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23 Jan 2024
updated 23 Jan 2024

On 27 August 1715 John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar (1675 – 1732), invited members of the Scottish nobility and Clan leaders to 'a grand hunting match' at his estate at Braemar. However, the hunt was merely a front for the start of one of the most important events in Scottish and British eighteenth-century history, the 1715 Jacobite Rising.

The Rising was a reaction to growing political unrest in Scotland, England and Ireland, instigated by the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and heightened by the Act of Union of 1707. On the death of the last reigning Stuart monarch, Queen Anne in 1714 the line of succession passed to the Hanoverians. A power struggle between the two main political parties ensued: the Whigs supported the Protestant Hanoverians, and the Tories who supported the return of the exiled Stuarts.

On 6 September, Mar raised the Jacobite standard and proclaimed James Francis Edward Stuart the lawful King of Scotland, England and Ireland. Rallying those loyal to the Jacobite cause, Mar marched confidently from Aberdeenshire to Perth and captured the city unopposed.

The defining battles of the Rising, the Battle of Sheriffmuir and the Battle of Preston, were fought almost concurrently. While the engagement at Preston saw a Government victory with many of the Jacobites captured, the result at Sheriffmuir was inconclusive and after the conflict Mar and his men retreated to Perth. Jacobite numbers dwindled and Government troops began to advance north. Mar, the man who had begun the Rising, made the decision to end it, and departed for France with James on 4 February 1716.

(Click here for a summary of the Stuart kings, queens and pretenders.)