Massacre of Glencoe

Massacre of Glencoe
Mort Ghlinne Comhann  ( Scottish Gaelic)
Part of aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1689
West Highland Way 2005 Coe.jpg
Date 13 February 1692
Location Glen Coe, south of Fort William, Scotland
NN12675646 [1]
Result MacDonalds killed, end of the 1689–92 Rising
Argyll's Regiment of Foot
Hill's Regiment of Foot
MacDonald of Glencoe
Commanders and leaders

Major Robert Duncanson
Campbell of Glenlyon
Lt-Colonel Hamilton
Alasdair MacIain
920 estimated Unknown
Casualties and losses
None 78
Massacre of Glencoe is located in Scotland
Massacre of Glencoe
Location within Scotland

Early on the morning of 13 February 1692, in the aftermath of the Jacobite uprising of 1689, an incident known as the Massacre of Glencoe or Mort Ghlinne Comhann in Gaelic took place in Glen Coe in the Highlands of Scotland. Thirty-eight men from Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by government forces billeted with them on the grounds they had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William II and Mary II. Another forty women and children later died of exposure after their homes were burned.


In March 1689, James VII of Scotland landed in Ireland in an attempt to regain his throne from William II, and John Graham of Dundee recruited a small force of Highlanders for a similar campaign in Scotland. Despite victory at the Battle of Killiecrankie on 27 July, Dundee was killed and organised Jacobite military resistance ended with defeats at the Battle of Dunkeld in August 1689 and Cromdale in May 1690.

Despite this, the continuing need to police the Highlands used resources William needed for the Nine Years' War. A peaceful Scotland was especially important since links between Irish and Scottish branches of the MacDonalds as well as Scottish and Ulster Presbyterians meant unrest in one country often spilt into the other. [2]

The Glencoe MacDonalds were one of three Lochaber clans with a reputation for lawlessness, the others being the MacGregors and the Keppoch MacDonalds. Levies from these clans served in the Independent Companies used to suppress the Conventicles in 1678–80 and took part in the devastating Atholl raid that followed Argyll's rising in 1685. [3] They also combined against their Maclean landlords in the August 1688 battle of Maol Ruadh putting them in the unusual position of being considered outlaws by both the previous Jacobite administration and the new Williamite one. [4]