Mastertons at War: Jacobite Wars

Mastertons at War

Like any family living through periods when their countries went to war, a number of Mastertons fought in conflicts across the world. Some never returned. These pages are dedicated to those who fought and died fulfilling their duty to their country.

Jacobite Wars

culloden image 1 culloden image 2

Those who Served

The '15


The London Gazette lists a John Masterton as one of the prisoners taken after the Battle of Preston.

The London Gazette

Whitehall, Decemb. 10. Yesterday the Principal Rebels taken at Preston, with their Servants, were brought to London, and committed Prisoners to the Tower, the Marshalsea, Newgate, and the Fleet. There was a vast Concourse of People along the Road from Highgate, and in the Streets through which they passed; who gave most remarkable Demonstrations of the Abhorrence of this Rebellion, and of their Loyalty to his Majesty. The names of the Chief of the said Prisoners are as follows.

The Earl of Derwentwater, a Papist.
The Lord of Widdrington, a Papist.
The Earl of Nithsdale, a Papist.
The Earl of Winton.
The Earl of Carnwath.


James Dalyel Uncle to the Earl of Carnwath
Edmund Maxwell of Garnsallock.
John Masterton.

The London Gazette
Number 5388
6 December 1715

The '45


The Muster Roll of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's Army lists three Mastertons:

The most likely known match for Alexander Masterton in the muster roll, is the son of John Masterton, born 1702 in Forfar, who had married Katherine Milne in 1725. If so, at the time of the '45, Alexander was 42 and he and Katherine had 10 children, the youngest of whom was born in May 1744. The pay of eightpence a day must have been a tempting prospect for Alexander, whatever his true allegiances, at a time when markets for his weaving skills must have been severely depressed.

The House of Airlie had a long tradition of loyalty to the Stuart cause, so when Prince Charles Edward reached Perth in September 1745 he was joined by the heir to the title, twenty-year-old David, Lord Ogilvy, with an offer of his services. This was followed up by the arrival of the young man in Edinburgh in the following month with a contingent of about 300 men to join the Jacobite army. The Prince appointed him a member of his Privy Council.

The Forfarshire Regiment, made up of varying numbers of men up to a maximum of 800, served throughout the campaign. It was a well organised company and its roll was well documented, as a record of its movements was kept by its adjutant, Captain James Stuart of Inchbreck from 10 October 1745 until 21 April 1746 when the regiment was disbanded. The uniform was the kilt or a suit made in the black and red checked material of the Rob Roy tartan. Payment per day was two shillings and sixpence for a captain, two shillings for a lieutenant, one shilling and sixpence for an ensign and eightpence for a private.

While the main body of the regiment under its commander marched into England, a second battalion under the command of Colonel Sir James Kinloch was formed to hold the Angus district for the Prince and to assist with the landing of troops and equipment from France. This battalion later united with Lord Ogilvy's on its return to Scotland and the regiment fought as one body at the Battle of Falkirk. A small number of the men remained in England taking part in the ill-fated garrisoning of Carlisle. At Culloden the Forfarshires fought on the right wing of the second line, and when the battle was lost they retired in good order to Ruthven. A few days later they marched to Clova, where the regiment was disbanded.

Lord Ogilvy, together with some of his officers, made their excape to Norway. Later they reached France where Louis XV commissioned Lord Ogilvy to raise a regiment from among his refugee compatriots. This force served succesfully in the French army and Lord Ogilvy rose to the rank of Lieutenant General. In 1778 he receved a pardon from King George II, and having inherited the Airlie title in 1761, he returned to Scotland to manage his restored estate. He died at Cortachy in 1803.

I have found no genealogical records of a Malcolm Masterton. This could be a mistranscription of McMaster. The "Return of the Rebel Officers and Soldiers now Prisoners in Inverness, 19th April, 1746" records "Malcolm Masterton , Private , Colonel MacGillavrea , Inverness". Stuart Reid notes that "no fewer than 101 out of the 154 men and boys who are named [in this list], either died in captivity or else simply vanished from the records. This clearly indicates that the majority of those listed here were wounded men who patently had not been bayoneted on the moor". 1745 A History of the Last Jacobite Rising, Stuart Reid. Sarpedon, New York.

