• Notes on Rathven Parish Jacobites from "Jacobites of Aberdeenshire and Banffshire in the Rising of 1745
  • By Alistair and Henrietta Taylor (Aberdeen 1934)


  • Alexander Gordon of Letterfourie

    A Farmer at Pattenbringan, Banff, he was the fourth son of James Gordon of Letterfourie who had married a daughter of Sir William Dunbar of Durn. Alexander Gordon had 3 brothers: 1) Peter, died young. 2) James, a wine merchant in Madeira, who succeeded his father at Letterfourie and died there unmarried in 1790, aged 83. 3) William who was robbed and killed crossing the Alps in 1740. Puttenbringan is now on Seafield estate near Cullen House. He succeeded to Letterfourie after the death of brother James. He had married in 1778, [16.8.1778], Helen Russel and they had three sons, James, who succeeded him, Alex, [b.1781] and Charles Edward, [b.1785]. He died on 16.1.1797, aged 82. James Gordon, senior, of Letterfourie, father of the above was on the government side in the Rising. Letterfourie was obliged to pay cess and levie money to the Jacobites. A receipt still exists:



    Fochabers, 20 March 1746
    Received by me, Collector of the Cess and Levie money of Banffshire ffrom James Gordon of Letterfourie, the sum of £17:9:6 Scots as three terms Cess of the Lands of Letterfourie and Curriedown due per Banff ....? for Sept. and Dec., 1745 and this current month of March 1746. As also to have received from the said James Gordon the sum of £108 levie money affecting the foresaid lands at the rate of £5 sterling on each hundred pounds Scots, of which cess and levie money the said James Gordon is here discharged.
    Fran. Gordon

    James Gordon died in 1748. [Buried 25 March at Rathven]

    [Cess and Levie:- A military exactment for the support of the Jacobite army].


    George Gordon of Birkenbush

    He is not mentioned in Lord Rosebery's List, but is known to have played an active part on the Prince's side in Banffshire.



    A letter from him is now at Cairnfield:-

    "Birkenbush, 2 November 1745.
    By command from Lord Lewis Gordon, Lord Lieut, of the Counties of Banff and Aberdeen, I am ordered to acquaint to call together all your tenants, Servts. Cottars, apprentices you have any manner of way in your interest, to cause them repair along with yourself to the Moor of Broadley, Monday first being the fourth current, o'clock of Forenoon [sic] under the pain of the highest military discipline in order to be draughted for His Majesty's service. This is the Lord Lieutenant's peremptory orders to me from
    Sir, Your most humble servant,
    GEO. GORDON."

    Alexander Grant of Tochieneal, Lord Findlater's steward, wrote to his lordship:-

    "11 December, 1745.

    Birkenbush was here last night and told me that it is not in his power to get your Lordship's Estate saved in such a way as he would have desired, utterly refused having any concern in uplifting the Levies from that bounds, for which I have been very angry at him; but it cannot now help."

    George Gordon died in 1752. His wife was Katherine, daughter of Charles Gordon of Glengerack.


    James Gordon, younger brother of Birkenbush.

    He is mentioned in Lord Rosebery's List, where he is described as "Gentleman, Birkenbush, Banff. A Lieutenant and was very active-wounded at Inverurie skirmish."



    It seems that he recovered, as he married Elizabeth Gordon, [19.01.1749] and had issue, [Charles and Margaret].


    George Gordon of Buckie.

    Although George Gordon's name does not appear in Lord Rosebery's List, nor in any of the accounts of doings in Banffshire, there are two references in contemporary documents to Gordon of Buckie having been involved in the Jacobite affairs of the period.


    W. B. Blaikie in his "Itinerary of Prince Charles" says that "Gordon of Buckie and Gordon of Glasterim with tenants, joined the Prince at Holyrood on October 12th, 1745." Also in the French Foreign Office there are several letters from an anonymous correspondent in Edinburgh, in one of which, dated 20th October 1745, it is stated that Gordon of Buckie, Hay of Rannes and most of the gentlemen of Banffshire, mounted on horses, had the honour of being constantly with the Prince.1

    The possessor of Buckie at the time of the '45 was George Gordon, seventh laird. In 1730 he was served heir to his father, George Gordon (who had been "out" in the '15). He married, on 21st October 1746, Anna Gordon of Cairnfield, and had a son, Captain John, who was the last laird of Buckie. George Gordon died in March 1756, having previously bought the small estate of Arradoul, close to Cairnfield. The house of Buckie, very near the town, still exists in a ruinous condition.

