Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Why the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion?

The short answer is, I don't know why I suddenly developed a passion for this brief and disastrous series of events that have become known as the '15'. I've no connection to Scotland, and I'm not religious, so why does it appeal? Perhaps it's some kind of bizarre 'underdog' thing, maybe its.... I just don't know.
The route to it was arduous, first it was James II and Sedgemoor; then it developed into the 'Glorious Revolution'; then the wars of the 'League of Augsburg'; Marlborough and the WSS; until finally Sherrifmuir. A lot of it, I think, can be laid at the door of my having seen the Reiver figure range at 'Vapnatak' at York 2009. Having gone with the sole intention of seeing how their 1690's range had developed, I found myself transfixed by their '1715 Jacobite' range. The rest, as they say, is history.

The 1715 rebellion was an ill fated disaster. Queen Anne dies without issue, the protestant government, determined to continue a protestant succession, gives the crown to the Hanoverian George, who not only speaks no English but comes with a ready made following of family and hangers on. John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar, considers himself ill served by the incoming monarch and changes his allegiance (hence his nickname, Bobbin John) and raises the Jacobite standard, declaring James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender) King of England, Scotland and Ireland in his absence. With an army believed to have numbered some 12000, he quickly took control of Perth and most of the northern Highlands.
On the 13th November 1715, he faced a Loyalist (sometimes called Hanoverian) army commanded by John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, at Sherrifmuir near Dunblane. Although outnumbered Argyll was able to hold and by nightfall both armies had suffered severe casualties, and although Mar still held a number advantage his refusal to risk his entire force allowed Argyll to withdraw. The ensuing chaos allowed both sides to claim victory, while in reality neither side had won. James Stuart landed at Peterhead on the 23rd of December, but by then the cause was, for the most part, lost. The army was disheartened and proved unresponsive to any attempts to rouse their earlier spirits.
Argyll, on the other hand, was fully charged up, his army had been reinforced and advanced north as the Jacobites withdrew first to Montrose, where James Stuart took a ship back to France, then Ruthven where it eventualy dispersed. As usual in these afairs the final 'bill' was paid by the ordinary men and women who had followed the Stuart star, something that the Scots (for the Jacobites were mostly Scots) would be fated to continue doing.

This has been a very potted overview (for which I apologise), I will endeavour to add further detail as I find it.

No comments:

Post a Comment