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Annals of Auchterarder and Memorials of Srathearn
The Burning of Dunning


HOWEVER much the Jacobites may say (as they seldom want words true or false to cover their wickedness) in their own vindication for their conduct during the time of their Rebellion; yet, I presume any who read the following, and like account of their management, will readily not be at a loss to make a Judgement anent them.

Among other places that smarted under their cruelty, this poor place and paroch was one that suffered not a little, as will appear by the following account.

Upon Saturday, the 28th January, 1715-16, about five a clock at night, Lord George Murray with the regiment of Rebells under his command, consisting of about 300 men, came to the village called Duning, lying about six miles south-west of Perth, in the Lord Rollo's interest, to execute a barbarous order geven him by the Pretender and his Generall, the E. of Mar. Haveing disposed of his men into barns and ether waste houses prepared for them beforehand by their quartermasters, he ordered a certain quantity of meall for each company, of the meall that had been exacted from the country about by way of tax, and had been laid up in my Lord Rollo's house of Duncrub, where a company of this regiment had for some time bygone keept garrison. The souldiers having spent about the space of four hours in prepareing the meall and refreshing themselves therewith, and what all they could find in the town, about nine the drums began to beat, and, according to orders formerly given them, they all appeared in arms in the midst of the town, where their Collonell intimat to them the order he had for burning the village, and commanded them immediately to begin the execution thereof, and so a melancholly and dismal! tragedy commenced. They in a moment were scattered in files through the whole town, and began to kindle the houses, lofts, and corn-yards.

While employed in this piece of horrid barbarity and inhumanity, they were very carefull to have their scouts watching at some distance without the village, being under great terror and fear of the approach of the King's Army, the only reason, together with the avarice of these wretches who much wanted money, why some few houses escaped the flames. Heart cannot conceive, nor can it be written in letters what a dolefull prospect it was to see the whole village in a moment putt in a flame, while men, women, and children were exposed to the injury of the weather and the rigour of that severe and stormy season, it being in the midst of a terrible storm of frost and snow, such as was not in Scotland these many years bygone. It would have pierced a heart in which there remained the very least spark of humanity to have heard the rnournfull screechs and frightfull cryes of poor women while rocking their infants in cradles upon the snow in the open fields, and looking on their houses, the sanctuaries appointed by God for their protection from the injury of such a season, and their corns, the provision and means of their subsistence crumbling in a moment into ashes. Such was the fear and terror of this cruell action struck to the poor people's hearts, that many of them did not, for a considerable time thereafter, recover themselves to any composure of mind, and some of them dyed in a few hours thereafter, particularly one man and two women, who had formerly been weak and tender, and thereby the less able to bear up under such a terrible surprisall, and to endure the sharp and cold air, the people about them being obliged to carry them out and lay them on the open fields, dyed that nixt day and day thereafter: and, indeed, a wonder of God's goodness it was that many more had not the same fate, especially young ones, considering what a season it was, and that they were oblidged to stand the whole long winter night, some of them almost, if not altogether, naked and hungry, people being in such confusion that they got not time to feed their young ones: and also considering in what hard circumstances they were afterwards in for want of houses to lodge in, the most of them haveing nothing left them to put on them or in them.

Such was the cruelty of these inhumane wretches, that if any poor thing endeavoured so much as to pluck a sheaf of corn from the flames, perhaps to preserve the life of a perishing brute, they were sure to take it from them and throw it into the fire; yea, not only the rude and rascally soldiers did so, but even their officers, of whom better things might have been expected, particularly when one poor man—namely, Thomas Annan, was throwing some sheaves over a dyke from the burning stacks in his yard, Lord George Murray threw them in over the dyke again with his own hand, and ordered a kill in the bottom, wherein the poor man had hid some sheaves, to be put all on fire together.

The number of families that had their houses burnt that night within this little and small village and the confines thereof were thirty-three, besides barns, byres, and stables. Amongst other houses that were burnt was that of Mr William Reid, minister. He had, because of his age arid infirmity, not left his house and paroch, and all the time of the Rebellion continued not only to pray for his Majesty King George, but exhorted the people in a most pathetick manner to stand firm in their duty and alleadgeance to his Majesty. He dyed not many hours before the Rebell party came to burn that place, and his parishioners out of their duty and affection to him bury'd him after almost the party was in sight, which some of their leaders regreted, wishing he had been burnt in it.

Their partiality appeared here as well as in other places, for they did not burn the house of Robert Stewart, the best and largest in that town, because he had been very active during all the time of the Rebellion in putting in execution the orders of the Comittee of Provisions (so was a company of gentlemen called who satt at Perth all the time of the Rebellion and laid on the countrey contributions of money, fforage, and other necessaries for their army, in the most unequall and arbitrary manner, and levyed them by the outmost severetyes of military execution).

Some who were covetous capitulated, and saved some houses for money to their own privat pockets. The chief of these who managed this scandalous merchandise was Mungo Campbell, son to Collin Campbell, in Corymuchloch, who for a certain surnrn of money pass'd the house of George Kally and some others.


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