    1"Le 20 Oct., 1745, milord Pitsligo apporta 400 infanterie et 240 Cavalerie.

    Les Sieurs Gordon de Buckie et Hay Ranas, et généralement tous les gentils hommes de la province de Banff montent à cheval et auront incessament I'hornneur de joindre le Prince".


    Charles Gordon of Buckie

    The younger brother of George Gordon, the Laird of Buckie and is known to have been engaged in the rising. Probably listed in Rosebery's List as "Charles Gordon, Surgeon apprentice, Aberdeen. Captain, assisted in robbing Lord Sinclair of his horses near Portsoy on 7.5.1746. Whereabouts unknown.



    Charles Hay of Rannas

    Eldest son of James Hay of Rannas and his wife, Margaret Gordon of Glengerack. Charles, born in 1688 married Helen Fraser in 1710 and had two sons, Andrew, the elder, was `out' in 1745 [and Alexander], and five daughters, [Mary, Catherine, Clementina, Margaret and Jane, (MI 1)]. Charles was `out' in 1715 and was one of the 16 heritors who surrendered at Banff in 1716. He died in London in 1751. [He was buried in Westminster Abbey].



    James Gordon of Glastirem,

    "A noted rebel and one of the first who appeared." (P.R.0.) In Lord Rosebery's List he is described as James Gordon of "Clashtirum," and there are several other variants of the name given in contemporary documents, but the above is the actual name. of the farm on the Duke of Gordon's estate in the Parish of Rathven, near Buckie. He is further said to have been "A Captain and very active in recruiting men for the Rebels. Lurking."

    He was the son of George Gordon of Glastirem, a cadet of Letterfourie, who had been "out in the '15," and belonged to a Roman Catholic family. He married, in 1738, Mary, daughter of Charles Hay of Rannes (and sister of Andrew), who was also widow of John Leith of Leith Hall, brother to Anthony, etc. (q.v.).

    He joined Prince Charles at Edinburgh in October, 1745. Though described in the summer of 1746 as "lurking," he had actually surrendered at Fochabers to Robert Bayly who was in command there.

    On 15th November 1747, finding himself, notwithstanding, this surrender, placed on the list of those excepted from the Indemnity of 20th June 1747, he sent the following petition:-

    "To the Right Honourable the Earl of Findlater and Seafield, Sheriff of the County of Banff.

    THE PETITION of James Gordon of Glastirrum, HUMBLY SHEWETH
    THAT your Petitioner has a very small Estate within the said County of about fifty pounds Str. of yearly rent, burdened with very considerable debts, and having been Educated in the Roman Catholock Religion and being young and without Experience was unfortunately persuaded and seduced to enter into the late most unnatural and unprovocked Rebellion, but that his Conduct therein was attended with no aggravating Circumstances. For your Petitioner never bore any Commission, nor levied men, nor touched Publick money, nor was at the battle of Preston or the battle of Falkirk nor did he any hurt or prejudice to any of his Majesties faithfull Subjects, but on the Contrary, constantly refused to submit or to obey any Commands of that Sort. And he begs leave further to assure your Lop. that before the end of the Rebellion, he became deeply sensible not only of the temerity of such an undertaking but of the Crime of Joining with those who Involved their Native Country in Confusion and Misery by attempting to overthrow a most mild Government, which. Impression has never left him. That in Summer 1746, he surrendered himself in Terms of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland's orders to the Commanding officer at Fochabers, as your Lop. will see by the Protection thereupon granted. And that ever since that time he has lived in a most retired Quiet and unoffensive manner, without uttering any Expression or doeing any action that could in the Least tend to promote Sedition, his great desire being to spend all the Remainder of his life as a peaceable and dutifull subject to his Majesty King George, altho he has the great misfortune of being Excepted from his Majesties really most gracious Indemnity. As he has ground to believe that your Lop. has been informed of these particulares by persons of unquestionable veracity and zealous attachment to his Majesty's Government and as he knows that in the strickest enquirey you will find them to be true. May it therefore please your Lop. to lay his Case before his Majesty or before any of the Secretaries of State that they may in such manner as to them shall seem meet, Humbly apply for his Majestys gracious pardon and mercy and if your Petitioner is so happy as to obtain it notwithstanding his acknowledged demerit, he does most faithfully upon the word of honour of a Gentleman promise that during the whole course of his life he will speak and act with the highest gratitude to his Majesty and never will directly or indirectly be in any way accessary to the molesting of his Government or that of his Royal Posterity and believes that, if it is required, he can to the Extent of the free part of his small fortune, find Security for his good behaviour.

