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The Stuart Dynasty


The Stuart dynasty began with Robert II taking the throne as King of Scots in 1371, and ended with the death of Anne of Great Britain in 1714.

1371 - Robert II
The son of Walter the Steward and Marjory, daughter of Robert Bruce. He was recognised the heir presumptive in 1318, but the birth of David II meant that he had to wait 50 years before he could become the 1st Stuart King at the age of 55. A poor and ineffective Ruler with little interest in soldiering, he delegated responsibility for Law and Order to his sons. Meanwhile he resumed to his duties of producing heirs, fathering at least 21 children.

Robert II., the 1st of the race of Stuart, assembled a Parliament in the Town, in order to plan a hostile incursion into England; and granted various privileges to the City, which was at that time the residence of several branches of the Royal Family, among whom were the Princess Matilda, sister of King David, and Christian, sister of King Robert Bruce. The trade of the port had now become considerable, and consisted chiefly in wool, hides, tallow, coarse woollen cloth, cured salmon and other fish, which were exported to England, France, Holland, Flanders, and Hamburg, whence there were imported linen, fine woollen-cloth, wines, oil, salt, soap, dye-stuffs, spices, hardware, iron, armour of various kinds, malt, wheat, and numerous other articles.

1390 - Robert III
Upon succeeding to the throne he decided to take the name Robert rather than his given name John. As King, Robert III appears to have been as ineffective as his father Robert II.  In 1406 he decided to send his eldest surviving son to France; the boy was captured by the English and imprisoned in the Tower. Robert died the following month and, according to one source, asked to be buried in a midden (dunghill) as 'the worst of Kings and most wretched of men'.

During the Regency of the Duke of Albany, in the time of Robert III., Donald, Lord of the Isles, having entered into an alliance with England, asserted a claim to The Earldom of Ross, and raised an army of 10,000 men, to obtain forcible possession of that territory; on which occasion the citizens of Aberdeen, headed by Sir Robert Davidson, their Provost, joined the forces under the Earl of Mar, which had been raised to oppose Donald, Lord of the Isles; and encountering the army of Donald at Harlaw, about 18 miles to the north of the City, a sanguinary Battle took place, in which Sir Robert and many of the citizens were killed. The conflict terminated with the day, neither party claiming the Victory, but in the course of the night the Highlanders retreated to the mountains. The Provost was buried in the church of St. Nicholas, near the altar of St. Ann, which his father had founded. The Standard borne by the citizens on the occasion of this Battle was long preserved in the Armoury of the town.

1409 - James I
 After falling into English hands on his way to France in 1406, James was held a captive until 1424.  Apparently his uncle, who also just happened to be Scotland's Governor, did little to negotiate his release.  He was eventually released after agreeing to pay a 50,000 mark ransom. On his return to Scotland, he spent much of his time raising the money to pay off his Ransom by imposing taxes, confiscating Estates from nobles and Clan Chiefs.  Needless to say, such actions made him few friends; a group of conspirators broke into his bedchamber and murdered him.

On the release of King James, son of Robert III., who had been kept as a prisoner in England during the Regency, Aberdeen was one of the 4 Cities which became bound to pay the English Monarch £40,000, for his maintenance and education while in captivity.

1437 - James II
Although King since the murder of his father when he was 7, it was following his marriage to Mary of Guelders that he actually assumed control.  An aggressive and warlike King, he appears to have taken particular exception to the Livingston's and Black Douglas's. Fascinated by those new fangled firearms, he was blown up and killed by one of his own siege guns whilst besieging Roxburgh.

After the murder of James, in the year 1436, the citizens chose for their provost Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum, whom they invested with the title of Captain and Governor of the City; and in the anarchy which prevailed during the minority of King James II., they fortified the town, armed themselves, and enforced the strictest military discipline.  In 1448, James II. made his first visit to the City, where he was received with every demonstration of loyalty and respect; and in 1451, the same marks of attention were paid his Queen. 

In the month of July 1448 James II. paid his first visit to Aberdeen, when the Magistrates made him a present, under name of a "propine," of 2 tuns of Gascony wine, wax candles, and sweetmeats. His Queen paid a visit in January 1455, and was presented with 100 merks in money.

1460 - James III. 
At the tender age of 8, he was proclaimed King following the death of his father James II. Six years later he was kidnapped; upon his return to power, he proclaimed his abductors, the Boyds, traitors. His attempt to make peace with the English by marrying his sister off to an English noble was somewhat scuppered when she was found to be already pregnant.  He was killed at the Battle of Sauchieburn in Stirlingshire on 11 June 1488.

