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The History of Glasgow
Volume 3 - Chapter XV - A Glasgow Jacobite: John Walkinshaw of Barrowfield


ALTHOUGH Glasgow exerted itself so strenuously in 1715 to resist invasion by the Earl of Mar, the city did not altogether lack sympathisers with the Jacobite cause. Here, as elsewhere in Scotland, were individuals who, from motives either of disinterested loyalty to the direct line of Stewart kings, of protest against what they considered a great injustice, of disapproval of the Union between Scotland and England, or of hopes, by means of a gambler's throw, of recovering the desperate state of their family fortunes, devoted their interest and efforts to the party of "James VIII. and III." And here, as elsewhere, their activities, though ruinous to themselves, were gilded with the glamour of romance which somehow touched everything connected with the Stewart cause.

Probably the most outstanding of these Glasgow Jacobites was John Walkinshaw of Barrowfield and Camlachie. His family was a branch of the Walkinshaws of that ilk in Renfrew-shire, and there were in direct succession three John Walkinshaws, lairds of Barrowfield. Of these, the first was Dean of Guild in 1669 and 1672, and is commended by McUre for his benevolence in leaving £100 to the poor of the Merchants' House. He was one of the owners of the privateer frigate George which served effectively in the Dutch war. When he married his third wife, Janet, daughter of William Anderson, merchant in Glasgow and laird of Kenniehill and of Easter Craigs, now Dennistoun, he undertook to invest a certain sum for behoof of "the aires and bairns" of the marriage. For this purpose in 1669 he purchased for 3500 merks the lands of Wester Camlachie, about 25 acres in extent, between his father-in-law's property and his own. Janet Anderson, however, had no children, and both Camlachie and Barrow-field were inherited by Walkinshaw's son by his second wife, "Agnes Faulles." This second John Walkinshaw, who was one of the great "Sea Adventurers" mentioned by McUre, married a daughter of Principal Baillie of Glasgow University, and it was the eldest son of that union who was the noted Jacobite.

Barrowfield House, otherwise "the Manor Place of Barrowfield," was a quaint and interesting old mansion of some pretensions. It had belonged to the Hutchesons of Hutchesons' Hospital, and in the previous century was said to have housed for a night no less interesting a personage than Mary Queen of Scots. In its antique garden to the last was to be seen "Queen Mary's Bower," and a sundial bearing the extraordinarily remote date, 1311. [An engraving of the house, in ruins, is given in Glasghu Facies, p. 755. Its associations afterwards gave the name to Queen Mary Street, at the eastern end of which it stood. It faced Dalmarnock Road, and its great walled garden ran back to London Road. It was taken down in 1844 to supply materials for the building of a farmhouse near its site.]

Reared in a house with such associations it was perhaps not unnatural that Walkinshaw should sympathise with the romantic cause of the Chevalier. He was no doubt further influenced by his marriage, in 1703, to Katharine, one of the daughters of Sir Hugh Paterson, Bart., of Bannockburn, himself a noted Jacobite. [On his march south in the autumn of 1745 Prince Charles Edward slept for a night at Bannockburn House, and in January 1746, while his army was besieging Stirling Castle, he made the mansion his headquarters.]

Walkinshaw and two of his brothers-in-law joined Mar's rising in 1715, and all three were taken prisoners at Sheriffmuir. Confined in Stirling Castle and charged with high treason, the laird of Barrowfield stood in serious danger of losing his life. His wife, however, was a woman of spirit. Obtaining permission to visit her husband, she changed clothes with him, and while he walked out of the fortress in the character of "Lady Barrowfield," she remained in his stead to "face the music." Though he escaped, his estates, already heavily burdened with debt, were forfeited, and he appears to have become a member of the little group of active conspirators round the person of the forlorn "James VIII. and III." in his exile on the Continent. [Glasghu Fazes, ii. p. 752 note; Burgh Records, 28th May, 1724.]

It was at this time that he took part in one of those romantic adventures which, as already said, so largely made up the history of the Jacobite cause. In this instance the occurrence might have been an episode taken from the pages of some curious work of fiction. It was, at any rate, an exciting enterprise for all concerned in it.

