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April 18th 1749

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A Jacobite to the end

There can have been few more enthusiastic Jacobites than Alexander Robertson of Struan, by Rannoch. He fought at the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, at Sheriffmuir in 1715 and wished to fight in 1745 but old age and infirmity prevented him doing more than persuading his tenants to fight for the cause. It is related that at Fearnan, where he also possessed lands, there was an enthusiastic response to his call and even the Fearnan women demonstrated where their sympathies lay by threatening to drown the Minister of Kenmore who had prayed for the speedy overthrow of the rebellion.

Alexander himself was dispossessed of his lands three times for his Jacobite activities. After the battle of Killiecrankie and the collapse of that particular rebellion he fled to France but was pardoned in 1703. But he could never resist the call to help the Stewarts, and after 1745 not only were his estates forfeited but his houses at Dunalastair, Dall and Carie were burned to the ground. For a while he lived in a small hut, but later a more comfortable house was built for him by his tenants and he lived there until his death in 1749. It is said that his funeral was attended by about two thousand persons who followed the body all the way from Carie to the family burial ground at Struan, some eighteen miles away.

Alexander Robertson was a bachelor and when he finally died aged 81, the direct line died with him. In addition to his enthusiasm for the Stewart cause he was a wit and a considerable poet in both English and Gaelic. It is related that his servant, Charles Alexander, published an unexpurgated edition of his poems after his death which shocked the more polite members of society of that time.

Alexander Robertson was in direct line of descent from Robert Robertson who played an important part on the capture of the murderers of James 1st and for this service was allowed to erect his lands at Rannoch and Fearnan into a free barony.

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