William Baillie, Scottish general

William Baillie, Scottish general

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General William Baillie

Scottish solder who gained experience in the Swedish service, commanding a regiment of Dutch infantry for Gustavus Adolphus, before returning to Scotland in 1638 to serve the Covenanters. He served under Alexander Leslie, earl of Leven, in the army that faced off Charles I in the First Bishop's War.

When the Scots finally joined the English Civil War, Baillie came south in Leven's army. At Marston Moor (2 July 1644) he commanded the two Scottish brigades at the right of the Parliamentary armies front line, where he helped steady the line. By the end of 1644 he found himself back in Scotland, now threatened by the victories of Montrose, at the head of a force of infantry detached from the main Covenanting army in England. On his arrival in the Highlands, he was sent to garrison Perth, while Montrose continued his career of conquest, soon leaving Baillie with the only significant Covenanting army in the Highlands. He had his first chance against Montrose at Dundee, which fell to Montrose on 4 April. Baillie had been shadowing Montrose, and was only one mile away when his presence was discovered. and Montrose and his army escaped him. In the campaign that followed, Baillie did poorly. First, he was tricked by Montrose, who initially marched along the coast towards Arbroath. Baillie cut cross country on a shorter route, and reached Arbroath well before Montrose could have, only to find that Montrose had doubled back as soon as it was clear Baillie had taken the bait, crossed just behind Baillies army, and reached safety in the hills. Worse was to follow. Baillie now decided to split his force, and attempt to catch Montrose between his own force, and a detachment commanded by Sir John Urry. This would have been dangerous against a normal opponent and in easy country, but against Montrose, considered to be the best general of the Civil War, and in rough hill country it was doomed. Sure enough, Urry was defeated at Auldearn (9 May 1645), losing all but 100 of his men. Baillie had been advancing to aid Urry at the time of the battle, but rather than a fight, all he got was a chase, and after a series of forced marches his army was in desperate need of some rest, which he got at Inverness. By June he was able to move again, and advanced into Gordon country, from where Montrose was getting much of his cavalry. Montrose was forced to move north to deal with Baillie, but at a first encounter at Keith refused battle. Baillie was suffering from political interference, in the shape of a travelling Committee of Estates, headed by the duke of Argyll, who understood little of the military situation and were always ready to attack. Baillie was finally forced into battle at Alford (2 July 1645), where his army was destroyed. In the aftermath of Alford, Baillie, furious with the interference of Argyll and the Committee, attempted to resign, but was instead ordered to take command of a new army, once again, to his great annoyance, to be accompanied by Argyll and his Committee. This new army was almost immediately threatened by Montrose, who briefly appeared outside Perth, only to be chased away by Baillie, who then found himself faced by a suddenly reinforced foe, and retreated back to Perth, determined not to risk battle with his new and inexperienced troops until he had the advantage of numbers. However, a chance arose to cut Montrose off from his Highland stronghold, and the committee insisted that Baillie took it. Once again, he was defeated by Montrose, this time at Kilsyth (15 August 1645) - his final involvement against Montrose who was defeated at Philiphaugh on 13 September.

Like many Scots, Baillie found himself fighting against their former allies in the second civil war. Baillie commanded the infantry in the duke of Hamilton's doomed invasion of England. The expedition came to grief at the battle of Preston (17-19 August 1648). Baillie and his infantry were at the front of the army, and avoided almost all of the fighting, before on 19 August Hamilton decided to make a break for safety with his cavalry, and ordered Baillie to surrender with the infantry, something he only did under protest, surrendering to Cromwell, with whom he had once fought.

See AlsoBooks on the English Civil WarSubject Index: English Civil War

William Baillie, Scottish general - History

General Notes:

"Sir William Baillie and Marion Wallace had a son Sir William Baillie, a great favorite of King David II, who preferred to adhere to the side of the Scottish king rather than to the side of his near kinsman. Edward Baliol. "

from Lives of the Baillies 2

William married Only Daughter WALLACE, daughter of Sir William WALLACE the 'Patriot' Guardian of Scotland and Marion BRAIDFOOT of Lamington. 1 2 (Only Daughter WALLACE was born about 1298.)

