Document of the Month - November

The Battle of Sheriffmuir In Local Kirk Session Records 1715 - 1717

This November is the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Sheriffmuir, part of the 1715 Jacobite rebellion

There is evidence of local support for the Jacobite cause to be found in local Kirk Session records. On the day of the battle itself, a Sunday, Alva Parish Kirk failed to have a collection owing to the battle and this fact is recorded in the account book.

In Clackmannan Parish, several people were brought up in front of the Kirk Session for participating in the rebellion and fined for doing so. In this case, on the 13th December 1715 the Kirk is upbraiding George Scotland and Harry MacGoune citing the fact that they ‘were drunk & did drink the Pretender’s health’.

In December 1716, the Clackmannan Kirk Session makes it clear that they will not baptise the children of those known to have taken part in the uprising.

On 16th August 1717, the Kirk Session refused to baptise the child of John Younger unless he had appeared in front of the session and ‘confest his sin of Rebellion against God & against King George’. He is recorded as having refused to do so at that meeting but returned on the 20th August and ‘confest his sin of Rebellion & his sin of contempt & stubbornness against the Session in refusing to humble himself as they had injoyned him formerly’. He was told to ‘humble himself on his knees’, his repentance was accepted and the baptism went ahead.

It is interesting that the Church saw rebellion against the crown as a sin against God and gives an indication of Church sympathies at this time.