|“Colonel Anne Mackintosh, Scotland’s ‘Beautiful Rebel,'” tells the story of a Highland lady who risked everything, including her life, for her love of Scotland and its rightful king.
In turbulent 18th century Scotland, “Bonnie Prince Charlie” fought to regain the Stuart throne of Scotland and England that had belonged to his ancestor. Among the Highlanders supporting his cause – to the death, if need be – was Lady Anne Mackintosh, the wife of Angus, Chief of Clan Mackintosh. But her husband, Angus, was fighting on the other side, for the English king, and against the “Bonnie Prince.” Undaunted, Anne raised Clan Mackintosh and Clan Chattan to fight for the Prince. No wonder he called her, in the French he spoke so well, “La Belle Rebelle,” the “beautiful rebel.” Had she been a man, she would automatically have been the colonel of the approximately 800 fighting men she enlisted. Instead, she was known affectionately as “Colonel Anne” to her friends, to history, and to the English – who wanted to hang her for her treasonous and rebellious deeds.
Extract from the Book
Here is the story of the famous “Rout of Moy,” a favorite tale in Clan Mackintosh legendry. Moy is the home of the Mackintosh Chiefs. Prince Charles had once stopped briefly at Moy early in his campaign against the English. Later in the campaign….
Prince Charles and a guard of about 50 men reached Moy. As his forces were widely scattered, Charles decided to stop at Moy. He would wait there until enough of his men gathered that he could attack the English who were holding Inverness with 2,000 men commanded by the Earl of Loudon. Very likely, Lady Anne had at their last meeting extended a typically gracious invitation to the Prince to visit Moy at any time. This was the time.
Lady Anne and her household welcomed the Prince and his men with delight. The Chief of Mackintosh was, of course, with his English military unit near Inverness, so he was not put in the embarrassing position of having to extend traditional Highland hospitality to his political enemy.
Lady Anne and her household staff, however, generously extended that Highland hospitality. Lady Anne insisted that the prince’s cooking and serving staff take the evening off and allow her and her staff to prepare and serve a repast to the prince and his men. Game from the hills around Moy made up the main course of the dinner, in true Highland fashion. Bread, pies, and all other treats the Moy kitchen could produce completed the meal, and the best Scottish usquiebaugh was passed around afterward. The long, pleasant evening sparkled with conversation, storytelling and general merriment before everyone retired at a late hour.
Meantime, the Earl of Loudon and his English soldiers in Inverness had not been idle. Loudon had learned that Charles was at Moy, and according to reports he received, the Prince had a guard of 500 men (as compared to the 50 who were actually with him). Loudon thought this night, when Charles and his men might be off their guard, was a perfect time to seize the Bonny Prince and put an end to his royal plans.
To make his plan work, Loudon had that afternoon closed Inverness tightly, with soldiers posted in a chain around the city so that no one could escape to warn the Prince. Loudon’s orders were that no one was to leave Inverness for any reason whatsoever.
Loudon then ordered 1,500 English soldiers to march. With himself at their head, the quiet procession began, timed to arrive at Moy around midnight, when everyone in the house would likely be asleep.
But Lord Loudon’s plan was not as secret as he thought. Historians offer differering theories as to what happened. The most often cited one places Dowager Lady Mackintosh, the mother of Angus, at the center of the action. She was fond of her daughter-in-law. And, although not strongly partisan to the Prince, she didn’t want her family home to be remembered as the place where the young royal was captured and, possibly, murdered.
Accordingly, she contacted a young teenager, Lachlan Mackintosh, who lived in Inverness but was probably born in or near Moybeg, the small community that surrounded Moy Hall. Unfolding her plan to Lachlan, he eagerly agreed, and went to find the English mounted soldier to whom Dowager Lady Mackintosh sent him.
Like her son Angus, this soldier – whose name is not known to history – must have had strong Highland sympathies despite serving the English king. Mounting his horse, the soldier pulled the youth up behind him and threw his voluminous cloak over the boy. Thus hidden, Lachlan passed through the guards around Inverness along with the mounted soldier, who knew the right passwords to give.
Galloping as close to Moy Hall as he could without running into Charles’s soldiers, the soldier let Lachlan slide off the horse near Moy. Turning his horse, and flinging a silent salute to the boy, the soldier galloped back toward Inverness and forever off the stage of history.