Marriage Notes:

" 'Sir William Baillie who married the daughter and heiress of the patriotic Sir William Wallace and with her acquired the estate of Lamington.'
(History of the County of Fife: From the Earliest Period to the . Volume 2 by John M. Leighton pub.1840)"

quoted as note on clanmacfarlane website

"Of this marriage (between William Wallace and Marion Braidfoot) Crawford, the author of the Peerage of Renfrewshire, says there was only one daughter, who became wife of this Sir William Baillie, and so brought the lands of Lamington into the family, at which they have resided ever since."

from Lives of the Baillies 1 2

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 02.djvu/436

decide it against Captain Baillie, who during the next three years made several fruitless applications both to the secretary of the admiralty and to Lord Sandwich himself. His lordship had publicly declared that he knew nothing against Captain Baillie's character as a sea-officer, and also that he did not feel disposed to act vindictively against him but Baillie's claims were, nevertheless, persistently ignored, and he was left unemployed till, on the change of ministry in 1782, the Duke of Richmond, who became master-general of the ordnance, appointed him to the lucrative office of clerk of the deliveries. A legacy of 500l. which fell to him two years later served rather to mark the current of public feeling in the city. Mr. John Barnard, son of a former lord mayor, had left him this 'as a small token of my approbation of his worthy and disinterested, though ineffectual, endeavours to rescue that noble national charity [sc. Greenwich Hospital] from the rapacious hands of the basest and most wicked of mankind.' Captain Baillie's old age passed away in the quiet enjoyment of his office under the Ordnance, which he held till his death, 15 Dec. 1802.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. vi. 214 Official Letters in the Public Record Office.].]

BAILLIE, WILLIAM, Lord Provand (d. 1593), Scottish judge, of the family of Baillie of Lamington, first appears as a judge of the court of session, 15 Nov. 1550. He was appointed president of the court on the death of John Sinclair, bishop of Brechin, in 1566. On 6 Dec. 1567, he was deprived of this office, in favour of Sir James Balfour, by the regent Murray, on the pretext that the act of institution required it to be held by a person of the spiritual estate. Balfour was in turn removed in 1568, when he was accused of participation in Darnley's murder, and Baillie, being reinstated, held the office till his death, 26 May 1593.

[Brunton and Haig's College of Justice.]

BAILLIE, WILLIAM (fl. 1648), Scottish general, was the son of Sir William Baillie of Lamington, an adherent of Queen Mary of Scotland. His mother was a daughter of Sir Alexander Hume, lord provost of Edinburgh, and he was born during the lifetime of his father's first wife, Margaret Maxwell, countess of Angus. Sir William Baillie, on the death of the countess, married his mistress, but the son was not thereby legitimatised, and the estates were inherited by Margaret Baillie, the eldest daughter by the first marriage. In early life Baillie went, therefore, to Sweden, and served under Gustavus Adolphus. In a 'list of Scottish officers that served his majesty of Sweden' at the time of the monarch's death in 1632, he is styled 'William Baily, colonell. to a regiment of foote of Dutch.' After his return to Scotland in 1638 he was employed on many important services by the covenanters. In his commission in the army, ratified by parliament 11 June 1640, he is designated 'William Baillie of Lethem (Letham), Stirlingshire,' an estate which came into his possession through his marriage to Janet, daughter of Sir William Bruce of Glenhouse, and granddaughter of John Baillie of Letham. In 1641 he made an unsuccessful attempt to have the settlement of the Lamington estates reversed in his favour. Under Leslie, earl of Leven, he was present with the army which in 1639 encamped on Dunse Law, and he also took part in the incursion into England in the following year. As lieutenant-general of foot he also distinguished himself under Leslie in 1644, at Marston Moor, the siege of York, and the capture of Newcastle. In order to check the brilliant raids of Montrose and his Highlanders in the northern districts of Scotland, he was, in 1646, appointed to the command of a strong force, with Sir John Urry, or Hurry, as assistant general. For some time he manoeuvred against Montrose with great strategic skill, but, the forces under his command having divided, Urry was routed at Auldearn, and he himself, after a stubborn contest, was worsted at Alford and compelled to retreat southwards. Attributing his defeat to the fact that his forces had been unnecessarily weakened by the drawing off of recruits, he resigned his commission but after receiving from the authorities formal approbation of his conduct, he agreed to continue in command till an efficient substitute could be found. The result fully justified his scruples. On 15 Aug. the opposing forces again came in sight of each other at Kilsyth. The committee of estates resolved to give battle, a determination so strongly disapproved of by Baillie that he declined to undertake the disposition of the troops, and consented to be present merely that he might lessen the disastrous results of a defeat which he felt to be inevitable. So overwhelming was the victory of Montrose that Scotland for a time was at his feet. It seemed indeed to be fated that the undoubted bravery and skill of Baillie should always be thwarted by the incompetence and blunders of those whom he served. When the Scots, after the 'engagement' with Charles in the Isle of Wight, resolved on an expedition into England to deliver the 'king from

William Baillie (soldier)

Detail of General William Baillie from the painting Schuttersmsaltijd (Shooters meal time) by van der Helst circa 1637-38. Now on display in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

General William Baillie, was a Scottish professional soldier who commanded a regiment under Gustavus Adolphus in Sweden before returning to Scotland in 1639.