    And your petitioner shall ever pray.
    JAMES GORDON."

    His wife (Mary Hay) wrote at the same time to Lord Findlater thus:-

    "My Lord, I hope the distressed condition in which I and my poor family are involved at present will plead my excuse for presuming to transmit the enclosed petition from my unfortunate husband, which contains his real sentiments. If in compassion not only to him, but likewise to me and my young children, your Lordship will be so good as to represent his case, it will be most highly generous and obliging, and I assure your Lordship that if my husband shall be so happy as to obtain mercy, both he and I shall, as in duty bound, constantly return the highest and most sincere gratitude to his Majesty, and earnestly pray for his happiness and prosperity. I am, with sincere respect, your lordship's most faithful, humble servant,

    MARY HAY.
    Glastirim, 25th November 1747.

    P.S.-I have sent the protection granted to my husband by the officer, that you may see the copy transmitted with the petition is a true one, but I must beg you may return it, because I cannot be easie without haying it in my custody."

    Findlater's own covering letter to the Duke of Newcastle is as follows:-

    "Cullen House, Nov. 28, 1747.
    I have ground to believe that the facts herein set forth are in general true, and as the Gentleman is naturally of a quiet disposition I really think he is as fit an object of his Majesty's mercy as any of those that are excepted by name in the Act of Indemnity. I am making as much haste as the confusion of my private affairs can possibly allow to set out for London, where I hope soon to have the honour of waiting on Your Grace."

    He is here referring to the Sack of his house by the Jacobites, which doubtless had dislocated his business and estate matters considerably. There is a further note in the State Papers (P.R.0.) to the effect that "Lord Findlater sent, in the beginning of the last winter, to Mr. Stone, a petition of Gordon of Glastirum, who had surrendered himself to one of the Duke's officers--but whose name was inserted among the exceptions in the Bill of fndemnity. This man being the first of the excepted persons, who applied dutifully for a pardon and beinp of a quiet disposition, it is thought it might have a good effect if he should be pardoned, upon finding security for his good behaviour. This might shew others their error in not making dutiful application."

    There is added in another hand:-"This person had a protection from one of the Duke's Officers immediately after the suppression of the rebellion-but his name happened, thro a want of due Information, to be put among the, excepted persons." Early in 1748 Lord Findlater wrote again, in the same strain, begging "to know what is to be done about Glastirem as I know when I get to the country, the family will importune me about him."

    In spite of this powerful advocacy, James Gordon was tried before the jury in Edinburgh on 12th October 1748, but his was one of the cases in which, for want of evidence, a verdict of "Ignoramus" was returned.

    He seems to have been a man of weak character, much under the influence of others. After the death of Mary Hay, he married again, and appears occasionally in the letters written from Rannes to the absent Andrew Hay, not always in the most favourable light.

    He died on 22nd February 1783, aged 64.



    Charles Gordon of Glastirem

    Brother of James Gordon (above). He does not occur in Rosebery's List, and the only fact known about him is that he took command of the company of about 50 men raised by the exertions of Mr. John Gordon, Priest of Preshome



    Andrew Hay younger, of Rannes.

