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Cairns, Memorials and Plaques Sponsored by The 1745 Association

There are any number of memorials of one sort and another concerned with the Jacobite Risings that occurred between 1689 and 1746. We are hoping to produce a definitive list of all (or most) of them but thought we would begin with a few of those that have had 1745 Association sponsorship.

The first is that at Loch nan Uamh where Prince Charles Edward Stuart departed for France after his wanderings in the Highland and Islands following the Defeat of the Jacobite forces at the Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746. The cairn was erected by the 1745 Association in 1956. You can read more about it here. Loch nan Uamh is also the place where the Prince first set foot on mainland Great Britain on 25 July 1745.

If you are in the area, you can find the cairn on the A830. O.S Map 40 (Mallaig & Glenfinnan) Ref NM720844

Cairn at Loch nan Uamh

Cairn plaque at Loch nan Uamh

Prince's Cairn Loch nan Uamh
Plaque on Loch nan Uamh Cairn

Signpost on A830 - Road to the Isles

Loch nan Uamh

You can't miss it now
Sunny day at Loch nan Uamh

Cairn at Highbridge

Highbridge is close to Spean Bridge and was the main crossing point over the River Spean from 1736 until Thomas Telford built a new bridge over the river at the pace that is now Spean Bridge in 1819. Highbridge was allowed to fall into disrepair and eventually collapse.

Highbridge can be located on O.S. Map 34 (Fort Augustus and Glen Albyn) Ref 200820

The cairn was erected in 1994.

There is a letter on the Letters page remarking that the path from the cairn to the bridge is in a poor state of repair and not suitable for anyone who is neither as fit nor perhaps as young as they used to be. I also point out that even at the best of times the path is steep in places, the boardwalk does not extend all the way down and is quite likely to be slippery. The bridge itself is in a very dangerous state and no one should attempt to access it.

Highbridge over the Spean

Highbridge over the Spean

Cairn Highbridge
Highbridge c. 1899

Highbridge today (Photo Phil Dobson)

The text on the cairn at Highbridge reads as follows:

Action at Highbridge

Near this spot on August 16 1745, the first action of the “Forty-Five” took place. Donald MacDonell of Tirnadris, with eleven men and a piper from Keppoch’s clan, by making use of the now demolished High Bridge Inn and surrounding trees to conceal the smallness of their number, succeeding in preventing two companies of the 1st Royal Regiment of Foot (later the Royal Scots) from crossing the High Bridge over the River Spean. This force consisting of about eighty-five men had been sent from Fort Augustus to reinforce the garrison at Fort William.

The third cairn is the one commemorating the life of John Roy Stewart

Born at the Knock of Kincardine John RoyJohn Roy Stuart Stewart was son of the last Stewart Baron of Kincardine. He rose to be a well known officer before leaving the service of George II to join the Jacobites. Stewart raised the Edinburgh Regiment of approximately 200 men and fought at Culloden under the Green Flag of Kincardine. Escaping from Culloden Field on April 16, 1745 he returned to Strathspey, remaining a fugitive in the area before joining the Bonnie Prince at Ben Alder and from there to Loch Nan Uamh on the West Coast and flight to France.

The inscription on the cairn reads:

Iain Ruadh Stiùbhart 1700-1752

Faisg air seo rugadh is thogadh Iain Ruadh Stiùbhart, fear de gaisgich is na bàird as inmeile a dh'èirich an adhbhar a' Phrionnsa. Thog Rèisimeid Dhùn Eideann anns an robh deagh-chuid à Srath Spè agus choisinn e cliù airson a ghaisge aig Sliabh a' Chlamhain, An Eaglais Bhreac agus Cùil Lodair. "Cuimhnich na daoine bho'n tàinig thu"

John Roy Stuart 1700-1752

Born and raised near here was the celebrated Gaelic poet John Roy Stuart, one of the most heroic figures of the '45 Rising. A devoted Jacobite, John Roy raised the Edinburgh Regiment which also included men from Strathspey. He won great acclaim for his bravery at Prestonpans, Falkirk and Culloden. "Remember the people from whence you came."


