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William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock

William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock (12 May 1705 – 18 August 1746), was a Scottish peer who joined the 1745 Jacobite Rising, was captured at Culloden and subsequently executed for treason on Tower Hill.

William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock
Earl of Kilmarnock 1746.JPG
William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock ca 1746
BornWilliam Boyd
(1705-05-12)12 May 1705
Dean Castle, Kilmarnock
Died16 April 1746(1746-04-16) (aged 40)
Tower Hill
Cause of deathExecuted for treason
Resting placeSt Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London
TitleEarl of Kilmarnock
Tenure1717 to 1746
NationalityScots
ResidenceDean Castle
Callendar House
LocalityEast Ayrshire
Wars and battles1745 Jacobite Rising
Falkirk Culloden
OfficesGrand Master, Masonic Grand Lodge of Scotland 1742-1743
PredecessorWilliam Boyd, 3rd Earl of Kilmarnock
SuccessorJames, Earl of Erroll (1726-1778),
Spouse(s)Anne Livingstone (1709-1747)
IssueWilliam (1725-1728), James (1726-1778), Charles (1728-1782) and William (1728-1780)
ParentsWilliam Boyd, 3rd Earl of Kilmarnock (1683-1717)
Eupheme Ross (1684-1729)

His family were supporters of the government and Kilmarnock had not previously been involved with the Stuarts; he later stated that 'for the two Kings and their rights, I cared not a farthing which prevailed; but I was starving.'[1] His title was declared forfeit; his heavily mortgaged estates were confiscated but later returned to his eldest son James, later Earl of Erroll, who fought at Culloden on the government side.

Contents

LifeEdit

 
Kilmarnock's restored family home, Dean Castle; gutted by fire in 1735 and left derelict until 1908

William Boyd was born in 1705, only son of William Boyd, 3rd Earl of Kilmarnock (1683-1717) and Eupheme Ross (1684-1729). His father supported the government during the 1715 Jacobite Rising but was deeply in debt when he died in 1717. Kilmarnock soon made this considerably worse.

In 1724, he married Lady Anne Livingston, only daughter of James Livingston, 5th Earl of Linlithgow, a Jacobite attainted for his role in the 1715 Rising. Her family allegedly opposed the marriage and Kilmarnock's debts meant they depended upon her credit to pay living expenses.

They lived at Dean Castle but when it was destroyed by fire in 1735, they could not afford the repairs and moved to Anne's home, Callendar House, which remained in the family until 1783. Dean Castle was sold by his son James in 1746; while the outbuildings remained in use, the castle stood derelict until restored in the early 20th century.[2]

CareerEdit

 
Kilmarnock's political patron, 3rd Duke of Argyll.

Kilmarnock was educated at the University of Glasgow but he had 'an Aversion to rigorous Study of Letters' and was devoted to 'Riding, Fencing, Dancing and Musick...esteemed by Men of Taste, a Polite gentleman.'[3]

Anne Livingstone was considered an heiress, despite the loss of her family estates in 1715. The government Commission of Forfeited Estates found selling Jacobite property so complex and time-consuming that it was easier to come to an arrangement with the original owners.[4] Many were purchased through an 18th-century vulture fund called the York Buildings Company, which did a deal with Anne, who became financially secure as a result. She married Kilmarnock against her family's wishes; money and his lifestyle were constant issues and they lived together 'civilly, if not happily.'[5]

Kilmarnock's peerage gave him a seat in the House of Lords, where he voted as directed by Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll and Robert Walpole; he was paid a small pension for this, which ceased when Walpole lost power in 1742.[6] He was Grand Master for the Masonic Grand Lodge of Scotland from 1742 to 1743, his successor being the Earl of Wemyss, whose son Lord Elcho also served in the Jacobite army; Murray of Broughton, later Secretary to Prince Charles, was another member.[7]

 
Lady Kilmarnock's home Callendar House; used by government forces at Falkirk, fought nearby

He first met Prince Charles during the 1745 Rebellion at Callendar House on 14 September. The decision to join the Jacobite army surprised many; it has been suggested one reason for doing so was pressure from his wife's family but he later told Argyll; '...I was starving, and...if Mahommed had set up his standard...I had been a good Mussulman for bread, for I must eat.'[8]