Lachlan ran at top speed to Moy Hall. He knocked softly at the back door. It opened, and he was let in by some of the kitchen staff who were cleaning up the last vestiges of the feast. The moment Lachlan reported his news to the cooks, they ran quickly to Lady Anne’s room and awoke her, she had probably just gotten to sleep, and told her about the approaching danger.
Lady Anne jumped up – in her shift, according to one historian, and rushed about, awakening the May staff. The historians say she didn’t awake Charles and his staff. They think she feared his military advisers might hold lengthy discussions about what to do, and there wasn’t time for that as 1,500 English marched to Moy.
Lady Anne called for the blacksmith, Donald Fraser. Together they quickly worked out a plan, and Fraser left to put it into motion. Then she awakened Prince Charles. He dressed in record time, and, taking his guard with him, disappeared into the nearby woods, away from the road Loudon would take to Moy.
Meantime, Fraser armed himself and four other Moy men with pistols. They posted themselves along the road Loudon would have to take to arrive at Moy. Fraser cautioned the four not to fire until he gave the signal. Then, they were to fire one at a time rather than all at once.
Waiting quietly in the dark, Fraser and the four heard the noise of approaching marching men. When the first soldiers came near, Fraser called out loudly, “Here come the villains who want to carry off our Prince. Fire, my lads! Do not spare them! Give them no quarter!”
Fraser then shot his pistol, which was the signal the other men awaited. Each fired his weapon, and each called loudly on Macdonalds and Camerons to advance. They shouted for Lords Lochiel and Keppoch, who were major chiefs with the Prince’s army. They ran back and forth in the wooded area, shouting and shooting in hopes of convincing the English that they had blundered into the entire Highland army.
In the dark, the English were convinced. All 1,500 turned and ran at top speed to Inverness. A great many of them deserted the next day, and the army quit Inverness for a safer camping ground.
The event became known as “The Rout of Moy,” and Highlanders friendly to the Prince laughed about it for weeks. Some are still laughing.
The next day Charles entered Inverness unopposed, and took up quarters in Dowager Lady Mackintosh’s home, the finest residence in the city.
This is the second and much improved edition of this popular book, including a reduction in price because of a better deal with a better printer! You can purchase this book at http://whortleberrypress.com. Price is now only $11.95 (formerly $14.95, needed to meet printing costs!) plus $2.10 postage and handling; total $14.05; this new edition is a perfect-bound paperback, 6×9 inches and 66 pages.
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A SHORT* HISTORY OF CLAN MACKINTOSH FOR NON-NATIVE SCOTS (*DULL AND CONFUSING DETAILS OMITTED)
Any non-native Scot seeking information about the Highlands of old times is quickly stopped by unfamiliar words and expressions. What’s a “bailie?” What does “og” or “beg” mean? And a “tail?” Every chief had one, and you’d never mistake it for the kind borne by Scottish terriers. Words change their meanings when they cross the Atlantic, and the non-native Scot is soon reeling in confusion. This book cuts through those difficult Scottish details and gets right down to what we can understand. Swords, shields, axes and thrown rocks — these are what Clan Mackintosh men used to become known as “the fightingest clan in the Highlands.” The clan was born in battle at the side of the Scottish king in the 1100s. In the last great war for independence from England, in 1745, it was the Mackintosh men who led the charge at Culloden Moor — and who died for their country in the greatest numbers, as shown by the size of their mass grave on the battlefield. In between, things were rarely quiet for the Mackintoshes. Whether it was the bizarre Battle Of North Inch, the tragic death of young Chief William or the patriotism of “Colonel” Anne Mackintosh in “the ’45,” Clan Mackintosh was always in the thick of the battle. If you’re a Mackintosh, or a member of any of the clan’s many sub-groups, this history will give you more reason than ever to walk tall. As if, being a Mackintosh, you needed more reason! Are you a Mackintosh? This book will help you check out the list of more than 200 families that are part of this clan. This book is a paperback, 6×9, perfect-bound, 102 pages. Price $13.95 plus $2.10 postage. Make out check or money order to Jean Goldstrom and mail to Whortleberry Press, Box 771, Melrose FL 32666.