In 1644, Baillie marched into England with the Army of the Covenant. He commanded the Scottish infantry at the Battle of Marston Moor. In 1645, he commanded the detachment sent from Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven's army against James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose. On his arrival in Scotland, Baillie successfully manoeuvred to prevent Montrose from marching south. In April, he almost caught up with Montrose at Dundee but Montrose succeeded in escaping into the Highlands. Baillie then split his forces, planning to trap Montrose between his own troops and a detachment commanded by Sir John Hurry. However, Montrose decisively defeated Hurry at the Battle of Auldearn in May 1645 two months later he defeated Baillie himself at the Battle of Alford. After this defeat, Baillie tendered his resignation. This was rejected by the Covenanter leaders. Instead a new army was raised. Baillie retained command but was now accompanied by a Committee of War headed by the Earl of Argyll. Against Baillie's advice, a battle with Montrose was forced at the Battle of Kilsyth. Once again, he was defeated - his final involvement against Montrose who was in turn defeated at the Battle of Philiphaugh on 13 September.

During the Second Civil War, Baillie commanded the infantry in the Duke of Hamilton's ill-fated Engager invasion of England. The Engagers were defeated by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Preston in August 1648. While Hamilton escaped, Baillie was ordered to surrender with his infantry.

The Tragedy of Colonel William Baillie of the Madras Army

Author Alan Tritton explores the military adventures of Colonel William Baillie, who was implicated in a major military blunder in eighteenth-century Madras. .

Author Alan Tritton explores the military adventures of Colonel William Baillie, who was implicated in a major military blunder in eighteenth-century Madras.

William Baillie &ndash an indirect ancestor of the Author &ndash his mother was Iris Baillie &ndash was the elder son of a minor Scottish laird who had a small estate at Dunain not far south of Inverness. He was born in 1739, seven years before the battle of Culloden Moor. The estate rentals were low and he and his younger brother John knew that, when they grew up, they would have to seek their income and perhaps fortune elsewhere.

He was well educated at King&rsquos College Aberdeen and Edinburgh University, where it was said that he inclined to a military life. He joined the 89th Highland Regiment of Foot, which was in course of being raised by no less a personage than the Dowager Duchess of Gordon. She had been rebuffed by the Duke of Newcastle in her efforts to obtain a Commission for her elder son the 4th Duke and in her efforts to find a Colonelcy for her rather younger second husband and, by raising her own Regiment she was able, as she put it, to kill two birds with one stone.

The Regiment was duly formed and was ordered south and to the Dowager&rsquos horror was then ordered out to Madras in the East Indies which would deprive her of the Duke and her new husband for an indefinite period of time and perhaps permanently, given the casualty rate in India either from battle or disease &ndash the average length of life in those days of a newcomer to India was two monsoons, although the Madras Presidency was healthier than the other two &ndash Calcutta and Bombay.


The Regiment arrived in India after an uneventful voyage towards the end of 1760, as it happens, just in time for the siege and capitulation of Pondicherry, the capital of French India - a siege, which had to be carried out all over again in 1778, but whereas on the first occasion William was only a Lieutenant, the second time he was a Lieutenant-Colonel and second in command of the besieging force.

In 1765, the 89th Highland Regiment of Foot was recalled home, thus enabling the Dowager Duchess to be re-united with her younger husband, but William had not by then benefitted much, if any at all, from prize money, which would enable him to help finance the Dunain estate. This was unlike Hector Munro of Novar, who had made a fortune by his victory at the Battle of Buxar in 1765 over the combined forces of the Nawab Vizier of Oudh, Shuja-ud-Daulah, the Moghul Emperor Shah Alam 11 and the deposed former Nawab of Bengal, Mir Kasim. As a result, William decided to transfer to the Coast subsequently renamed the Madras Army of the Honourable East India Company, where, at the age of 25 as a Captain, he was appointed to command a Sepoy Battalion &ndash named after him for many years the Baillie-ki-Paltan. The history of this Battalion has recently been reprinted.

