Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lady Anne (Livingston) Boyd, Countess of Kilmarnock

General Hawley receiving the messenger informing him of the Jacobite march. The messenger is, unfortunately, incorrect, having a 1750s light dragoon helmet. Picture by the author.

And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not--Judges 5:15a

"She was a woman of splendid pers and manners; and Hawley, completely fascinated by her well-acted blandishments, spent the whole of this important forenoon in her company, without casting a thought upon his army"--Robert Chambers, historian

When Charles Edward Stuart a.k.a. "Bonnie Prince Charlie" landed in Scotland in 1745, William Boyd, Earl of Kilmarnock, joined him with a troop of Horse Grenadiers. When the Horse Grenadiers gave up their horses, Kilmarnock turned them into the Footguards.

After retreating from England, the Jacobites besieged Stirling Castle. British General Henry Hawley gathered an army to relieve Stirling. The Jacobites took up a position near Falkirk, but there was some danger that Hawley would strike before they were fully deployed.

The Countess of Kilmarnock solved the dilemma by inviting General Hawley to breakfast. Hawley apparently enjoyed himself, for he stayed until the battle began around 1 P.M.; then he departed in haste, taking her napkin and forgetting his hat (see author's illustration above).

Charles's Jacobites defeated Hawley's soldiers, and the Battle of Falkirk was a victory for the Prince. However, Lady Kilmarnock had made a very important contribution.

She died September 16, 1747, after the execution of her husband, Lord Kilmarnock.

Lord and Lady Kilmarnock from Panel #43 of the Prestonpans Tapestry

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