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Glencoe Massacre

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Alex Glass

Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 10
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 9:11 pm    Post subject: Glencoe Massacre Reply with quote

Situated in the village of Glencoe is the memorial to the massacre which took place in February 1692.

The Glencoe Massacre

Glencoe is perhaps best known for the fateful events that happened on the cold winter night of the 13th February 1692. It was then, that acting under the orders of King William the Third, Campbell of Glenlyon and 128 soldiers rose from their beds to set about the massacre of their hosts, with whom they had been living with on friendly terms for 12 days.

The cause of this dreadful happening was the failure of the MadDonald Clan Chief, MacIain of Glencoe, to take the oath of allegiance to the king before January 1st 1692. MacIain had mistakenly gone to Fort William to take the oath, but was told he should have gone to Inveraray. He reached there, and took the oath on January the 6th – but this was sadly considered too late. Members of the MacDonald Clan perished at the hands of the Campbell’s that night, while many more escaped to the hills only later to die of hunger and exposure to the harsh winter conditions. Interestingly , one year after the events of the Massacre of Glencoe a new breed of settlers came to the area, and in 1693 they began mining slate at Ballachulish.

There is a monument to the fallen MacDonald’s on Glencoe Village and the Clan Chief is buried on the island of Eilean Munde in Loch Leven.

As It Happened

The first sign of all the coming disaster to the Glen was on February first 1692. A company of 120 of Argyll’s regiment came into the Glen under Robert Campbell of Glenlyon. Glenlyon said the Inverlochy garrison was overcrowded and he also had taxes to collect. This was accepted especially as Glenlyon’s niece had married MacIain’s son. The rank and file of the soldiers were offered and accepted the hospitality of the Glen and lived with the MacDonalds. Ceilidhs were held, games of shinty were played and all was friendly. Glenlyon dined with MacIain in friendship. This continued till 12th of February.

On the 12th Glenlyon received his final instructions from Robert Duncanson, a Major in the Argyll Regiment. The document is now in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.
It is as follows:-
“You are hearby ordered to fall upon the rebels the MacDonalds of Glenco, and to put all to the sword under seventy. You are to have a special care that the old fox and his sonnes do not escape your hands. You are to secure all the avenues that no man can escape your hands. You are to put in execution at five of the clock precisely. And by that time, or very shortly after it, I will strive to be at you with a stronger party. If I do not come to you at five, you are not to tarry from me but to fall on. This is by the King’s special command, for the good and safety of the countrie, that the miscreants be cutt off root and branch. See that this be put in Execution without fear or favour. Else you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King or Government, nor a man fitt to carry a commission in the King’s service. Expecting you will not fail in the fulfilling hereof, as you love yourself, I subscribe this at Ballychylis the 12th of February 1692.”

The resulting activity and the doubling of the guard trubled Alistair Og the son of the Chief who went first to his brother, then the two of them went to see their father. MacIain did not believe any harm threatened them and sent them home. About 5am soldiers were seen approaching Alistair’s home and seeing their fixed bayonets, he and his wife fled. He met his brother and between them got some of their people to safety.
MacIain and his wife were awakened by the soldiers knocking on the door led by Lieutenant Lindsay who said they had urgent business. The soldiers were let in and MacIain called for drinks but before they could be enjoyed MacIain was shot dead. His wife who went to help him was seized and her ring wrenched off her finger by the teeth of the men and her clothes taken from her. She escaped but died next day. The servant in the house was killed and also an old man of 80 who sometimes called with letters and chanced to be in the house.

At Inverigan the nine men living there were bound and then shot. At Achnacon the soldiers under Sergeant Barbour shot eight men and killed six. One of the men, still alive, though wounded, asked if he might die outside rather than indoors. This request was granted and when outside threw his plaid over the guns and leaped into the darkness and escaped. At Laroch Ranald of the shield was shot and his son killed. Ranald was badly wounded but not dead and crept into a house but when it was set alight he was not able to escape. Later two further MacDonalds were shot at Inverigan, one of whom was a boy of seven. In all 38 were shot; but as the houses were fired and the cattle driven off. Leaving neither shelter nor food it is not certain how many died as a result of the Massacre, although it is said to be around 127.

The National Trust Visitor Centre Glencoe

The visitor centre here combines eco-friendly design with interactive technology and ‘Living in the Edge’ tells the dramatic story of the natural landscape of this wonderful area. Learn about the history, people, wildlife, mountaineering and environmental conservation of the glen.

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David McNay

Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 7581
Location: Lanarkshire, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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