    Born in 1713, was the eldest son of Charles Hay of Rannes, who married Helen, only child of Dr. Andrew Fraser of Inverness. On 10th July 1733, Andrew Hay took sasine of the Estate of Rannes on a Crown Charter, which reserved the life-rents of his father Charles and his mother Helen Fraser. He attended a county meeting on 1st June 1742, and the minutes record that he then took the oath of allegiance to King George. But after Prince Charles had raised the Standard, Andrew Hay decided to join him, taking with him two servants named James Guthrie and James Donaldson; the latter was made prisoner at Inverness. Hay joined the Prince at Holyrood in October 1745, and was appointed a Major of Horse in Lord Pitsligo's regiment. Sir Alexander Macdonald in a letter to Clanranald, his cousin, of 25th January 1746, writes:-

    "Hay of Rannes, James Gordon of Clashterim, and some other gentlemen have gone to their homes from the Prince, but wither to Reclaim the men of the Duke of Gordon's country who have deserted, I can't tell."

    There is no record of Andrew Hay's doings during the campaign, but Pitsligo's regiment was in the van of every fight, and helped to protect the rear during the retreat from Derby. At the triumphant entry of the Highlanders into Manchester during their march south, it was recorded by Samuel Maddocks that the first man to enter the town was "Hay of Rannes, who was very remarkable among them, being 7 foot high."1 (Andrew's actual height was 7 feet 2 inches, as shown by a contemporary document at Leith Hall.)

    He "lurked" for along time in the neighbourhood of Rannes, where, on at least one occasion, he was very nearly captured. Lord Findlater, writing from Cullen House on 4th November 1747 to the Lord Justice Clerk, says:- "Young Ranas escaped very narrowly from one of the houses that were searched."

    As his father Charles was still alive (and although an ardent Jacobite in the '15, had not taken part in the '45) no harm was done to the house or property of Rannes, and after Charles' death in 1751, his widow continued the management of the estate on behalf of Andrew, to whom she supplied funds, both during his years of "lurking" and after he went abroad in 1752 He was one of those excepted from the Act of Indemnity, but towards the end of 1747 he appears to have been going about the country in a rather venturesome manner-for a proscribed rebel. In an unsigned letter to General Bland (P.R.0.), this passage occurs:-

    "In the county of Banff, in the Village of Keith, the Informer was in a public house where Colonel Roy Stewart, an attented Rebell, and Hay of Ranus another of the gang was, and Clune Mcpherson. All these appear publickly at mercats and everywhere and act as proproators of their estates and visite their neighbours openly and stir up the Humours of the people and keep them well in heart by telling them of descents and French invasions, and ye Civil Magistrate takes no notice of it. Most of these things the Informer had from the gentlemen and ministers living upon the place, and that all this was so notoriously known, a proof of it would be easie, and that the common discourse was that the Civil Magistrates did nothing and left all to the Military, of purpose as they thought to throw ane Odium upon the King and say we were under a Military Government, and that it discouraged both the well-affected gentlemen and ministers when they saw the civell Government so remiss and attented Rebells walking about in Triumph."

    Whether it was in consequence of this report or not is not clear, but in the same year (1747) there was presented a petition from Andrew Hay as follows:-

    "To the King's most excellent: Majesty. The Humble petition of Andrew Hay, younger of Rannes. Sheweth.

    That your Petitioner being a young man was unhappily induced in the latter end of October 1745 to join in the late Rebellion and is informed that on this account he is excepted from your Majesties gracious Act of Indemnity. That your Petitioner begs leave with Great Humility to represent that he had not the least accession to any hardships done to any of your Majesties faithful Subjects, but on the contrary used his Utmost Endeavours to prevent anything of that kind when it was in his power, as many of them can, and the Petitioner is persuaded will, testify when called upon. That your Petitioner has since the month of Aprile 1746 lived in such a manner as not to give the least offence, being determined to throw himself on your Majesties Clemency, that as a young man he might be at Liberty to follow his lawfull Business in his own Country, rather as recurr to and become dependent upon any Foreign Power. That your Petitioner does not preseume to mention these Circumstances as an Aleviation of his guilt, but in order to move your Majesties Compassion, and being most heartily sorry for his offence, he most humbly Submits himself to your Majesties Royal Clemency, and imploring your Royal Mercy promises to live a grateful and Dutifull Subject-and your Petitioner shall always pray etc. ANDREW HAY."

    (Some of the pleas scarcely agree with the Informer's statements quoted above.)

    In the year 1752 it was considered wiser for Hay to take refuge in France, where he lived for many years among the other exiles, especially James Gordon of Cobairdy and Sir James and Lady Fanny Steuart of Goodtrees. He kept up an active correspondence with his mother for ten years, these letters being preserved at Leith Hall.