Upon the death of James III., at the Battle of Sauchieburn, in 1488, an attempt was made to rescue the young prince from the power of a faction that had led him into rebellion against his father, James III.; in which attempt the citizens concurred, attaching the common seal of the Corporation to their resolutions to that effect.  About the same time, Sir Andrew Wood, Admiral of Scotland, endeavoured to deprive them of the Lands of Stocket granted to them by King Robert Bruce, but, on appeal to the Sovereign, their possession was confirmed by a decree of James IV., in 1490. This Monarch frequently visited the City, and, on one occasion, remained here for a considerable time, while making arrangements for the establishment of a University, for which purpose he obtained from Pope Alexander a bull dated the 6th of February, 1494.

Towards the end of 1488, Sir Andrew appeared with his 2 ships off Aberdeen. Declaring that he had received from James III a Grant of the Forest of Stocket and the Castle hill of Aberdeen, he attempted to take possession of them. His claim, however, was resisted by the Council and Burgesses, and the Admiral was only prevented from having recourse to force by the interference of the King and Privy Council, who sustained the right of the citizens as defined by a Charter of Robert the Bruce.

1488 - James IV. 
The son of James III and Margaret of Denmark, he had grown up in the care of his mother at Stirling Castle. For his part in his father's murder by the Scottish nobility at the Battle of Sauchieburn, he wore an iron belt next to skin as penitence for the rest of his life.  To protect his borders he spent lavish sums on artillery and his navy.  James led expeditions into the Highlands to assert Royal Authority and developed Edinburgh as his Royal Capital. He sought peace with England by marrying Henry VII's daughter Margaret Tudor in 1503, an act that would ultimately unite the 2 kingdoms a Century later. His immediate relationship with his brother-in-law deteriorated however when James invaded Northumberland. James was defeated and killed at Flodden, along with most of the leaders of Scottish Society.

Under an apprehension of invasion from England, in consequence of the countenance afforded to Perkin Warbeck, in the reign of Henry VII., by the Scottish Monarch, the citizens fortified the town, erected a blockhouse near the mouth of the river, and threw up a breastwork as an additional defence; but a treaty for peace rendered these preparations unnecessary; and on the subsequent marriage of James IV. with the Princess Margaret, daughter of the English Monarch, the Council sent a deputation of the citizens, attended by a band of minstrels, to congratulate their Sovereign. In the year 1511, the Queen visited Aberdeen, where she was received with acclamations of joy; and during her stay the chief streets of the City were hung with tapestry and fancifully adorned. The inhabitants, in 1513, contributed a company of spearmen, and a squadron of horse, towards the expedition of Flodden Field, in which the King and many of the Scottish Nobility were killed. A few years afterwards, in 1525, Alexander Seton of Meldrum, in resentment of a supposed affront to his Clan, entered the City at night, with a large party of his followers, and a Battle ensued, in which 80 of the citizens, including several of the Magistrates, were slain. In 1530, Lord Forbes of Castle-Forbes, who had been in the habit of receiving annually a tun of wine for preserving the Fisheries of the Rivers Dee and Don, provoked by the discontinuance of this present in consequence of a quarrel between his sons and the citizens, entered the City with a numerous retinue, and a fierce conflict arose, which terminated in his complete defeat. On his giving security, however, for the future good conduct of his partisans, the Magistrates renewed their accustomed present.

James IV. visited Aberdeen in 1492, 1495, 1497, 1504, 1507, 1509, when he received "propines"of wine, wax, spiceries, and money.


In May 1511 Aberdeen was visited by his Queen, Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII. of England. The occasion was afterwards celebrated in a poem written by Dunbar (who seems to have accompanied the Royal party), entitled, "The Queeneis Reception at Aberdein." Great preparations were made to receive her Majesty with suitable pomp and circumstance. Commissioners were appointed to raise money to defray the expenses of the occasion; and the citizens were ordered to decorate the fronts of their houses with arras work, evergreens, and flowers.  It appears from Dunbar's poem, that the Queen was met, at some distance from the City, by the Burgesses, "richelie arrayit, as became thame to be;" 4 of their number, " men of renoun," "In gounes of velvet, young, able, and lustie, To beir the pall of velvet cramasie, Abone her heid, as the custome has bein."

Under this canopy the Queen took her seat, and was borne to the Shiprow Port of the City. Here she was welcomed by another procession, "in cap of gold and silk full pleasantlie," and was treated with a succession of masques and pageants. The 1st represented the Salutation of the Virgin "The sound of menstrallis blawing to the sky." Then came the pageant of "The Orient Kingis Three; "then the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise by an Angel, "with the sword of violence;" lastly came the Bruce that ever was bold in stour, Richt awful, strang, and large of portraitour, Ane noble, dreadful, michtie champion."

