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Annals of Auchterarder and Memorials of Srathearn
Auchterarder in Mar's Year

THE efforts of the Legislature to promote the prosperity and increase the security of Auchterarder do not appear to have had much effect. The town continued as before isolated, and, being on the borders of the Highlands, exposed to predatory incursions from its lawless neighbours. The Records of the Privy Council, in which the proclamations against the Clan Gregor and other broken men are directed to be read at the Cross of the burgh, testify to this state of matters, but the worst visitation which it had to undergo was in the Civil War of 1715. It is recorded that the inhabitants were much oppressed by the Earl of Mar's army, but a greater calamity was in store in the destruction of the town by fire by that army on 25th January, 1716, after the Battle of Sheriffmuir.

Auchterarder acquired considerable prominence by being a halting-place during the war for both armies. By the assistance of contemporary documents, and quoting their words, we shall give an account of what occurred in the town and neighbourhood during that eventful period.

The Ear! of Mar arrived at Perth with his army in October, 1715. On the 16th he wrote to Major-General Alexander Gordon from the Camp at Perth, when just going out to the head of the army, that the whole army had marched from Perth and was to be that night at Auchterarder.

The highway from Perth to Auchterarder was then by Dunning. The army came to Auchterarder by that route. This is shown by the following letter from the Marquis of Tullibardine to his aunt, Lady Nairne, who was then in Perth This lady the husband of the gallant Lord Nairne, who was subsequently condemned to death for his share in the Rising, but afterwards pardoned, was the mother of the wives of the Jacobite leaders, Lord Strathallan, Gask, Strowan, Lude, and Orchill. The original letter is in the possession of the author.

Madam,—I have received the bundle and things as you sent them, and am sorry I have been oblidged to give you so much trouble with my goods. I shall still want a pair of scarlet silk stockings, some threed ones, and a pair of lead-colloured gloves, and if there be still a pair of sheets of myne left, I should be glad they were sent with the first opportunity or occasion your Ladyship finds of any cummirig to the army. The washer-maid I engaged to Mr Charles Murray to come after us, but I hear she now again refuses. If your Lady can find any way to perswade her to come, it will doo me a particular service, for I cannot tell else how to have any linnen dressed besides. Pray, let her know that if she should stay behind now, she cannot alwayes escape being severely-taken notice of for this neglect of this kind, which may be avoided by her doing what is now desired of her, which is so much for her own good and advantage. I am told ther is a. servant maid of your Layd's diswades her, without she goe alongst with her. Pray, from this hint, please to take your own methods in putting an end to this affair. I hope your Layd will forgive the liberty I have taken of opening the inclosed, which others would have done if I hade not, and I hope it will be of service that I have now seen the contents. I hope all our friends on the other side will be safe, however they have been exposed, of which I shall say no more al present. I send likeways inclosed exact list of our general officers as they were declared at Perth, if your Lay'd has not already seen it. I shall trouble your Lay'd with nothing further concerning them or anything else at present, but am, with the sincerest respect,

Madam, Your Ladyship's most faithfull humble Servant and Nephew, Tullibardine.

Jast upon our march at 12 a cloak from Dunning, ye 17th Octor., 1715.

Addressed—The Right Honourable

The Lady Nairne, Perth.

On the 17th, while at Auchterarder, the Earl wrote to Mr Foster, then with the King's forces in Northumberland. On the 21st he wrote another letter to him from the camp at Perth, in which he says:—