    In 1762 most of his brother exiles had returned home, and Andrew Hay was repeatedly urged to do the same, which he said he would have done "had my size been more moderate." He was terribly afraid of being recognised and thrown into prison. At length, however, in January 1763 he was induced to run the risk, and safely reached home in May, where his mother was still alive to receive him. He was then fifty, and she must have been nearly eighty.

    His brother-in-law, James Gordon of Glasterim, had been whitewashed by the "ignoramus" verdict of the jury in Edinburgh in 1748, and the four Leiths, brothers-in-law to his sister Mary (previously Mrs. Leith), who had also been out in the Jacobite Rising, had lived down the odium connected with it, in the eyes of the Government.

    Andrew Hay had been living undisturbed in Rannes for nine years, when in 1772 Lord Fife applied for a formal pardon for him and James Gordon of Cobairdy. In his letter, Lord Fife states that they had, ever since the Rebellion, behaved so as to merit the favour and protection of Government, living near Lord Fife, and "visiting and being visited by everybody in the country." Lord Suffolk replied that, "in view of the many forms that must be observed before obtaining a formal pardon from the King, if these gentlemen remain unmolested, it would be better not to stir in the matter at all." Lord Fife was not satisfied with this answer and made a further application; for, amongst his correspondence, there is another letter dated 25th January 1773, in which Lord Suffolk: writes:-"I am sure your Lordship will do me the justice to believe that I should not have declined compliance with your request, in behalf of Mr. Hay, if there had not been the strongest reasons for wishing to avoid taking any steps of that kind, and particularly as it is so great a distance of time, there is every reason to hope that his Case as well as others, will have been forgotten, and that he may remain in peace and undisturbed. I concluded you would wish to avoid troubling his Majesty, and I hope your Lordship will permit me to say that I am affraid it would bring on other applications of the same kind." This would seem to have ended the matter for the moment, but doubtless Lord Fife, who habitually pursued to its conclusion any course upon which he embarked, continued to press it, as did some other of Andrew Hay's friends.

    In May 1781, Mrs. Macleod of Macleod wrote to Andrew Hay:-"It gives me the greatest pleasure to see in the News papers that Government had most properly made you perfect master of your own Estate again, which I hope you will long enjoy in health and comfort."

    A pardon had actually been granted in the following terms:-

    "George the Third by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland, King Defender of the Faith and so forth, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Know ye that we being moved with com- passion of our special grace, certain knowledge and meer motion Have pardoned and released and by these presents for us our heirs and successors Do pardon remit and release Andrew Hay of Rannes in our County of Banff or by whatsoever other name or sirname or addition of name or sirname act place or history the said Andrew Hay may he known deemed called or named or lately was known deenmed called or named, all High Treason and all other treason, misprisions of treason ffelonies crimes and offences by him comitted or perpetrated, by himself alone or with any other person or persons whatsoever whomsoever or wheresoever, before the thirtieth day of August One thousand seven hundred and eighty by reason of his having been engaged in the late rebellion in the year one thousand seven hundred and forty five within or without our dominions although the said Andrew Hay be or be not indited committed .adjudged outlawed condemned or attainted of the premises or any of them and also all and singular Indictments, Outlawries, Acquisitions, Informations, suits, plaints, exigents, Judgements, Attainders, Convictions, Imprisonments, Executions, Pains of Death and Pains Corporal whatsoever for the same premises or either of them or by reason thereof which we have had now, have or can claim or which we our heirs or successors may in any manner hereafter claim against the said Andrew Hay and so do by these presents give and grant unto him our Firm pact thereupon.-IN WITNESS whereof we have caused these our letters to be made patent Witness ourselves at Westminster the twenty third day of September in the twentieth year of our reign
    By Writ of Privy Seal (YORKE)."

    Lord Kinnoull wrote to Andrew Hay at the same time:-

    "Dupplin, Nov. 22nd 1780.

    Dear Sir, I received yesterday the favour of your most kind letter of the 15th inst, and forwarded your hand- some one to the Lord Advocate, who I believe is still at Edinburgh.