Then followed a procession of "four-and-twenty maidens young," all clad in green with white hats, and "of marvellous beautie" "Playand on timberallis, and singin richt weetlie." In fine "At her coming, great was the mirth and joy; For at the cross abundantly ran wine; Unto her lodging the town did her convoy; Her for to treat they set their haill ingine; A rich present they did to her propine, A costlie cup that large thing would contain, Covered, and full of coined gold richt fine: Be blyth and blissful, Brugh of Aberdeen!"  The gold in the cup amounted to £200.


1512 - James V. 
Still an infant at the time of his father's death at Flodden, James's early years were dominated by struggles between his English mother, Margaret Tudor and the Scottish nobles.  Although King in name, James did not really start to gain control and rule the country until 1528. After that he slowly began to rebuild the shattered finances of the Crown, largely enriching the funds of the Monarchy at the expense of the Church.  Anglo-Scottish relationships once again descended into war when James failed to turn up for a scheduled meeting with Henry VIII at York in 1542. James apparently died of a nervous breakdown after hearing of the defeat of his forces following the Battle of Solway Moss.

In 1540, James V., after the melancholy loss of his 2 sons in one day, visited the city, attended by his Queen and court, to divert his grief, and remained for 14 days; and the citizens fitted out a ship of war, to join the royal squadron in the Firth of Forth, to convoy the King to England, on a visit to Henry VIII. Upon the invasion of Scotland by the Duke of Somerset, in 1547, the citizens furnished a large supply of men to join the queen's forces under the Earl of Arran, of whom very few returned from the fatal Battle of Pinkie; and in 1552, the Earl, who had been appointed Regent during the minority of Mary, attended by the Queen Dowager, visited the town, and was hospitably entertained by the citizens.  On the introduction of the Reformed Religion, the citizens were little disposed to receive it.  At the solicitation of Gavin Dunbar, Bishop of Aberdeen, in 1525, a manifesto was issued by the King, directing the Magistrates of Aberdeen to inquire into the conduct of those who maintained heretical opinions; but it was not till 1544 that any attention was paid to that injunction, when 2 Protestant citizens were committed to prison by the Earl of Huntly, then Provost of the City, till they should be brought to trial.  In 1559, on the approach of a body of Reformers called the Congregation, the Magistrates took the precaution of removing from the Church of St. Nicholas the sacred vessels, and ornaments, with every thing of value, which they deposited, with the archives of the town, in a place of security.  On the 29th of December, in that year, a large party of Reformers from Angus and Mearns entered the City, resolved upon the destruction of the sacred edifices, and commenced an attack on the spire of the church, which they attempted to pull down. But the citizens, flying to arms, arrested the work of demolition, and it was not till the 4th of January following, that the Reformers ventured to renew their efforts.  They then proceeded to the Monastery of the Blackfriars, in Schoolhill, and the Convent of the Carmelites, on the Green; and, having demolished those buildings and carried off the property, advanced to the Monastery of the Greyfriars, in Broadgate, stripped the church of its leaden roof, and were about to demolish the building, when the citizens again interposed and prevented further injury. The citizens, notwithstanding, ultimately embraced the Reformed religion; and in a meeting of the council, it was resolved to demolish the Monasteries, to convert the materials to the public use, and to sell the silver, brass, and other ornaments, which had been removed from the Church of St. Nicholas, and place the proceeds in the common fund of the City. It was resolved, also, to furnish 40 men for the service of the Congregation, and to use all their efforts for the suppression of idolatry; and Adam Heriot, Friar of the Order of St. Augustine, and a brother of the Abbey of St. Andrew, having renounced the errors of Popery, was appointed by the General Assembly Minister of Aberdeen, which office he held till his death. In 1562,

King James IV. and Aberdeen.
Among the many indoor amusements in dulled in by King James IV. were cards, dice, and backgammon, but his preference lay in favour of cards. At cards, the King's partners were generally some of his courtiers or officers of State, and that form of amusement was specially favoured during the long winter evenings, and in particular about Christmas time.

James seems not always to have been a winner, for it is recorded in the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer that, during the last week of December, 1497, when he was spending Yule at Aberdeen, he had from the Treasurer £156 to spend at cards. The entries are interesting:-
1497, December XXV.

Item, that same nicht, to the King;, to the cartis with my Lord of Mar xli xs.

Item, that samyne nicht, to the cartis with other Lordis xx vnicornis: eumma ... xviijli.

Item, that nycht (Sanct Johnis day in Yule) bidden to the King to play at the cartis in Abirdene, xx vnicornis. five Franch crovnis, tua ridaris, ane ducait, and thre Scottis crovnis; and eftir, that [saymin] nycht, giffin to the cartis agane, xxxij Franch crovnis. x Scottis crovnis, and demyis, three (ridaris), tua vnicornis: the hale some Ix. li. xvijs xd.

