18th of August

St Agapetus, martyr, about 275. St Clare of Monte Falco, virgin, 1308.

Died. – Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, 328, Rome; Pope Paul IV., 1559; Guido Reni, celebrated painter, 1642, Bologna; William Boyd, Earl of Kilmarnock, and Arthur, Lord Balmerino, beheaded for high treason, 1746, London; Francis I., Emperor of Germany, 1765, Innspruck; Dr James Beattie, poet (The Minstrel), 1803, Aberdeen; Sir William Fairbairn, Engineer, 1874, Farnham, Surrey.


Four of the Scotch nobility, who had joined in the insurrection of 1745, were condemned to death. One, the Earl of Cromarty, was pardoned, very much out of pity for his wife and large family. A second, Lord Lovat, was executed in 1747. The remaining two suffered decapitation on Tower Hill, on the 18th of August 1746, while the country was still tingling with the fear it had sustained from the rising. Of these, the Earl of Kilmarnock, a gentle-natured man of two-and-forty, professed penitence. the other, Lord Balmerino, a bluff old dragoon, met death with cheerful resignation, avowing his zeal for the House of Stuart to the last. The scaffold erected for this execution was immediately in front of a house which still exists, marked as No. 14 Tower Hill. The two lords were in succession led out of this house on to the scaffold, Kilmarnock suffering before Balmerino, in melancholy reference to his higher rank in the peerage. Their mutilated bodies, after being deposited in their respective coffins, are said to have been brought back into the house, and in proof of this, a trail of blood is still visible along the hall and up the first flight of stairs. There is a contemporary print of the execution, representing the scaffold as surrounded by a wide square of dragoons, beyond which are great multitudes of people, many of them seated in wooden galleries. the decapitated lords were all respectfully buried in St Peter’s Chapel within the Tower. 

There were in all between eighty and ninety men put to death for their concern in the Forty-five. Many of them suffered on Kennington Common, including two English gentlemen, named Francis Townley and George Fletcher, who had joined the prince at Manchester. The heads of these two were fixed at the top of poles, and stuck over Temple Bar, where they remained till 1772, when one of them fell down, and in a storm, the other soon followed. There were people living in London not long ago, who remembered having in their childhood seen these grisly memorials of civil strife. Many readers will remember the jocular remark made by Goldsmith to Johnson, with reference to the rebel heads of Temple Bar. Johnson, who was well known to be of Jacobite inclinations, had just quoted to Goldsmith from Ovid, when among the poets’ tombs at Westminster Abbey –

‘Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis.’
[And perhaps my name will be linked.]

Passing on their way home under Temple Bar, Goldsmith slily whispered in Johnson’s ear, pointing to the heads –

‘Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis.’

Previous to the rebellion of 1745, Temple Bar, for about thirty years, exhibited the head of a barrister named Layer, who had been executed for a Jacobite conspiracy, soon after Atterbury’s Plot. At length, one stormy night, the head of Layer was tumbled down from its station, and being found in the morning by a gentleman named Pearce, was taken into a neighbouring public-house. It is said to have there been buried in the cellar; nevertheless, a skull was purchased as Layer’s by Dr Rawlinson, an antiquary, and, on his death in 1755, was buried in his right hand.


It is scarcely necessary to remark that Jacobitism proceeded upon a principle, which is not now in any degree owned by anybody in the United Kingdom – that a certain family had a simply hereditary right to the crown and all the associated benefits, and could not be deprived of it without the same degree of injustice which attends the taking of a man’s land, or his goods, or anything else that is his. ‘The king shall enjoy his own again!’ was the burden of a song of the Commonwealth, which continued in vogue among the Stuart party as long as it existed. Those who made and sang it, had no idea of any right in the many controlling this supposed right of one; and there, of course, lay their great mistake. Granting, however, that the Jacobites viewed the case of the Stuarts as that of a family deprived of a right by unjust means, we must admit that their conduct in trying to effect its restoration was not merely logical, but generous. In the heat of contention, the Revolution party could not so regard it; but we may. We may – while deploring the short-sightedness of their principles – admire their sacrifices and efforts, and pity their sufferings. 

After the House of Brunswick had been well settled in England, the chance of a restoration of the Stuarts became extremely small. the attempt of 1745, brilliant as it was in some respects, was a thing out of time, a mere temporary and, as it were, impertinent interruption of a state of things quite in a contrary strain. The Jacobites were chiefly country gentlemen – men of the same type who are now known as ultra-conservatives. They were important in their own local circles, but could exercise little influence on the masses. The essential weakness of their cause is shewn in the necessity they were under of putting a mask upon it. 