    I intended this very day to have acquainted you that on Wednesday last and not before, in my way to Dunkeld where I was stormsted till yesterday, I had notice by letter of ye 10th from Mr. Fowler1 that he had received yr. Pardon, and Mr. Sneyd's Bill discharged, which I enclose. The amount thereof falls short of the sum remitted by you to Mr. Fowler in the sum of ?1 10. 6 which I will Pay to any person you shall direct for your use, Mr. Fowler having given me Credit for the same. I send a copy of Mr. John Hay's bill, that you may see wherein the difference consists.

    I have wrote this day to a Friend at Edr. to enquire if any gentleman is to return at ye Christ-mas Vacation, whom I can request to bring down the instrument.

    Dear Rannes, you overpower with acknowledgements. Be assured that I feel the greatest Pleasure from Being able to do any thing that is agreeable to you; and that the Ballance of the amount of ye satisfaction is on mv side. I am happy that you are a free Citizen and that I have contributed to restore another worthy Hay to this country: and my Happiness is the greater that you are perfectly free of obligation to any of your great neighbours.

    I am ever with sincere regard and esteem Dear Sir,
    Your most faithful and most obedient servant,
    KINNOULL."

    Andrew Hay, however, did not live very long after this, and during the last few Years of his life suffered much from rheumatism, probably a result of his experiences in the '45 and his wanderings after Culloden. During his life in France, he frequently complained of ill-health. In June 1789 Lord Fife, writing to William Rose, says that the last time he saw Andrew Hay, the latter mentioned that he had left a trust to Lord Fife which he felt himself bound to perform, and that Hay had added:- "For God's sake hurry Mr. Rose2-for Death is on my Life."

    Andrew Hay, died, unmarried, 29th August 1789 aged 76, and was buried in the Rannes Aisle of the old Church of Rathven. The church was demolished in 1794, but the Rannes Aisle remains, containing a large tablet to the memory of several generations of the Hays of Rannes. Andrew Hay, a few months previous to his death, sold the property of Rannes to Lord Findlater, and it now forms part of the Seafield Estates.

    1.Gentleman Gaoler at the Tower
    2.Who was to draw up the document



    Peter Stuart younger, of Tannachy

    "Gentleman, Tannachie, Banff. Ensign in the Rebel Army - Lurking", [in hiding]; Rosebury's List.

    Usually called Patrick, he was the son of George Stuart of Tannachy, Portgordon, who married Anne, daughter of Sir James Abercromby of Birkenbog, and he died on December 1748. Peter was cited by edict on 7.6.1749 as eldest son of George Stuart of Tannachy and was served heir to him in May 1750. He married his cousin, Elizabeth Stuart, (d.1806), younger daughter of Alexander Stuart of Auchlunkart and died 31.12.1779 aged 50, leaving : 1) George Stewart of Tannachy W.S., [b.1768], died October 1814, aged 45; 2) Alexander, Major 75th Regt. killed in Callabria, April 1813, aged 40; 3) Andrew, [b.1774], died in Jamaica; 4) Harriet Mary, died 19th July 1864, in the 93rd year of her age; 5) Elizabeth Margaret, died 24th July 1858, aged 82. Patrick Stuart, a keen Presbyterian, built the Chapel of Ease at Enzie. He said that he joined the Rising entirely owing to the persuasion of Lord Lewis Gordon

    But Rosebery List - "Peter Stuart, Gentleman, Oxhill, Banff. Ensign in the rebel army and very active in recruiting men. Lurking". [In hiding].



    Some ordinary rebels from Rathven and district

    John Allan, Moss-side.

    Andrew Cattenach, Banff, prisoner after Culloden.

    James Donaldson, Servant to Hay of Rannas, prisoner at Inverness.

    John Goodbrand, Wright of Cullen.

    George Gordon, Blacksmith, Cullen.

    James Guthrie, Servant, Rannas, very active.

    Alex Mitchell, Banff. Servant to Stewart of Bog, transported.

    George Mitchell, workman, Loanhead?

    James Mitchell, workman, Loanhead?

    Alex Ogilvie, shoemaker, Corriedown.

    James Ord, Wigmaker, Cullen, one of the Hussars.

    William Ramsay, labourer, Loanhead.

    James Stevenson, Servant, Edingight.

    George Weir, workman Loanhead.



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