Old Pretender Lands at Peterhead


Old Pretender Lands at Peterhead

Peterhead, Grampian The 22nd of December 1715 AD

The Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 had already lost momentum by the time the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart, landed at Peterhead on December 22 that year. The Earl of Mar, humorously known as Bobbin’ John for his propensity for changing sides to suit his personal situation, had raised the Jacobite standard at Braemar in September (having been denied a government position by the new king, George I ), but poor leadership and coordination, and failures to revolt elsewhere, meant the Hanoverian cause was never likely to threaten the established order. The Battle of Sherrifmuir in Southern Scotland, though inconclusive, was enough of a setback to push Mar back north.
James Stuart landed at Peterhead, the most easterly point in mainland Scotland, suffering from seasickness and fevers. He was depressed; and his treasure ship had been lost on the way. James was surprised at the weakness of the force that was waiting for him. He brought no guns, no troops, and given his disposition no boost to morale. Having briefly set up court at Scone, James and his senior supporters made for Montrose , and took ship there on February 4 1716 to return to France. Another of the many Jacobite fiascos was over, ending typically in the abandonment and betrayal of those who had risen for the cause.

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