A constant correspondence was kept up between them and the Stuarts, but under profound secrecy. Portraits and medals of the royal exiles were continually coming to them, to keep alive their bootless loyalty. An old lady would have the face of James III. so arranged in her bedroom, that it was the first thing she saw on opening her eyes in the morning. The writer has seen a copy of the Bible, with a print of that personage pasted on the inside of the first board. The contemplation of it had been a part of the owner’s devotions. There was also a way of shewing the Stuart face by a curious optical device, calculated to screen the possessor from any unpleasant consequences. The face was painted on a piece of canvas, in such a way that no lineament of humanity was visible upon it; but when a polished steel cylinder was erected in the midst, a beautiful portrait of ‘the king’ or ’the prince’ was visible by reflection on the metal surface. there were also occasional presents of peculiar choice articles from the Stuarts to their adherents. A gentleman in Perthshire still possesses the silver collar of an Italian greyhound, which was sent to his grandmother, considerably more than a hundred years ago, the collar being thus inscribed: ‘C. STEWARTUS PRINCEPS JUVENTUTIS.’ On the other hand, when some ingenious manufacturer produced a ribbon or a garter coloured tartan-wise, and containing allusive inscriptions, initials, or other objects, samples of it would be duly transmitted to the expatriated court. 

The Jacobites dealt largely in songs and metaphorically conveying their sentiments, and some of these, from this very additional necessity of metaphor, are tolerably effective as samples of poetry. Dr William King, president of St Mary’s Hall, Oxford, and Dr John Byrom of Manchester, were the chief bards of the party about the middle of the century. The Jacobites also dealt largely in mystically significant toasts. If the old squire, in giving ‘The king,’ brought his glass across a water-jug, it was held to be a very clever way of shewing that he meant ‘The king over the water.’ If some Will-Wimble-like dependent, on being asked for his toast, proposed, ‘The king again,’ it was accepted as a dexterous hint at a Restoration. One of Dr Byrom’s toasts was really a clever equivoque: 

‘God bless the king – I mean the Faith’s Defender.
 God bless – no harm in blessing – the Pretender.
 Who that Pretender is, and who that king,
 God bless us all, is quite another thing.’

This was set forth in Byrom’s works, as ‘intended to allay the violence of party-spirit.’ One of the hopeful sons of the squire was sure of an additional apple, if he could clearly enunciate to the company at table the following alphabet: 

A. B. C.   A Blessed Change.
D. E. F.   D— Every Foreigner.
G. H. J.   Get Home James.*
K. L. M.   Keep Loyal Ministers.
N. O. P.   No Oppressive Parliaments.
Q. R. S.   Quickly Return, Stuart.
T. U. W.   Tuck Up Whelps (Guelphs).
X. Y. Z.   ‘Xert Your Zeal.

As another specimen of their system of equivocation, take the following verses, as given on the fly-leaf of a book which had belonged to a Jacobite partisan: 

I love with all my heart The Tory party here 
The Hanovarian part Most hateful doth appear 
And for their settlement I ever have denied 
My conscience gives consent To be on James’s side 
Most glorious is the cause To be with such a king 
To fight for George’s laws Will Britain’s ruin bring 
This is my mind and heart In this opinion I 
Though none should take my part Resolve to live and die 

To appearance, this was a long poem of short lines, conveying nothing but loyalty to the Hanover family, while, in reality, it was a short poem in long lines, pronouncing zealously for the Stuarts. 

Mr Richard Almack, F. S. A., Melford, exhibited at a meeting of the Archæological Institute, a very affecting memorial of the Jacobite party, in the form of an impression from a secretly engraved plate, supposed to have been executed by Sir Robert Strange, and of which a copy is here reproduced on wood. It professedly is a sort of cenotaph of the so-called ‘Martyrs for King and Country in 1746.’ The form, as will be observed, is that of a full-blown five-petalled rose, on which are thirty-five small circles, containing each the name of some one who suffered for the cause at the close of the insurrection of 1745-6; as also, on the extremities, those of Prince Charles and Prince Henry Benedict, with the dates of their births. Amongst the names of the sufferers are those of Captain John Hamilton, who had been governor of Carlisle for the Prince, and surrendered it to the Duke of Cumberland, Sir Archibald Primrose, Francis Buchanan of Arnprior, Colonel Townley, who had raised a rebel regiment at Manchester, and Captain David Morgan, originally a barrister. The others were persons of less account; most of them were put to death in barbarous circumstances on Kennington Common. [A second plate, similar in form to the one engraved above, was in 1884 in the possession of Miss Foster, Larkholm, near Liverpool. this plate contains a different set of names, amongst which appear those of Lords Balmerino and Kilmarnock.] Jacobitism may be said to have ceased to have a profession of faith at the death of Charles Edward in 1788. Little of it survived in favour of Cardinal York, who, at the death of his brother, was content to issue a medal bearing his name as ‘Henricus Nonus Dei Gratia Rex,’ [‘God’s Grace King Henry IX.’] with the meek addition, ‘Haud desideriis Hominum, sed voluntate Dei.’ [‘Not by human desire, but by God’s.’] The feeling may be said to have merged in an attachment to George III., on his taking so strong a part against the French Revolution and Friends of the People – a position which made him something like a Stuart himself.