Abridged extract From In the Shadow of Cairngorm by The Rev William Forsyth (1900)

JOHN ROY as he was commonly called, was one of the men who came to the front in the rising of the "Forty-five." Scott, in "Tales of a Grandfather," calls him "a most excellent partisan officer." Chambers, in his "History of the Rebellion," says "he was the beau-ideal of a clever Highland officer." His courage and resource, his devotion and trustworthiness, his gift of song, and the culture and military skill which he had acquired from service at home and in France, made him a great favourite with Prince Charlie.---- Both were fighting in the same cause, and animated by the same hope. When the Prince came to his kingdom, then John Roy and others would get their rights. The "auld Stewarts back," Scotland would be Scotland again. In "The Lyon in Mourning" a touching account is given of one of the last meetings of the Prince and John Roy. The Prince, after his many wanderings, had reached Badenoch, and was in hiding in "The Cage." He sent for John Roy, and, when he heard that he was at hand, "he wrapped himself up in a plaid, and lay down, in order to surprise John Roy the more when he should enter the hut. In the door there was a pool, or puddle, and when John Roy was entering the Prince peeped out of the plaid, which so surprised John Roy that he cried out, ‘Oh, Lord! my master,’ and fell down in a faint." This simple incident brings out vividly the relation in which they stood to each other, the kindly humour and cheerfulness of the Prince after all his trials, and the unfailing love and loyalty of his follower.

John Roy was the son of Donald, grandson of John, the last of the Barons of Kincardine. His father was twice married. His second wife was Barbara Shaw, daughter of John Shaw of Guislich, a descendant of the Shaws of Rothiemurchus. It is said she was fifty-three years old when she married, and John was her only child. ---- John Roy was born at Knock, Kincardine, in 1700. He received a good education, and his position in society and residence in France and Portugal gave him a higher culture than was common in his native strath. ----- John Roy, having cast in his lot with the Jacobites, took an active part in the fighting in Flanders. He was in the battle of Fontenoy, 11th May, 1745. ---- It was on the 19th August, 1745, that the "Bratach Bàn," "the White Banner," was unfurled at Glenfinnan. The news of the rising soon reached France, and many a brave soldier, whose heart was in the Highlands, came hurrying home to take part in the struggle. Among these was John Roy. He joined Prince Charlie at Blair in Athole, and brought with him letters with offers of service from several men of note, but they proved of little value. As is common in times of excitement, the promise was better than the performance. At Edinburgh, where John Roy had been formerly stationed with the Scots Greys, he had no difficulty in raising a regiment. It was called "the Edinburgh Regiment," and though mainly made up of recruits from the mixed crowd that thronged the grey Metropolis of the North, it contained not a few men from Perthshire and Speyside, who added much to its strength and mettle. John Roy did good service at Prestonpans. ----- The next notice we have of him is at Falkirk. Some of his old Dragoons were there under Colonel Whitney. Whitney recognised his friend, and cried out "Ha are you there? We shall soon be up with you." Stewart shouted in reply, "You shall be welcome. You shall have a warm reception." The words were hardly spoken when the gallant Colonel was struck by a chance shot, and fell dead from the saddle. The battle of Falkirk was indecisive. Both sides claimed the victory.

"Says brave Lochiel, ‘Pray have we won?
I see no troop. I hear no gun.’
Says Drummond, ‘Faith the battle’s done,
I know not how or why, man.’"

