The 1715 Jacobite Rebellion - One Man's revengejohn erskine, earl of mar. the commader of the jacobite force in scotland.

John Erskine, Earl of Mar.                                                King James VIII/III

The 1715 Jacobite Rebellion is probably the only rebellion that was started by one disgruntled man, who was able to play on the emotions of many different people, Scots and English. However the events which helped this particular Rebellion to rise, without any support from the Jacobite Court or France, date from the removal of King James VII/II, the last Stuart King, form the British throne.

The Earl of Mar raised the flag of Stuart on 6th September 1715. Two months later and one battle in Scotland and one in England - on the same day - another attempt to return the Stuart family to the British throne had failed.

The Battle of Flanks - 13th November 1715

The Battle of Sheriffmuir has been described many times before, which is made easy by the simplicity of the tactics of the two sides. The two right wings of the respective armies defeated their opposing wings, because of the nature of the ground and the troops opposing each side. The disposition of the Cavalry, in battles of that period, provided the swift attacks that mirrored the infantries stately advances. In this case, the British Army, though still forming battleline, had the cavalry on the wings of the infantry. This layout allows the infantry of the period, who fought in lines, to bring fire upon each other. In the British case, each Battalion of 13 companies would fire company by company in a staggered form. The cavalryon the flanks were there to be ready to run down the feeling troops, and if they defeat the enemy cavalry, to hit the slowmoving infantry in the side.

Grenadier of the 2nd Foot, in the year of 1715. (P. H. Smitherman, 1965).


At Sheriffmuir, the Jacobite Army had misplaced the squadrons who showed have been on their left; they had placed themselves in the centre of the army. This meant that there were twice the number of squadrons in the Jacobite right wing, which was a major factor in the rapid defeat of the British left. This misplacement also meant the Jacobiet left was left undefended and thus Clan Macrae and others were attacked by infantry firepower and cavalry sword. Here, the Duke of Argyle was following the attack of the British right, and so lost contact with his defeated left, while Mar was the mirror image. The Master of Sinclair, a squadron commander who wrote a memoirs on the Rebellion, was on the Jacobite right and took part on the charge. However his relatively untouched squadron did not move upon the returning British right, despite the Jacobite cavalry being in a stronger position. This reason was that Mar appeared reluctant to attack, probaly in wanting to chance a second time; which would have made him victorious.

There are several local tales about the British Army' s left wing fleeing towards Dunblane, being rundown by highlanders and slaughtered. The remaining Jacobite forces numbered 4000 left, opposed to 1000 British troops, which statically meant the Jacobites were the likely victors if Battle was resumed. However, inaction by Mar allowed the British force to retire to Dunblane and free to retire south. Mar returned to Perth, where several units left to return home, which reduced the army to below 5000 men that never increased. News from Preston told that the English Jacobite forces had been soundly defeated, and that the Jacobites in Inverness had also surrendered. Argyle’s force progressively grew in size, with 3000 Dutch troops arriving in December.

A battle also occurred at Preston on the same day, between the English Jacobite force under Earl of Derwentwater (with Scottish Jacobite troops) and a British force. This battle was more decisive than Sheriffmuir, with the English Jacobites conclusive defeated as they had allowed themselves to be surrounded in the town, and had not conducted any counter-attacks upon the encircling British troops.

The "Act of Union with England" (1707), the last Act by the then Scottish Parliament, and separate to the "Act of Union with Scotland Act" of 1706.


Lord Belhaven's Speech in Parliament on the second article of the Treay (Act of Union).



A map for a cycle route around the Battlefield, from Dunblane to Stirling through Bridge of Allan. Based on the Green Travel Map at http://www.dunblane.info/







Battle of Sheriffmuir.
Battle of Sheriffmuir.
This print from an unknown Dutch artist depicts the British army still forming on the right as the Jacobite army prepares to attack.
The unreadiness of the British troops on the left to receive a charge because they were still forming line, is partly while they were pushed back with ease by the Jacobite Right.
While on the Jacobite left, the lack of cavalry meant the Highland foot could not face a twin attack by British foot and horse without splitting their attention to one or the other.
1707 Act of Union with England
1707 Act of Union with England
On the 1st May 1707, the Act of Union with England, the last Act of the Scottish Government, came into force.
The Act saw the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Up until 1707, England and Scotland shared the same monarch but were independent countries. The Act ensured a Protestant monarch was to take the throne after Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch.
There was enormous opposition to the document in Scotland as many feared England would reduce Scotland to a vassal state. However, despite the several broken agreements, the uniting of England and Scotland created a more unified Kingdom which was to be an enemy of France for the next 200 years.