*  I used to be told by my parents when headed home from anywhere, “Home James and don’t spare the horses.” I’m now left wondering if that phrase is a throwback to the Jacobean Rebellions.

On this Day in Other Sources.

There is every reason to believe that in the time of Kentigern, and even in times far more remote, the country around what is now Glasgow, and, indeed the whole face of Scotland, was covered with immense forests, chiefly of oak; and it is interesting to note that in the oldest of the canoes dug up from under the streets of Glasgow, we possess portions of the wood grown in these ancient forests, not later, and probably earlier, than the time of Abraham. By waste, and want of care in replanting. much of this wood disappeared, but many of the forests continued to exist long after the time of Kentigern; and when Edward I. overran the country, he was in the practice of repaying the services of those who submitted, or whom he desired to win his authority, by presents of so many oaks and stags from the forests which he found in possession of the crown. Thus, on the 18th of August, 1291, the king directed the keeper of the forest of Selkirk to deliver thirty stags to the Archbishop of St. Andrews; twenty stags and sixty oaks to the Bishop of Glasgow; and six oaks to Brother Bryan, Preceptor of the order of the Knights Templars in Scotland. Among these old forests was that of Glasgow, but, like all the others, it gradually disappeared, partly, no doubt, from waste, and partly that the ground might be brought under cultivation, but also as a measure of safety, for the wolf and other savage animals abounded in them to an extent which must have proved troublesome, and, indeed, dangerous. But while the forests existed the game was, as a rule, scrupulously preserved, and many of the old charters relate to these rights. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.37-55.

This year of King Robert’s coronation was very unfortunate to him; for in 3 months he was several times overthrown by the lieutenants of King Edward [I.] of England: [firstly,] at Methven, by Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, Governor of Scotland for King Edward of England, the 19th day of June: secondly, in the confines of Atholl, the 18th day of August [1306], at Dalry. 

– Historical Works, pp.88-104.

Forteviot has acquired additional interest, from the circumstance of the fatal and disgraceful battle of Dupplin having been fought in its immediate vicinity. Edward Baliol, having landed near Kinghorn, and routed the troops under the Earl of Fife who opposed his landing, marched northward, and encamped on the ‘Millar’s Acre’ at Forteviot, August 18th, 1332. The Earl of Mar heard at Perth, 

That all thare fays cummyn ware
To Fortewyot, and thaim thare
Had lwgyd in a lytil plas,
The Mylnarys Akre it callyd was;
And men sayis, bath hors and man
In that akyre war lwgyd than.
WYNTOUN, B. viii. c. 26. v. 67.

The Earl of Mar was encamped, with a numerous army, on a rising ground on the opposite side of the river Earn, near to Dupplin. The contemptible appearance of Baliol’s forces, confined within such narrow bounds, proved a snare to the royal army, who laughed at the idea of danger from a mere handful of enemies. Total carelessness was the natural consequence; and ere day dawned, the English had crossed the river, and attacking an army that had abandoned itself to intemperance, easily put it to a complete rout. 

– Scotland Illustrated, pp.52-54.

[Queen Mary] remained at Stirling, till the 18th of August [1562]. To Stirling was she accompanied, by Randolph, and followed by John Knox. She learned here, that Elizabeth was preparing forces against her relations, in France; that many of her own subjects were about to join the English army, without her assent, or knowledge. 

– Life of Mary, pp.62-77.


Keeper of his Castle of Kilchurn, 1570.

