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A fall of white petals

Thanks to William G. A. Shaw of Easter Lair for this article.

On April 16th, we honour the Jacobites who stood shoulder to shoulder at Culloden. Exhausted, hungry, out manned and out gunned, these brave men of The '45 answered their officers calls of 'Claymore' with the resoloute cock of firelocks and the determined scrape of drawing blades.

The Jacobites fought for many reasons. Some for the 'King over the Water'. Others at the behest of their chief or laird.  Some mustered alongside friends and family, or went out to fight against the Union.  And some fought just for the fun of a good creach against the Sassenach.

The story of the Shaws of Crathienaird, Glenisla and Glenshee in the 1745 Rising is only the tiniest footnote in the history of 'An Bliadhna Tearlach'.  However, like many other families during The '45, their actions are a small yet golden thread in the tapestry of the history of the Highlands.

The pillar of our sept was Donnachaidh 'Riem Aon' Shaw of Crathienaird, or Duncan the 'Man of Power'.  A Jacobite at heart, Duncan of Crathienaird was trusted by both the Williamite government and by his Jacobite friends and relatives.  Duncan was Chamberlain to the Earl of Mar, and had a Captains commission to command a company of 20 men for the local ‘Watch’. He was also Factor for Balmoral, Abergeldie, and Invercauld.  After Crathienaird's death in 1723, his sons Jacobite proclivities began to bubble.  By 1745, they reached the boiling point.

When Lord Lewis Gordon initiated the Deeside Jacobite movement in 1745, he appointed Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie as Colonel. Monaltrie, or the 'Baron Ban' was a very close friend of the Crathienaird, Glenisla and Glenshee Shaws.  When Monaltrie mustered the Farquharsons, many Shaws joined him, or joined the regiment of their neighbour, the Earl of Airlie. Risking all with the Baron Ban and young Lord David (Ogilvy), the Shaws fought at both Falkirk and Culloden*.

Captain James Shaw of Daldownie was Crathienaird's eldest son.  He was noted as 'Servitor to the Laird of Invercauld', but happily joined the Regiment of his close friend Monaltrie.  After the '45, Daldownie was involved in the (literal) cover up of the infamous Sargeant Arthur Davies murder, recommending Davies's body be buried privately in the moss to avoid bringing down even more Hanoverian trouble to the area. 

Duncan Shaw, was Daldownie's eldest son. He lived down at Cortachy, and was Factor to Lord Airlie. Duncan acted as 'Depute Lord Lieutenant of Angus' for the rebels under Airlie.  He took to the heather after the regiment disbanded.

John Shaw of Drumfork was Daldownie's second son and was described as a 'Rebell Captain' in the '45. John married Margaret, the eldest daughter of John Shaw of Kinrara, Rothiemurchus.  Kinrara fought with the Clan Chattan, and was killed after Culloden.

Thier cousin, John Shaw of  Riverney was Crathienairds' second son. He joined the Farquharson Company of Lord Ogilvy’s Regiment, serving as an Ensign. After Culloden, John became a fugitive and took to the heather. When he returned home, he was so changed that even his friends barely recognized him.

Donald Shaw was Crathienaird’s third son. He too was an Ensign in the Farquharson Company of Airlie's Regiment.  After the regiment stood down, he hid for a while in the wild areas around Glenshee and Glenisla.  Donald later dodged his way at night to the coast and found a ship bound for Holland, where he served as an officer in the Dutch army. He eventually returned to Scotland and married a bonny lass from Dundee.

'Cruiket' Duncan Shaw of the Balloch was Crathienaird's fourth son. Unlike his father, this Duncan's ethos as one of gentleness and peace.  While his brothers and cousins belted their plaids and gathered claymore, biodag, pistols, firelocks and oatmeal and marched off with the Farquharsons and Ogilvys, Duncan stayed at home, and took care of his brother’s families and farms.  As word of Culloden and as his brothers filtered back to Glen Isla, Duncan's faith and fortitude was paramount. He endangered his own life and loyally smuggled food, clothing, goods and Intel on local movements of the Hanoverian military to his brothers and cousins in hiding.

Alister Shaw of the Auchavan was Crathienaird's fifth son, and was a Captain in the Ogilvy Regiment.  He was shot in the thigh by a carbine round at Falkirk. Undeterred, he skewered the English dragoon with this claymore, killing him. Auchavan also fought at Culloden.  At his funeral, Lord Airlie placed his foot on Alister’s grave and said: “Here lies one who never turned his back on a friend or an enemy”.  Alister's third wife was a daughter of Donald Shaw of Dalnavert in Rothiemurchus.

Farquhar Shaw, Duncan 'Riem Aon's' the sixth son, was also ‘out with the Farquharsons.

William Shaw of Broughdearg and Little Forter was the youngest Captain in Ogilvy’s II Battalion. After the collapse of the rising, William, too 'lurked' in the heather around Glenshee and Glen Isla. He narrowly evaded capture a number of times and had many adventures. The 1868 ‘Memorials of the Clan Shaw’ tells how young William was hiding around Dalruzion in when a troop of dragoons suddenly raided the farm.  A cousin, Ms. Rattray knew that William was nearby, and to give a warning, coquettishly started a conversation in the kitchen with the regimental drummer. She (probably with batting of eyelashes and a beguiling decolletage) pretended not to know what a drum sounded like. The drummer, puffed himself up and went out to the back court and gave her a full demonstration. Out front, the English officer in command of the raid dashed back to silence the drummer, but it was too late.  The tattoo alerted, William and his brothers nearby. At one point William was living in a cave near the north side of Mount Blair, where his brother 'Cruiket' Duncan regularly brought him food. William survived his ordeals, and married a second daughter of poor John Shaw of Kinrara.  Little Forter in Glenisla is still owned by the Shaw family today.

Cousin Alister Shaw of Inchrory lived over the hill up in Strathavon.  Inchrory cheerfully 'went out' with the Farquharsons with his friend Monaltrie. Inchrory was also involved in the heroic post-Culloden exploits of another friend, the famous Jacobite warrior poet John Roy Stuart (whose mother, by the way, was a Shaw of Guislich).

....As we remember the men of Culloden, let us also remember the women, children and elders who after that terrible battle, stood forlornly at the door, watching down the glen....hoping for the return of their loved ones who never came home. All these innocents suffered in poverty and worry, under oppression and threat, as their tartan and cattle and bagpipes and language and eventually their ery way of life was stripped from them…yet still they held true to the motto 'Tandem Triumphans'.


*At Culloden, the Ogilvy regiment was ordered to the second line's far right. As the battle impetus collapsed, they wheeled off to the right flank, and about faced several times.  Withdrawing in formation, they provided covering fire to keep Lord Mark Ker's dragoons in check.  This enabled part of the remaining Jacobite right wing precious time to flee. The regiment withdrew to Glen Clova in Angus, where they disbanded on 21, April.  While some of the regiments units caused a bit of trouble in the area for a while, many of the men soon disbursed throughout the wilder parts of the Perthshire and Angus Highlands.



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