On 18 October, he received a commission in 'Kilmarnock's Horse,' which seems to have been composed largely of individual volunteers. One of the few Lowland peers to join the Rising, he quickly gained a prominent position with Charles, largely because he was unconnected to the group of long-term Jacobite Scots centred around Lord George Murray. Even before the invasion of England, there were deep divisions between Charles and his exile advisors on the one hand and the Scots on the other; after the retreat from Derby, the two groups viewed each other with suspicion and hostility.[9] O'Sullivan later wrote 'no man showed more respect for HRH (Charles)...', making Kilmarnock one of the few Scots who could be counted on to support Charles against his fellows.[10]

When the main army entered England on 8 November, Viscount Strathallan remained in Perth; the Strathallan or Perthshire Horse was added to Kilmarnock's, a combined strength of about 130 men in all.[11] They were chiefly engaged in reconnaissance duties and were the last to leave Carlisle on 21 December, before re-entering Scotland. In early January, the Jacobites besieged Stirling Castle; an attempt to relieve it by the government commander Henry Hawley led to the Battle of Falkirk on 17 January.

The battle was fought near Callendar House, where Lady Anne was hosting Hawley, who used it as his headquarters; this took place in failing light, during a fierce storm and amid considerable confusion. Although the cavalry was not involved, Kilmarnock's local knowledge was employed afterwards in locating the retreating government forces; on his return, he attacked a Cameron deserter from the government army, who was still in uniform and had to be rescued from his fellow clansmen.[12]

 
Execution of the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino

Falkirk was a Jacobite tactical victory but poor command and co-ordination deprived them of the last opportunity to decisively defeat their opponents.[13] Many of the Highlanders who took part went home and when Cumberland resumed his advance on 30 January, Charles was told the army was in no state to fight. On 1 February 1746, the siege of Stirling was abandoned and the Jacobites withdrew to Inverness.[14]

Kilmarnock's troop helped covered the retreat; at the end of this, their horses were in such poor condition that they were converted into infantry and retitled Foot Guards. The next two months were spent in Elgin, as part of Drummond's force guarding the line of the River Spey; the Jacobites were short of money and forced to requisition supplies from local merchants.[15] [a]

When the campaigning season began in April, their leaders agreed the only option was a decisive victory; this led to Culloden, where they were defeated with heavy losses in less than an hour. James Boyd was in the government front line with the Royal Scots but Kilmarnock was with the Jacobite reserve and saw little action. The claim he was captured after mistaking government dragoons for his own troops is not supported by his own account; another anecdote recounts he lost his hat and wig and James gave him his own.[16]

Trial and ExecutionEdit

 
Effigies of Earl of Kilmarnock Lord Balmerino with a scene of execution.

Kilmarnock was tried in London on 29 July, with two other Jacobite peers, Lord Balmerino and the Earl of Cromartie. All three were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death; this was commuted to beheading, rather than the usual sentence of hung, drawn and quartered inflicted upon Francis Towneley and others. It was widely anticipated at least one would be pardoned, or one of two, since unlike the others, Balmerino expressed no regrets. Despite intercessions on Kilmarnock's behalf by his fellow Freemason, the Duke of Hamilton, the pardon was granted to Cromartie, thanks to the efforts of his (apparently) pregnant wife with the Princess of Wales.[17] Cromartie's father-in-law had been Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales and the writer Horace Walpole (1717-1792) later observed 'Hamilton's intercession for Lord Kilmarnock hurried him to the block.'[18]

The sentences were carried out on Tower Hill on 18 August, Kilmarnock going first; shortly before, Balmerino contrived a meeting with him to discuss the 'No quarter' order. Allegedly issued by the Jacobite leadership before Culloden and used to justify the harsh government response, its existence is extremely dubious. However, Balmerino ensured Kilmarnock confirmed before witnesses that if such an order did exist, the blame lay with Lord George Murray, not the Prince, a version later published in the official trial records. Even on the verge of death, the internal divisions that had undermined the Jacobite cause continued.[19]

Kilmarnock complied with the convention that prisoners facing death express contrition and acceptance of the justice of their sentence. He confirmed George II was the 'true and legitimate sovereign', wrote letters to his sons and wife and asked for help in settling his debts. Following his execution, he was buried in St Peter ad Vincula, the church attached to the Tower of London.[20]

AncestryEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Before his execution, he wrote to a friend from prison about his indebtedness to the shoemakers of Elgin: "Beside my personal debts mentioned in general and particular in the State, there is one for which I am liable in justice, if it is not paid, owing to poor people who gave their work for it by my orders. It was at Elgin in Murray, the Regiment I commanded wanted shoes. I commissioned something about seventy pair of shoes and brogues, which might come to 3 shillngs or three shillings and sixpence each, one with the other. The magistrates divided them among the shoemakers of the town and country, and each shoemaker furnished his proportion. I drew on the town, for the price, out of the composition laid on them, but I was afterwards told at Inverness that, it was believed, the composition was otherwise applied, and the poor shoemakers not paid. As these poor people wrought by my orders, it will be a great ease to my heart to think they are not to lose by me, as too many have done in the course of that year, but had I lived I might have made some inquiry after: but now it is impossible, as their hardships in loss of horses and such things, which happeened through my soldiers, are so interwoven with what was done by other people, that it would be very hard, if not impossible, to separate them. If you'll write to Mr Innes of Dalkinty at Elgin (with whom I was quartered when I lay there), he will send you an account of the shoes, and if they were paid to the shoemakers or no; and if they are not, I beg you'll get my wife, or my successors to pay them when they can......"

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Lenman, Bruce (1980). The Jacobite Risings in Britain 1689–1746. Methuen Publishing. p. 256. ISBN 978-0413396501.
  2. ^ Coventry, Martin. "Dean Castle". The Castles of Scotland. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  3. ^ Ray, James (1752). A Compleat History of the rebellion, from 1745, to 1746. James Farley, Bristol. pp. 410–411.
  4. ^ Szechi, Daniel, Sankey, Margaret (November 2001). "Elite Culture and the Decline of Scottish Jacobitism 1716-1745". Past & Present. 173 (173): 110–111. JSTOR 3600841.
  5. ^ Thomson, Katherine (1848). Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745, Volume 1. pp. 387–388.
  6. ^ Lowe, William (2006). Boyd, William, fourth earl of Kilmarnock (Online ed.). Oxford DNB. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3117.
  7. ^ Nicholson, Eirwen (2006). Murray, Sir John, of Broughton, baronet (Online ed.). Oxford DNB. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/19629.
  8. ^ Lenman, p. 257
  9. ^ Reid, Stuart (2012). Cumberland's Culloden Army 1745-46. Osprey. p. 44. ISBN 978-1849088466.
  10. ^ Annand, A Mck (1994). "Lord Kilmarnock's Horse Grenadiers (Later Foot Guards), in the Army of Prince Charles Edward, 1745-6". Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. 72 (290): 72. JSTOR 44224780.
  11. ^ Annand, p. 70
  12. ^ Annand, p. 73
  13. ^ "Falkirk II" (PDF). Scotland's Historic Fields of Conflict. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  14. ^ Riding, Jacqueline (2016). Jacobites: A New History of the 45 Rebellion. Bloomsbury. pp. 356–359. ISBN 978-1408819128.
  15. ^ Annand, p. 73
  16. ^ Annand, p. 74
  17. ^ Riding, p. 484
  18. ^ Lewis, Wilmarth S (1933). The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence, Volume 19. Yale University. p. 296.
  19. ^ Riding, p. 486
  20. ^ "William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 17 April 2019.

SourcesEdit

  • Annand, A Mck (1994). "Lord Kilmarnock's Horse Grenadiers (Later Foot Guards), in the Army of Prince Charles Edward, 1745-6". Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. 72 (290).
  • Coventry, Martin (2000). Dean Castle in The Castles of Scotland. Goblinshead. ISBN 978-1899874279.
  • Lenman, Bruce (1980). The Jacobite Risings in Britain 1689–1746. Methuen Publishing. ISBN 978-0413396501.
  • Lewis, Wilmarth S (1933). The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence, Volume 19. Yale University.
  • Lowe, William (2006). Boyd, William, fourth earl of Kilmarnock (Online ed.). Oxford DNB.
  • Nicholson, Eirwen (2006). Murray, Sir John, of Broughton, baronet (Online ed.). Oxford DNB.
  • Ray, James (1752). A Compleat History of the rebellion, from 1745, to 1746. James Farley, Bristol.
  • Reid, Stuart (2012). Cumberland's Culloden Army 1745-46. Osprey. ISBN 978-1849088466.
  • Riding, Jacqueline (2016). Jacobites: A New History of the 45 Rebellion. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1408819128.
  • Szechi, Daniel, Sankey, Margaret (November 2001). "Elite Culture and the Decline of Scottish Jacobitism 1716-1745". Past & Present. 173.
  • Thomson, Katherine (1848). Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745, Volume 1.
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Leven
Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge of Scotland

1742–1743
Succeeded by
The Earl of Wemyss
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
William Boyd
Earl of Kilmarnock
1717–1746
Succeeded by
Forfeit