In the retreat northwards, John Roy was of great service, not only from his skill and resource, but from his intimate knowledge of the country. His Regiment is noticed in almost every Order, as specially singled out for patrol and scouting. ---- John Roy commanded the Edinburgh Regiment at Culloden, which formed part of the first line that bore the brunt of the battle. It was said of him afterwards by one of Cumberland’s captains that "if all the Highlanders had fought as well as the officer with the red head and the little hand, the issue might have been different." He himself poured forth his grief in a "Lament for the Brave who had fallen on Drummossie Muir," in which he attributes the defeat to the absence of the Macphersons and many of the best men, and the fierce blinding storm that blew in the faces of the Prince’s soldiers. He also not obscurely hints at treachery. His faith in Lord George Murray had been shaken, and he knew that others of the Highland Chiefs shared this feeling. Long afterwards his son, referring to a reverse in America, expressed the old sentiment, "From April battles and Murray generals good Lord deliver us." John Roy seems to have gone at first to Gorthleg. He also attended the gathering at Ruthven Castle.

Then when the scattering came, he sought refuge in his own country. The pursuers were soon on his track. He was outlawed and large rewards offered for his apprehension; but like his Prince, though often in peril, he was never betrayed. One of his hiding-places was a cave in the face of Craig-odhrie, which still bears his name. From the loophole of this retreat he could look far and wide. Doubtless he often spied the red-coats in search of him, but he never lost heart. In his own vigorous, though somewhat rude verses he could say—

"The Lord’s my targe, I will be stout,
With dirk and trusty blade,
Though Campbells come in flocks about
I will not be afraid.

"The Lord’s the same as heretofore,
He’s always good to me;
Though red-coats come a thousand more,
Afraid I will not be.

"Though they the woods do cut and burn,
And drain the lochs all dry;
Though they the rocks do overturn
And change the course of Spey;

"Though they mow down both corn and grass,
Nay, seek me underground;
Though hundreds guard each road and pass—
John Roy will not be found."

He joined Prince Charles, as already mentioned, at Ben Alder, and from there the party, on the 14th September, moved to Corvoy, then to Aitnacarrie, Glencanger, and Borrodale. On the 20th September they embarked on board a frigate that had been waiting for them, and sailed for France. John Roy never returned. The Rev. John Grant, in the old Statistical Account of Abernethy (1792) says that he died in 1752, and adds in his shrewd, pithy way—"By this means his talents were lost to himself and to his country. He had education without being educated; his address and his figure showed his talents to great advantage. He was a good poet, in Gaelic and in English."

To read part of "Culloden Day" by John Roy Stewart please visit the Jacobite Song Page

Biographical Entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (courtesy Mr Stelios Rigopoulos)

John Roy Stewart (Ian Ruadh Stiubhart) (c.1700–1747), Jacobite soldier and poet, was born at Knock, Kincardine, Inverness-shire, the son of Donald Stewart and his second wife, Barbara Shaw, who was reputedly fifty-two at the time of his birth. He belonged to the Stewarts of Kincardine, Inverness-shire, who had sold their property to the Duke of Gordon in 1683. He was probably the John Stewart commissioned as a lieutenant of an additional company to be added to the Inniskilling dragoons on 25 December 1726, serving as adjutant in 1727. He was certainly recruiting in Inverness in 1727, but was probably placed on half pay in 1729. In the absence of employment he then probably left Britain to serve in the French army and he was present at the siege of Philipsburg from where on 12 June 1734 he reported the death of James Fitzjames, Duke of Berwick.

By 1736 Stewart was engaged in Jacobite intrigues, being arrested and incarcerated in Inverness prison, but he escaped with the connivance of Simon Fraser, twelfth Lord Lovat, who sent him with a message to the court of King James III & VIII in Rome. From 1739 he seems to have spent most of his time at Boulogne in France. With the outbreak of war he was again employed in the French army and fought at Fontenoy on 30 April 1745. In August he received leave from the French army and having travelled through Ghent he arrived in the highlands, joining the Jacobite army at Blair Atholl on 30–31 August 1745. His first task was to raise a regiment in the north, but after the battle of Prestonpans on 21 September 1745 he was ordered to raise a regiment in Edinburgh. Initially he seems to have attracted some of General Cope's defeated army, but soon they all left him. Stewart was opposed to the decision to invade England, later referring to it as `the first great error committed' (Tayler, 253); he preferred to take Edinburgh and Stirling, `proclaim the King, call a parliament and take full possession of Scotland' (ibid.). Nevertheless, he led the regiment in its march into England and it covered the retreat from Derby and Manchester. While the regiment guarded the baggage at Stirling, Stewart fought at the battle of Falkirk on 17 January 1746. The regiment commanded by Stewart probably fought in the front line at Culloden and after the defeat it managed to rendezvous with the remnants of the Jacobite army at Ruthven.