He fought in all the campaigns and battles in the 1760s and 1770s against the French, Haidar Ali &ndash the Mysore usurper - and his son Tipoo Sultan, who were supported and reinforced by the French and on occasion by the Nizam of Hyderabad&rsquos army, emerging victorious from all of them and as a result earned a high military reputation &ndash some of these famous or perhaps not so famous now battles such as Chengam and Tiruvannamalai are recounted in the book &lsquoWhen the Tiger Fought the Thistle&rsquo.


In July 1780 Haidar Ali and his son Tipoo with a huge army, reinforced as usual by the French, invaded the Carnatic and even reached Madras. At that time, William Baillie was then commanding a Brigade Column of the Madras Army far to the north in the Guntoor Circar.

He was ordered to march south with instructions to join the main Army at Madras, which was then commanded by Hector Munro of Novar, when Lord Macleod of Cromarty &ndash the senior King&rsquos Army officer on the Coast &ndash and who had just arrived with the 73rd Highland Regiment of Foot, refused to take command of the Army.

He did this for two reasons &ndash the inadequacy of the Army&rsquos provisions and the order for the Army to assemble with its outlying Brigades at Conjeveram now Kanchipuram &ndash a town about fifty miles west of Madras, instead of at Madras itself, where it could assemble as a cohesive Whole instead of being fragmented.

This was a major blunder on the part of Hector Munro, although it could be said that there was a mitigating provision in the sense that Conjeveram was nearer to Arcot &ndash the Nawab&rsquos capital, which was then being besieged by Haidar Ali and the Nawab did not want it to be captured.

No provisions were found at Conjeveram despite the Nawab&rsquos promises &ndash and for Colonel William Baillie and his Brigade Column, it meant a long cross country march during which he would be exposed to the full might of the Mysore Army.

When he was nearing Conjeveram after a series of engagements with Tipoo Sultan, as a result of which he had more or less run out of ammunition, he was caught out by the whole of the Mysore army. By then, he was only a few miles away from Hector Munro and the main army but Munro only started moving towards him on the morning of the main battle, having fallen asleep.

However, by then it was too late, so he turned back to Conjeveram being pursued by the Mysorean cavalry and then that night fled to Chingleput and Madras, leaving the bulk of his Army behind and without orders. William Baillie having caught the full onslaught of Haidar Ali and Tipoo Sultan Conjeveram, was forced to surrender, after his ammunition wagons had blown up, he had suffered severe casualties and been surrounded.

Afterwards, he was forced to watch the decapitated heads of his fellow officers being paraded in front of him according to the Muslim fashion.

Later, he was imprisoned in a dungeon at Seringapatam the capital of Haidar Ali, and having been placed in irons and denied medical help, died in the dungeon on 13 November 1782.
It is worth recording that during the second battle of Pollilur the following year, Sir Hector Munro, who was no longer the Commander-in-Chief and who was later dismissed from the Company disgraced himself again, when he sat alone, sulking under a solitary tree, refusing to give orders to his soldiers on the basis that he had been insulted by the new Commander-in-Chief Sir Eyre Coote, who had told him when he had made some suggestion to him, not to make suggestions but to do his duty!

Later, in 1816 his nephew Colonel John Baillie, who was then the Resident of Lucknow, the capital of Oudh, erected at Seringapatam near Mysore in his honour a large classical Memorial. This Memorial has recently been restored and conserved by the author&rsquos Tritton and Baillie families and the British Association of Cemeteries for South Asia, of which the author is President.

The book &lsquoWhen the Tiger fought the Thistle &ndash the Tragedy of Colonel William Baillie of the Madras Army&rsquo is the result of painstaking research at the Highland Archive Office in Inverness, the Scottish National Archive Office in Edinburgh and the India Office Library in the British Library. It is quite clear from these researches that Colonel William Baillie did not deserve being made the scapegoat for the Pollilur disaster in 1780 in the Carnatic and that the blame should fall primarily on Sir Hector Munro of Novar.

Alan Tritton is the author of When The Tiger Fought the Thistle: The Tragedy of Colonel William Baillie of the Madras Army published by I B Tauris.