I wrote to you of the 17th from Auchterarder, which I hope you got. I marched the same night, the horse to Dumblain, within four miles of Stirling, and the foot some miles short of that place. Next morning I had certain intelligence of the Duke of Argyle's returning from Edinburgh with most of the troops he had carried there, arid were on their march towards Stirling. I also had an account of Evans' Regiment landed in the west of Scotland from Ireland, and were on their way to Stirling. I had come away from Perth before our provisions were ready to go with us, and I found all the country about Stirling, where we were to pass Forth, was entirely exhausted by the enemy; so there was nothing for us to subsist on there. I had no account from General Gordon, as I expected, and the soonest I could expect him at the Heads of Forth was two days after that, and I could not think of passing Forth, till I was joined by him. Under these difficulties, and having got one of the things I designed by my march, the Duke of Argyle's withdrawing from our friends in Lothian, I thought it fit to march back to Auchterarder, which was a better quarter, though not a good one neither. Next morning I got intelligence of the Duke of Argyle's being come to Stirling the night before, and that he had sent express upon express to Evans' Dragoons to hasten up. I had a letter also, that morning from General Gordon, telling me that some things had kept him up longer than he expected; that it would be that day e're he could be at Inverary, and that he could not possibly join me this week. Upon this I thought it. better to return here, which is a good quarter, and wait his coming up, and the Lord Seaforth's, than continue at Auchterarder, since it would not a bit retard my passing the Forth, when I should he in a condition to do it; and in the meantime I could be getting provisions ready to carry along with me in my march, which, as I am told, are absolutely necessary about the Heads of Forth. So I came home last night.

On the 19th he issued the following commission, appointing Colin Simpson of Whitehills Commissary of the Army:—

By virtue of the authority and power to me given by His Majesty, as Commander-in-Chief of his forces in Scotland, I do hereby constitute and appoint you, the said Colin Simpson to be Commissary of the Stores. You are therefore to receive and grant receipts for what quantities of meal and bread shall be brought in to you from time to time for the use of the army, and to give out and distribute the same as you shill be directed, in pursuance of the trust hereby reposed in you.

Given under my hand and seal at the Camp at Auchterarder, the 19th October, and of His Majesty's reign the 14th year.


The Ear! of Mar, after his return to Perth, remained in camp there as the head-quarters of the army, while Lieutenant-General Alexander Gordon took up his quarters at Auchterarder in command of the Highland Clans which he had brought there from Argyleshire.

On 31st October, 1715, the Ear! issued the following warrant to Lieutenant-General Gordon:—

John, Earl of Mar, &c., Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Forces in Scotland.

These are to empower you to search at Auchtterarder, Denin, Tullibardin, Mitthil, and Creiff, for all the leather and made shoes which are fit fur the use of the army, and seize the said leather and shoes, and distribute the same proportionally among the respective corps under your command, and you are to direct the proprietors of the said leather and shoes to come here and receive the money due to them respective; an account whereof you'll transmit hither, distinguishing betwixt the whole hides and those that are cloven.

Given at the Camp at Perth, the 31st October, 1715. The account of leather is to be sent to Colonel Balfour, Governor of Perth, and the proprietor; directed to wait upon him for payment.


To Lieutenant-General Gordon, at Auchterarder,

On the 29th of October, the Earl issued the following order:— John, Earl of Mar, &c.,

Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Forces in Scotland.

These are ordering and requiring you forthwith to send to Auchterarder for the use of His Majesty's Forces there one hundred and twenty nine bolls of meal, to be distributed amongst them at the rate of one peck of meal for every five men a-day; for doing whereof this shall be to you a sufficient warrant. Given at the Camp at Perth, the 2yth October, 1715.


To Mr Colin Simsom of Whitehill, Commissary of the Stores.

On the 1st November, James Grsemc of Braco informed the commanding officer at Auchterarder that—The long causey was last night planted with guards from Stirling, so that we can't assure ourselves of such intelligence as formerly, unless we could, fall on a method of snapping up their guard there and obliging them to keep within their bridge. Our Tiumpet seized, and my Lord Mar's letter disregarded, which is all we know about the enemy.

