Ona Lighthouse
 Surname Origins

Chapter X: Scotland

        When the Romans first entered Scotland in the first century they encountered an Iron Age society in the south, while further north and in outlying regions, they encountered a society that was more primitive. The Romans would never gain control of the whole of Scotland, but by the time they permanently departed in the fourth century, Christianity had been introduced. During the subsequent Dark Ages, the country subsisted as a largely tribal society, with the Church having a low profile. In the 8th and 9th centuries, the coastal areas were subject to many Viking raids and the northern and western parts of Scotland essentially became Viking provinces. In reaction to this the rest of the country eventually united under a single monarchy, and over the next several centuries, the Scottish Kingdom gradually eroded away the Norse control.115
        The Scottish monarchy often had close ties to the English monarchy, but would also at times chafe under English influence and would sometimes seek foreign alliances with the French to gain more independence. This was the case in the mid 1500s when Mary Queen of Scots (Mary Stuart) was born. Mary was born in 1542, the daughter of James V, and his French wife, Mary of Lorraine. She became queen when her father died when she was only one week old. At the age of five she was sent to live in France. She was married to the Dauphin, heir to the French throne, in 1558. He became King Francis II in 1559, but died in 1560. Her mother, Mary of Lorraine, who had been ruling Scotland as regent, also died in 1560. During her rule, the Reformation, which had been late in coming to Scotland, became a point of contention in Scottish politics. On urging from France she had embarked upon a policy of suppression of Protestantism, but she was ultimately defeated in the struggle between the Catholic, pro-French faction and the Protestant-nationalist faction.116
        Mary Stuart returned to Scotland after her husband’s death in 1560 to find that the struggle between the two sides had been concluded with the Treaty of Edinburgh. One of the clauses of this treaty acknowledged her cousin, Elizabeth Tudor, to be the rightful queen of England. Mary, herself, however, also had designs on the English throne. Both Mary and Elizabeth were descendants of Henry VII. Elizabeth was his granddaughter, and Mary his great-granddaughter.117 The French, and Catholic side in general, considered Elizabeth illegitimate, since they didn’t recognize her father’s (Henry VIII) divorce from Catharine of Aragon to be valid. Mary found an excuse not to sign the treaty.118
        With this in mind, Mary chose for her husband, Henry Stewart later known as Lord Darnley.119 Darnley and Mary were both grandchildren of Henry VIII’s sister, Margaret, and as such were both strong candidates for the English throne. She bore Darnley one son, James, who became James VI of Scotland and James I of England. Darnley, however, proved to be unsuitable as a lover and consort, and Mary plotted to have him murdered. Then she fell in love with the Earl of Bothwell, with whom she had plotted the murder. Bothwell quickly divorced his wife and married Mary. Catholic Europe and Protestant Scotland were scandalized by her behavior. There was an uprising against her and she was brought to the island fortress of Lochleven, where she was offered the choice of abdicating or standing trial for murder. She signed the abdication, which she later repudiated, and several months later she escaped and fled to England. Her one-year-old son had become King James VI of Scotland.120
        Mary had essentially burned her bridges in Europe and was forced to throw herself on Elizabeth’s mercy. However, it was also a dangerous situation for Elizabeth, since Mary represented a serious threat to her throne, and even now Mary was continually plotting against her. Mary was detained in various fortress castles around England for the next sixteen years. Three times she was caught in serious conspiracies to get Elizabeth’s throne, and each time the plan was to start out with Elizabeth’s assassination. Elizabeth was finally persuaded to act, and in 1587 Mary was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle.121
        Elizabeth died childless in 1603, and Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland became James I of England and the two kingdoms were united. It was during his reign (between 1604 and 1611) that the bible was translated and dedicated to him and which has become known to us as the King James Version. It was also under James I that the Scottish settlement of Ireland began. Ireland had long suffered under English rule, and keeping the Irish subdued was a constant problem. James reasoned that if you can’t beat ‘em you should join ‘em. He began to encourage Scottish immigration into Ireland with the thought that they would eventually intermarry with the local population and become friends and allies, rather than mortal enemies. Although it didn’t exactly work out that way, it did forever alter the ethnic makeup of Ireland, and within a few generations there was a large Protestant, Scottish presence.