Item, that nycht (the penult day of December) the King played at the cartis agane, and giffen to him xl Franch crovnis, summa xxviijli, and tynt.

Item to the Eling, to the cartis, in the Erie of Angus innys that nycht xx vnicornis, x Franch crovnis: summa xxvli.  

Item, that eamyn nycht, that Andro Wod lent to the King to the cartis that samyn nycht xiiij Franch (crovnis) and five ducatis, summa xiijli. xiijs. vjd.

In 1537 James V. visited the city, and was sumptuously entertained in it for the space of 15 days.

1542 - Mary.
Mary Queen of Scots. Born just a week before her father King James V died. Mary was sent to France in 1548 to marry the Dauphin, the young French Prince, in order to secure a Catholic alliance against England. In 1561, after he died still in his teens, Mary returned to Scotland. At this time Scotland was in the throes of the Reformation and a widening Protestant-Catholic split.  A Protestant husband for Mary seemed the best chance for stability.  Mary married her cousin Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, but it was not a success. Darnley became jealous of Mary's secretary and favourite, David Riccio. He, together with others, murdered Riccio in front of Mary.  She was 6 months pregnant at the time. Her son, the future King James VI, was baptised into the Catholic faith at Stirling Castle. This caused alarm amongst the Protestants. Darnley later died in mysterious circumstances.  Mary sought comfort in James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, and rumours abounded that she was pregnant by him. Mary and Bothwell married. The Lords of Congregation did not approve of the liaison and she was imprisoned in Leven Castle. Mary eventually escaped and fled to England. In Protestant England, Catholic Mary's arrival provoked a political crisis for Queen Elizabeth I. After 19 years of imprisonment in various castles throughout England, Mary was found guilty of treason for plotting against Elizabeth and was beheaded at Fotheringhay.

Mary, Mary quite contrary
How does your garden grow,
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row

MARY, Queen of Scots, in her progress through the north, visited Aberdeen, where she was hospitably entertained, and during her stay was waited upon by Lady Huntly, who, interceding for her son Sir John Gordon, obtained his pardon, on condition of his confinement in Stirling Castle during her majesty's pleasure.  On his way to that Fortress, however, he escaped from his guards, and returning to the north, appeared with a body of 1000 horse, and was soon after joined by his father, the Earl of Huntly. The Queen's army, under the command of the Earl of Murray, having come from Inverness to Aberdeen, marched against the forces of the Earl of Huntly and his son, over whom they gained a complete victory; the Earl was killed, and his 2 sons, Sir John and Adam Gordon, with many others, were brought prisoners to Aberdeen, where Sir John Gordon, 2 days after the Battle, was beheaded in Castle Street.

The unfortunate Queen Mary visited Aberdeen about August 1562, when she was received with every mark of loyalty and attachment She was also here in the end of October that year, when the Earl of Huntly \vas defeated by the Earl of Murray, in the Battle of Corrichie, fought in one of the glens of the Hill of Fare, in this county. The Gordon chief and many of his followers were slain; and many prisoners were conveyed to Aberdeen, including Huntly's 2nd son, the gallant and handsome Sir John Gordon, for whom the Queen is said to have had at one time a strong attachment. He was beheaded in Castle Street on the 2d of November, to the profound grief of the Queen, who was so situated as not to have the power of saving his life.

King James VI

Painting of James VI wearing Elizabethan dress

1567-1625 - James VI and I of England
Became King aged just 13 months following the abdication of his mother. By his late teens he was already beginning to demonstrate political intelligence and diplomacy in order to control Government. He assumed real power in 1583, and quickly established a strong centralised authority. He married Anne of Denmark in 1589.  As the great-grandson of Mary Tudor he succeeded to the English throne when Elizabeth I died in 1603, thus ending the centuries-old Anglo-Scots border wars.  The University collections which attest to the dynasty's patronage of King's College and later to the prolonged Jacobite sympathies of both King's and Marischal Colleges.  James had a turbulent early life. After the abdication of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots in 1567, James ruled as a minor until 1584. He subsequently governed Scotland firmly and effectively until the death of Elizabeth Tudor in 1603, when he ascended to the English throne and proclaimed himself King of Great Britain. 1603 - Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England.