The reference to the seizor of the trumpeter is graphically described in his report, dated 1st November, 1715, in which he says:—

I, John M'Lean, Trumpet, went, by order of the Right Honourable Earl of Mar, to the Camp of Stirling, from Perth, the 30th October, and on the 31st, nine in the morning, as I came near to the bridge of that place, I sounded two calls, and a Serjeant with five men were sent to me, and carried me to the officer of the guard, who asked me several questions, and particularly what my business there with my trumpet was. I answered, that I hid brought a letter from the Earl of Mar to his Grace the Duke of Argyle, which I show'd to the officer, and this officer left me a little and returned, and then carried me to the Duke's lodging, and from that to the guard, and about an hour thereafter the captain of the guard asked the letter from me to the Duke, and a little after the delivery of the letter I was carried up to a room above the guard, and two centries put upon the door, the captain of the guard staying with me alone about half an hour, who asked me several questions, particularly who, commanded immediately under the Earl of Mar? What were the numbers of the rebels? What was their daily pay? How near the Earl of Seafurth was, and when the army designed to march from Perth? To which I answered, that I did not mind officers' names, but that there were a few of them ; that the pay was fourpence halfpenny and bread per day; the foot was upwards of fifteen thousand. That the Earl of Seaforth was at Dunkel with four thousand men, and a thousand horse, and at Perth and Auchterarder there were upwards of fifteen hundred horse, and that I heard in a day or two the army was to march from Perth, and surround the Duke, and take him and his army prisoners; so the officer left me, and I was shut up. The person who had the converse with me was Major Cathcart. Sometime thereafter the captain of the guard came along with a centry, who brought me my dinner—viz., pies, roast beef, and hens, and a bottle of wine, and in the afternoon a second bottle of wine, and at night a third.

In a letter to the Honourable Lieutenant-General Gordon, Commander of the Clans, the following request is made:—

Honourable,—The gentlemen of the piquit guard are willing to patroul about Auchterarder; but say, that seeing they cannot speak Irish to their sentries, they may be exposed to their fire: and therefore desire to know how they may be safe in doing their duty. And it is thought necessary, that some go along with them who know the Irish, or to do anything else ye shall see fit; which shall be obeyed by, Honourable, your most humble servant,

Geo. Gordon.

Abriven, November 3, 1715.

To the Honourable Lieutenant-General Gordon, Commander of the Clans.

On 4th November, Lieutenant-General Gordon, Commander of the Highland Clans, issued the following order:—

These are ordering the inhabitants of Glendevon and Fossevey against the morrow, the 5fh instant, to bring here score loads of coals for the use of the King's army, under pain of present quartering: they are to be delivered at the sight of Mr Drummond, Baiilie of this place, or his order: for which end lists of the loads, and those that bring them, are to be sent up with the first that comes.

Alex. Gordon.'

Auchterarder, November 4, 1715.

The Gentlemen of the Parishes are to proportion them on the Parishes.

Of the same date the Lieutenant-General received an order from the Camp at Perth as to victualling of the army, to the following effect:—

Sir,—I send you here inclosed a double of the Committee's resolution, and have sent two detachments accordingly; therefore, you must take care that the barns be got ready, and all other necessary assistance you can give. As to the driving of the sheep, I believe it will be your best way to advise with Bracco in it, who, knowing the country exactly, is the fittest man that can be employed in that service. But' this I must leave intirely to you, who can best judge of the matter, being upon the spot. I need not recommend (the necessity we are in to fill up our magazines with all dispatch imaginable) that you'll do the same there with you, which is absolutely necessary before we can march from this.—I am. Sir, your humble servant,

Geo. Hamilton.

From the Camp at Perth, November 4, 1715.

For Lieutenant-General Gordon.

Rob Roy appears to have been with the Clans at Auchterarder, as the Earl of Mar in a letter to the Lieutenant-Genera! at Auchterarder, dated Huntingtour, Friday morning, November 4th, 1715, makes the following reference to him, which may be more easily understood if his ambiguous conduct at the subsequent Battle of Sheriffmuir is taken into consideration:—

I wonder what keeps Rob Roy from coming to Perth, as I ordered him. Pray, send him these immediately, for I want very much to speak to him; and if there be no alarm from the enemy, I would have you come to Perth to-morrow morning, that I may consent some things with you as to our march. Forward the enclosed, and I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,


To Lieutenant-General Gordon, at Auchterarder.