Stewart may have been wounded at Culloden, but he attended a meeting at Muir Laggan on Loch Arkaig, Inverness-shire, to consider how to proceed. He may have been sent by Prince Charles to France with news of the defeat, but if so he returned to Scotland and was eventually one of those who sailed from Loch nan Uamh on Skye with the prince back to France. He described his adventures following Culloden in a poem, John Roy's Psalm, one of many Gaelic songs and laments.

In 1747 Stewart was at both Nieuport and Boulogne; he died that year, probably at the end of June. He left a widow, Sarah Hall, and a daughter in dire poverty. King James VIII wrote on 7 November 1747 of his concern for them. He may also have left a son, Charles, who served in the French army. His wife and daughter subsequently received a pension which was continued for thirty years. Such was Stewart's reputation that the British authorities were receiving reports of his supposed activities in Scotland well into December 1747. He should not be confused with Prince Charles Edward's valet, who remained with the prince in exile and who received a Jacobite baronetcy in 1784.

Stuart Handley

H. Tayler, ed., Jacobite epilogue (1941), 246–57
The letter-book of Bailie John Steuart of Inverness, 1715–1752, ed. W. Mackay, Scottish History Society, 2nd ser., 9 (1915), xlv, passim
Memorials of John Murray of Broughton, ed. R. F. Bell, Scottish History Society, 27 (1898), 186, 275, 446
J. Mackenzie, ed., Sar-obair nam bard Gaelach, or, The beauties of Gaelic poetry, new edn (1872), 264–9
A. and H. Tayler, The Jacobite papers at Windsor (1939), 207, 213, 216
A. Livingstone, C. W. H. Aikman, and B. S. Hart, eds., Muster roll of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's army, 1745–46 (1984), 204
F. J. McLynn, The Jacobite army in England, 1745: the final campaign (1983), 10–11, 19
Descriptive list of secretaries of state: state papers Scotland, series 2, 1688–1782 (1996), 262–4
Dalton, ed., George the First's army, 1714–1727, 2 (1912), 214
B. Lenman, The Jacobite risings in Britain, 1689–1746 (1980), 184
B. Lenman, The Jacobite clans of the Great Glen (1984), 190

The fourth cairn sponsored by the 1745 Association is the one marking the site of the Battle of Sheriffmuir. This cairn was erected in 2002.


 On this moor on 13 November 1715, a Jacobite army composed largely of Highlanders under the command of the Earl of Mar met a Hanoverian army consisting mainly of regular British soldiers under the Duke of Argyll, at what has become known as the Battle of Sheriffmuir. The result was indecisive but Mar’s failure to take advantage of Argyll’s weakened position in the closing stages of the conflict and subsequent withdrawal from the field contributed to the failure of the Rising — known as “The Fifteen” in favour of the restoration of the exiled King James VIII (the “Old Chevalier ).


The Battle of Sherrifmuir

The Battle of Sherrifmuir

Cairn at Sheriffmuir
Inscription on Sheriffmuir Cairn

Cairn at Sherrifmuir

Clan MacRae participated in the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. William MacKenzie, 5th Earl of Seaforth bravely led the MacKenzies and the MacRaes in support of King James VIII, and great loss of life and property ensued. He survived the battles and the destruction of Eilean Donan Castle, and died on the Island of Lewis in 1740.

This cairn was was not erected by the 1745 Association but by Clan MacRae in 1915. Its inclusion here is nevertheless quite appropriate

If you want another McGonagall poem, read The Battle of Sheriffmuir .

