Home >> Local History >> Jacobites 1700-46

Jacobites, Rob Roy and Bonnie Prince Charlie

In 1707 the Scottish and English parliaments merged. This became a time of civil wars with Strathearn right in the middle. To the north were supporters of the Stuarts (Jacobites) and to the south supporters of the imported German monarchy (Hanoverians). In past times Crieff was famous for hanging lawless Highlanders and the old gallows tree's timbers are still preserved in the Town Hall!

The film Rob Roy, set in and around Strathearn, gave a taste of what these wild times were like. Robert Roy Macgregor visited the town on many occasions, often to sell cattle. In the second week of October 1714 the Highlanders gathered in Crieff for the annual market. Most people expected civil war to break out at any time. By day the town was also full of Redcoats and undercover government spies! One night, just after midnight, Rob Roy and his men marched to Crieff Town Square. There they tolled the Town bell, awakening everyone, and in front of the gathering crowd sang Jacobite songs and drank a good many loyal toasts to their uncrowned King James VIII. Eventually the Redcoats arrived from their camp outside the town and Rob Roy left into the night to fight another day.

In 1716 Jacobites burnt the towns and villages of Lowland Strathearn on their way back from the battle of Sheriffmuir which hadn't gone too well for them. This was ordered by the Earl of Mar to deny food and shelter to the troops of the Duke of Argyll. No doubt many Highlanders settled old scores against the Lowlanders. Comrie was spared, presumably as the most Highland of the Strathearn towns it's sympathies were Jacobite. The people of Strathearn suffered greatly at this time.

Things couldn't have been all bad as huge cattle sales continued to take place at Crieff. In 1723 30,000 cattle sold at one great fair with many driven south 800km to Smithfield in London.

River Earn near Crieff

Communication improved dramatically through the 18thC. Prior to this only rough tracks had existed. There were no bridges over the rivers of Strathearn and these must have acted as formidable obstacles in poor weather. Movement by wheeled vehicle for any distance must have been impossible. The River Earn at Crieff was bridged around 1700, but this was destroyed by retreating Highlanders after Sheriffmuir in 1716 and had to be rebuilt. After 1715 rebellion it was obvious that military roads were required to move government troops into and around the Highlands. General Wade began to oversee work from 1724. Around 1730 a road was driven from Tummel Bridge in the north down to Crieff and in 1741/2 a military road was laid from Stirling to Crieff.

Drummond Castle

Drummond Castle

Rebuilding of Strathearn towns began after 1716. The main industry of Auchterarder was hand-loom weaving employing over 500 weavers in the production of linen. In 1731 James Drummond, 3rd Duke of Perth, laid out Crieff's central James Square and establishing a textile industry with a flax factory. Drummond Castle featured in Rob Roy - remember the garden scene? It was partly demolished in 1745 to prevent its occupation by Hanoverian troops.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince CharlieIn July Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) landed on the west coast of Scotland, raised his standard at Glenfinnan on 19 August 1745 and built a small but dedicated army of Highlanders (about 2500 men) for his Jacobite cause. The '45 Jacobite rebellion had begun. By September he occupied Edinburgh and destroyed the Hanoverian Government army of John Cope at Prestonpans outside Edinburgh. In November he crossed into England with almost 6000 men and marched to Derby. English Catholics did not rise for his Jacobite cause, the backing he expected from France still did not materialise and faced with a Government army five times larger, he withdrew back to Scotland.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) held his last war council in the Drummond Arms Hotel, Crieff. On 16th April 1746 he was finally defeated at Culloden by the Duke of Cumberland.

After 1746 the Drummond estates were forfeited to the Crown until 1784 - the price of being on the losing side of a civil war! Unfortunately Hanoverian troops also burnt Crieff's flax factory. The public library now stands on this site.

History Searches

Advertising Opportunities
Your Strathearn business could
be advertised in this space.
Contact us for details.

Strathearn.com © 2012