1700's Jacobites and Troubled Times

1700's Jacobites and Troubled Times

1700's Jacobites and Troubled Times

In the early 1700's the political situation in Scotland was very unsettled with James II now exiled in France and deposed by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange. Charles, the fourth Earl remained loyal to James and became one of his band of supporters known as the Jacobites who worked secretly to restore the Stuarts to the throne.

The political choices made by the Stuarts of Traquair who also upheld their Catholic beliefs led to some difficult and troubled years ahead from which the family never fully recovered.

Shortly after his marriage to Mary, Charles, the Fourth Earl was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle suspected of his involvement in a Jacobite plot. Later, he supported his sister in law, Lady Winifred Nithsdale to help her husband as he took part in the first Jacobite rebellion of 1715.

The uprising was doomed to failure and William Nithsdale was imprisoned in the Tower of London and sentenced to death. (The exciting account of his wife' successful attempt to rescue him can be read in Lady Nithsdale and The Jacobites by Flora Maxwell Stuart)

The fifth Earl, also Charles, inherited his father's beliefs. He installed the Bear Gates at the top of the avenue in 1738. However, they were only in use for six years, when according to legend, they were closed following a visit of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). The Earl of Traquair vowed they would never be opened again until a Stuart king was crowned in London.

Charles was imprisoned for his support of the Jacobite cause after the 1745 rebellion. His new wife, Theresa Conyers, volunteered to join him. On his release he was "confined to his estates" but he was responsible for much of the remodeling of the interior of the house. The High Drawing Room and the Library are stunning examples of the European influence on Scottish country houses at that time.

Following the death of the fifth Earl, his brother inherited the Earldom and this marked the beginning of the period of slow decline for the family. Following the death of his wife, Christina Anstruther, he moved to Paris with his two unmarried daughters and handed Traquair over to his son Charles, later to become the seventh Earl. His family were beset by financial problems due in part to his gambling and unsuccessful explorations for mining for minerals on the estate and later in Spain.