Part of the Auchterarder division of the army lay at Gleneagles. The conduct of the soldiers does not appear to have been creditable, and which was the more unjustifiable, seeing the Lady of Gleneagles was favourable to the Royal cause. A complaint was made to the Earl of Mar. He immediately issued the following order to General Gordon, at the same time sending him the letter of complaint:—

Sir, The Earl of Mar ordered me to send you the enclosed, and desires that so far as possible these complaints may be redressed, and expecis you'll allow no such abuses to be committed, and orders you'll take all methods possible to keep the people under command, that our own people may not be oppressed. This, by command above, from, Sir, your most humble and most obedient servant,

W. Clephane, Adgt.-Gen.

Camp at Perth,
5th November, 1715.
To His Excellency Litutenant General
Gordon, commanding
His Majesty's forces
at Auchterarder.

My Lord,— Last night I had a letter from my niece, Mrs Stirling, telling me of great abuses committed by that part of your Lordship's army lying at Gleneagles; upon which I presumed to give your Lordship the trouble of one, and designed she should deliver it herself; your Lordship's was under her cover; the servant I sent was taken and searched, the letter taken from him; they used the formality to deliver it to her, but withal obliged her to show it them. She being afraid of their jealousy and rage, put the enclosed in the fire, for which she met with very harsh treatment, in so much they would not allow her to give me an answer, nor see my servant. After all, they knew not to whom the letter was directed, neither durst she own it was to your Lordship. My servant tells me they have shot a great many sheep and black cattle, plundered their shepherds' and tenants' houses, robbed their household servants, broke open Gleneagles closet, the granaries, and taken what meal they had for their subsistence. In short, poor Mrs Stirling, who certainly wishes them very well, was in tears, and confined to her room. I wish from my heart we don't find it in this side of the hill paid home with interest, for as yet they have spared our cattle. I persuade myself, your Lordship knows nothing of this, 'tis so unlike the gentleness and lenity you have showed Hitherto. I am sure, were Sir John present he would be very earnest in begging your Lordship's protection for his sister; for God's sake, take it into consideration, and put some cheque upon these rude people, who will certainly bring an odium on our party. In the meantime, my Lord, I humbly beg pardon for the importunity and freedom, wishing your Lordship an entire and sudden subversion of your enemies, a long and uninterupied enjoyment of you' friends.—I am, my Lord, your Lordship's most humble and most devoted servant,

Alva, November 6, 1715. Ka St. Clair.

To the Earl of Mar.

The following orders were issued:— You are hereby ordered to march the whole horse, belonging to my Lord Huntly, on Tuesday, the eighth, from their present quarters to Auchterarder, where the Quarter-Master-General shall meet them with their billets, and you are to send such a party of (he foot, under your command, along with them, as you shall think fit for their security; and you are to order all the horses and foot now under your command to march with all their baggage to the Muir be west Auchterarder, on Wednesday morning, being the ninth, there to be reviewed with the army, and be ready to march forward, where their quarters shall be assigned to them. Given at the Camp at Perth, this 7th of November, 1715,


To Lieuteuant-General Gordon, commanding at Auchterarder.

These are ordering and requiring you to intimate to the several general persons, afternamed, and the troops under yours and their command, at their quarters aftermentioned, that notwithstanding of my former order to you to have the army in readiness to be reviewed on Wednesday, the ninth: you are to order them to march on Thursday morning from their several quarters to the Muir on the westward of Auchterarder, to be reviewed there early in the morning. For doing whereof this shall be your warrant. Given at the Camp at Perth, this 7th of November, 1715.


To Lieutenant-General Gordon,
Commanding His Majesty's Forces at Auchterarder
and the adjacent parts thereabout.

From the Camp at Perth, November 8, 1715-

Right Honourable Sir,— Since the Earl of Mar's orders to you of yesternight's date, his Lordship has been pleased to alter the rout of Brigadier Ogilvy with the four battalions under his command, so that instead of passing the water by boats and being this night at Aberiven, they are ordered to march by the Bridge of Erne, and quarter where they can most conveniently on the road to Auchterarder, where you will find them if occasion offers.— I am, Right Honourable, your most humble and obedient servant,

W. Clephan, Adg.-Gen.

To His Excellency Lieutenant-General Gordon,
commanding His Majesty's Forces at Auchterarder.