The facts were these. The Chevalier de St. George was now over thirty years of age, and if the hopes of the Jacobites were not to be damped off by the prospect of an end of the dynasty, it was desirable that he should marry. At the same time perhaps not less urgent was the need of refilling the depleted coffers of the exiled court. One of the wealthiest heiresses and most desirable matches in Europe at that time was Clementina, daughter of Prince James Sobieski, and granddaughter of John Sobieski, King of Poland, who was the champion of Christendom against the Turks, and drove back their last great invasion in a mighty battle before the gates of Vienna in 1683. The hand of this princess was duly sought for the Chevalier, and her parents, dazzled by the prospect held out to them of their daughter succeeding to the British throne, were induced to consent to the match.

News of the proposed union, however, reached the Court of St. James's, which forthwith took measures to frustrate the enterprise. Representations were at once made to the Court of Vienna to prevent the marriage. To overcome this obstacle it was arranged that the bride should travel secretly to Bologna, and that the ceremony should take place there. But the German Emperor was at that time especially desirous to stand well with the British Government, which was supporting his claim to Sicily with its fleet. On being informed of what was taking place, therefore, he ordered the arrest of the bridal party, and at the same time deprived the bride's father, Prince James Sobieski, of his government of Augsburg, and threw him into prison.

This denouement upset the entire plan of the Jacobite party, and threatened seriously to damage the prospects of the Jacobite cause. In the emergency, an Irishman, Charles Wogan, who had nearly lost his life in the rising of 1715, came forward with a plan. He obtained from the Austrian Ambassador a passport in the name of Count Cernes, a nobleman who, he gave out, was returning with his family from Loretto to the Low Countries. Armed with this document the rescue party set off. Two friends of Wogan, Major Misset and his wife, acted as the Count and Countess; Wogan himself was the brother of the Countess, and a maid of Mrs. Misset's was the sister of the Count.

On the evening of 27th April, 1719, the adventurous little party reached Innsbruck, and secured lodgings near the convent where the Princess was confined. Here fortune favoured the plotters. A servant of the Princess had obtained permission from the porter to bring a young woman into the cloister as often as he wished. This man was persuaded with a handsome bribe to help the plot, and Jenny, Mrs. Misset's maid, after some demur, was induced by the gift of a fine damask dress, a few pieces of gold, and many bright promises, to risk the chief part in the enterprise. During a dark night and a blinding snowstorm, the maid was conveyed into the convent. There she quickly changed clothes with the Princess, and very soon a well-horsed carriage with a freight which meant so much to the future of far-off Scotland, was making its way as rapidly as postillions could ride, over bad roads and in wild weather, towards the Italian frontier. The chief risk was at the frontier itself, but after a few exciting moments the danger was passed, and the fair Polish Princess was free upon Italian soil. A few days later she was married to James at Bologna by proxy.

In his marriage, as in everything else, the Chevalier failed somehow to play the gallant part. He was away at the moment, intriguing in Spain. The Princess, nevertheless, did not fail to reward her rescuers. Wogan was made a knight by the Pope. Nothing more is heard of the brave Jenny, but it may be hoped she was not forgotten. John Walkinshaw of Barrowfield, who had also played a part in the exciting enterprise, received his reward in another way. He had no sons, but when, shortly afterwards, his wife presented him in Rome with a tenth daughter, the Princess acted as the child's godmother, and gave her her own name of Clementina. This was the Clementina Walkinshaw who was to play so notable a part, at a later day, in the life of the Princess's own son, Prince Charles Edward . [Narrative of the Escape of the Princess Clementine, by Charles Wogan. London, 1722. The Life and Times of Prince Charles Stuart, Count of Albany, by Alex. Charles Ewald, F.S.A., i. 2.]

Meanwhile "Lady Barrowfield" had returned to Glasgow. In 1722 a petition was presented to the Crown on behalf of her and her ten daughters. In response to this, William Douglas, younger of Glenbervie, was appointed as a trustee, to work the coal under the estates on their behalf. Later, in December 1723, when the properties were sold to the magistrates of Glasgow, the mansion house of the Camlachie estate, with its garden and twelve acres behind, was reserved for Lady Barrowfield. This remained in her possession only till 1734. In that year she sold the house and grounds for £500 to a Glasgow merchant, John Orr, who had already bought the Camlachie and Barrowfield estates from the Town Council for £10,000.