   Gregor McAne, I commend me hartlie to you. McCallum Dow hes schawin me quhow the Clangregour hes tain vp your geir and your puir tenentis geir, the quhilk I pray yow tak na thocht of, for albeit I haue na ky to recompanss yow instantlie, I sall, God willinge, mak yow and youris sour of rowmis that sall mak yow mair profeit nor the geir that ye haue tint at this tyme, ye beand ane trew faythfull seruand to me. And gif the puir men that wantis geir duellinge onder yow be trew to yow, tak tham into the place vpoun my expenssis, and gif to thair wyifis and bairnis sum of my victuall to sustein tham as ye think expediant. I pray yow haue the place weill provydid with sic furnesing as ye ma get, and spair nowther my geir nor yit your awin, for God luuinge ws our heilthis, we will get geir enewche. I pray yow, and als commandis yow, that ye lat nain within the place but your awin traist servandis, albeit I gaif you ane command to resaue sum vtheris at my departing, and keip this writing for your warrand; for albeit the geir be awa and the ground waistit, I kepand that auld houss and haldand the rigis haill as God willinge I sall, ye beand ane faythfull servand to me, my bairnis and youris sall leif honorable in it will God, quhen the plage of God will leyth vpoun tham and thair posteritie out of memorie that molestis me and yow at this present. Send word to me gif ye mister men or ony vthir thinge ye wald haue me doand with this berar, quha is ane man that I credeit, and ye ma schaw to him your mynd. I sall provyid sum scharp boy that can writ and reid to you schortlie, and hald ye him on my expenssis sa lange as this induris, becaus credeit ma nocht be gevin to boyis. The rest to your wisdoum, and to treit yourself weill and be mirrie, and tak na thocht of geir, for we will get geir enewche, will God, quha mot have you in keepinge. At Ilanran, the xviii of August 1570. – Youris,  

COLIN CAMPBELL of Glenurquhay.

– Sketches, Appendix VII.

In January, 1571, [Adam Fullerton] sat as Commissioner for the City in the General Assembly which met at Leith, and in the summer of the same year he was made captain of two hundred armed citizens, who formed themselves into a band or company, and joined forces of the Regent in that seaport, for which he was denounced as a traitor to his Queen; and by an act of the Estates, sitting in the Tolbooth, and presided over on the 18th of August by the Duke of Chatelherault, many rebels to the Queen, “formost among whom is Adam Fullerton,” were declared to have forfeited their lives, lands, goods, and coats of arms. His house in the Fountain Close was seized, and a battery erected on the summit thereof to assail the King’s men. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.274-282.

Morton having again engrossed both King and government in his own hand, not regarding his associates and the form of government set down formerly; so that having the King within the castle of [Stirling], [shut] out and excluded whom he pleased, and admitted others [of] his own choice, wherewith the other ccounsellors being moved, did make choice of [John Stewart] the Earl of Atholl to be their leader, and made a proclamation, in the King’s name, that all men above [16] and under 60 years, should meet in arms, with [provisions] for 15 days. There met at the day appointed, viz. the 18th of August, this same year [1578], many, and with displayed banner marched to Falkirk, where Morton with his friends met them ready to fight; but Robert Bowes, the English ambassador, by entreaty, and moving honest conditions, kept them from joining at that time. They had depicted on their ensigns, “Captive I am, liberty I crave; our lives we shall lose, or that ye shall have.” 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.



   Richt traist freind, we greit yow hartlie weill. The incertantie of the tyme of the arrivall of the remanent foreynn ambassadouris and sum uthir speciall occasionis hes constranit ws to prorogat the tyme of our deirest sonis baptisme to Sonnday the xviii [18th] of August, quhairof we haue thocht guid to adverteiss yow, desyring yow effectuuslie that ye will not faill to be with ws the xv day of the said moneth at the farthest, and to haist in sick quick stufe as ye haif in reddienes to the support of the chairgis to Striuiling betuix and the sevint day of the said moneth, and vennesoun and wyld foull as it may be had… about the day of the solemptnitie, as ye will gif pruiff at this tyme of your guid effectioun, to the honoure of ws and the cuntrey: sua we committ yow to God. At Stirling, the last day of July 1594.  


– Sketches, Appendix VII.

It might be supposed that at any rate the regulation of the city ports would be under the exclusive control of the magistrates. But no. “The Session enacted that the ports be shut on Sabbath at twelve o’clock,” and that care be taken “that no traveller go out or come in the town, and watches to be set where there are no ports.” By another minute “the Session enact that the ports be shut on Saturday night, and watches set to observe travellers.”1

It was not till fifty years afterwards that the presbytery declared that the Sabbath “shall be from 12 on Saturday night to 12 on Sunday night.”2

– Old Glasgow, pp.189-215. 

1  18th August, 1637.
2  18th August, 1640.