On 8th November, Graeme of Braco sent the following letter to General Gordon, and enclosure directed to the Laird of Glengarry:—

Sir, This is to show your Excellency that the enclosed carries very surprising, and they may be very easily intercepted. Which is all from your Excellency's most humble and obedient servant.,

Ja. Graeme.

Bracco, the fifth November, 1715.

Let the enclosed be shown to none, because the first part of it ought not to be seen.

Sir,—The horses that I sent to Easter Glensherup's barn-yard did not bring off the half of the victuals, therefore I intreat you'll order John Sheden and Mr Archibald Drummond to warn in from that country two hundred horses for away bringing the rest of chat barnyard, and I, to-morrow, being to have use for my whole garrison, expects you'll send a safeguard with them, and cause bring the said victual to the park of Ardoch, where the rest are. There's no use but great threats from Stirling, tho' no outcoming, as little do I expect them; they brag the officers of the force are come to Stirling for the encouragement of their men, and it was only a troop that was lying at Falkirk, which was ordered to the Camp. —I am, dear Sir, your humble and obedient servant,

Ja. Graeme.

Bracco, November 8, 1715.

To the Honourable the Laird of Glengary.

A Council of War was held at Perth on 9th November, when it was agreed to put the army in readiness for a march over Forth with the utmost celerity. The army consisted of 12,000 effective men, and it was resolved to march straightway to Dunblane with a detachment of 3000 men, to contuse the Duke of Argyle, whose army was said to consist of a similar number. The main body of the army,-consisting of about 9000 men, were to attempt to cross the River Forth undiscovered, and to follow Brigadier Mackintosh into England, to be followed by the detachment at their convenience. On the 10th of November, the Earl of Mar left the Governor of Perth, and in accordance with the resolution of the Council of War, marched his army to Auchterarder, where he reviewed his troops, said to consist of 2300 horse and 5000 foot. On the following day they were joined by General Gordon with the clans, being 100 horse and 3000 foot. He rested at Auchterarder on the 11th, and on Saturday, the 12th, he gave orders to General Gordon and Brigadier Ogilvie with eight squadrons of horse and all the Clans to march and take possession of the town of Dunblane, and the rest of the army to parade very early on the Muir of Tulliibardine, and thence to march after General Gordon. The Earl of Mar, in the meantime. had gone to Drummond Castle to meet with the Earl of Breadalbane, and he ordered General Hamilton to march the army, which he did accordingly. Being advanced near to Ardoch, he received an express from General Gordon, who was about two miles before him at that time, that he had received intelligence of a great body of the enemy being in Dunblane. Genera! Hamilton drew up the army at the Roman Camp, near Ardoch, and shortly thereafter was joined by the Earl of Mar. They joined Genera! Gordon at Kinbuck, where the whole army lay under arms that night and formed early next morning.

The Battle of Sheriffmuir was fought on Sunday, 13th November. In the course of Monday, the 14th, Mar ascertained that Argyle was returned to Stirling. Both sides claimed the victory. The Earl of Mar marched back with his army to Auchterarder, and rested all Tuesday there. On Wednesday he proceeded towards Perth, where he took up his quarters on Thursday.

On the 12th November the following letter was sent from Braco to Commissary Simpson at Tullibardine :—

Yours to. General Hamilton came here this moment, and he being marched with the whole army towards Dumblain this night, I used the freedom on this sudden emergent to break it up; and my humble opinion is so soon as this comes to jour hand, you must send up all the provisions you can for Dumblain, for the army will certainly be in great want, for the Duke of Argyle with his whole army are in Dumblain, and ours within a mile of theirs all night under arms; his number is counted not to be above three thousand, and the Clans solely engage to give account of them with the assistance of a few horse. I am condemned with my cargo by Earl Mar's express orders (notwithstanding my earnest request to the contrary) to this place. I hope to-morrow will, with God's assistance, give us a good and safe passage over Forth. I shall forward yours to General Hamilton this night; in the meantime, for God's sake, be active as you value every thing that is dear to us all.—I am, yours,

Ja, Freebairn.

