Clan Carruthers, Holmains

Clan Carruthers: Carruthers and the Jacobites

Jacobite Banner

The Jacobite cause was an underground dynastic and cultural movement that supported the restoration of the main line of the House of Stuart to the throne. It took its name from Jacobus, Latin for James.

It was initiated after the ‘Glorious Revolution’ in 1688 and supported the deposed Roman Catholic King, James II of England’s and VII of Scotland, by William III (of Orange) the husband of James’s daughter, Mary II who was Protestant.

This in turn instituted, due to the lack of an heir from either Mary or her sister Anne, the 1701 Act of Settlement, which precluded any future British monarch from being a Roman Catholic. This meant that James II and his son Charles Edward Stuart also known as the Young Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie, we’re excluded from taking the thrown by law.

Although there were English Jacobite sympathisers amongst the Anglican Tories who believed in Divine Right, the Jacobite movement remained stronger in Scotland and Wales, again for mostly dynastic reasons, and in Ireland, where it was mainly for religious reasons.

Therefore, unlike the rebellion of 1715, the ‘45 came out of nowhere. As far as the Whigs, who had ruled Britain as a one-party state since 1714 were concerned, the Jacobite threat was over. But with the rejection of the Tories in England, the continuing persecution of Catholics in Ireland and the on-going sense of betrayal with respect to the Union among a sizeable minority in Scotland, the Jacobite movement remained alive in all three kingdoms.

Panoramic View of Culloden

The ’45 Rebellion

According to Professor Daniel Szechi (author of The Jacobites: Britain and Europe 1688-1788), the Jacobite King James III’s energetic and handsome son, Charles Edward Stuart, (Bonnie Prince Charlie) had also come to represent a bright new hope for many Jacobites. Then in 1739, for the first time in twenty years, Britain became involved in a major European war.

Both France and Spain’s interest in supporting a Jacobite revolution was revived, and in 1743-4 the French government secretly allied with King James and the English Tories and planned to launch an invasion of England led by Charles Edward. At the last minute, hesitation on the part of the Tories, bad weather and the action of the Royal Navy prevented the invasion. The relieved British government soon released the Tory leaders swept up in a wave of arrests when news of the French plan broke, and the troops brought over to fight any invasion went back to the war in Flanders. As the months passed and the Jacobites kept their heads down, government control relaxed and life carried on. Meanwhile in France the Jacobite prince was quietly preparing his own daring venture.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Depending on how you view it, Charles Edward’s plan was either foolhardy or brilliant. By 1745 many French merchant companies were involved in financing privateering ventures to attack British shipping. With the help of Irish merchants in Nantes in France, Charles Edward was thus able to prepare a small secret expedition to Scotland without alerting either the British or French governments. On 5 July 1745 his two ships (Du Teillay and Elisabeth), laden with money, arms and Irish troops in French service set sail for Scotland. They were stopped by a patrolling Royal Navy warship and fought a hard action that so damaged the Elisabeth that she had to return to France, but, nothing daunted, Charles Edward sailed on to Scotland and on 23 July landed on Eriskay, an island of the Outer Hebrides off the northwest of Scotland.

He managed to gain support in Scotland by skilfully presenting the Scots Jacobites with a problem: they could rise to follow him and possibly have to take on the military might of the British government, or they could betray their principles and abandon him to possible capture and death. The first response of many Scots Jacobites was to refuse to act without major French support, but Charles tilted the balance in favour of going it alone to begin with by promising them that he had assurances the French would invade and the English Jacobites would rise if he raised Scotland and invaded England with a Jacobite army. Most Scots Jacobites were persuaded to follow him on this basis, and so began the ’45.

However Foreign support was vital to the Jacobites in both the rebellions of 1715 and 1745-46. Many British Jacobites based their participation in the rebellions on the arrival of foreign assistance. The French support for the rebellion of 1715 was hampered by the death of Louis XIV in 1714. The Duke of Orleans succeeded Louis XIV and with the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht still standing and his own designs on becoming heir-apparent the Duke needed peace and an understanding with Britain.

In the 1745-46 rising the French ship “Le Prince Charles” carrying funds in support of the cause was intercepted by the Royal Navy. This forced the yong Pretender into the early and fateful battle of Culloden, situated east of Inverness, in 1746. The lack of financial aid sounded the death knell to both rebellions. This was the final confrontation of the ’45 Rebellion. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart were decisively defeated by Hanoverian forces commanded by the ‘Butcher’, Duke of Cumbarland. The figures suggest that up to 2000 Jacobites were killed, and nearly 400 wounded while the English lost around 400 men, with 1000 wounded.

Ruthven Barracks

Following the battle, the Jacobites’ Lowland units, comprising approximately 1500 men to include, it is assumed some Carruthers, headed south to Ruthven Barracks in Badenoch. The stayed there until they received orders from Charles Edward Stuart to the effect that all was lost and to “shift for himself as best he could”. By 18th of April 1746 the Jacobite army was disbanded and had faded back to their homes, not necessarily to be forgotten.

Carruthers of Rammerscales – Jacobites

The House of Carruthers of Rammerscales began with Simon Carruthers, a younger son of John Carruthers, 5th of Holmains and 1st Baron. He recieved a charter of the lands of Rammerscales in 1557, from his father although the lands had been in the family since 1542. Prior to the charter, Rammerscales formed part of the lands of Holmains and there exists a charter of 1361 from David II who granted Holmains to the family of Carruthers, and in 1375, Roger Carruthers had confirmed to him in a grant from George of Dunbar, Earl of March, the lands of Holmains and Dalton which it is suggested, included Rammerscales.

Simon’s son John became the 2nd of Rammerscales and it was his brother Alexander who assisted Holmains on their assault in 1617 on the Minister of Mouswald. Robert Carruthers, 3rd laird  acted as Baron Baillie for the chiefly house of Holmains.

It was the 4th Laird, Robert of Rammerscales who was a Jacobite supporter in both the ’15 and ’45 rebellions, although legend suggests he wasn’t on his own and other members of the family supported him. It is reputed that Robert along with others at the Lochmaben horse races, were overheard toasting the ‘King across the water’. This was in support of the Old Pretender, Charles’s father showing allegiance to the house of Stuart. This was carried out by holding or passing a glass of wine or whisky over a bowl of water.

After the Jacobite army was disbanded, those who took part and supported Charles Edward were dealt with severely. Robert was caught and after being tried at Westminster, he had his lands confiscated and sadly he died abroad.

Ramerscales 1930’s

According to the history of the House of Rammerscales which goes on to say; Despite the Border wars and feuds Carruthers held their estates and though it is not known whether the descent was through the eldest sons the name of Carruthers of Holmains appears in an Act of Parliament of 1587 as being one of the lairds of the Western Marches who could be relied upon to keep order. Also the family appears in Moneypenny’s Chronicle of the same year as one of the 65 lairds and gentlemen re-siding in the Stewartry and Dumfriesshire.

So far as is know for the next one hundred years the lands remained in the possession of the Carruthers family. The next date that can be firmly established is 1687 when Robert Carruthers married Margaret Dalziell and was given Rammerscales from the family estates. The Marriage Stone that commemorated this can be seen today built into the south wing of the stables at Rammerscales itself.

There is a suspicion that it is from the House of Carruthers of Rammerscales that our American Commissioner and Vice-Convenor; Dana Caruthers Norton hails from but gaps in the puzzle still exist. An American by birth from Kansas she is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her pedigree is therefore well established on both sides of the Atlantic and we are proud to have her with us.

Clan Carruthers Society WP footnote grey

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