Causes of the Jacobite rising of 1715

Aims of the rebellion

In 1715, there was an attempted rising by Jacobites against the Hanoverian monarchy. This became known as 'the 15'.

Jacobites longed for a restoration of the Stuart dynasty and they wanted to put The Old Pretender on the throne.

From 1707 they were supported by Scottish anti-Union groups. This was because a Stuart monarchy made the reversal of Union more likely.

The Jacobites favoured an Episcopalian Church. This reduced the potential size of support for their cause in Scotland which was mainly Presbyterian. Nevertheless, with the Country Party held in low esteem, Jacobites were the leaders of national sentiment after 1707.

Causes of the rebellion

An attempted rising in 1708 had been unsuccessful. Bad weather and the Royal Navy stopped a French-aided invasion by Jacobites.

The failure of the 1708 rebellion led to increased determination amongst anti-Hanoverians for a successful rising in the future.


George I wearing costume of the period
George I

Some peers and MPs kept links with the Stuarts for personal gain. They believed that if one day James VIII and III were to return to Scotland then they would be better placed to be given powerful jobs if they had been seen to support him during his time in exile.

George I, who became King in 1714 upon Anne’s death, was unpopular. This led to an increase in support for the Jacobites, with many people realising that they did not approve of the Hanoverian succession.

Military confidence

John Erskine, Earl of Mar
John Erskine, Earl of Mar

The Earl of Mar and other Jacobite leaders played a significant role in generating support for the rising of 1715.

Mar organised a gathering of Jacobite clans at Braemar and told them of the weaknesses of Scottish military defences, which would make invasion easier.

There was a lack of expenditure on arms and ammunition for the British Army in Scotland and the prospect of French support motivated many to believe success was possible.

The Jacobite cause was already strengthened by support from the Episcopalian Church in the North-east. Ministers issued Jacobite propaganda which stressed the advantages of the Stuarts.

Poverty in parts of Scotland led to people believing that the economy would be better if Scotland was independent.

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