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Saturday 16 February 2013

The Rout of Moy (1746)

To commemorate the skirmish known as the Rout of Moy, here is a story recollecting the event recorded by Calum Maclean from James Dunbar, a farmer then aged fifty, on the 7th of August 1952. The contributor belonged to Tomatin and thus was not far away from the events of that happened at Moy on the 16th of February 1746:

You heard most of the story in history, of course. And, of course, the MacIntosh he was a Royalist. Well, he was on the side of the Royalists. He was fighting on the Royalist side. He was with the Royalist side and, of course, Lady MacIntosh, one of the Farquharsons of Invercauld she was on the side of the Prince and the clan was on the Prince's side. And as history tells us Lord Louden with about a thousand men, he was going to take Prince Charlie. That was on the Rout of Moy  [that] took place on the sixteenth of February 1746, two months before the Battle of Culloden. Now my father's story was that a little boy was sent up. A hotel-keeper's wife in Inverness heard the soldiers talking about going up to Moy that night to take Prince Charlie and sent this little boy bare-footed to Moy Hall wi’ a letter to Lady MacIntosh. And when he arrived all the clansmen were away. I don’t know where they were. They would have been out on reconnaissance. And the blacksmith was at home, Donald Fraser. And they went to Donald Fraser and he took five men and they went down to Creag an Eòin, I believe, where the peat mass is today, and waited until Lord Louden's men came up. However there were peat stacks there, peat dashes, I believe, and it was a misty night and when Lord Louden’s army came up the orders went out to all the clans, the MacIntoshs, the Camerons and the Macphersons and the Macdonalds, of course. And they fired their muskets and I was told they played their pipes. However Lord Louden’s army turned back and away down to Inverness and they told awful stories about the awful regiments of Highlanders they saw there. Well, the only one that was hit of the Royalist army was MacCrimmon, Donald Bane MacCrimmon. Before he left Skye he had a feeling that he would never return. He composed the tune “Cha till Mac Cruimein” – “MacCrimmon will never return.” Well he was mortally wounded and died in Inverness and was buried in the Chapel yard. But however when they heard it was Donald Fraser and five men that did it Donald Fraser had to return to Lochaber. He was hiding there for years and even when he went to the Island of Lewis. He was hiding there for years after Culloden. Well I remember – she died in 1902 – his grandsons widow, Jean Fraser, Dalnahone, and her daughter. She didn’t live long afterwards. And what I remember best the day of the sale: there was a stool bought for me. I was a little piddie. And I used to sit in that stool, a white-pointed stool. But my father remembered the grandson, Donald Fraser, but he had no enthusiasm for what his grandfather did. He didn’t think much of it at all, for he had no side for Prince Charlie. And neither have I, although I do admire what our forebearers did at Culloden, and their bravery and the like of that. Well, Donald Fraser's sword is, I believe, in Moy Hall yet and his anvil, you could see his anvil. It used to be at the door, the front door and his sword. I believe it is there yet. It used to be in Tomatin House and it was in Moy Hall afterwards.

Much against her husband’s wishes, Lady Anne MacIntosh (1723–1787), raised the clan MacIntosh and Clan Chattan to fight for the Jacobite cause under the command of MacGillivray of Dunmaglass. For this she earned the affectionate title “Colonel Anne” and Prince Charles Edward Stuart referred to her as “La Belle Rebelle”, the beautiful rebel.
Soon after the Jacobite victory at Falkirk, the Prince was staying at Moy hall, the seat of the MacIntosh, when Lady Anne received word from her mother-in-law that the Hanoverian forces were about to attack. Lady Anne took it upon herself to send out around five of her staff to run about shooting and shouting in order to trick the enemy into thinking that they faced the whole Jacobite army. The ploy worked and they fled leaving with one fatally injured piper, Donald Bàn MacCrimmon, as mentioned above, who lated died in Inverness of his wounds sustained in the skirmish. Since then the event has become known as The Rout of Moy.
After the defeat of the Jacobites – the Clan MacIntosh were the first to charge the Hanoverian ranks – at battle of Culloden some two months later, Lady Anne was arrested and turned over to the care of her mother-in-law for a time. She later met the Duke of Cumberland at a social event in London with her husband. He asked her to dance to a Hanoverian tune and she returned the favour by asking him to dance to a Jacobite tune. She was a rebel to the end.

Calum I. Maclean, The Highlands (Inbhir Nis: Club Leabhar, 1975)
SSS NB 16, pp. 1443–45­­­

Lady Anne Farquharson MacIntosh


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  2. It should be remembered that the blacksmith Donald Fraser was also a Captain in the Macintosh regiment and well versed in ambush tactics.So, Lady Ann had probably little to do with the actual rout.