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Canna and 1715 Jacobite Rising

Canna's location in the Gaidhealtachd heartlands ensured it played a role in the political turmoil of Scotland in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Clan affiliation to Clanranald, supporters of the exiled Stuart kings would see Islanders taking part in many of the conflicts associated with the restoration of Scotland's rightfull monarchy starting with the raising of the standard of King James VII at Dundee Law by John Graham of Claverhouse, ("Bonnie Dundee") and participation at the Battle of Killiecrankie.

Documentary evidence is very scarce, though the rising of 1745 was well documented by the famous Bard, Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair, (Alexander MacDonald) who spent two years on Canna following the ending of the "45". Alasdair was to record for Bishop Forbes and his "Lyon in Mourning" the attrocities of the Hanoverian's in both Canna and Eigg as punishment for participation in the last attempt at the restoration of the Stuart royal line.

The diary of the visit of Viola Mary Joy to Canna on holiday in 1899 mentions spaeking with local Islanders who recalled their part in the rising of 1745 and can be read on this website. She mentions, “Thirty or forty men went from this island not one of whom ever returned”

There is loads of written sources on the "45" and in particular the wanderings of Prince Charles Edward and the loyalty of those Islanders who assisted his escape. The "15" is overshadowed by some of this romanticism and is least remebered though was probably the best chance that Scotland had of a Stuart restoration and the abolishing of the Act of Union signed in 1707.

One written source of the involvement of the men of Canna in the 1715 rising is a detailed list prepared by James Campbell of Stonefield, Justice and Sheriff Depute of Argyll. This has been published as a version edited for the Scottish Record Society in 1998 by Nicholas MacLean Bristol in "Inhabitants of the Inner Isles Morven and Arnamurchan 1716.

Surrendering arms to the Campbell, Hanoverian authorities at Mingary Castle on the end the rising of 1716 the following account of Canna was documented;


At Mingarie the Thirtieth day of April 1716






r Donald McDonald Baillie of Canna gave in ten swords & five guns and depones there is no more arms in the Isle of Canna but two guns which two of the name McLeod have were not in the rebellion.

ab Lachlan McDonald his brother

r John McKinvine

r Donald McBruin

ab.r Donald McDonald elder

ab.r Donald McDonald younger

r John McDonald


r John McDonald

r Ronald McDonald

r Murdoch McLeod

The letter r indicates taking part in the rebellion

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