        The Stuarts, for the most part, proved to be rather inept rulers. James I’s son, Charles I, quarreled incessantly with Parliament and with the Puritans, and his reign was ended with his head on the executioner’s block, before a large, horrified London crowd in 1649. The Puritans and Oliver Cromwell then ruled until the Restoration in 1660. The Stuart Restoration that took place in 1660 began a difficult time for Scottish Presbyterians. Charles II established policies designed to restore the Anglican Church in Scotland. Presbyterians were mercilessly persecuted. Presbyterian communion was forbidden, and the penalties for partaking of it were harsh. So many were imprisoned, banished or executed that this came to be known as the “killing time.” In the region where our MacMillans lived there were two women who were drowned in Wigtown Bay by being tied to stakes while the tide rose over their bodies.122
        Charles II was the son of Charles I, and he left no legitimate heirs (although 12 illegitimate ones), and at his death the crown went to his brother, James II. James II, a Roman Catholic, was deposed in 1688 because of his religion and because of quarrels with Parliament. James became an exile in France, and it is he whom Louis XIV of France had proclaimed as the legitimate King of England, helping to spark the War of the Grand Alliance, that caused so much devastation in the Palatinate.
        The English crown then went to William and Mary. William of Orange (a Dutch province) was a grandson of Charles I, through Charles’ daughter, Mary. William’s wife, also Mary, was a daughter of James II, so both of them had strong claims to the throne. William and Mary died without issue, and the crown then went to Mary’s sister Anne. This was the Queen Anne who was so helpful to the Palatine emigrants. Queen Anne’s children all died before she did, and when she died the throne was offered to George of Hanover. Hanover, like the Palatinate, was one of the small German electorates. George I was a great grandson of James I, through his daughter Elizabeth, who married Elector Frederick V of the Palatinate. Their daughter, Sophia, married into the House of Hanover, and she was the mother of George I, who in turn is the progenitor of the current British royal family. [See pedigree chart]
        James II, his son, James III (the Old Pretender), and his grandson, Charles Edward (Bonnie Prince Charles), although continually in exile, continued to press their claims to the British and Scottish thrones. Their followers, called Jacobeans, were little more than an irritant to the English, but they mounted some significant military campaigns in Scotland. The most serious attempt was in 1744-46. Charles Edward landed with a small force in Scotland, unaccompanied by his French allies, who had backed out. He was successful in raising an army from the northern highland areas, and for the next several months he fought and won several skirmishes against British forces. There was a brief incursion into northern England during which he captured Carlisle, and went as far as Derby, but then had to retreat. He was disappointed that the French had not come to his aid as promised, and he was suffering large troop desertions, and was ultimately reduced to being hunted relentlessly by government troops for about five months before a French ship picked him up carried him to France. This was the last Jacobean challenge.123
        It is thought that Charles was able to garner considerable highland support because that region was ripe for change. Compared to the rest of Scotland it was economically depressed and backward. It would only be a few more years until a momentous change would come. Highland landowners would begin shifting from farming to sheep ranching, and displace thousands of workers, who would then try to find work in the kelp industry along the seashore. The Highlands displacements would cause a great population shift out of the highlands to the seashore, and ultimately to America. Bonnie Prince Charlie left Scotland for good in 1746. This was the situation in Scotland when James MacMillan immigrated to Ireland, probably sometime between 1745 and 1750. The reason the MacMillans emigrated is not currently known. Probably it didn’t have anything to do with the Uprising of 1745. Our ancestors lived in Galloway, a Lowland area, where there did not seem to be a great deal of support for the Jacobeans. A history of Glen Luce Parish published in 1930, makes mention of it when it reports the Presbytery had appointed a day of fasting, “on account of insurrections and risings in the north headed by the Pretender’s eldest son.”124 But this is a rather mild acknowledgment of it and although some of the Highland branches of the MacMillan clan supported Bonnie Prince Charles, that probably wasn’t the case here.

Back                      Next