James VI. paid a visit to Aberdeen, on which occasion the citizens presented him with 3000 merks in gold; and in 1589, that Monarch, attended by his Court, remained in Aberdeen for some time, during which Butts for the practice of Archery were erected on Castlehill, for their amusement. In the same year, the citizens fitted out a ship of war, to join the squadron intended to convoy the King and Queen, on their return from Denmark. In 1592, the King again visited the City; and though welcomed by the usual presents, he took a bond from the Magistrates that they would not confederate with the Earl of Huntly, nor join with Jesuits, Priests, or Rebels, but faithfully observe the true doctrines of the Reformed Religion.  On the defeat of the Royal forces in Banffshire, in 1594, the King repaired to Aberdeen, where, raising a body of troops, he was joined by Lord Forbes and other Barons, against the popish Lords Errol, Angus, Huntly, and others; and in 1600, the inhabitants celebrated the escape of their Sovereign from the conspiracy of the Earl of Ruthven, by a public procession, and presented an address, composed in Latin by the Rector of the Grammar School, expressing their abhorrence of the attempt on his life.  In 1617, after his accession to the throne of England, James VI. visited his native country, and the Magistrates of Aberdeen received intimation that he would visit their City, in his progress through the North; but their expectations were not fulfilled. In 1620, Sir Thomas Menzies, Provost of the City, was sent on a mission to the Court of London, and on his introduction presented to the King a valuable pearl, which, it is said, has a place in the Imperial Crown of Great Britain. 

James VI. paid several visits to Aberdeen, viz. in 1582, 1589, 1592, 1594, and 1600, and, generally speaking, these royal visits were expensive affairs to the citizens, both in entertainments, and in presents of money given to his Majesty, according to the custom of the time.  About this time, the Crime of Witchcraft was supposed to be prevalent in Aberdeen as well as in other parts of the kingdom, and many poor old women were sacrificed to appease the terrors which the belief in it was calculated to excite.  Few of the individuals who were suspected were allowed to escape from the hands of their persecutors; several died in prison in consequence of the tortures inflicted on them, and, during the years 1596-97, no fewer than 22 were burnt at the Castlehill His sexuality has long been a matter of debate. He clearly preferred the company of handsome young men. The evidence of his correspondence and contemporary accounts have led some historians to conclude that the King was homosexual or bisexual. In fact, the issue is murky.

James VI. often found a loyal reception and comfortable quarters in Aberdeen between the years 1581 and 1600. On all these occasions he received "propines" of money, and sometimes levied a needful contribution. On the occasion of his marriage with Anne of Denmark, the citizens fitted out a vessel called the Nicolas (after the patron saint of the City), which was commanded by one of the Bailies, and sailed from Aberdeen, to join the Royal squadron bound for Denmark, on the 16th of April 1589. The vessel was completely armed, and decorated with "ensigns, flags, and streamers of war, red side-cloths, and gilded tops." It would appear that James contemplated a visit in 1617, for the Magistrates received a despatch, recommending " that lodgings be prepared in the most handsome, civil, and courtly manner ; with good bedding, well-washed and well-smelled naperie; clear and clean vessels, of sufficient largeness; plenty of provisions and vivres." Suitable preparations were made, but the King came no farther north than Dunnottar Castle. In 1620, one of the citizens, Sir Thomas Menzies, presented to his Majesty a large pearl found in the Brook of Kelly, which runs into the Ythan, not far from Haddo House, and which is said to be "the top pearl in the Crown of Scotland." For this gift the King bestowed on Menzies the honour of Knighthood.

On his arrival he was received with every mark of distinction and popular attachment. He conferred the Honour of Knighthood on the Provost, Farquhar of Mounie, and on Mr. Leslie of Eden, who had formerly held that office. The King remained in the town but one night, proceeding next day to Dunnottar. He would appear to have been again in Aberdeen on the 25th of February 1651 the last time that our City enjoyed the honour of the presence of Royalty. Now that,* after the lapse of nearly 2 centuries, we are about to receive a renewal of that distinguished honour, under the happiest auspices, well may we exclaim with old Dunbar " Be blyth and blissful, Brugh of Aberdeen! "