Braco Garrison, 12th November, 10 at Night. To Mr Colin Simpson of Whitehil, One of the Commissaries of the Army now at Tullibardine.

On 15th November the following letter was sent from Auchterarder to the Commissary j—

Sir,—I received yours, but the depute you thought to be here ran away on the first alarm, and we have been obliged to break open the mazarine at Tullibardine, as likewise this here, which latter we found empty. The bread at Tullibardine we are giving out to the army for fear of spoiling. I hope your migazines at Perth are very full of both meal and bread; for if the army should chance to come to their neighbourhood, there will be daily very great demands. 'Tis likewise necessary that good magazines of hay and oats be also provided, which I fear has not been minded much, which must be gone about without further delay.—I am, sir, your most humble servant,

Geo. Hamilton.

To Mr Simpson,
Commissary of Provisions.

About this time the following order was issued by the Committee for provisions :—

The Committee for Previsions propone that forty men of Pamnure's Regiment that have been accustomed to thresh, be sent out to Dalreoch, and ordered to cast in what corns are standing there belonging to Gleneagles, and thresh them out with all expedition; that a captain and two subalterns be sent along with them to oversee the work, and that each man be allowed twopence a day over and above his ordinary pay for their encouragement to work. Also, that other forty men with officers be sent out to Gleneagles, to thresh what corns are standing there, and in case they cannot be all imployed at once for want of barns and instruments, that they relieve one another by turns, and when the corns are dight, that some proper person be appointed to oversee the drying and milling of them, and to lay up the meal that shall be produced, at Tullibardine, for the use of the Army.

They likewise propone that all the sheep belonging to Glenergles, Tillicultry, the Dukes of Athole and Montrose's vassals be gathered together, and put into the parks of Gleneagles, which will be sufficient to grass them, and kept under a guard, for the use of the army.

J Graeme P..

The Earl of Mar, hearing that the Duke of Argyle was making great preparations to march against him, on 17th January issued the following order:—

Whereas it is absolutely necessary for our service and the publick safety that the enemy should be as much incommoded as possible, especially upon their march towards us, if they should attempt anything against us or our forces, and being this, can by no means be better effected than by destroying all the corn and forage, which may serve to support them on their march, and burning the houses and villages which may be necessary for quartering the enemy, which nevertheless it is our meaning should only be done in cast of absolute necessity, concerning which we have given our full instructions to James Graham, younger of Braco. These are, therefore, ordering and requiring you, how soon this order shall be put into your hands by the said James Graham, forthwith with the garrison under your command, to burn and destroy the village of Auchterarder, and all the houses, corn, and forage, whatsoever within the said town, so as they might be rendered entirely useless to the enemy. For doing whereof this shall be to you and all you employ a sufficient warrant. Given at our Court of Scoon, this 17th day of January, in the fifteenth year of our reign, 1715-16.

By His Majesty's command,


To Colonel Patrick Graham,
or the Commanding Officer
for the time of our
Garrison for Tullibardine.

An account of the burning of Auchterarder is given by Mr John Steedman, the minister of the parish, in a contemporary letter to Wodrow, the historian. Mr Steedman was a timorous man, and was afraid to preach his church while the neighbourhood was occupied by the Rebel Army. Mr William Reid, minister of the adjoining parish of Dunning, was of sterner material, and exchanged pulpits with his brother clergyman for several Sundays, conducting worship at Auchterarder with a loaded pistol hanging at his breast. In particular, he did so on Sunday, 10th September.

