"O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent;
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content"
Robbie Burns

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Though there are few cases of women in the late medieval and early modern period who actually took up arms and fought in the wars of Scotland and later Great Britian, there were women who played an important part in its culture of war. For Bonnie Prince Charles Stuart, the son of the Old Pretender, he had an air of charisma that attracted loyal Jacobite women. Though we all know of the role that Flora Macdonald played in the escape of the young Prince after the Battle of Culloden, there were many women who played far more important roles in the Jacobite cause. The women below are but a few of the remarkable women who used their wits and their clan's brawn for the Jacobite cause.

*****don't read this as only a Scottish cause and it would be equally wrong to think of this year of uprisings as one of a battle of Lowlander vs Highlander war or a Scottish vs English war . It was a Jacobite (Stuart) army which had supporters from the Highlands/islands as well as the Lowlands and even into northern England. And the Royal army also had many loyal Scots who fought on their side as well including Lowlanders, as well as a number of Highland clans*******

Women of the ‘45

Jenny Cameron of Glendessary raised an army of 300 men of her clan at a time that really boosted the Prince’s morale. But to pro-government propagandists they portrayed her as the Prince’s mistress. What is interesting is even though Prince Charlie realized he needed the women’s support which was great for fundraising, he was very conservative and expect the women to remain in their homes and not take on the roles of men. He sounded more Hanoverian in the thought, believing a woman’s place was in the home. He probably would have chastised his wife if she had acted as freely as many of the following women and yet his successes were due in large part to the role of the women calling out their clans, or in some cases shaming them to come out to the Stuart cause.

Anne Farquharson of Invercauld. Anne was only 20 years old and was married to Angus Mackintosh who was the Chief of Clan Chatten and the Mackinntosh. Anne, Lady Moy was a beautiful young woman and was a staunch Jacobite and though she was almost 20years younger than Angus it was a love match. Like many Lairds of clans and families, Angus sat on the fence for a while and then chose the crown’s side where he served as a commander of a Black Watch unit whose job it was to serve the crown by repressing the unrest in the Highlands. But Anne as much as she loved him, loved the Jacobite cause more and went behind his back by raising over 300 of Mackintosh men for the Prince and asked her husband’s cousin a Macgillvary to command the group. She was a victim of the Crown’s propaganda machine when she was pegged as an Amazon. Though despite the political cartoons of the day, she never road with the clan into battle. She even endured slurs claiming she and the cousin were lovers. Using her wit and few resources she routed the Crown’s troops who were looking for the Prince near Moy, with some clever plans and only four men.

She gained the nickname of Colonel Anne because she rode at the head of the Clan’s men when she took them to the Prince and because after the Battle of Prestonpans when her husband was captured with his Black Watch group, they were turned over to Anne. When she welcomed him as Captain Mackintosh and he replied addressing her as Colonel Anne. Though she did go behind his back, it didn’t seem to hurt their relationship though she and her mother in law, also a Jacobite supporter, spent some time in jail in Inverness after the battle at Culloden. However, when Butcher Cumberland held a ball in London to support the victory at Culloden, Anne went with Angus and even danced a dance with Cumberland in support of the Hanoverian victory but only he he would dance with her to a Jacobite tune. She never had any children, and when her husband died in 1770 she moved to Leith where she died at age 61. Her grave site can no longer be found in Leith.

Margaret Ogilvy- was a young Lowlander from Dumfries and was only 20 years old at the time of the uprising. She was married to David Ogilvy. They both were avowed Jacobites. When David and his regiment of men from Forfar rode to join the Princes army Margaret was with him. When he took his vow of allegiance to the Prince, Margaret was at his side.

Isabel Haldane- Was another wife whose husband was sitting on the fence. But Isabel shamed him into making the decision when she took off her apron and handed it to him and said, “…if you are not willing to be commander of the Appin men (Stewart), stay at home and take care of the house and I will go and command them myself” Her husband, Charles Stewart, collected 300 men and joined the Prince’s army. Sounds like he was more afraid of his wife than the Crown’s army.

Some of the women were even bullies when they tried to get their clan to join the cause, making threats and following through just like the Crown did in the Highland Clearances:

Charlotte Robertson, Lady Lude- She was the daughter of a Lady Nairne who was a Jacobite supporter in uprising of 1715. She was rather flighty and was often in the company of the Prince’s entourage. She gave hospitality in her own home as well as those vacated by the pro-crown forces. But she was also known to bully and threaten her own tenants to join the cause or she would burn them out and often did. Then when they left she would pursue them and say they could save themselves by paying to stay alive. At one point it is believed she e raised over 1000 men for the cause. But after Culloden she was captured by the Crown troops and the very people she had bullied and threatened now gave evidence against her but her rank kept her from harm unlike the men prisoners.


Cathie Dunn said...

Another fascinating blog post, Jody. Those stories, especially Anne Farquharson's, would make the perfect plot. What brave girls!

Thanks for sharing all your intriguing research.

Jody said...

Actually Colonel Anne was done by Marsha Canham in her MIDNIGHT HONOR, which was a romance and it was very well done with not only the conflict of their choices but the conflict of the man she chose to lead the clan and her husband.

Donna Goode said...

Fascinating, Jody. One can only imagine the odds faced by those brave people on that terrible day. The butchery following the battle was truly appalling. Thanks for another wonderful and informative post!

Jody said...

The butchery by the Royal troops was horrific but that some of the women when calling up their clans belittle them and forced them to fight a cause that by that stage was a lost cause was equally appalling and it is never talked about. To often this battle is seen as one of English vs Scottish when that is so far from the truth there were English and Scots on both sides and there were many Scots who didn't want a return of a Scottish Stewart king who wasn't willing to just reign in Scotland but also sought the English throne.

If you look at the history there were even times when their were highlanders like the Macdonalds who sided with the English to weaken the Scottish throne so it wasn't only the Lowlanders who favored the English. Most just wanted to be left alone to survive the encroaching Agriculture revolution in the Lowlands and that would have a devestating effect on the highlands.