THE GLENCOE MASSACRE

By Tim Lambert

Charles II died in 1685 and his brother James became King James II. However James II was a Roman Catholic and both English and Scots feared he would restore Roman Catholicism. James II was deposed in 1688 and William and Mary became king and queen of Scotland. The Scottish parliament restored Presbyterianism.

However not all Scots welcomed the new monarchs. The Highlanders rose under Viscount Dundee. They won a victory at Killiecrankie in 1689 but their leader was killed and the Highlanders dispersed.

The government was determined to bring the Highlands to heel and they ordered the chiefs of all the clans to take an oath of loyalty to King William by the last day of 1691. However the chief of the MacDonalds of Glencoe arrived late and only took the oath on 6 January 1692. Even though he was only a few days late the government decided to make an example of him. So troops led by Captain Robert Campbell of Glenyon were sent to Glencoe and billeted in cottages there.

The MacDonalds treated them hospitably. However early in the morning of 13 February Campbell and his men fell on the sleeping MacDonalds. They went from house to house killing the inhabitants and then burning the houses. Altogether 38 people were murdered including the clan chief. This appalling massacre became known as the massacre of Glencoe.

A brief history of Scotland

Home