Mr Steedman states—"The only way the Clans were employed while they were here was in traversing the hills, shooting, and driving away all sheep, kine, and horse they could get their hands upon without ever asking the price; nor did they spare the very nolt that were for ploughing the ground, nor the cows of the poor folk that were giving milk for nourishing their poor young infants; but these were brought into the town wherever they could find them to the slaughter; nor were the rest of the rebels much better, taking poor people's corns out of their stacks, and what provision they found in the poor people's houses, without so much as a promise of payment except by and to a very few." He then proceeds with an "account of the management" in the burning of Auchterarder, "as a swatch of what they did elsewhere. Clanranald —not Allan Muidartach, the Captain of Clanranald who fell at Sheriffmuir, but his brother Ranald, who succeeded him as head of the sept—came to Auchterarder with about three hundred men with him at three o'clock in the morning in a very snowy and stormy night; and instead of warring people of their danger, never carried more friendly and kindly like than they did, till they began to put it in execution; and the first advertisement they gave of it was Clanranald's orders to his men to kindle straw and fall to their work, which immediately was done, so that the people had no time allowed them to carry out their effects; but anything they got preserved was for the most part with the hazard of their lives, which was the occasion of one Janet Miller, her death. There was not one house in all the town but what was set on fire, except one or two, and very few of these got preserved." The correspondent, who makes the excerpt from Mr Steedman's letter, adds, "that one Thomas Mitchell, who dwells near the town of Auchterarder in the parish, and who was an eye-witness to the burning and thereabout, told me that the Laird of Aberuthven got so many hands that he left nothing in his house before they set it on fire, but the Highlanders left not one prin's worth to him, but threw the very plenishing, sheets, tables, &c., into the flames. This Mr Clow confirms, having it from the Laird's own mouth; for Mr Clow went up to see his mother, who dwelt in Aberuthven, and has the mill in farming, where every stob was burned, and (the rebels) would not suffer her to take some corns that were both in the barn and kiln out of the same, but told her if she offered to take them out they would throw them in again."

Dunning also felt the effects of the proclamation. It is said to have been totally destroyed. Mr Steedman says that "Thomas Mitchell told him that the Highlanders at Dunning helped the people to some of the effects and bundles and to carry them out, but afterwards, knowing what and where the best of the people's effects were, robbed them of the most part of them." Mr Reid, who was not afraid to face the rebels at Auchterarder, now lay on his death-bed. The news of the destroyers' approach threw his wife into great consternation. Comforting her with the assurance that the Lord would not suffer a hair of his head to be touched, he directed his coffin to be hastily prepared. He expired on 28th January, and was at once interred to prevent the enemy insulting his remains. The leaders of the party came to the manse, which they destroyed, declaring that they were sorry they got not the old dog's bones to birsle in the flames of the house. To commemorate the burning at Dunning the historical Thorn Tree was then planted, which continues to flourish in a green old age.

Crieff was also burned, and the southmost arch of the bridge over the Earn was thrown down to obstruct the enemy's passage of the river. At Muthill the proclamation was carried out with great severity. Mr William Hally was then minister of the parish, whose settlement a few years before was obstructed by the Episcopalian and Jacobite parties. His wife's grandmother, who resided in the manse, was lying at the point of death when the enemy approached to bum the manse. Those that burned Muthill," says the Wodrow correspondent, "would not allow the house to be spared; but for some minutes, when Mr Hally, who is minister there, his wife's grandmother, who was just a-dying, though the minister went out and told them the old woman was just in the jaws of death, entreating them to spare the house only some minutes till she was expired, and they would carry out. But not one minute would they delay, but set flames to the house, so that they were necessitate to carry the old dying woman in sheets and blankets out of the house, who died in the forth carrying, and they laid her down in the snow, and streiked her, where the minister's wife—her oye (grandchild)—sat beside her, and the Highlandmen pulled the blankets, which were lying beneath the old woman upon the snow, from beneath her, and took them with them."

