Craigenputtock Blog


Craigenputtock in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745

Craigenputtock, the Dumfriesshire home of Thomas Carlyle from 1826-1832, is a house with rich historical and literary associations. It was here that Carlyle wrote his first great works, inspired by the rural isolation of the property. He and his wife Jane received many eminent guests to their home in the wilds, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist. Even today, the peaceful seclusion of Craigenputtock makes it one of the most evocative houses in Scotland.

Carlyle recalls in his 'Reminiscences' how one of his wife Jane's forbears had misled the English Redcoats, following the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The Laird of Craigenputtock had not himself joined in the Rebellion, but had welcomed several local gentlemen who had and were now 'flying for their lives'. Mr Welsh (the Laird) had entertained them (in Carlyle's memorable words) in 'a seclusion lonelier than almost any other in Scotland'.

The Laird heard that the Dragoons were coming to capture the Jacobites. He immediately sent the Rebels off by "well contrived routes and equipments" through the bogs and mosses which surrounded Craigenputtock. He then waited for the Dragoons "as if nothing was wrong".

The Dragoons arrived and asked the Laird if he had the Rebels staying with him. He admitted that they had been, but had recently left, professing indignation and complete ignorance that his guests had been Jacobites, exclaiming "Fie the villains, but had I known or dreamt of that!"

Mr Welsh then suggested to the Dragoons that he would lead them to the river to follow the route of the Rebels. Mounting his Galloway pony, he trotted 'cheerily along', guiding the Dragoons in such a way that their heavy horses sank "mostly or altogether into the treacherous green swamps and "with much pretended lamentation" left them with work which would keep them busy till nightfall.

Our thanks go to Mark Atkinson for researching and writing this piece which was originally published in 2015 as 'Bad Behaviour at Craigenputtock' by The Historic Houses Association in a series entitled 'Ghostly and Gruesome Trails'.

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  • JustinSunse
    22 Dec 2016 09:40 pm

    Hello. nice to read this, thanks! #nicelyrules11

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