Perth During the ’45 Rising

The ’45 Rising: Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, entered Perth on 4th September 1745. His father, James Stuart, had been proclaimed King as James VIII and III from the Mercat Cross at Perth. The Prince approached Perth from the north following the road across the North Inch to the North Port of Perth. He was accompanied by a cavalcade of gentlemen including the Duke of Perth, Lord Oliphant of Gask and Mercer of Aldie. The Prince was well mounted on a white horse and dressed in a handsome suit of tartan trimmed with gold lace. During his time in Perth the Prince stayed in the town house of Viscount Stormont in the High Street (north side adjacent to City Chambers on site of Royal Bank of Scotland). Viscount Stormont, not wishing to risk his life or property did not choose to be present to entertain the Prince but his sisters certainly welcomed the royal guest.


When in Perth, Prince Charles Edward Stuart replenished his purse exacting £500 from the town. Lord George Murray an able man with considerable military experience joined the Prince in Perth. Charles endeavoured to train his army of Highlanders and reviewed them on the North Inch. Provisions for the men were organised. Lord George Murray caused each man to be provided with a knapsack large enough to hold a peck of oatmeal. The gentlewomen of Perth organised a ball but it is said that the Prince stayed only briefly leaving to visit his sentry posts. He attended service in St John’s Kirk on Sunday 8th September 1745. Charles Edward Stuart remained for eight days in Perth before marching to Edinburgh.


Perth 1746: An officer of Cumberland’s army described Perth as “a neat little city, pleasantly situated between two greens which they call Inches, and serve for bleaching their linen cloth of which they have a great manufacture here. It has three long streets and many cross ones with an old wall in ruins, surrounding every side excepting that which is bordered by the famous River Tay, the biggest in all of Scotland; by which it is furnished every tide with commodities from the sea, in their light vessels which come up to a handsome key, joining to the town.”


Fittis states of this period: “The High Street was built throughout; but the South Street (or Shoegate) was not nearly so; for on both sides above the Meal Vennel there were few buildings and on the north side below Meal Vennel were gardens and ruinous houses called ‘old walls’. The Watergate was the quarter of the wealthier citizens, many occupying the former residence of noblemen and gentry whose coats of arms remained above the doorways. In the Kirkgate were the shops of the principal drapers and grocers.”


These notes are based on lectures given by Rhoda Fothergill – they were made by a local resident of Perth – Alan Darling – and have been passed to this website.