Charles I - 27 March 1625 to 30 January 1649
The City sent a deputation to express to Charles I., on his landing in Scotland, a testimony of their affectionate loyalty. At this time, the Covenant, which had obtained almost universal subscription, found but little support in Aberdeen; and the citizens, firmly attached to their Sovereign, acquiesced in all his endeavours to establish episcopacy. In 1638, the Earl of Montrose, the Lords Coupar, Forbes, and others, with the Ministers of Irvine and Pitsligo, appeared in the Town, as Commissioners from the General Assembly, and called upon the citizens to subscribe the Solemn League and Covenant.  Failing in their object, they took their departure, and the Assembly held a Court at Glasgow, at which they ordered the Covenant to be subscribed, on pain of excommunication: this order was generally obeyed, and the whole country became subject to the Covenanters, with the exception of Aberdeen, which, under the influence of the Marquess of Huntly, a zealous adherent of the reigning Monarch, still held out.  In this state of affairs, the citizens placed the town in a posture of defence: the Provost and 16 of the principal citizens formed a Council of War; a vessel laden with arms and warlike stores arrived in the Harbour from England, and every preparation was made to resist an attack. The Earl of Montrose, at the head of an Army of Covenanters, made his appearance in the neighbourhood, and advanced to the Town with a force of 9000 horse and foot, which he encamped on the Links of  Aberdeen; while the Earl of Kinghorn, who had been appointed Governor of the Town, had only a garrison of 1800 for its defence. After some time, the Earl of Montrose withdrew his army to Inverurie; but, again encamping on the Links, the citizens ultimately subscribed the Covenant, and 4 of them were appointed by Montrose as Commissioners to the General Assembly at Edinburgh.  During the progress of the Civil War, the Town suffered materially from all parties, as they became successively predominant, and was exposed to continual vicissitudes. The last battle that occurred here was in 1646, in which year Major Middleton, arriving in the town, took the command of the Covenanters' Army, against the Marquess of Huntly and the Earl of Aboyne, when it fell an easy conquest to the Marquis, who was, however, soon after seized by the Covenanters, and sent, with many others, to Edinburgh, where he was put to death.

Charles II - 30 January 1649 to 6 February 1685
During the Commonwealth that Stuart Prince who afterwards reigned as Charles II. made an abortive attempt to recover the Crown of his forefathers.  This led to the last siege of Aberdeen by a Cromwellian Army in 1651.  But it was an "occupation" rather than warfare.  The celebrated Bishop Burnett, who was a student of Marischal College at the time, thus reports concerning the entrance of the regiments.

"There was an order and discipline, and a face of gravity and piety among them that amazed all people. They never disturbed the public assemblies in the churches but once.  They came and reproached the preachers with laying things to their charge that was false.  I was then present: the debate grew very fierce: at last they drew their swords, but there was no hurt done: yet Cromwell displaced the Governor for not punishing this."

Charles II., on his return from the continent, was received in Aberdeen in 1650 with every feeling of attachment; the keys were delivered to him by the Provost, and he remained in the town for more than a week.

In connection with the visit by King Charles, as narrated in issue of Ist April, the following  additional facts may be Mated:~The uncrowned King having landed at Yarmouth from the Continent, a letter was transmitted to the Magistrates of Aberdeen, intimating the intended visit, and desiring that suitable lodgings should be got ready. A hearty reception was at once arranged for, and it being also known that Charles had “a maiden" in his train (the female was Lucy Barlow, alias Walters, of Pembrokeshire, the mother of James, Duke of Buccleuch and Monmouth, who ultimately became the favourite natural son of his father Charles), various presents were purchased for her acceptance. The expenses incurred were:-
To baker, brewer, and butcher ; and for wine, epicures, and coals, to the King's lodgings £941 16s 2d
To incidental charges £41 2s
To gold and silver ribbons, and other articles to “the maiden," etc £129 4s
The gallantries of the King speedily gave offence, and Parson Douglas was appointed to administer rebuke and exhortation.

Charles II.  During his 1st exile, the Scottish Parliament having proclaimed him King of Great Britain, Commissioners, one of whom was Provost Jaffray of Aberdeen, were despatched to bring him over from the Continent. He embarked under convoy of a Dutch fleet, and landed at Speymouth on Monday, the 4th of July 1650. After resting at Bog of Gight, now Gordon Castle, he arrived in Aberdeen on the 7th, and took up his residence in a house in Castle Street, which some conceive to have been that which is now called the "Bursars' House." His visit to the City was intimated to the Magistrates in the following letter from the Commissioners, of date 23d June 1650: " Worschipfull and good friendis, we have directed thess to let you know, that the King is saiflie arryved, and intendis, if God permit, to be at Abirdein on Thursday at night ; thairfore ye will tack such cair to prowyd fitt ludgingis for him, and for the Commissioneris, and for the trayne, as may be best haid, on so short adverteismentis ; and we beseik you let nothing be wanting quhich may testifie your effectioun to the native King, quha haith fullie assured all the desyr of his people. No further, but we ar your werie assured freindis. (Signed) Cassillis, Lothiane, Brodie, Geo. Wynram, J. Smith, Al. Jaffray. Speymouth, 23d Jany. 1650. For the Richt Worschipfull the Magistratis of the toun of Abdn. Thess."

On his restoration in I660, the citizens testified their joy by a public procession, and sent a deputation to London, to present a congratulatory address.  In 1668, the City raised a corps of 120 men, in augmentation of the militia; and on the subsequent accession of James II. and of William III., the inhabitants duly testified their loyalty.