Dr Archibal Cameron's plaque in The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy in London

You will find this fascinating little chapel in Savoy St just off The Strand. Turn right out of the Savoy Hotel and take the first street on the right. You cannot miss the chapel. It is part of the Duchy of Lancaster and so owned by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Dr Archie was brother to Donald Cameron of Locheil. without whose support the Rising of 1745 would have had a very poor start. After the defeat at Culloden the Prince, Dr Archie and others took refuge in "Cluny's Cage," that remote hideaway in the depths of Ben Alder, before final escape to France.

There is a longer account and photographs of this memorial plaque on the Day out in London page

The Seven Men of Moidart

The Seven Men of Moidart
Photographs by Martin Kelvin
The Seven Men of Moidart

On 22 June 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stuart, -- boarded Le du Teillay anchored off St Nazaire in the mouth of the Loire. The owner of the ship was Antoine Walsh, a Franco-Irish merchant, adventurer and slave trader. The party sailed to Belle Isle and awaited the appearance of L’Elisabeth. On 4 July Old Style (15 July New Style) L’Elisabeth arrived and the next day the ships set sail, bound for Scotland.

The French ships were spotted and HMS Lyon brought L’Elisabeth to battle stations in the late afternoon of 9 July. The Lyon had fifty-eight guns and L’Elisabeth sixty-four. A ferocious exchange of fire ensued and the two ships fought until nightfall with heavy losses on both sides. At least forty-five men died on the Lyon and fifty-seven, possibly including the Captain, on L’Elisabeth. Many more were seriously injured. L’Elisabeth was so badly damaged she had to limp back to Brest taking most of the Prince’s ability to fight with her. Le du Teillay continued on her way with Prince Charles and a tiny band of revolutionaries some of whom are known as ‘The Seven Men of Moidart’. These seven are mentioned in every history of the period although a number of them had little bearing on the campaign. Perhaps they have retained their position in the histories because at this point in the rising there are few others to write about.

The seven included William, Duke of Atholl who was fifty-six years old and in poor health. He had supported the Jacobites in both the ’15 and the ’19 and was deprived of his estates at Blair Atholl, in favour of his younger brother James, for his trouble. The only other of Scottish birth was Aeneas MacDonald, a banker and brother of Donald MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart who was among the first to join the Prince. Sir Thomas Sheridan, the Prince’s Irish tutor who was over seventy years of age was in the group as was Colonel Francis Strickland, the only Englishman. Strickland’s father had supported James II (and VII) and followed him into exile in France where Francis was born. Parson George Kelly and Sir John MacDonald, a cavalry officer in the French forces, are included in the seven. MacDonald was appointed ‘Instructor of Cavalry’ in the Jacobite forces. There was never much cavalry to instruct and Sir John’s post seems to have been somewhat nominal. He kept a journal throughout the campaign and so it is fortunate for historians that he was there. The main man turned out to be Irishman John William O’Sullivan, whose opinions the Prince came to greatly and, some would say, foolishly value. O’Sullivan was born in County Kerry in about 1700. His parents sent him to Paris and Rome with a view to him entering the priesthood. After spending some time as a tutor in a French military household he abandoned his intended life in the church and took up soldiering. Quite when O’Sullivan met Prince Charles is not clear but they became friends. The Irishman was to play a prominent part in the Forty-Five.

The cairn is on the roadside on the A861 a mile or two west of Kinlochmoidart, and overlooking the original trees which were planted in the 1800's to represent the Seven Men. A few years ago others were put in to replace those that had died, but beech was used instead of oak, and I think that only two or three of the new trees have taken.

Flora MacDonald plaque at Flodigarry

Flora MacDonald at Flodigarry Cottage

The Highland heroine Flora MacDonald (1722-1790) lived in this cottage in the period 1751-1759. Famous for her part in the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, she later married Allan MacDonald of Kingsburgh in 1750 and five of their seven children were born here.

Erected by the 1745 Association.

Here is a full list of the cairns and plaques erected and maintained by The 1745 Association, in some cases in collaboration with others.