A case occurred when a student, Robert Bartoune, was charged with murder, and the faculty did not hesitate, even in that case, to assert its jurisdiction and proceed to exercise it. The court was held in “the laigh hall of the universitie,” on the 18th of August, 1670 – Sir William Fleming of Farme, rector, presiding, with the dean of faculty and three regents as assessors. The indictment was given in by “John Cummyng wryter in Glasgow, elected to be Procurator Fiscal of the said universitie, and by Andrew Wright Cordoner in Glasgow neirest of kine to umquhill Jonnet Wright,” whom Bartoune was charged with having murdered in her own house “by the shoot off ane gun.” The punishment demanded at the hands of the faculty was that of death. The panel having pled not guilty, “an inqueist of honest men” (fifteen jurymen) was impannelled and the case proceeded to trial. A curious incident is recorded in the course of it, namely, that the jury, before giving in their verdict, demanded that the university should hold them skaithless in case they should afterwards be challenged for having taken part in the proceedings, “in regaird they declaired the caice to be singular, never haveing occurred in the aidge of befor to ther knowledge, and the rights and priviledges of the universitie not being produced to them to cleir ther priviledge for holding of criminall courts, and to sitt and cognose upon cryms of the lyke natur.” The recor and his assessors answered that the objection to the jurisdiction came too late, after they had agreed “to pase upon the said inqueist in initio;” but notwithstanding “for ther satisfactioune and ex abundanti gratia,” the court agreed to hold them free “of all coast danger and expenses.” The verdict was not guilty, and it is not unlikely that a sense of the responsibility which would have attended a different result did not fail to influence the jury.1

– Old Glasgow, pp.131-140.

1  Munimenta, vol. ii. p. 340.

   The noble family of Boyd, the Earls of Kilmarnock, were descendants of Simon, brother of Walter, first Lord High Steward of Scotland. In 1661 William, 9th Lord Boyd, was created Earl of Kilmarnock. In 1745 William, the 4th Earl, took part in the rebellion under Prince Charles Edward, and on the 18th August, 1746, was beheaded, along with Lord Balmerino, on Tower-hill. The eldest of his three sons became, in right of his mother, Lady Ann Livingstone, Earl of Errol; and in 1831, his grandson, William, Earl of Errol, was created Earl of Kilmarnock in the peerage of Great Britain.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, Kilmarnock, pp.123-127.

2426. Reformers’ Gazette. August 18, 1849.

This copy is printed in blue ink, having been issued on the occasion of the Queen’s first visit to the Clyde in 1849. This newspaper was edited by Peter Mackenzie, “Loyal Peter.” 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.

The “place,” or mansion of Paisley, stands on the site of the refectory and other offices. The strong and lofty tower fell immediately after its completion;1 and only a very small portion of the great ashlar wall remains, on the north bank of the river Cart, on each side of the Abbey bridge.2

– Scots Lore, pp.85-94.

1  Leslie, De Origine etc. Scot. P. 10. I believe this tower was that of which Abbot Tervas “biggit ane gret porcioun.” Asloane MS. P. 56. Its position was probably at the south corner of the west front. As the building fell because of its defective foundation, the overhanging of the present south corner is interesting, if somewhat alarming.
2  “… Glasgow Herald, 18th August, 1888. The drawing of Paisley Abbey in Grose’s Antiquities of Scotland, 1797, shews a portion of the wall remaining at the north corner of the west front. He quotes Crawford’s description.

   “In a statesman like Lord SALISBURY the careless use of the term will be certain to encourage the substitution of England for Great Britain by foreigners, who cannot be supposed to have a full acquaintance with the details of our history. It must be borne in mind, however, that the claim of the perfervid orators last night was founded upon the Treaty of Union. Some ingenious antiquary, raking among the dust-heaps of early history, might be able to show that we have really no absolute right to the name of Scotland at all, and that its use is only justified by that same careless habit of speech of which complaint is now made. As a matter of fact we stole the name of Scotia from Ireland, and coolly appropriated it to this country. The Dalriadic Kings of Ulster who settled in Strathclyde previous to the Ossianic period applied the name of the beloved Green Isle which they had left to the new country which they had conquered. It is not easy to tell at what period the name of Scotland was given to the country that lies between the Pentland Firth and the Cheviot Hills. Of this, however, we may be certain, that the limits of Scotland were well defined long before the Treaty of Union, and that the Scottish politicians who signed that Treaty made an honest effort to preserve the name of their country. A wise English politician would respect this feeling, even though he might deem it absurdly sentimental.”

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 18th August, 1892.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

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