Kings Evil In the Middle Ages it was believed in England and France that a touch from Royalty could heal skin disease known as scrofula or the ‘King's Evil’. Scrofula was usually a swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck caused by Tuberculosis. The practice began with King Edward the Confessor in England (1003/4-1066) and Philip I (1052-1108) in France.  Subsequent English and French Kings were thought to have inherited this ‘Royal Touch’, which was supposed to show that their right to rule was God-given. In grand ceremonies, Kings touched 100s of people afflicted by scrofula.  They received special gold coins called 'touchpieces' which they often treated as amulets.  By the late 1400s it was believed that you could also be cured by touching a type of coin called an angel, which had been touched by the Monarch. After angels ceased to be minted in the 1620s the same effect was said to be achieved by touching a gold medallion embossed much like the old coin. Some Monarchs touched many people. King Henry IV of France touched up to 1500 victims at 1 time. The last English Monarch to carry out this practice was Queen Anne, who died in 1714.

James VII of Scotland and II of England and Ireland - 6 February 1685 to 13 February 1689

Mary II - 13 February 1689 to 28 December 1694

Queen Anne of Great Britain and Ireland - 8 March 1702 to 1 May 1707
The failure of Queen Anne and her consort, George, Prince of Denmark to produce a living heir was one of the underlying causes of the Anglo-Scottish Union.  Anne was the 2nd daughter of King James VII and, unlike her father, was a committed Protestant. Her marriage to George produced no less than 17 pregnancies; however only 1 child, William, Duke of Gloucester lived for any length of time. His death in July 1700 from smallpox meant there was no Protestant heir to succeed Anne in the event of her death. The English Parliament's apprehensive response was the 1701 Act of Settlement which decreed that, upon the death of the Queen, the Throne would pass to a Protestant German Dynasty, the Hanoverians. The Edinburgh Parliament's refusal to accept the Act prompted Anne and her English and Scottish Ministers to push for a full incorporating Union.  George did not long survive the creation of Great Britain, dying in 1708. Anne lived on through the turbulent 1st years of the new Anglo-Scottish settlement. Her death in 1714 heralded the arrival of the Hanoverians.

The 1707 Union of Scotland’s and England’s Parliaments aggravated the situation and helped to push the Jacobites further away from the legitimate political process. In 1714 the last Stuart Monarch, Queen Anne, died without an heir. The succession went to the ‘next best’ claimant, George, Elector of Hanover in Germany, who became George I of Great Britain. 

In total, 15 monarchs ruled Scotland over 343 years, 5 of these also ruled England, while Anne of Great Britain was the last Queen of Scots, the last Queen of England and the 1st Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

The accession of Queen Anne, daughter of James VII., was proclaimed here with public rejoicings; and on the Union of the 2 Kingdoms, in 1707, Aberdeen, in conjunction with the Burghs of Arbroath, Montrose, Brechin, and Bervie, sent a member to the United Parliament.  Soon after the accession of George I., the Earl of Mar, a zealous adherent of the exiled family, assembled some forces at Braemar, in the highland districts of Aberdeenshire, and proclaimed the Chevalier de St. George, son of James II. (or James VII. of Scotland), Sovereign of Britain by the title of James VIII., and levied an army of 10,000 men for his support. The Magistrates of Aberdeen, who were zealously attached to the Reigning family, put the City in a state of defence; but the partisans of the Pretender, having gained an ascendancy, assumed the Civil Government, and the Earl Marischal, arriving soon after with a squadron of horse, proclaimed the Pretender at the Mercat Cross, on the day for the election of the City officers.  The Magistrates and Council absented themselves, without making any election for the ensuing year; and on the day following, the Earl Marischal, in the East Church, chose such of the Burgesses as were favourable to his cause, and formed an Administration for the Government of the City. The Earl levied an imposition of £200 for the use of the Pretender's Army, and £2000 as a loan, which, with other supplies, were sent to his head-quarters at Perth.   


The Pretenders

In 1688, James II was deposed  for attempting to establish Roman Catholicism in Great Britain; he and his heirs maintained a rival Court on the continent until the latter half of the 18th century. The Jacobite pretention has been nearly forgotten by now - the current inheritors are also the heirs to Bavaria and, oddly enough, also have a potential claim to the old Crusader state of Jerusalem. 

James II tried to turn Ireland against his successor King William III with the help of French troops but he was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. He is reputed to have said to Lady Tyrconnel in Dublin after the battle, "Madam, your countrymen have run away" and received the reply, "Sire, your Majesty seems to have won the race!"

