The Jacobites

The Course

The Jacobites
Online Course: 2-4+ hours/ week over 6 weeks
Dates: Saturday 11th November - Saturday 16th December 2017

The Jacobites course looks at the events of the Jacobite period and also the lives of those involved. The topic immediately brings to mind events such as the Glencoe Massacre, the Act of Union and ‘the Forty Five’, but the wider history is less well-known and often much debated.

The course takes a step-by-step approach to navigating the history and using evidence to arrive at your own understanding of the Jacobites as a whole. As a guide my role is to provide evidence, media and discussion - not to draw and pass on my conclusions.

Over six weeks the course involves:

- Untangling the Jacobites’ story from start to finish over almost 200 years.
- Evaluating original sources and drawing your own conclusions.
- Tracking and exploring your understanding of major themes and events.

The course involves:

- A weekly Jacobite’s Journal with timelines, sources and quizzes.
- A Facebook discussion group with daily posts of articles and images.
- A guided discussion each weekend.

Guide: David Morrison MA (Hons), BSc (Psych) Open (Hons), Dip Lib, MCLIP, MBPsS, FHEA.
Full contact details:
Cost: £18.50/ $25 for the full course.

Introduction to the Jacobite Period

The Jacobite period is often shown to us through portraits of commanders and paintings of warring infantrymen. However, the Jacobites, and the conflicts they became part of, involved warfare across the British Isles and impacted on the lives of far more women, men and children than leaders or soldiers.

The Combatants

In 1852-3, over a century after Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, (1720-1788), sailed away from Scotland, Pre-Raphelite painter John Millais painted an image called The Order of Release 1746, which seems to combine a personal statement on rebellion alongside a remarkably representative image showing some of those most affected by the Jacobite period.

After the Jacobites were overrun at Culloden on 16 April 1746 many Jacobite soldiers were jailed during a period of harsh repression. The British monarchy and its government later decided to ease conditions and allowed some prisoners home. In Millais' painting a scarred Redcoat reads the order for release presented by the Jacobite's wife, as the exhausted Jacobite rejoins his family. Clearly, the obvious front line combatants, the ordinary men, are left wounded by the conflict. The wife, also made a combatant on many levels by the conflict, has been crying, but stands resolute, even in defiance.

The Order of Release 1746 by John Millais

Millais places his own artistic 'Order of Release', the signature of his artistic mentor, Hilgrove Turner painted on the order, into the hand of the authority of the soldier, while adding symbols of Jacobite rebellion in the scene. For example, the Jacobite leaves jail wearing a kilt; his wife has brought their child in tartan garments; and the wife is not asking the British soldier, she is presenting an entitlement. And with both 'parties' clasping the entitlement an agreement, perhaps truce, of sorts appears to be taking place.


The entire Jacobite period is a turbulent, dangerous and often impoverished time for whole populations and their capacity to affect change appears very limited. At the same time, this a period when absolute monarchy is dislodged from its perch at times and, eventually, eroded as a basis for competent governance.

One of the great debates over the Jacobite period is the contrast between the shift away from absolutism presented by the Hanoverian succession of William of Orange and the absolutism of the displaced Stuart kings, which is tempered by circumstances where the monarchs were so reliant on their aides or allies that absolutism was at times set aside.

Broadly speaking, it is hard to deny that throughout the period power and decision making lay largely in the hands of the wealthy and powerful. Nevertheless, many economic, political and international changes combined to challenge traditional hierarchies of church, politics and conflict.


Prince Charles Edward Stuart in Edinburgh in 1745 by William Brassey Hole

The Jacobites Course Outline

Part 1 - Jacobites and The Glorious Revolution

1. The Union of the Crowns
2. The English Civil War
3. The Stuarts
4. Competing Empires
5. The Revolution
6. Scandal and Intrigue

Discussion - Rivals and Rivalries

Part 2 - The Union of Scotland and England

1. The Conflict of 1689–92
2. Glencoe
3. Divide and Rule
4. Reactions and Impacts
5. Invasion
6. Monarchy and Government
7. Religion
8. The Highlands

Discussion - The Power behind the Throne

Part 3 - War

1. France
2. Spain
3. England
4. The Clans
5. The 15

Discussion - Civil War

Part 4 - Exile and Empire

1. Empire
2. The Jacobites Abroad
3. Recruitment
4. Wade
5. Changing Lifestyles

Discussion - Change

Part 5 - The 45

1. Characters and Causes
2. Combatants and Non-Combatants
3. Glenfinnan
4. Edinburgh
5. England
6. Retreat

Discussion - High Stakes

Part 6 - The Impact of the 45

1. Punishment and Penance
2. Mythmaking in the Aftermath of the 45
3. Clearance
4. 21st Century Jacobites
5. Review

Discussion - Media and Memory

The Signing of the National Covenant in Greyfriars Churchyard, 1638. William Brassey Hole (1846–1917)

Week 1 Plan - Jacobites and The Glorious Revolution

Mary Queen of Scots

The Union of the Crowns

James VI of Scotland and I of England


Cromwell and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Covenanters and the Stuarts


Competing Empires

The Revolution

Scandal and Intrigue

Signing-Up for the course

The course is set up as an item in the Store just here. The store charges £18.50 or $25 US. PayPal and the usual cards are all available in the store. Alternatively, to be extra quick a direct PayPal payment to my email at works fine.

After sign-up notification goes to me automatically and I'll be in touch via Facebook shortly. As the course date approaches the group's Facebook Page will be set-up and we'll arrange access to that.

Just click on the pic to go to the Store link.