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Annals of Auchterarder and Memorials of Srathearn
The Burning of Muthill


UPON Saturday, the 28th day of January, 1715-16, a party of the Clans, about fifty men, consisting of the M'Donalds, M'Cleans, and Camerons, under the command of the Captain of Clanranald, came from Drummond Castle (where they were quartered) to the town of Muthill, under silence of night, betwixt eight and nine of the clock, and without any advertisement given, or time allowed the people to carry out their household furniture, sett the town on fire, and burnt down houses, household furniture, and corn stacks to ashes; which was done in such a barbarous manner as that they would not allow the poor people to save from the flames that of their furniture, which they might have done. As for instance, when the flames had consumed are honest merchant's house all to his shop, which was divided from the rest of his house by a stone wall, in order to save this much of his house which was about eight foot, his sons went up to the roof to cutt the thatch above the wall, that the fire might not proceed any further, they most barbarously presented their guns to fire at them if they should not come down, and so were oblidged to suffer that, which would have been a small refuge to the honest man and his numerous familie, to be burnt down with the rest. Ane other instance of the barbarity of this action: When they were burning the stack-yards they took special care to sett fire to every stack, and guarded them, so that the people were kept off from rescuing any of it from the fire. And when a certam person offered a considerable summ of money, to allow him to save what he could of one bear stack after it was kindled, and the fire proceeded a good length upon it, this was not granted, but the man beaten for demanding it. This was in a yard wherein there was reckoned to be more than two hundred bolls of victuall, all consumed. And such was their inhumanity, that in some houses the inhabitants narrowly escaped with their lives. In one family they kindled a bed and a child in it, and had not the mother pulled it out of the flames, half stifled, it had been presently burnt. And what of the people's cloaths they had thrown out into the street to save them from the fire, they carried most of them away with them, leaving wives and children to starve with cold upon the snow in such a rigorous season. And that Lodovick Drummond of Westerfeddall, late Chamberlain to the Lord Drummond, a violent Papist, had a chief hand in influenceing to the bumeing of these towns, and directed in the execution of that barbarous order, is notour. It was his common threatning, when he was dragging the poor people out to the Rebellion, that they who refused to go should have their houses burned, themselves hanged before their own door, and their cattle all driven to the camp at Perth. The loss sustained by the inhabitants of this town (tho' for the most part very poor), as they gave it in under their hands, upon which they are ready to depone, amounts to the summ of six thousand and ninety-six pounds seventeen shillings and ten pennies Scotts money, which is about five hundred pounds sterling.


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