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Here’s one of the fascinating stories from the book about this famous clan:
The Battle of North Inch
One of the strangest conflicts in Scotland’s conflict-crowded history was the Battle of North Inch, a battle that would have been almost comic if not for the very real and purposeless loss of life involved.
The battle climaxed ten years of bitter feuding between Clan Chattan and Clan Macpherson. No cruel insult launched this feud, but something as mundane as unpaid rent. The feud began when some members of Clan Cameron took up residence on Clan Chattan lands in Lochaber. They didn’t pay any rent, which was a constant source of aggravation to Clan Chattan as well as Clan Mackintosh, whose chief headed both clans.
Since these events took place hundreds of years before the invention of landlord-tenant courts, Chief Lachlan Mackintosh decided to collect his unpaid rent in the form of Cameron cattle. However, the Camerons’ contribution of cattle was involuntary, meaning the Mackintosh chief sent a number of his men, probably by night, to remove enough cattle to pay the back rent owed.
When they discovered their rent had been collected in this unexpected fashion, the Camerons took serious umbrage and gathered some 40 clansmen to look for their cattle.
The Mackintoshes heard about the Cameron plan. They called their friends, the Macphersons and the Davidsons, to help them teach the Camerons the rudiments of landlord-tenant relationships.
Eventually, 400 Camerons squared off against an even larger number of Mackintoshes, Macphersons and Davidsons. But before anyone could swing a claymore, a dispute arose on the Mackintosh-Macpherson-Davidson side, about who would stand where in the line of battle. A trivial issue? Certainly not in that era. Where one stood in the battle line had much to do with the amount of honor available to those who fought. The center was the most important — meaning honorable — place. There was no question the Mackintoshes would stand at the center of the battle line. That was the most important spot, and the Mackintoshes were the most important clan among this group of their friends. The dispute was over whose men were going to battle on the right-hand side of the Mackintoshes. The right-hand side was the second-most-honored position after the center. Both Cluny of Macpherson and Inverhavon of Davidson demanded the place of honor at the right of the Mackintoshes.
Chief Lachlan of Mackintosh had to settle this controversy.. He immediately made a decision, and in practical terms it was the wrong one. Mackintosh decided in favor of the Davidsons. What was wrong with that decision was there were far more Macphersons that both Davidsons and Mackintoshes combined. The Macphersons, profoundly offended by the decision, immediately stomped off the battlefield, sat down and declared themselves spectators rather than participants in the coming set-to.
That cleared the battleground, but only for a moment. The Camerons, now in greater numbers than their enemies, fell upon what was left of the Mackintosh-Chattan-Davidson fighters and proceeded to reduce as many of them as possible to small, bloody shreds.
The Macphersons were too loyal to comfortably sit and watch the annihilation of friends and kin, no matter how insulted they might be. After viewing the progress, or lack of same, of the battle, they decided to charge the Camerons, who were by that time exhausted from their nearly complete wipeout of the Mackintoshes and Davidsons. The Macphersons had no trouble overwhelming the remaining Camerons, thus bringing the victory to their clan and the remaining Davidsons and Mackintoshes.
Of course, this being Scotland, it was not the end of the quarrel. Ten years of bitter squabbling ensued between the Macphersons and the Davidsons.
Everyone involved became weary of the dispute; not weary enough to end it, but weary enough to ask King Robert III to intervene. King Robert III, being the sort of sovereign who made sure his own interests ranked first in any dispute he settled, came up with an ingenious solution. Each of the two clans, Davidson and Macpherson, were to send 30 of their best warriors into a battle to the death. The place was a beautiful, level field (an “inch” in Gaelic) called North Inch in Perth. This move made King Robert IIII the first and last king in Scots history to have a battle-to-the-death staged for his amusement.
Historians, however, have theorized that Robert may have sought more than amusement from the grim contest. The troublesomeness of the two clans would be greatly reduced, he is believed to have thought, if their main warriors were permanently removed from action.
Because the Battle of North Inch was recorded rather sketchily, historical records indicate no less than six clans took part in it. Who won? All six of them, according to the various histories. But the majority of historic references indicate those who took part in this combat were the Macphersons and Clan Chattan, of whom the Davidsons of Invernahavon were a part (and of which Clan Mackintosh was the main member). As to the victor…let the story unfold.
