Twenty-two members attended the 2014 Annual
gathering which was centered in Inverurie
at the Strathburn Hotel.
small town of Inverurie, a short distance from
Aberdeen, was the selected location for the Annual
The 1745 Association from Thursday 11th
September until Sunday 14th September 2014.
Strathburn Hotel provided members with a most
comfortable environment and, together with high
class cuisine, wonderfully friendly and
accommodating staff, made our stay a very memorable
The 1745 Association conveys thanks to
all those who assisted in our comfort and welfare.
Unfortunately, the attendance was again rather low,
with just 22 members plus a few guests present. This
was partly due to the change of dates as usually the
first weekend in September is chosen. Several
regular attendees were unable to be there owing to
prior commitments. However, those who did attend
enjoyed renewing old friendships and making new
ones. One of the main advantages of being a member
The 1745 Association is its ability to offer
members access to buildings, artefacts and people
not often available to the general public.
Gathering was organised by our previous Chairman,
The Very Reverend Dr. Emsley Nimmo with valuable
assistance from F. Peter Lole and Glen MacDonald. We
thank them all for the success of the event. The
central theme was the influence of religion during
the Rising of 1745/46, a subject dear to Emsley’s
Evening (Thursday 11th September)
Dinner was followed by a
talk by Dr. Nimmo,
on the contribution of Scottish Episcopalians to the
Jacobite Risings. I have asked Emsley to write a
piece for The Jacobite, in relation to his
talk. He has kindly consented to this request.
(Friday 12th September))
In the district known as
Glenlivet, isolated from the world by a circle of
barren hills, lies the little house of Scalan. This
small building housed a company of priests and
students, hoping for ordination into the Catholic
priesthood, for over eighty years (1717-1799).
During the 18th century, bigotry and
persecution against many Catholic and Episcopal
clergy was widespread, and secluded places such as
Scalan were instrumental in keeping the smouldering
embers of their differing denominations alive and as
such help keep Jacobitism, to the forefront of the
local and national psyche. The flame was kept alive
Scalan was to be the first visit of the day and
while the journey was long and sometimes arduous,
the arrival at this beautiful location was well
worth the effort. The weather was sublime, and it
would have been very easy to forget the difficulties
endured by these hardy and resourceful men when
winter brought howling gales and snow blizzards.
The original turf building
was replaced circa 1738, with a sturdy stone and
lime structure. This was added to from time to time,
and was much improved from ”The hovels of
one room were built of stones and turf, without mortar,
the holes in the walls stuffed with straw, or moss, or
heather, to keep out the blasts.“*
In the eighty–two years of the
college’s existence, one hundred priests received
their training at Scalan Seminary.
defeat of the Jacobite army at Culloden in April
1746, the month of May saw a party of Cumberland’s
soldiers find their way into Glenlivet, and left
Scalan a smoking ruin. Fortunately, this raid had
been foreseen; the boys sent to their homes, books,
chalices and furniture which were safely hidden away.
The buildings today
comprise of a main house of two stories renovated by
the Scalan Association with the assistance of Major
Mike Tait of Oyne in 1993. To the left of the front
elevation of the building is what now remains of the
chapel. This was used in the 19th century as a cobbler’s
workshop. Standing in the centre within the chapel
walls, which only come up to approximately waist
height, one gets the sense of a spirituality seldom
experienced. The sky and the surrounding hills form
the perfect back-drop to these ancient stones.
Following mid-morning tea
and homemade cakes, we boarded the bus and headed
off for a good lunch provided by the ladies of
Lonach Hall, Strathdon.
The ruins of
castle were next on our itinerary.
John Gordon of
Glenbuchat is a hero of mine and I am grateful to
council member, Glen MacDonald, who has compiled an
excellent piece on both the castle and John Gordon
himself, this can be read on Page ?
Next was visit to
Castle and our introduction to Alexander Forbes
whose home it is, was a particular delight.
Alexander is a descendent of another Alexander
Forbes, the 4th Lord Pitsligo, who formed a small
cavalry regiment for Charles Edward Stuart in 1745.
He famously led his men out of Aberdeen with the
words, “we know our cause is just, gentlemen march!”
Meeting the current Alexander was such a welcoming
experience, that by the end of the visit we felt we
had been friends for longer than the hour or so we
spent there. He regaled us with the history of the
Forbes family over the centuries, particularly the
feuds between the Forbes and the Gordons, and such
was his enthusiasm for the subject, he had to
apologise several times for going off on a tangent!
The current castle,
constructed between 1440-1470, is the third
structure to be built on the site. It is of L-plan
design, with a modern door at the central north
front. The basements are vaulted and the great hall
is on the first floor. The south side is four
stories high, because of the slope of the ground. It
is designated as a
category A listed building.
of this wonderful visit, was discussing with
Alexander, the Strange case of Robert , who hid
under the skirts of his wife, Isabella Lumsden,
following his escape from Culloden, but that is
another story entirely!
dinner, following our return to the
Strathburn Hotel, was again of extremely high standard. Once
dinner had been concluded, one of the most important
AGMs of recent years commenced. The future structure
The 1745 Association, and the threat to
Jacobite heritage sites at Culloden, Prestonpans, and
Clifton, near Penrith in Cumbria, were discussed.