[Burgh Records, 30th Dec. 1723; 16th May, 1724; 28th May, 1724. Walkinshaw's estate was heavily burdened with debt, and it was probably for this reason that in purchasing Barrowfield the magistrates dealt directly with him, purchasing the rights of his creditors, and securing the consent of his wife, Katharine Paterson, and of William Douglas, younger, of Glenbervie, the donator of the escheat. A somewhat similar set of circumstances seems to have occurred in the case of Walter Gibson (supra, p. 58), in which, though by decree of adjudication, his properties had apparently passed to certain creditors, he was still able to sell Whiteinch and Balshagrie, and the purchasers merely fortified their right by obtaining an additional disposition from the creditors.

The little old two-storey mansion house of Camlachie, with its quaint attic windows in the roof, forms the subject of a woodcut in Glasghu Facies, p. 754. For many years it was an inn, and when Wolfe, the future hero of Quebec, commanded the garrison in Glasgow in 1749, he took up his quarters under its roof. Here he wrote several of his dispatches, and improved himself by studying Latin and mathematics. The building, which formed 809 and 811 Gallowgate, was only demolished in 1931.

An account of the Walkinshaws of Barrowfield is given in Glasgow Past and Present, vol. ii. p. 511, and further details are furnished by Senex in Old Glasgow, pp. 10-12, and in Brown's Hist. Glasg. ii. 101. See also Crawford's Renfrewshire, p. 90.]

Thus ended the Walkinshaw connection with Glasgow, so far as the ownership of Barrowfield was concerned. It seems probable, however, that Mrs. Walkinshaw continued to enjoy the revenue from the coal pits on the estate and to occupy the Camlachie mansion house for some years longer as a tenant. It is generally understood that it was when Prince Charles Edward was staying at the Shawfield mansion in Glasgow, in the Christmas week of 1745, there was presented to him for the first time John Walkinshaw's youngest daughter, Clementina, who was also the god-daughter of his own mother, the Princess Clementine Sobieski; and tradition even avers that, attracted by the charms of the young lady, he paid a visit to her at the Camlachie mansion. [Lugton's Old Lodgings of Glasgow, p. 61.] Whether or not he did so, he had abundant opportunity of improving his acquaintance with Clementina during the following weeks, when staying under the roof of her relatives at Bannockburn House. [Bannockburn estate had been sold in 172o by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates for £9671, but, like Keir estate not far away, had been bought back by friends of its former owners.óChambers, Domestic Annals, iii. 443.] In that neighbourhood likewise there is a tradition that, after the Jacobite army had abandoned the siege of Stirling Castle, and set out on its march to the north, the Prince spent a last night at Torbrex House, near St. Ninians, before bidding farewell to the daughter of the stout old laird of Barrowfield. In the little old two-storeyed mansion, which then belonged to Mrs. Walkinshaw, the room is still to be seen in which Charles is said to have slept on that occasion.

John Walkinshaw died in 1731. His wife survived him by about fifty years, and died in Edinburgh in November 1780, at the great age of ninety-seven.8 Not the least of her sorrows must have been the fate of her youngest daughter. After his escape to France the Prince sent for Clementina, and she went over to him in 1752. As his mistress, or perhaps his wife, her life with him was most unhappy, and she was forced by his ill-usage to leave him in 1760. [Ewald's Life and Times of Prince Charles, ii. 229.] By the Jacobites, who wished to get her out of the way, she was accused of betraying his plans to the British Government, but the only foundation for the charge seems to have been that her sister Katharine was housekeeper to the Princess of Wales, mother of George III. The calumny was evidently not entertained by those best fitted to know. By the French king she was created Comtesse d'Alberstrof, and she was pensioned, first by the Prince's father, and afterwards by his brother, the Cardinal of York. Her daughter, Charlotte, born in 1753, Charles himself "legitimated" in 1784 and created Duchess of Albany. She is the "Bonnie Lass of Albany" of Burns's song, and she died in the year after her father, 1789. Clementina Walkinshaw, Comtesse d'Alberstrof, herself died at Freiburg in Switzerland in 1802. There are reasons for believing that she was a much-injured woman.


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