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3rd October 2017 - The Jacobite rebellion

Russell Hannah

President Brian Swaine welcomed members to the new season of Biggar Probus Club on Tuesday 3rd October.  The speaker for the day, Russell Hannah, needed little introduction given that he had given  a presentation to the club last year.  A gifted speaker, Russell introduced the audience to his subject “The Jacobite Rebellion, the inside view”.  The talk covered an extremely complex period in Scottish and British History from the deposing of King James II & VII in 1688 to the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and its aftermath.  At a brisk gallop we covered the rising in support of the Stuart dynasty in 1689 led by John Graham, Viscount Dundee.  Although victorious at the Battle of Killiecrankie, the rising failed through the death of Dundee at the battle.  On to the rising in 1715 led by John Erskine, Earl of Mar which petered out after the inconclusive Battle of Sheriffmuir.  A quick mention was then made of 1719 when a Jacobite army with Spanish troops in support was beaten at the Battle of Glenshiel which finished this rising as soon as it started.  Finally, Russell covered the details of the 1745 rising under Bonnie Prince Charlie – with all the ‘what ifs’ of a very complicated campaign.  From the raising of the Standard in Glenfinnan, on to the capture of Edinburgh and the Battle of Prestonpans and the march south as far as Derby.  Then the return north, threatening to burn Glasgow on the way, and the final defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.  Russell then showed us the typical weapons used by the Scottish clansmen of the time – targe, dirk and basket hilted broadsword as well as explaining the tactics of the “Highland charge”.  Finally, the sight of former Club President Ian Dewar dressed as a fully armed clansman in a version of a feileadh-mhor (or belted plaid) and blue bonnet will live long in the memory of club members.  After a Q & A session it was time to give Russell a well deserved vote of thanks for an excellent presentation of this fascinating period of  history.  Our next meeting is on Tuesday 17th October with a talk on ‘Women at War – what the Ladies did’.


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