Andrew MacKenzie from
National Trust for Scotland
gave a most enlightening address regarding the
current situation at Culloden. For further
information, please see the minutes of the AGM on
page ? and the Editorial at the beginning of The
Day Two (Saturday 13th September))
The mist and low cloud,
that greeted us prior to the excursion into
Aberdeen, quickly cleared and another fine day
ensued. Following problems with the rear suspension
of our coach the previous day, our driver assured us
that the necessary repairs had been carried out and
all was now in order. This, indeed, proved to be the
Known as ”Doors Open Day“,
in the city we anticipated being a group among many
of the good citizens of Aberdeen. Initially, we
visited St Mary’s College, commonly known as Blairs,
which was from 1829 to 1986, a junior seminary for
young men studying for the Roman Catholic
priesthood. It was closed due to the dwindling
numbers of students and economic circumstances. For
157 years it was home to a magnificent collection of
paintings, church textiles, selected silver, and
Jacobite memorabilia. When the college was closed an
independent trust was created, overseen by the
Scottish Catholic Heritage Commission. The present
display preserves this very important collection of
religious heritage. Members were greatly impressed,
while perusing these artefacts, many of which
stimulated interesting debate.
It Is interesting to note
that the New Chapel is designated a
listed building and is a magnificent edifice.
Members were given a very informative address
detailing the history and daily running of the
seminary within this building, but such was the
grandeur of the architecture, the oration was
secondary at times.
A relatively short distance
from Blairs is situated the renowned independent
Robert Gordon’s College. It was here that
part of the Hanoverian army was billeted.
first impression of the college, as you enter via a
narrow archway, is how vast the complex appears,
with the buildings surrounding a large quadrangle.
Originally created to be a school (known as
hospitals in the 18th century) for boys
from the poor families in the area, based around a
building known as ”The Auld Hoose.“ This building
was standing empty due to lack of funds at the time
of the Rising and 200 Hanoverians consequently were
billeted there for five weeks between March/April
1746. The Duke of Cumberland, of course, had his own
quarters at Skene House, known today as
Skene’s House. The hospital was converted into a
temporary fort surrounded by a ditch and palisade.
Garden walls were demolished and a well dug in the
grounds. This well is now under the floor of one of
the lecture theatres and I stood over it during the
visit. The soldiery caused considerable damage to
the interior of the building, indeed, the Governors
made a claim for reparation to King George II which
was finally forthcoming in October 1747. Cumberland
eventually led his troops from Aberdeen on April 8th
1746 bound for a place that will remain forever in
There are many fine
buildings in Aberdeen and some not so fine, gold
fish bowls and greenhouses spring to mind. However,
St. Andrews Cathedral, situated on King Street is
very much of the former. It is of particular
interest because of the Jacobite heraldic ceiling.
Emsley Nimmo related an anecdote to members prior to
our entry. Princess Anne visited some time ago, and
made the comment that she was surprised that she was
the first member of the Royal Family to enter the
cathedral. Emsley quipped back to her,
“Once you have seen the ceiling Ma’am, you’ll
While there are many
interesting features in the building, as Jacobites
we were most interested to view the “Jacobite Aisle
Ceiling.” Jacobite and Episcopal supporters in
Aberdeen and N.E. Scotland were many and their
estates were a great stronghold of the Episcopal
cause. The family escutcheons are to be seen on the
ceiling to the right of the main aisle. On the
opposite ceiling, most unusually, are the crests of
States of the U.S.A., emphasizing the links between
the United States and Episcopalism. Lunch was taken
here, soup and sandwiches, enjoyed by all.
Following luncheon our original plan was
to visit Castlegate and view the new plaque
The 1745 Association, and Aberdeen City Council,
on the wall of the Portals public house. This was to
commemorate Aberdeen and North East Scotland’s
involvement in the Rising. Unfortunately, owing to
many complications the plaque was not yet erected.
However, following discussions between Emsley and an
official later that afternoon, we were given the
welcome news at the Annual Dinner, that the plaque
would be in situ very soon.
Mercat Cross, built in
1686 by one John Montgomery, a local mason, is a
very impressive structure, comprising of a large
hexagonal base, for a vertical post topped unicorn.
It is from this spot that Lord Pitsligo led his
cavalry regiment from Aberdeen to join Prince
Charles Edward Stuart. While it is currently rather
shabby from centuries of dirt and grime, monies have
been set aside to clean it up. This will enable the
medallions, illustrating ten Stuart monarchs to be
seen much more clearly than is currently possible.
Our next visit was to the
Tolbooth, one of the best preserved 17th century gaols in
Scotland. This is where many Jacobite prisoners were
incarcerated. Being “Doors Open Day”, many people
wished to view this historic building, now a museum.
With so many visiting it was somewhat difficult to
see everything clearly, but it gave us some
indication of what being a prisoner in this cramped
environment would have been like. Four “re-enactors”
dressed as characters from the 18th
century. and speaking “Doric,” although much toned
down, regaled us with tales of prison life, as it
may have been.
Gatherings, time is of the essence and it
is not always possible to keep strictly to the
timetable. It was regrettable therefore, that our
King’s College Chapel was cut short,
particularly as the guide was Jane Geddes, whose
expert knowledge of the building is second to none.
The crown tower is one of the most historic and
beautiful icons of Aberdeen University, the Chapel
sanctuary is also place of splendour. The building
contains five very rare decorations, made of wood and
canvas, dating from the 16th and 17th
centuries, which we did manage to see, before
returning to Inverurie.
Arriving back at the
Strathburn Hotel, we thanked
our driver for taking us to some distant locations
and negotiating some very difficult terrain on
occasion. We then prepared for the formal Annual
Dinner. With our Gentleman Piper, Archie McIntyre,
being unable to attend this year, we had a piper
from the Braemar Pipe Band to entertain us following
an excellent dinner. The after dinner speaker was
Darren Layne, Doctoral Research student from the
University of St. Andrews. I have requested that
Darren send his text to me, so that members
may obtain a copy by contacting me if they so wish.
Jacobite songs in the bar
and lounge concluded the proceedings in the early
hours of the morning.
Members departed for
various locations in the U.K. on Sunday morning,
having been part of another successful Gathering.
*Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century by Henry Grey Graham.