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January 19th 1716

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The Nairnes of Strathord

The Nairnes, like many Perthshire lairds, were ardent Jacobites and this attachment to the Stewart cause brought them nothing but trouble.

In the 1715 rebellion, Lord Nairne and his eldest son were both part of the small force of Scottish Jacobites who invaded England. They hoped to be joined by English Jacobites but it was a forlorn hope and they surrendered at Preston after being surrounded by a much larger force of the King’s troops. They were taken to the Tower of London and later, on January 19th appeared before the Lords.

Pleading guilty to impeachment Lord Nairne produced a petition stating that “he heartily repents of this rash undertaking and solemnly declares he knew nothing of any previous consultations or conspiracies in favour of the Pretender before he actually appeared in arms…”  He makes much of the “deplorable circumstances of your Petitioner and his twelve children.” 

Later, on February 9th, when appearing for sentence he again makes much of “his afflicted wife and twelve children,”  and speaks of “the King’s mercy of which he is so renowned.”  Finishing, “that in gratitude of so signal a deliverance, I will to the end of my life remain a dutiful and obedient subject to his most gracious and sacred Majesty, King George.”  Promises, promises.

Though Lord Nairne and his son were condemned to death they were reprieved at the last moment but had to wait till August 1717 before they were at last released under the General Act of Indemnity. As for Lord Nairne’s promise to remain a “dutiful and obedient subject of King George”  that was soon forgotten. He tried to join the Spanish forces that landed at Glensheil in 1719 but they were defeated before he could reach them. He died in 1725 and his son John succeeded him.

Come the ’45 the same sorry story was repeated. Lord Nairne served with the Jacobite army, fought at Culloden and after skulking in the Highlands was eventually able to escape to France and safety. The lands at Strathord were forfeited and bought by the Duke of Atholl.

Lord Nairne died in 1770.

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