Key Facts:

Date: 2nd July, 1645

War: Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Location: Alford, Aberdeenshire

Belligerents: Royalists, Scottish Covenanters

Victors: Royalists

Numbers: Royalists around 2,500, Scottish Covenanters around 2,500

Casualties: Royalists around 400, Scottish Covenanters around 1,500

Commanders: Lord Montrose (Royalists), General William Baillie (Scottish Covenanters – pictured to the right)

Execution Delayed: Some Scottish Examples

Crime historians are familiar with some of the more widely reported cases of delayed or failed executions that occurred in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In July 1798 Mary Nicholson, a poisoner in County Durham, was reprieved while the Twelve Judges decided a point of law. Their decision went against her and she was hanged a year later in more tragic circumstances than most: the rope broke and she had to wait nearly an hour for a new one.[1] More typically, female felons were spared the gallows if they successfully pleaded pregnancy, which deferred execution and could result in a pardon, or commutation of the sentence to transportation or imprisonment.[2] Convicts of both sexes could petition the Crown for a pardon on social or legal grounds, but it was more usual for reprieves to result from the direct recommendation of the trial judge, while insanity usually led to the indefinite suspension of a death sentence.[3]

Extraordinarily, a tiny number of the condemned survived the experience of execution. Anne Greene was revived by physicians in Oxford after she was hanged in December 1650[4] Margaret Dickson emerged from the coffin following her 1724 execution in Edinburgh and subsequently enjoyed many years of life as Half-Hangit Maggie[5] and The Man They Couldn’t Hang, John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee (1864–1945), famously endured three attempts to execute him at Exeter in February 1885, a singular achievement that led the Home Secretary to commute his sentence to life imprisonment.[6]

In England, those who were not “thoroughly killed” by the process of execution were to be hanged again, since the law demanded they be “hanged by the neck till dead”.[7] But Scots law accepted that the sentence had been carried out and did not pursue the convict further David Hume suggested the easiest way to deal with such cases was to grant a quiet pardon.[8] It is significant that he cited two judicial decisions of late 1788, because another source demonstrates that it was in precisely this year that the judges addressed the problem of what to do when a condemned criminal managed to avoid or delay their date with the executioner. A list compiled early in 1788 by a clerk at the Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh provides details of ten cases in which the Court had ordered enforcement of a death sentence after the scheduled day had passed, or had altered the date of execution to enable it to proceed.[9]

This shows that executions were postponed, but not halted, by a prisoner’s escape or an error in the specified date. Those respited due to pregnancy or on condition of banishment had a better chance of escaping the noose. And the autobiography of William Gadesby (1791) suggests another delaying tactic: he confessed to multiple felonies in the hope that the authorities would investigate them all.[10] These cases together raised a number of legal points that the Lords of Justiciary argued and agreed.

Fleeing Execution

Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll (1629–1685)

Escape from early modern prisons was not unheard of, as the famed case of London’s Jack Sheppard attests but, like Sheppard, even those who had the wherewithal to do so seem to have been unable to resist the lure of their past haunts. Political rebels Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll (1629–1685), Charles Radcliffe, 5th Earl of Derwentwater (1693–1746), and Archibald McDonald of Barrisdale (1726–1787) are all named on the Court’s list.

Charles Radcliffe, 5th Earl of Derwentwater (1693–1746)

Argyll was convicted on a dubious charge of treason in 1681 but escaped Edinburgh Castle dressed as a servant and fled to Holland. When Charles II died Argyll attempted a Protestant rebellion against James II and VII and threw his lot in with the Duke of Monmouth, only to be captured and beheaded under the sentence of death passed against him four years earlier.[11] Derwentwater, a Jacobite conspirator, appears as an annotation on the back of the list. He was sentenced to death after the rising of 1715 but escaped from Newgate into exile on the Continent. Thirty years later he was arrested on a French privateer bound for Scotland with arms for the Jacobites and imprisoned in the Tower of London.[12] In a different hand, possibly that of one of the judges, is a note: “In K[ings] Bench pleaded he was not the same person – a jury returned and he was tried instanter and no challenge allowed – executed.”[13] The writer referred in cautiously positive terms to Blackstone’s comments (Commentaries on the Laws of England, Vol. 4, p. 389) on the role of a jury in identifying a person but not his guilt in such circumstances: “If Law of England is no reason why it should be our Law — it is no reason why it should not be our Law.”[14]

