The Lairds of Clan Donnachaidh

"An incident in the rebellion of 1745" by David Morier

The Lairds of Clan Donnachaidh at the Battle Of Culloden

In Support of the Jacobites:

Auchleeks

Duncan Robertson was one of the core Atholl Lairds most loyal to the Jacobites. At the battle he was wounded, but it was said that he was one of the last of the Atholl brigade to stop fighting.

Balnacree

James Robertson was the only Laird from the area north of the Tay to Pitlochry to fight for Prince Charles. He was a Jacobite supporter right from the start, but he and his son were killed at the battle.

Baldarn & Drumchaldane

The brothers Hugh and Alexander Reid. Hugh died at the battle; Alexander survived and hid out in the countryside until things became safer.

Blairfettie

James Robertson was out in the ’15 and was one of the most influential Atholl Lairds. He strongly disapproved of the cattle lifting activities of his fellow clansmen who followed the Chief, Struan. A vassal of the Duke of Atholl, Blairfettie was one of Lord George Murray’s most trusted men and was promoted to major in the 2nd Battalion. It’s thought that he escaped to France.

Bohespic

John Robertson was a neighbor of Stewart of Kynachan and was a keen Jacobite. He died at Culloden.

Drumachuine

Duncan Robertson, a Laird trained in the government’s Highland Companies. He was a cousin and successor to Struan Robertson. He was appointed colonel and governor of Atholl during the Rebel army’s campaign in England. Much of his time was spent recruiting and chasing deserters. After Culloden he was advised to stay in Scotland to secure his succession to the chief’s estates. Consequently he was forced to spend seven years hiding out in Atholl and beyond before escaping to France. His son had the estate of Struan restored to him in 1784.

Easter Bleaton

David Reid was a vassal of the Duke of Atholl from Glenshee and worked hard to raise and keep reluctant men from the hills of his own glen and Strathardle. While on the march south, he plunged into the Tweed with Lord George Murray to show the Highlanders that the river was safe to ford. After the battle he hid in forests around Glenshee, but was captured in January, 1747, and thrown into Dundee prison.

Fascally

George Robertson held his estate from the Crown, rather than the Duke of Atholl. Perhaps to encourage his tenants and vassals, he was made a Lieutenant Colonel in the 3rd Battalion of the Atholl Highlanders. After Culloden Captain Menzies of the Black Watch was stationed at Castle Menzies when word came that a group of Rebels including Fascally were hiding out at Aldour. Menzies set out to capture them, but made so much noise as he approached that his rebel friends made good their escape. Fascally then hid in an oak tree which still stands on the south fringe of Pitlochry.

Invervack

Rob Ban (fair) Robertson rescued his cousin and Chief Alexander of Struan when he was captured at Sheriffmuir in 1715. Rob Ban was over seventy when he marched with the Clan to Prestonpans and commanded on their return to Atholl with Cope’s Coach. In the autumn of 1746 he jumped from behind a bush on the road to Trinafour and bluffed eight government soldiers into surrendering their weapons to him. He had, in his time, four wives and the current chief is descended from him.

Killiechangie

James Robertson and his son returned home with Struan after Prestonpans and was then given charge of 113 prisoners in the courthouse at Logierait. His son died at Moness in 1820, aged 95. The last Atholl officer to have served in the ’45.

Lude

The widow Charlotte Robertson of Lude was a daughter of Lord William Murray, 2nd Lord Naime, and a cousin of the Duke of Atholl. She was a great admirer of Prince Charles and hosted him at Blair castle. She threatened to hang any of her tenants who refused to join the rebels. She had the honour of firing the first cannon at the siege of Blair castle. After the rising she moved to Edinburgh under the name of Mrs. Black and died in 1787.

Struan

Alexander Robertson of Struan. ‘The Poet Chief’ led the Clan at the Battle of Prestonpans. After this battle his men bore him back to Atholl in the grand coach captured from Sir John Cope. The road ended at Tummel Bridge so the men removed the wheels and carried the coach, with their Chief in it, on their shoulders over the last few miles to his home at Dunalastair. Struan died in 1749, and two thousand men marched a dozen miles behind his coffin to his grave at Struan Kirk. Struan was the only Chief to be at every Jacobite uprising, the first being in 1689.

Trinafour

Patrick Robertson was too old to fight, so was appointed Jacobite Governor at Dalnacardoch, where the two roads through Atholl met. His son led his tenants throughout the campaign.

Woodsheal

Donald Robertson of Woodsheal was the son of Invervack. He took over command of the Clan from Struan with a commission of Colonel in September, 1745. He was left for dead at Culloden where two of his brothers were killed. He was badly wounded but eventually escaped to France where he became a Captain in the French army. He returned to Scotland three years before his death in 1775. His nephew James was killed by government troops at Fealar in the hills north of Blair Atholl in the summer after Culloden.

Others:

Robertson of Balnacraig  |  Robertson of Balnaguard  |  Robertson of Eastertyre  |  Robertson of Kincraigie

In support of the Government:

Robertson of Balnakeilly  |  Reid of Pitnacree  |  Reid of Straloch

This article is reprinted from the Newsletter of the Clan Donnachaidh Society of the North Island of New Zealand