivals. The English African and East Indian Companies saw falling
shares. No English money was allowed to support the Venture, which resulted in a Scottish national effort of
shares bought by people and communities of all stations to the amount of £400, 000.
As most goods from Holland were similar to goods which could be bought from the English the decline in the
Dutch trade was not as problematic as it could have been, the only problem was the many exotic goods which
were bought straight from the Dutch traders. English demand for cheap linen was particularly high and was the
easier market as continental markets – Germany, Norway and the Baltic only imported linen irregularly from
A Country-wide Uprising.
The numerous important individuals were able to
provide the men that Mar needed, which
amounted to 9000 men on the 13th November,
on the Sheriffmuir by Dunblane. He had based
himself in Perth since the 28th of September,
where he appeared to be waiting for further
support, possibly in correspondence with the
young James Francis Stuart (‘their king’ James
VIII). It must also be remembered that ever since
the Glorious Revolution there were many
individuals and communities in England who
were supporters of the Stuart line. This was a
continuation of sympathies since the English Civil
War (or more accurately British Civil War), with
the two sides of King and Government. The
largely English Jacobite force was as indecisive as
Mar, and they ended in Preston facing a British
force under General Wills.
Duke of Argyll, A supporter of the Union, who gained lands in
England. Source: Wikipedia.
The Battle of Flanks.
The battle has been described many times before, which is made easy by the
simplicity of the tactics of the two sides. The two right wings of the respective
armies defeated their opposing wings, because of the nature of the ground and
the troops opposing each side. The cavalry provided the swift attacks that
mirrored the infantry’s stately advances, and in this battle, the British right flank
had no opposing cavalry, which allowed the infantry and cavalry to sweep the
field. On the British left flank, the regiments had not quite got into position,
which allowed the Jacobite cavalry on that flank, and the misplaced regiment in
the centre, to hit the British troops quickly. There are several local tales about
the British Army’s left flank fleeing towards Dunblane, being rundown by
highlanders, and slaughtered. There were similar stories about the defeated
Jacobite left flank, which had been pushed back to the Allan River, and which had
difficulty in crossing it.
The Advance to Battle.
Returning to Scotland, Mar advanced south from Perth on the 10th of November, with the aim of crossing the Forth and
advancing south. They had got as far as Auchterarder and rested there on the 11th. Consequently while the British force under
Argyll advanced on the 12th, the same day as Mar, with the former arriving in Dunblane in the afternoon. Mar not long after
found out and had to halt his troops at Kinbuck. The next day, 13th November, was essentially the meeting of two armies which
both expected to give battle, but in an orderly fashion. The meaning of that, was that Mar had decided to give battle, and thus
was advancing towards Argyll, who in turn reacted by advancing onto Sheriffmuir. The Jacobite Cavalry under Earl Marischal was
acting as scout on the moor and came unexpectedly on the whole British force advancing. A dispatch was immediately sent to
inform Mar, which resulted in a race to see who would gain the top and deploy first. This would be important as it affected the
course of the battle. The British right got into place first, with the cavalry on the outer flank, which unfortunately for the
Jacobite left, faced a bog. The Jacobite’s right got into place with cavalry on the outer flank and cavalry mistakenly in the centre,
with the British left still manoeuvring into position.
Grenadier of the 2nd Foot, in the year of
1715. (P. H. Smitherman, 1965).
These were the elite soldiers of any
European Regiment, who were usually
equipped with Grenades during sieges.
The 1715 Jacobite Rebellion probably saw the fewest reprisals against the Jacobites, with few executions and imprisonments.
This was particularly true for the Scottish half of the Rebellion, where the army under Mar did not actually surrender, but
retreated north. This meant the British Government did not have any of the leaders, like Mar, under arrest, but there were plenty
of known Jacobite sympathisers who could be targeted. The creation of the ‘Commissioners Appointed to Enquire of the Estates
of certain Traitors on that Part of Great Britain called Scotland’. The Scottish legal courts were not particularly supportive of the
Commissioners, but it still meant that many landowners lost their livelihood. However many estates found their way back into
family hands in a matter of years.
The English supporters of the Rebellion saw greater reprisals after their army surrendered at Preston. England had the Act of
Treason, which carried the death penalty. The individual was hung, drawn and quartered, and the family was deemed tainted by
association with the traitor. This was opposed by Scotland, and only passed into law with great difficulty. This did mean that no
Scottish nobles were executed, while two English leaders – Derwentwater and Kenmure were beheaded and four lesser men
executed as the Act specified.
The remaining Jacobite forces numbered 4000, opposed to a 1000 British troops, which
statistically meant the Jacobites were the likely victors if battle was resumed. However,
inaction by Mar allowed the British force to retire to Dunblane and free to retire south.
Mar returned to Perth, where several units left to return home. Argyll in turn received
several reinforcements, some being Dutch Regiments.
The Old Pretender, claimed by the Jacobites as King James III/VIII, arrived in Scotland at
Peterhead in December with no financial or military support. He visited Dundee where
100 Highlanders acted as his personal guard and was addressed by the burgesses of
Aberdeen. However there was little to do, as the Jacobite army had all but disbanded and
Argyll had increased his army. Mar and the Pretender with others left secretly for France.
The approximate width of the battlefield
Adapted 1814 map of the Parish of Dunblane, showing the
proposed turnpike road in orange.
The blue line corresponds with the modern map (Google,
2014) which runs from the roundabout by Dunblane New
Golf Club, along Glen Road, out to the Sheriffmuir Inn.
Telephone: 01786 825691