Battle of Sheriffmuir (1715): A conflict forming part of the Jacobite uprising in Scotland.

Sherriffmuir Battle Site 1715
Sheriffmuir Battle Site.

Sheriffmuir battle site is located about nine miles north of Stirling in central Scotland. This battle was fought on Nov 13th 1715 in weather and terrain conditions likely similar to those illustrated in this post. ‘Muir’ is a Scots dialect word equivalent to the English ‘Moor’ and means a large area of rough, open ground which is invariably wet or waterlogged.

The battle should be viewed in context of a running attempt by supporters of the Stuart dynasty or ‘Jacobites’ to regain the thrones of Scotland and England from the incumbent Hanoverians.

The underlying cause of the battle was also manifested in other battles in Scotland such as Killiecrankie (1689), Dunkeld (1689), Cromdale (1690) Glenshiel (1719), Prestonpans (1745) and Culloden (1746). In Ireland, the Battle of the Boyne (1690) was a major conflict involving the same protagonists. In essence, this series of battles could been seen as a quasi civil war.

Gathering Stone, Sherriffmuir Battle Site, Scotland
Gathering Stone, Sheriffmuir battle site

Key aspects of this battle as follows:
  • The Jacobite army under the Earl of Mar numbered 10,000 men.
  • Government forces under the Duke of Argyll totalled 3500 men.
  • The Sheriffmuir site was chosen by Earl of Mar.
  • The Gathering Stone (see image above) was a vantage point used by both sides during the battle. This is probably, a now recumbent, prehistoric standing stone from around 3000-1000 BC. 
  • Despite the vast disparity in numbers the battle was finely balanced. The government forces were successful on the right whilst the Jacobites prevailed on the left.
  • At the end of the day both sides regrouped. The next day the Jacobites had retreated leaving the government ostensibly in charge of the field. The outcome is viewed by many as a draw. However, the Jacobites with their vastly superior numbers and need of a strategic victory should have won but failed to do so. 
Video clip of battle site

This video clip shows a memorial erected 1915 to the members of Clan MacRae in the Kintail and Lochalsh Company who fought on the left wing for the Jacobites and died at the battle.

This is an interesting site with free access. A reference point is the Sheriffmuir Pub/Inn but this may be converted to a private residence. Visitors should take waterproof footwear.


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