However, in a list of prisoners transported from Tilbury Fort states "On 17 July 1747 the following prisoners receipted from Robert Baker, Esq. Commanding Officer of the transports lying of Tilbury Fort." on the list is a Malcolm McMaster. There is no Malcolm McMaster in Livingstone et al's "No Quarter Given", suggesting that this is probably the Malcolm Masterton listed as a Culloden prisoner.

Francis Masterton (1716-1795) was the son of Charles Masterton of Parkmilne and Gogar, and Marie Keirie. Francis was taken prisoner after Culloden, but in 1753 he married Margaret Graeme, daughter of James Graeme of Gorthy and Braco and they had four children. He was a gentleman volunteer to the Perthshire Horse (Strathallan's), the first body of cavalry raised in the Jacobite army. The Graemes were another family sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. Francis lived to the good old age of 79. It is not known whether his cousin James (see below) played a part in the restoration of the Parkmilne lands to Francis.

It was at Blair Atholl on 31 August 1745 that Laurence Oliphant, Laird of Gask and his son, also named Laurence, joined the Prince. A few days later, upon the Prince reaching Perth, William Drummond, 4th Viscount Strathallan joined, and with the Gasks raised the first body of cavalry that the Prince ever had, this being known as Lord Strathallan's Horse, or the Perthshire Horse of which Lord Strathallan was made Colonel, Old Gask Lieutenant Colonel, and Young Gask a Captain and Aide-de-Camp to the Prince.

On the 13 September when the Jacobites crossed the Forth at the Fords of Frew the Perthshire Squadron then consisted of 36 gentlemen and their servants.

During the whole Campaign, none of the Prince's cavalry, though carrying out covering movements and performing arduous patrolling and reconnoitring duties, ever charged. After Prestonpans the Regiment received reinforcements, these being brought in by John Haldane of Lanerick, who was given the rank of Major, and his son Alexander, who was commissioned a Captain. Lord Strathallan was sent to Perth by the Prince as Governor to take command of all reinforcements north of the Forth, which were to assemble there whilst the Prince was engaged in the invasion of England. Old Gask was appointed Lieutenant Governor to Lord Strathallan and he undertook to raise contributions and pay out money for the public service. Strathallan's Horse in the meantime was commanded by Lord Kilmarnock and while the army was in England the Squadron was not always referred to as a separate entry, but moved with Kilmarnock's Horse Grenadiers.

At the Battle of Falkirk, the Squadron (at a strength of about 70) was placed in the rear on the left next to Pitsligo's and in common with the rest of the cavalry took part in the action. The horses are said to have been in poor condition. At a later date the Squadron came under the command of Lord John Drummond, who had been entrusted with the defence of the Spey, Gordon Castle being his H.Q. At the Battle of Culloden the Squadron's position was on the extreme right of the second line and in the rear of the Atholl Brigade. In the course of the battle Strathallan was killed. Being resolved to die on the field rather than at the hands of the executioner he is said to have attacked Colonel Howard (3rd foot) who ran him through the body.

It was left to Old Gask to bring the Squadron out of action and head south for Ruthven and subsequent dispersal. Both Oliphants managed to ecape by ship to Sweden in November '46, and both the Haldanes of Lanerick escaped to the Continent. Pat Keir a member of the Ranks who was executed, at Carlisle on 15 November 1746 died a hero as he refused the offer of his life if he would give evidence against Major Sir Archibald Primrose of Dunipace, of the Hussars.

Information from Lord Perth and from Lord Strathallan's Horse or the Perthshire Squadron by Major A. Mackenzie Annand - The Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 1979.


No Quarter Given
The Muster Roll of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's Army, 1745-46
Alastair Livingstone, Christian Aikman, Betty Stuart Hart (eds)
Neil Wilson Publishing, Glasgow, 2001


James Masterton served on the government side and was a Captain at the Battle of Falkirk, January 1746, and may have been aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland at Culloden. He later became a lieutenant colonel and Deputy Adjutant General in Ireland, and later still served as MP for Stirling Burghs 1768-74.

James Masterton and Francis Masterton, who fought on opposing sides, were full cousins.