The inscription on this broadsword shows support for James ‘VIII’, the son of the deposed King James VII.

Broadsword fact file

Date

c.1715

Made by

Silver hilt made by Edinburgh goldsmith Harry Bethune

Length

Length 1022mm

Museum reference

H.LA 124

On display

Scotland Transformed, Level 3, National Museum of Scotland

Did you know?

The blade of the broadsword is elaborately decorated, and includes an image of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland.

Who was James ‘VIII’?

When James VII died in 1701, his son James Frances Edward took up the reins of the Jacobite cause, declaring himself King James VIII of Scotland and III of England.

Oil miniature on copper of Prince James Francis Edward Stewart, probably based on a portrait by Alexis Belle.

Above: Oil miniature on copper of Prince James Francis Edward Stewart, probably based on a portrait by Alexis Belle.

The inscription on the blade of this broadsword, made around 1715, proclaims support for his cause. The inscription reads: ‘Prosperity to Schotland and no Union’ and ‘For God my Country and King James the 8’.

Jacobite engraving on the broadsword

Above: Inscription on the blade of the broadsword showing support for James VIII.

Inscription showing St Andrew

Above: Inscription on the blade of the broadsword showing St Andrew and a message of support for James VIII.

Smuggled out of England as a baby when his father was deposed, James ‘VIII’ was raised in France. In 1708, supported by the King of France, Louis XIV, he attempted to invade Scotland, but was unable to land.

You can find out more about the broadsword in this short film.

The 1715 challenge

It was seven years before the Jacobites tried again. By this time William and Mary had died and George I, the Elector of Hanover, had succeeded to the throne after the death of Queen Anne, Britain’s last Stuart monarch. The 1715 rising was led by John, Earl of Mar, who switched his allegiance from George to the Jacobites. Although there was powerful support for Mar, he was defeated at the Battle of Sheriffmuir on 13 November 1715.

Dirk found at Sheriffmuir

Above: Dirk found on the field of Sheriffmuir, 1650 – 1700.

Silver snuff box

Above: The silver snuff box, inscribed with the words ‘Fear God and Honour thee King’, is associated with Alexander McGrouder, who followed the Duke of Perth in the rising of 1715. McGrouder was tried and twice sentenced for his role in the challenges of 1715 and 1745, yet cheated the hangman each time. Family tradition dictates the snuff box was commissioned by McGrouder during his imprisonment in London’s notorious Newgate Gaol from 1715 to 1717.

This powder flask is engraved with a commemorative inscription which describes the Hanoverian defeat of the 1715 Jacobite challenge, including the Battle of Sheriffmuir, the Battle of Preston, and the ongoing struggle in the north of Scotland.

Above: This powder flask is engraved with a commemorative inscription which describes the Hanoverian defeat of the 1715 Jacobite challenge, including the Battle of Sheriffmuir, the Battle of Preston, and the ongoing struggle in the north of Scotland. Key Hanoverian figures are mentioned such as the Duke of Argyll and the Earl of Sutherland, as well as other government army generals. Ram's horn and silver, c.1715.

This pair of 'Queen Anne holster' pistols have been engraved with AMD Clanranald 1712 and To AMD Dalelea 1715. Allan Macdonald the then Chief of Clanranald was killed at the Battle of Sheriffmuir on 13 November 1715.

Above: This pair of 'Queen Anne holster' pistols have been engraved with AMD Clanranald 1712 and To AMD Dalelea 1715. Allan Macdonald the then Chief of Clanranald was killed at the Battle of Sheriffmuir on 13 November 1715.

The winners

Find out more about a powder flask engraved with a commemorative inscription which describes the Hanoverian defeat of the 1715 Jacobite challenge.

The losers

Find out more about a snuff mull given to Jacobite Colonel Donald Murchison, who fought at the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715.

Defeat and exile

James himself finally landed in Scotland in December 1715, but he was not able to revive Jacobite fortunes and left for exile again with some of his leading supporters. In 1719 another Jacobite rising was defeated at the Battle of Glenshiel, in Inverness-shire.

James remained in exile for the rest of his life, dying in Rome in 1766. His ‘reign’ as Pretender to the throne had lasted just over 64 years, longer even than the reign of Queen Victoria.

More like this

Tags

Back to top