McDonald, also a Jacobite, was condemned under an act of attainder passed after the rising of 1745. Captured in 1754, he was brought before the Court of Justiciary on 11 March to have execution awarded against him or show cause why it should not: “It was keenly debated that his defences in bar of execution upon the said act ought to be tried by a jury. This was overruled by the Court and he was ordered for execution.”[15] Luckily for him, his appeal against sentence was superseded by a pardon.[16]

Convicted murderer Robert Johnston enjoyed less time on the run but no better luck than his social superiors. He escaped from prison at Jedburgh in May 1727 before his execution, but was caught in August 1728. His identity was proved by two witnesses and he was hanged on Tuesday 13 August.[17]

Avoiding Execution

There were other ways to avoid execution. Scots could petition the court for banishment before trial, to avoid the risk of a capital conviction, or a death sentence might be commuted to banishment, usually on pain of death if they returned by the eighteenth century the place of banishment was not England but the colonies. Hume noticed a gradual softening of the strictures attached to banishment, so that by the middle of the century returnees were not executed but whipped and transported overseas again.[18] The Court’s list includes four men sentenced to banishment and a woman reprieved for pregnancy and subsequently transported. Their cases mirror the trend noted by Hume.

On 12 March 1701 a pair of coiners, Anderson and Weir, had their capital sentences commuted to banishment, never to return to Scotland under the pain of death. But they did return, within a very short time. They were arrested, confessed that they were the individuals formerly sentenced, and were hanged on 28 March. Banished in 1699, William Baillie returned in 1715 and committed a series of thefts. Rather than immediate execution, the judges ordered him to stand trial for the thefts and returning from transportation – thus ensuring he would soon feel the hangman’s delicate touch. Twenty years later Walter Denny was banished but successfully petitioned the Court to be allowed to enlist and go to Gibraltar. And in March 1773 James Baillie, sentenced for murder in December 1771, returned from transportation for a good reason: he was prevented from going abroad by sickness.[19] The court accepted his claim that it was for a jury to decide whether he had forfeited the benefits of his pardon following legal arguments which raised the relationship of Scots law to English law with regard to “whether a crime already tried shall receive its punishment, and whether a sentence already pronounced shall receive execution”.

Under English law he was entitled to a trial of fact — returning from transportation, a felony under the Transportation Act of 1718. But under Scots law there could be no trial for a new crime, only to decide whether to put the existing sentence into execution — which was a matter for the judges. Baillie’s counsel argued that two later Acts extended over the whole kingdom of Great Britain and so the judges had to agree to a jury trial, the only difference from the English case being that Baillie’s obligation to transport himself arose not from sentence but the condition of his pardon.[20] This argument seems to have succeeded, as there is no record that Baillie was executed.

Finally, in October 1785 housebreaker Mary Langlands and her husband William Moodie were tried for theft and reset at Glasgow: he was sentenced to be transported but she was sentenced to death. However, she was able to do what a man never could: she pleaded pregnancy and her sentence was twice deferred, and then commuted to transportation.[21]

Postponing Execution

Judges occasionally made mistakes in the dates that they set for an execution — which, under Scots law, tended to be specified. An early example of this, not included in the Court list of 1788, occurred in 1684 when Arthur Tackett was sentenced to be hanged on 26 July. However, this was to be a feast day within the diocese of Edinburgh, so the Privy Council granted Tackett a “reprieve” to 1 August.[22] The execution dates for Janet Hay (1731) and James Jack (1784) had to be changed too. In Jack’s case this was because Wednesday 2 July 1784 did not actually exist so he was hanged on Wednesday 7 July, which did.[23]

Two years after the list was compiled, one William Gadesby, 28, was sentenced to death for theft and the date set for 2 February 1791. Scots law allowed up to 40 days between sentence and execution, depending on where in the country a trial was held,[24] and Gadesby used the time to write an autobiography and confess — falsely — to a series of additional crimes. As further enquiries were made, his execution date passed. He then petitioned the court for his sentence to be overturned and that he could not be proceeded against unless he was convicted upon another indictment. The judges refused, unanimously, paying “no regard to so unreasonable an objection”, and he was hanged on 23 February — a Wednesday.[25]

I would like to thank James Hamilton, Research Principal, The Signet Library, Edinburgh, for permission to quote from archival sources held in the Library.

Wellcome Collection, A manacled man is lead (sic) to prison by soldiers wearing tricorn hats. Etching. Wellcome Library no. 43507i (n.d.). Free to use with attribution.

