Massacres/Mass Murder · Scotland

Glencoe massacre, inspiration of the Red Wedding

February 12, 1692
Glen Coe, Scotland 
An order is issued calling for the massacre of Glencoe

(The massacre is the inspiration for the Red Wedding from A Song of Ice and Fire book series and Game of Thrones TV series, specifically the part involving the MacDonald clan who were killed after accepting guests into their homes which was not considered to be a crime but was still frowned upon.)

The MacDonalds were killed for refusing to ally with the new monarchs William and Mary. A group of 120 men lead by Captain Robert Campbell arrived at Glencoe and was received by the MacDonalds who housed the men and played cards with them before retiring for the evening. During the night, the soldiers attacked the clan, killing 38 men in their homes or as they tried to flee. 40 women and children died from exposure in the woods as they tried to escape the soldiers.

Though ordered to carry out the massacre, the Captain and others involved were recommended for punishment under the Scots law of “murder under trust” which is considered more insidious due to betrayal. Though those responsible were not punished, those who authorized the massacre did distance themselves from the soldiers much in the same way the Freys were distanced from in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones.

The order pictured reads:
“You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebells, the McDonalds of Glenco, and put all to the sword under seventy. you are to have a speciall care that the old Fox and his sones doe upon no account escape your hands, you are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to putt in execution att fyve of the clock precisely; and by that time, or very shortly after it, I’ll strive to be att you with a stronger party: if I doe not come to you att fyve, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall on. This is by the Kings speciall command, for the good & safety of the Country, that these miscreants be cutt off root and branch. See that this be putt in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King nor Government, nor a man fitt to carry Commissione in the Kings service. Expecting you will not faill in the full-filling hereof, as you love your selfe, I subscribe these with my hand att Balicholis Feb: 12, 1692.
For their Majesties service
(signed) R. Duncanson
To Capt.
Robert Campbell
of Glenlyon”

glencoe

 

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