This order to burn was carried into effect at Auchterarder on the 25th of January. There had been a heavy snowstorm. On the 24th the Duke of Argyle marched to Dunblane with 200 horse, and, taking General Cadogan and as many more, went to view the roads as far as Auchterarder, and returned at night to their quarters. This put the Earl of Mar's army into a state of consternation, some of the smaller garrisons abandoning their posts, and retiring behind the River Earn, while many others repaired to the banks of that river, where they gave out that they were resolved to make a stand and fight the army commanded by the Duke of Argyle, and, having intelligence that his Grace had posted 3000 men, as his advance guard, at Dunblane and Down, they sent 3000 Highlanders of the garrisons of Braco, Tullibardine, and other neighbouring garrisons, who, pursuant to the Pretender's orders above-mentioned, burned the towns and villages of Auchterarder, Crieff, Blackford, Dunning, and Muthill, with what corns and forage they could not carry off; whereby the poor inhabitants were exposed to the open air in that stormy season, and it is said some poor decrepit people and children, who could not get fast enough out, were smothered in the flames."

The same day the Duke went to view the roads it thawed suddenly, and the thaw was followed by a great fall of snow, which was everywhere two or three feet deep, and suddenly froze again, which rendered the road extremely difficult, especially for the foot, inasmuch that some of the officers were of opinion that they ought not to march till the season was a little more settled; but his Grace having received positive orders from Court, resolved to surmount all difficulties, and march as soon as the artillery and remaining forces could join him.

On the 29th of January a detachment of 200 dragoons and 400 foot, with two pieces of cannon, approaching the Castle of Braco, the garrison then abandoned the Castle, and the troops when they came up found it deserted. The next morning the same detachment marched towards Tuliibardine to dislodge the rebels from thence, and to cover the country people, who, to the number of 2000 men, were employed is clearing the roads of snow, and making them otherwise practicable for the more commodious march of the army, which that day advanced to Auchterarder, where the rebels, having burned all the houses, as above stated, the poor soldiers had no lodging but the cold snow, nor any other covering but the canopy of heaven.

King James saw that the burning of Auchterarder and adjacent towns was a political blunder, and he endeavoured to efface the indignation which it had caused by issuing a proclamation in which he attempted to apologise for and explain the reasons which induced him to authorise such a cruel and unnecessary action, and to promise that reparation should be made for the damage sustained.

The proclamation is in the following terms:—

By the King a Declaration.

James R.

Whereas it was absolutely necessary for our service and the publick safety, that the villages of Auchterarder and Blackford should be burned and destroyed, to prevent the far greater inconvemences and hardships which must have ensued to our subjects had our clemency and tenderness prevailed upon us to preserve these places, we were therefore at last induced, from the strongest motives, tho' with the greatest reluctancy and unwillingness, to give our orders for the effect above mentioned, which we understand since have been put in execution. And in regard we came into this our ancient kingdom, with a sincere and fixed intention to ease and relieve all our subjects in general of the hardships and calamities which they have laboured under for these several years past; and being, therefore, most sensibly affected with the losses and sufferings of our good subjects by the devastation of these villages, which justly moves our compassion and tenderness towards them; and being, therefore, resolved to make them suitable reparation for the damages they have sustained on this occasion, and to the end they may be no losers thereby, it is, therefore, our will and pleasure, that all and sundry persons concerned do immediately prepare estimates of their several losses and sufferings, and that they deliver the same in writing to their several masters, so as we may order relief and reparation to be made to them for what losses and damages they have sustained in their houses, goods, furniture, and corns, or any other manner of way whatsoever. This we hope will be sufficient to convince them and all the world of the tender regard we have for our subjects, and of the part we bear in all their sufferings. And we hereby charge and command the ministers of the several Parish Churches of Auchterarder and Blackford publickly to read this our declaration to their several congregations immediately after Divine service, the two Sundays next after the date hereof to be affixed on the church doors, so as all the people concerned may have due notice of this our intention towards them, and may accordingly reap the benefit thereof, given at our Court of Scoon, this 26th day of January, 1716, and in the fifteenth year of our reign.

By His Majesty's command,


In addition to the foregoing notice of the Burning of Auchtcrarder and other towns, the following contemporary account, written by an eye-witness, is worthy of reproduction. It was originally published by the Maitland Club. See next chapter...

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