Portrait of Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll (1629–1685) in Argyll’s Lodging, Stirling. By Kim Traynor – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0. Free to use with attribution.

Charles Radcliff, 5th Earl of Derwentwater (1693–1746) Jacobite portrait of Derwentwater from the waist up. National Library of Scotland, Jacobite prints and broadsides, (609) Blaikie.SNPG.5.9. Attribution: National Library of Scotland, Creative Commons License: CC-BY-NC-SA.

[1] Katherine Watson, Poisoned Lives: English Poisoners and their Victims (London: Hambledon and London, 2004), 189 Caledonian Mercury, 29 July 1799, 3. She used the time to talk with relatives and pray. The year-long delay was due to the fact that until 1819 the county held annual assizes.

[2] James Oldham, “On pleading the belly: A history of the jury of matrons”, Criminal Justice History 6 (1985), 19-21 K.J. Kesselring, Mercy and Authority in the Tudor State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 212-214.

[3] William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Vol. 4, Of Public Wrongs [facsimile of the first edn 1769] (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), 388-389. See also J.M. Beattie, Crime and the Courts in England 1660-1800 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 430-436.

[4] Newes from the Dead. Or a true and exact narration of the miraculous deliverance of Anne Greene, who being executed at Oxford Decemb. 14. 1650. afterwards revived and by the care of certain hysitians [sic] there, is now perfectly recovered. Together with the manner of her suffering, and the particular meanes used for her recovery (Oxford: Leonard Lichfield for Thomas Robinson, 1651).

[5] Barbara White, “Dickson, Margaret [called Half Hanged Maggy Dickson], (d. in or after 1753)”, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). Retrieved 22 Sept 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com.oxfordbrookes.idm.oclc.org/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-57792. This source gives the date as 1728, but others say 1724, including David Hume, Commentaries on the Law of Scotland, Respecting Trial for Crimes, Vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Bell & Bradfute, 1800), 351-352 and The Scots Magazine, 1 Dec 1808, 25.

[6] Mike Holgate and Ian Waugh, The Man They Could Not Hang: The True Story of John Lee (Stroud: Sutton, 2005).

[7] Blackstone, Commentaries, 399.

[9] The Signet Library, Edinburgh, SP 603:1, Session Papers, vol. 603 (1788-91), “Note of cases where the Court of Justiciary have ordered sentences of death to be inforc’d after elapsing of the day of execution, and of cases where the Court have altered the day of execution” (1788), n.p.

[10] An Account of the Life and Transactions of William Gadesby … Written by Himself, when in Prison (Edinburgh: William Creech, 1791). Bound into a copy of The West of Scotland Magazine and Review, new series (Glasgow: Thomas Murray and Sons), no. 11, August 1857, held in The Signet Library. The Account was advertised for sale at a cost of 1 shilling in the Caledonian Mercury, 24 Feb 1791, 1.

[11] David Stevenson, “Campbell, Archibald, ninth earl of Argyll (1629–1685), politician and clan leader”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). Retrieved 22 Sept 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com.oxfordbrookes.idm.oclc.org/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-4473.

[12] Leo Gooch, “Radcliffe, James, styled third earl of Derwentwater (1689–1716), Jacobite army officer”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). This article includes a biography of the fifth earl. Retrieved 22 Sept 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com.oxfordbrookes.idm.oclc.org/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-22983.

[13] The Signet Library, “Note of cases”.

[16] Clan MacFarlane and associated clans genealogy, Archibald Macdonell, 3rd of Barrisdale (accessed 22 Sept 2018).

[17] The Signet Library, “Note of cases” he is #4 on the list.

[19] The Signet Library, “Note of cases”.

[20] Caledonian Mercury, 13 March 1773, 2 The Scots Magazine, 1 March 1773, 1-7. According to Baillie’s counsel (who cited several of the cases listed in the Court’s list of 1788), these statutes were 6 Geo I c.23 (An Act for the further preventing Robbery, Burglary, and other Felonies, and for the more effectual Transportation of Felons) and 16 Geo II c.31 (An Act for the further punishment of persons who shall aid or assist prisoners to attempt to escape out of lawful custody) 6 Geo III c.32 (Transportation (Scotland) Act, 1766) was also relevant.

[21] The Signet Library, “Note of cases” The Scots Magazine, 1 Oct 1785, 41 Caledonian Mercury, 31 Dec 1785, 2-3.

