Jacobite rising of 1689

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The Jacobite Rising of 1689
Part of Jacobite risings
Defence of Dunkeld.jpg
The Battle of Dunkeld
DateMay 1689 – May 1690
Result Victory for Scottish Williamites
Jacobite Standard (1745).svg Jacobites
 Kingdom of France
Flag of the Orange Order.svg Williamites
Commanders and leaders
James VII of Scotland
John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee
William II of Scotland
General Hugh Mackay

The Jacobite rising of 1689 was the first of a series of risings to take place with the aim of restoring James VII, the last Catholic monarch, and later his descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne of Scotland, after they had been deposed by Parliament in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Supporters of the exiled Stuart kings were known as 'Jacobites' (from Jacobus, the Latin for James) and the associated political movement as Jacobitism.


The Restoration[edit]

In 1660 the Restoration of Charles II began and was complete by 1661.[1] Scotland played no part in the restoration of Charles, but he promised to preserve the Church of Scotland.[1] In March 1661 the Scottish Parliament passed the General Act Recissory, which restored episcopacy where Bishops were appointed by the King, and holders of public office were compelled to renounce the Covenants.[1] The Scottish Presbyterians who clung to the Covenants became known as Covenanters and held their own religious services in the open air, in remote places and conducted by ministers who became fugitives from the law.[1] Government dragoons searched the countryside arresting Covenanters and suppressing their services by force.[1]

Covenanter rebellion[edit]

The Covenanters soon armed themselves in open revolt.[1] About 3000 of them marched towards Edinburgh but were defeated at the Battle of Rullion Green on 28 November 1666.[2] On 1 June 1679 the Covenanter army defeated the royalist army that was led by John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee (also known as of Claverhouse) at the Battle of Drumclog.[2] The Covenanters were later defeated at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge on 22 June 1679.[2] Over 1000 Covenanter prisoners were escorted in chains to Greyfriars Kirk which became a concentration camp.[2] By the end of July, 400 had been released but the rest were shipped off to Barbados in November and many of them drowned when the ship they were on was wrecked off Orkney.[2]

The Killing Time[edit]

Between 1680 and 1688 occurred an era that became known as The Killing Time.[3] The Duke of York (who later became James II of England and VII of Scotland in 1685), who himself was a secret Catholic, was inclined towards tolerance and did his best to foster trade and industry.[3] The penal laws that were originally aimed at Catholics now became aimed at the Covenanters.[3] James left Scotland in 1682 after which government sponsored cruelty which included arbitrary arrest, torture and deportation to the West Indies reached new levels.[3] Argyll's Rising against the king took place in 1685 but failed and Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll was captured and executed.[4]

The Glorious Revolution[edit]

There was rapid opposition to King James, which included support from Protestant forces in Holland, where James’ son-in-law William of Orange hoped to gain the thrones of both England and Scotland.[4] In what became known as the Glorious Revolution, James was deposed and replaced by William of Orange, who reigned as William III of England and William II of Scotland.[4] The new monarch did not support episcopacy, and Presbyterianism was restored in Scotland.[5]

Jacobite rising[edit]

Support of episcopacy was strong in the north-east and became the centre of a Jacobite party led by John Graham of Claverhouse who had been made Viscount Dundee by James VII.[5] Dundee raised a force that held Edinburgh Castle for the deposed king and then organised an army that was mainly made up of Highlanders.[5] They were confronted in Perthshire by a force from the new government that was led by General Hugh Mackay, but in the ensuing Battle of Killiecrankie which took place on 27 July 1689 the government force was overwhelmed by the Jacobite Highlanders and defeated.[5] The Jacobites sustained heavy losses as well, including their leader the Viscount Dundee.[5] This victory raised the hopes of the Jacobite rebels, but their army of 5,000 men was defeated by government forces at the Battle of Dunkeld on 21 August 1689 by 1,200 men of the Cameronian Regiment (followers of the Presbyterian Covenanter Richard Cameron).[5] During the battle the leader of the government force, William Cleland, was killed and so command fell to Captain George Munro, 1st of Auchinbowie who led them to victory.[6] With the Jacobite defeat at Dunkeld, the rising was over.[5]


Although the majority of people in Scotland were in favour of Presbyterianism, King William III was antagonised by the Church of England to maintain support for episcopacy in Scotland.[7] A moderate form of Presbyterianism was established, Patronage was abolished, and all of the surviving ministers who had been ejected since 1661 were restored to their parishes.[7] The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland met for the first time since 1653, in October 1690.[7] None of the 180 delegates came from the north-east where episcopacy had been strongest.[7] Only three Cameronian ministers conformed to the new scheme.[7] The men of the Cameroninan movement and regiment had initially been enthusiastic and supported the Revolution, but soon became disenchanted with the new regime.[7] This later led to many breakaway movements in the Church of Scotland.[7]

The first major crisis to hit the reign of William III was the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692, where unarmed civilians of the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were massacred by government troops,[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mackay, Dr. James (1999). Scottish History. Bath: Parragon. pp. 220–221. ISBN 0752530380.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mackay, Dr. James (1999). Scottish History. Bath: Parragon. p. 222. ISBN 0752530380.
  3. ^ a b c d Mackay, Dr. James (1999). Scottish History. Bath: Parragon. p. 224. ISBN 0752530380.
  4. ^ a b c Mackay, Dr. James (1999). Scottish History. Bath: Parragon. pp. 226–227. ISBN 0752530380.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Mackay, Dr. James (1999). Scottish History. Bath: Parragon. pp. 228–229. ISBN 0752530380.
  6. ^ Inglis, John Alexander (1911). The Monros of Auchinbowie and Cognate Families. Edinburgh: T. & A. Constable. pp. 40–44.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Mackay, Dr. James (1999). Scottish History. Bath: Parragon. p. 230. ISBN 0752530380.
  8. ^ Mackay, Dr. James (1999). Scottish History. Bath: Parragon. p. 232. ISBN 0752530380.

See also[edit]