Siege of Blair Castle

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Siege of Blair Castle
Part of the Jacobite rising of 1745
Blair castle - facade.jpg
Blair Castle
Date17 March 1746 to 2 April 1746
Result Jacobite forces withdrew, Government garrison relieved.
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg Scottish Hanoverians:
Royal Scots Fusiliers
Jacobite Standard (1745).svg Jacobites:
Clan Murray
Clan Macpherson
Commanders and leaders
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg Sir Andrew Agnew, 5th Baronet [1] Jacobite Standard (1745).svg Lord George Murray
300 1000
Casualties and losses
Unknown unknown

The Siege of Blair Castle was a conflict that took place in Scotland in March 1746 and was part of the Jacobite rising of 1745. [2] It was fought between Scottish forces loyal to the British-Hanoverian government of George II of Great Britain, which defended Blair Castle near the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire, and Scottish Jacobite forces loyal to the House of Stuart. [2]

Scotland Country in Northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain, with a border with England to the southeast, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Jacobite rising of 1745 attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart

The Jacobite rising of 1745, also known as the Forty-five Rebellion or simply the '45, was an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart. It took place during the War of the Austrian Succession, when the bulk of the British Army was fighting in mainland Europe, and proved to be the last in a series of revolts that began in 1689, with major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719.

George II of Great Britain British monarch

George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.



In February 1746, Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, arrived at Perth in command of the king’s army. The Duke sent two detachments from several regiments of infantry to secure the area of Atholl. One detachment of 200 men, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Webster, was sent to occupy Castle Menzies, home of the chief of the Clan Menzies, Sir Robert Menzies of Weem. [2] This was in order to secure passage of the Tay bridge. [2] A second detachment of 300 men commanded by Sir Andrew Agnew, 5th Baronet, who was Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (and chief of Clan Agnew), was sent to take up post at Blair Castle. [2]

Prince William, Duke of Cumberland British Army general

Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland,, was the third and youngest son of King George II of Great Britain and Ireland and his wife, Caroline of Ansbach. He was Duke of Cumberland from 1726. He is best remembered for his role in putting down the Jacobite Rising at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, which made him immensely popular throughout Britain. He is often referred to by the nickname given to him by his Tory opponents: 'Butcher' Cumberland. Despite his triumph at Culloden, he had a largely unsuccessful military career. Between 1748 and 1755 he attempted to enact a series of army reforms that were resisted by the opposition and by the army itself. Following the Convention of Klosterzeven in 1757, he never again held active military command and switched his attentions to politics and horse racing.

Perth, Scotland City in Scotland

Perth is a city in central Scotland, on the banks of the River Tay. It is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council area and the historic county town of Perthshire. It has a population of about 47,180. Perth has been known as The Fair City since the publication of the story Fair Maid of Perth by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott in 1828. During the later medieval period the city was also called St John's Toun or Saint Johnstoun by its inhabitants in reference to the main church dedicated to St John the Baptist. This name is preserved by the city's football teams, St Johnstone F.C.

Castle Menzies

Castle Menzies in Scotland is the ancestral seat of the Clan Menzies and the Menzies Baronets. It is located a little to the west of the small village of Weem, near Aberfeldy in the Highlands of Perthshire, close to the former site of Weem Castle, destroyed c. 1502. The manager is David Henderson.

Blair Castle was the seat of James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl (chief of Clan Murray). The Duke of Atholl actually supported the British Government, but most of his clan supported the Jacobite House of Stuart and were under the command of his brother Lord George Murray. [2]

James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl British politician

James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl, styled Marquess of Tullibardine between 1715 and 1746, was a Scottish peer, and Lord Privy Seal.

Clan Murray noble family

Clan Murray is a Highland Scottish clan. The chief of the Clan Murray holds the title of Duke of Atholl. Their ancestors who established the family in Scotland in the 12th century were the Morays of Bothwell. In the 16th century descendants of the Morays of Bothwell, the Murrays of Tullibardine, secured the chiefship of the clan and were created Earls of Tullibardine in 1606. The first Earl of Tullibardine married the heiress to the Stewart earldom of Atholl and Atholl therefore became a Murray earldom in 1626. The Murray Earl of Atholl was created Marquess of Atholl in 1676 and in 1703 it became a dukedom. The marquess of Tullibardine title has continued as a subsidiary title, being bestowed on elder sons of the chief until they succeed him as Duke of Atholl.

Lord George Murray (general) Scottish Jacobite general

Lord George Murray (1694-1760), sixth son of John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl, was a Scottish nobleman and soldier who took part in the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1719. Pardoned in 1725, he returned to Scotland, where he married and in 1739 took the Oath of Allegiance to George II.

The siege

On the morning of 17 March, all of the detached outposts surrounding the castle were taken by surprise and captured by the Jacobites, and the government soldiers of the outposts were made prisoners. [2] The rebel Jacobites then proceeded to fire at the castle from close range. [2] The government garrison, now reduced to about 270, was ordered to different parts of the castle with orders not to fire unless they were attacked. [2]

In the afternoon of the 17th, Lord George Murray and Ewen MacPherson of Cluny (chief of Clan Macpherson) had by this time set up their headquarters at the village of Blair, which is about a quarter of a mile to the southeast of the castle. They sent a summons to the castle requiring Andrew Agnew to surrender the castle, garrison, military stores, and provisions into the hands of Lord George Murray. [2] The terms of surrender were refused by Agnew. [2]

Ewen MacPherson of Cluny, also known as "Cluny Macpherson", was the chief of the Clan MacPherson at the time of the Jacobite Rising of 1745. He took part as a supporter of Charles Edward Stuart and after the rebellion was crushed he went into hiding.

Clan Macpherson clan

Clan Macpherson is a Highland Scottish clan and a member of the Chattan Confederation.

On 19 March, Agnew sent out a man on horse in an attempt to reach the Earl of Crawford, who was the general officer commanding some British cavalry and Hessian troops, supposedly at Perth or Dunkeld. However, this was assumed to have failed when a short time later a Jacobite was seen on the horse that the messenger had been sent out on. [2]

Earl of Crawford

Earl of Crawford is one of the most ancient extant titles in Great Britain, having been created in the Peerage of Scotland for Sir David Lindsay in 1398. It is the premier earldom recorded on the Union Roll. The title has a very complex history.

On 1 April, news reached the garrison that Lord George Murray and his men had left Blair. This is believed to have been because Murray had received an order to join the forces of the Young Pretender Charles Edward Stuart near Inverness. [2]

On 2 April, George Lindsay-Crawford, 21st Earl of Crawford, arrived with cavalry to relieve the garrison. It turned out that the man sent out by Agnew had fallen from his horse when being fired at by the Jacobites. The messenger escaped on foot and was able to make contact with Crawford. [2] Agnew's men had been close to starvation when the siege was lifted. [1]


Lord George Murray and his men met up with the army of Charles Edward Stuart and were defeated a few weeks later at the Battle of Culloden. The Royal Scots Fusiliers also fought at Culloden, but on the British Government side.

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  1. 1 2 Way, George of Plean; Squire, Romilly of Rubislaw (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 64–65.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 "1". The Scots Magazine and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany. 70. 1808. pp. 330–333.