This column is very much in favour of encouraging commemoration of
important dates and events in Scottish history which are the bedrock of
our identity. Our long history is not very well served by the Scottish
educational system and organisations such as The Society of William
Wallace and The 1820 Society carry out a very necessary task in reminding
Scots of their own history.
This week sees the 288th anniversary of the Battle of Sheriffmuir which
took place on 13th November 1715 and the Jacobite group Na Fir Dileas will
be holding their annual commemoration of the battle on Saturday 15th
November 2003. Period dress and a torchlight march promises a colourful
commemoration of the only major engagement on Scottish soil during the
Jacobite Rising of 1715. Amongst the speakers will be SNP MSP Jim Mather
and the event will be rounded off with a nights entertainment in the Sword
Hotel, Stirling, featuring Shiltrum and top Scottish folk duo Gaberlunzie.
See The Flag's Events Feature for fuller details.
John 6th Earl of Mar, known as 'Bobbing John', raised the standard of
James Francis Edward Stewart, The Old Pretender, on 6th September 1715 at
Braemar. He successfully took Inverness and by November occupied the east
coast down to Perth and was ready to head for England. During this period
John, 2nd Duke of Argyll, Red John of the Battles, raised a pro-Hanoverian
force of some 4,000 and moved to block the route past the Forth at
Stirling. The two armies met at Sheriffmuir, a little to the north-east of
Dunblane, with the Jacobite army having the advantage in numbers - some
10,000 against Argyll's 4,000. Argyll was, however, the more capable
comander. In a confused battle both left flanks were defeated leading to
the verse :-
'There's some say that we wan,
And some say that they wan,
And some say that nane wan at a', man;
But ae thing I'm sure,
That at Sheriffmuir
A battle there was that I saw, man
And we ran and they ran, and they ran and we ran,
And we ran and they ran awa' man.'
Mar withdrew to Perth and Argyll to Dunblane and although both sides
claimed victory, it was the Jacobite cause that was stopped in its tracks.
Mar's failure to crush the smaller army of Argyll effectively signalled
the end of the 15 Rising which even the arrival of James Francis Stewart
at Peterhead three days before Christmas 1715 could do nothing to
One of the great mysteries arising from the confused battle was the part
played, indeed not played, by Rob Roy MacGregor and his men on the day.
They arrived late and took no part in the battle which gave rise to the
claim that the Jacobite Rob was in the pay of the Hanoverians - aiblins
ay, aiblins no. Rob Roy was however much into cattle, trading, guarding
and reiving and this week's recipe - Boiled Silverside - deserves the best
of Scottish beef. Rob Roy would approve of that.
Ingredients : 2 lb (1 kg) silverside; 2 medium-sized carrots, scrapped; 1
small turnip, peeled; 2 medium-sized onions, peeled; 6 black peppercorns;
Wipe meat with a damp cloth. Tie into a neat round with a piece of string
or tape. Place meat in pan and cover with cold water. Bring to boiling
point. Skim. Cover and simmer gently until tender, some 2 hours, depending
on thickness of cut, then skim again. Rinse carrots, slice and place in
saucepan. Slice in turnip and onions. Add peppercorns. Cover and simmer
gently for 15 minutes. Add dumplings (see below). Cover and simmer gently
for 15-20 minutes. To serve, place meat on the centre of a heated platter.
Arrange groups of vegetables and dumplings alternately round. Serve with
mashed potatoes. Yield - 6 servings. Can also be served cold.
Dumplings : Sift 4 oz (100 g) of plain flour with a pinch of salt and 1/2
teaspoon baking powder into a basin. Rub in 2 oz (50 g) butter. Mix to a
dough with cold water. Divide into small equal-sized portions. Quickly
mould each into a large 'marble'.