barracks at Ruthven mark the symbolic end of the Jacobite cause.
After their defeat at the Battle of Culloden the Jacobite army
regrouped at Ruthven to continue their rising against the Hanoverian
government. It was here that the Jacobites finally learned that
Bonnie Prince Charlie was in flight and had left them the order
that every man must seek what safety he can.
Ruthven Barracks Factsheet
a key junction in General Wades roads, the barracks
were designed to provide accommodation for up to 120 infantry
men and a detachment of cavalry, which would effectively suppress
any Jacobite rising in the Highlands. By 1745, however, the
government had slackened their military commitment in the
north of Scotland - by the start of the 1745 rising only 13
Redcoat soldiers were guarding the barracks. They were subsequently
attacked by over 200 Jacobites, but successfully drove off
the attack with the loss of only one man, who had been shot
in the head when he put it above the parapet. The barracks
defences proved too strong to breach without the aid of a
eventually fell to the Jacobites in 1746 when the Bonnie Prince
Charlie and his army were retreating from Derby, on their way
north to the disastrous Battle of Culloden. After their defeat
at Culloden, the Jacobites put Ruthven to the torch and dispersed.
It has remained a ruin ever since.
Ruthven goes back far beyond the Jacobite wars. In the 13th
century the mound on which the barracks stand was the site
for a powerful fortress built by the Comyn family. During
the Wars of Independence the Comyns had lost in a dispute
with Robert Bruce, who had murdered John the Red
Comyn at Dumfries and stormed through their northern fortresses
- In 1451
the castle was passed into the hands of the Earl of Huntly but
was attacked and destroyed by John MacDonald, Earl of Ross,
who, along with the Black Douglas clan, opposed the rule of
King James II. However, the castle was rebuilt by 1459 when
King James II himself was recorded as staying there.
- In 1689
the castle was once again at the centre of conflict when it
was attacked and set on fire during the first Jacobite rising
against the rule of William of Orange. After the second serious
rising in 1715, the castle was knocked down in 1719 and replaced
over the next two years by the more modern military fortress
that stands there in ruins today.