[22] National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh, GD1/1009/13, Extract act of Privy Council postponing execution of Arthur Tackett because the original date is to be a fast day, 26 Jul 1684. On the period between sentence and execution see Hume, Commentaries, 344-346.

[23] The Signet Library, “Note of cases”.

[24] Hume, Commentaries, 345 Rachel E. Bennett, Capital Punishment and the Criminal Corpse in Scotland, 1740–1834 (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave, 2018), 16, 227.

[25] Hume, Commentaries, 349-350 Gadesby, An Account, 51-57.


No TOC. This is a digitization of a photocopied book. Text and images are faded. Some text is cut off due to the photocopying process.

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Ronald Thomas Kemp Esq. October 1st 2012.

The writer and his many helpers and supporters have done what we can not do in the age of internet with this fascinating and very descriptive history book.

If in 1800 Mr Hitchin and Co can produce such detailed information on the Kemp family lineage we owe it to him and the Kemp's past, present and future to offer a tribute book which with today's technology should in all accounts add to his great work.

To that end should anyone feel the same and would like to be involved in this epic adventure, please feel free to contact me so that we might discus the possibilities of creating an updated version.

For my part I believe we should create the various family trees of all the kemp's based on Mr Hitchin's work and the data available to us electronically, whilst enlisting the various Kemp families across the world for the " Last call to arms ".

Section navigation

An American widow&rsquos account of her travels in Ireland in 1844&ndash45 on the eve of the Great Famine:

Sailing from New York, she set out to determine the condition of the Irish poor and discover why so many were emigrating to her home country.

Mrs Nicholson&rsquos recollections of her tour among the peasantry are still revealing and gripping today.

The author returned to Ireland in 1847&ndash49 to help with famine relief and recorded those experiences in the rather harrowing:

Annals of the Famine in Ireland is Asenath Nicholson's sequel to Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger. The undaunted American widow returned to Ireland in the midst of the Great Famine and helped organise relief for the destitute and hungry. Her account is not a history of the famine, but personal eyewitness testimony to the suffering it caused. For that reason, it conveys the reality of the calamity in a much more telling way. The book is also available in Kindle.

The Ocean Plague: or, A Voyage to Quebec in an Irish Emigrant Vessel is based upon the diary of Robert Whyte who, in 1847, crossed the Atlantic from Dublin to Quebec in an Irish emigrant ship. His account of the journey provides invaluable eyewitness testimony to the trauma and tragedy that many emigrants had to face en route to their new lives in Canada and America. The book is also available in Kindle.

The Scotch-Irish in America tells the story of how the hardy breed of men and women, who in America came to be known as the &lsquoScotch-Irish&rsquo, was forged in the north of Ireland during the seventeenth century. It relates the circumstances under which the great exodus to the New World began, the trials and tribulations faced by these tough American pioneers and the enduring influence they came to exert on the politics, education and religion of the country.

William Baillie, Scottish general - History

This history is taken from the "History of the Scottish Highlands, Highland Clans and Scottish Regiments" mostly compiled around 1830 with some updates done in the late 1870's. Edited by John S Keltie F.S.A. Scot.

We have added dates to the various sections to give you a kind of time line so if you are looking for a time period it should help you to identify it. You should also note that this is a history of the Scottish Highlands and not the whole of Scotland so some famous Scottish events might not be covered or at best only with passing reference.

On a historical note this was the first publication that went up on Electric Scotland and was mostly typed in by Alastair McIntyre from the 6 volumes that made up the set. The set was purchased from James Thin, Edinburgh Booksellers of Edinburgh. Since that time the publication has been scanned in and is now available on the Internet archive. We are now providing a copy of the scanned publication in 8 volumes in pdf format.

Scotland - Rome's Final Frontier
A BBC Scotland documentary about the Roman Empire and Scotland

At this point we detail many of the individual clan feuds that went on in the Highlands to give you an impression of the general unrest there was during the next two centuries.

We now return to the more general Highland history of the period from the time of Charles I through to the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite revolution of 1745.

At this point we move to a very detailed account of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 including the account of Bonnie Price Charlie. As I have previously published this section you will now be sent to that part of the site that carries this account.

Now comes an account of the social conditions both before and after the Rebellion of 1745 in which we discuss living conditions, the highland clearances and emigration. These pages have been previously published and links below are to these pages.

Concluding our General History of the Highlands we now present an 1870 text which tries to tell of the Scenery of the Highlands.

Watch the video: Prince William Attends Church of Scotland General Assembly