The Two Pretenders of the title were James Edward Stuart, known as the Old Pretender, and his son Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender. Both were determined to take their place - in their opinion, their rightful place - on the British Throne.  Both Pretenders, were a disaster. They relied on their undoubted popularity with the Scots, but were sadly lacking when it came to organisation.

There were many indications of the coming rising in other places. In Aberdeen, early on the morning of August 11, 1714, even before the accession of George I, a number of young men accompanied by fiddlers playing Jacobite tunes marched through the streets.  On reaching the Castlegate, they gathered round a Well and drank the health of James VllI. Similar incidents occurred in other places.

The Old Pretender 1701-1766

Doubtful son of James ll tried to supplant George l - soon afterwards arriving in 1715, with a retinue of 6 gentlemen, from France, landed at Peterhead, and passed incognito through Aberdeen to Fetteresso, on his way to Perth, where he was received by the Earl of Mar and the Earl-Marischal; the Professors of Marischal and King's Colleges having waited upon him at Fetteresso, with an address of congratulation.  The Royal Army, however, under the Duke of Argyll, was every day increasing in numbers, while that of the Pretender was rapidly diminishing, and was eventually dispersed; the administration of the City returned into its proper channel, and the Election of the Magistrates, which had been interrupted by this rash adventure, was made as usual. In 1716, a fire broke out at the Gallowgate, which very soon extended itself to other parts of the Town; many houses were destroyed, and the Council made a liberal contribution for the relief of the sufferers. This calamity was not long after followed by apprehensions of a famine, from a continued state of unfavourable weather; to counteract this evil, the Magistrates and Council, with the neighbouring gentry, supplied the town with 4000 bolls of meal, and imported a considerable quantity of grain from Holland.  In 1741, a fire broke out in Broadgate which destroyed many houses, the dwellings being at that time chiefly built of wood: and an act of council was soon afterwards passed, enjoining that the outer walls of all houses should be in future built of stone. The City consequently began to assume a more regular and handsome appearance.

On the landing on the west coast of Charles Edward, eldest son of the Old Pretender, in 1745, the citizens firmly maintained their allegiance to the Reigning family; and General Cope embarked his forces at this place, previously to the Battle of Prestonpans. Hamilton, an exceedingly zealous partisan of the adventurer, marched to Aberdeen, with a detachment of the Rebel Army, on the day of Election of the town Magistrates, and proclaimed Prince Charles Regent of the Kingdom; he compelled the Magistrates to attend him, and liberated the prisoners in the gaol.  In November, Lord Lewis Gordon, who had been appointed by the Young Pretender as Lord Lieutenant of the Counties of Aberdeen and Banff, made his appearance in the city, summoned the Magistrates to attend him at the Town-house, and completed the Election which had been suspended on the arrival of Hamilton: he appointed Magistrates whom he thought likely to promote his views, but they all refused to act; and made his deputy Lieutenant-Governor of the town. Soon afterwards. Lord John Drummond arrived in the city, as commander-in-chief of the forces of His Most Christian Majesty, and published a manifesto at the Market-Cross, calling on the Citizens for their support; but it received little attention. In the mean time, the Earl of Loudon, commander-in-chief of the Royal Forces, having assembled an army of Highlanders, consisting of the clans of the MacLeods, Monroes, Sutherlands, and others, advanced to Aberdeen, to deliver the City from the possession of the Rebels; but Gordon, who had gone out to intercept them, meeting with some success, returned to Aberdeen with several prisoners, among whom was the Principal of Marischal College, and levied a contribution of £1000 for the maintenance of the Rebel Army.

On the 6th of February, 1746, a party of the rebels, flying from before the Army under the Duke of Cumberland, arrived in the City; but they were soon followed by the whole of the Royal Forces, who were cantoned in the town, in Old Aberdeen, and the neighbouring villages; and on the '27th, the Duke, with his entire staff, and a Company of Dragoons, made his appearance here, and was congratulated by the Provost and Magistrates on his success. The Army remained in their quarters till the beginning of April; and upon their departure, the City was protected by a Garrison, and the newly-erected buildings of Gordon Hospital were occupied as a temporary Fort.  After the Battle of Culloden, the Magistrates voted the Freedom of the City to the Duke of Cumberland, which was presented to him in a box of gold.  

On the anniversary of the Accession of George I., some of the Officers of the Army quartered in Aberdeen ordered a general illumination, which not being so fully complied with as they expected, orders were given to their soldiers to break the windows of the houses of the inhabitants.  Upon this occasion, the Magistrates issued a warrant for the apprehension of the Officers who had issued those orders, and committed them to prison, till they gave security for the reparation of the damage.


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Last modified: 01/09/2013