The conflict was set for the Monday before Michaelmas, October 23. As to weapons, some historians say only the broadsword was used, but others say that bows, battle-axes and daggers were also permitted. This view would be supported by the following account of the event.
Royal carpenters had been busy building a grandstand from which the king, his queen, Annabella Drummond, Scots nobles and a number of foreign dignitaries could view the proceedings. On the selected day, the king and queen led a procession to the grandstand. Following them were the nobility and honored foreign guests. With the grandstands jammed with the upper classes, the commoners packed the sidelines behind barriers designed to keep them off the field of battle.
The combatants — the Macphersons and the Clan Chattan-Davidsons — marched in, each preceded by their pipers and drummers and armed with their swords, targes, bows and arrows, knives and battle-axes. Each side glared at the other until something happened.
Exactly what happened depends on which historian’s account is read. Some say one of the Macphersons became sick. Others say the Macpherson in question wasn’t sick but stricken with a bout of common sense, causing him to slip through the crowd, plunge into the nearby Tay River and swim away, pursued in vain by thousands of screaming spectators. One historian, Sir Robert Gordon, described it this way:
“At their entry into the field, Clan Chattan lacked one of their number, who was privily stolen away, not willing to be a partaker of so dear a bargain.”
What to do, what to do? That was the question to which no answer seemed obvious. Somebody proposed one of the Davidson men should retire. Nobody liked that idea. For want of another, the King was about ready to break up the assembly when a man stepped forward and spoke.
This man was described by a historian as “diminutive and crooked, but fierce, named Henry Wynd, a burgher of Perth, a smith,” known to readers of Sir Walter Scott as “Hal o’ the Wynd, and an armourer by trade.” He was also known as Henry Gow or Smith.
This man is said to have leapt the barriers onto the field and addressed the crowd: “Here am I. Will anyone fee me to engage with these hirelings in this stage play? For half a mark will I try the game, provided, if I escape alive, I have my board of one of you as long as I live. Greater love, as it is said., hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. What, then, shall be my reward, who stake my life for the foes of commonwealth and realm?”
An excited buzz of conversation likely broke out in the upper class grandstand as well as among the commoners standing around the barriers. Knowing the crowd was wild for entertainment, the king and nobles agreed to the demand of “Gow Cromm,” or “Crooked Smith,” as he was known.
News that the blood letting was on again was likely greeted with a huge cheer from a presumably entertainment-starved crowd.
The battle began.
The smith shot the first arrow into the Davidsons and immediately killed one of them. According to one historian, “After showers of arrows had been discharged on both sides, the combatants, with fury in their looks and revenge in their hearts rushed upon one another, and a terrific scene ensued, which appalled the heart of many a valorous knight who witnessed the bloody tragedy. The violent thrusts of the daggers and the tremendous gashes inflicted by the two-handed swords and battle-axes, hastened the work of butchery and death.
“Heads were cloven asunder, limbs were lopped from the trunk. The meadow was soon flooded with blood, and covered with dead and wounded men.”
The crowd loved it, naturally.
But after Henry Wynd had killed his man, he supposedly either sat down or drew aside. The Macpherson battle leader noticed this and asked Wynd why he stopped when he was doing such a good job of slaying the opposition.
To this, Wynd replied, probably airily, “Because I have fulfilled my bargain and earned my wages.”
The Macpherson leader showed himself to be a motivator of men by observing, “The man who keeps no reckoning of his good deeds, without reckoning shall be repaid.” Whatever this remark may have meant, it inspired Wynd to leap into action again and take the lives of several more opponents.
Finally, the Macphersons were declared the winners. Some 29 Davidsons and 19 Macphersons were dead, with the remaining Macphersons severely wounded. Only Henry Wynd escaped without serious injury, his excellent swordsmanship clearly contributing to the day’s victory.
Did he receive his promised payment? History does not record this detail, but it is hard to imagine Henry Wynd being cheated out of whatever he considered his just desserts. Clan Chattan leadership, however, knew a good man when they saw one. They adopted Henry Wynd (or Gow or Smith) into their clan. As the progenitor of the Gow or Smith branch of the clan, his name remains an honored one to this day.
And for several years following the Battle of North Inch, things remained quiet in the Highlands, at least relatively quiet, for the Highlands.