Portrait of Lady Anne Mackintosh

Strong Women Of The Past: Colonel Anne Mackintosh

In Book Four of The Jacobite Chronicles I recount the story of the event which came to be known as The Rout of Moy. I won’t go into the details of it here, as I don’t want to give any spoilers, but as I explain in the historical notes for that book, it was an incident that sounds fictional, but really did happen, and which required the lady of Moy Hall to show what a cool and courageous woman she was.  That she was indeed a courageous woman will hopefully be shown when I tell you a little more about her. 

She was born Anne Farquharson of Invercauld, from a very staunchly Jacobite family. It was said that being very vivacious and beautiful she had a lot of admirers, possibly including her husband’s cousin, Alexander MacGillivray, and four years before the ’45 broke out she married Aeneas Mackintosh, chief of Clan Mackintosh. He was twenty years older than her, and if he was of a Jacobite persuasion, he was certainly not as fervent as his wife. 

Portrait of Lady Anne Mackintosh

Aeneas was a captain in the Black Watch, having raised his company, and when the rising started he spent an awful lot of time vacillating between the Hanoverians and the Stuarts. He was not the only chief to do this. A number of them sat on the fence, presumably hoping to get an indication of who was likely to win before choosing a side. Some of them hedged their bets by staying at home and sending their sons out with the clan in an attempt to be able to profit no matter which side won (the Frasers of Lovat being a notable example of this technique).

Mackintosh finally decided to fight on the Hanoverian side, but his wife was of a different opinion, and not one to stay at home and abide by his decision. Once her husband had committed to Hanover, she made her opposite allegiance known by spending two weeks riding round the clan lands raising as many of his men to fight for Charles as she could, which as well as Mackintoshes, included MacGillivrays and MacBeans. This was not some ploy to hedge bets as with other clans, but a case of a woman taking action on her own behalf.

As she rode around the clan lands, she was said to have worn a tartan riding costume and carried money and pistols with her. If a man could not be persuaded to come out by charm or gold, then she was not above threatening him. She managed to raise over three hundred men, mainly by the persuasive means, it’s said.  She then asked her possible former admirer and husband’s cousin MacGillivray to take the men to Prince Charles, which he did. They arrived in time to fight at the battle of Falkirk Muir in January 1746, which I also write about in The Storm Breaks.

The memorial dedicated to the battle of Falkirk Muir

Although unlike Jenny Cameron of last month’s blog, Anne didn’t even take her men to join the rising, it was still alleged by the Hanoverian propaganda machine that she was Prince Charles’s mistress, and they portrayed her as a huge Amazonian  woman. Presumably it was impossible for a female to take a martial decision without being  both masculine and sexually voracious.

She did, however meet the prince later in the campaign, as he stayed at her house, Moy Hall, on his way to Inverness, which is where the incident known as the Rout of Moy occurred. Ironically her husband was one of Lord Loudoun’s officers at the time, and it would be wonderful to know what he thought of his wife’s exploit, which made a laughing stock of the Hanoverian troops he was fighting for.

A short time after this, Aeneas Mackenzie was captured by the Jacobites, and Prince Charles decided to turn him over to his wife’s custody. It’s said that when he was brought to her, she greeted him by saying, “Your servant, Captain,” to which he replied, “Your servant, Colonel,” which was the title she’d been given by the Jacobites.

Directly after the Battle of Culloden, Anne Mackintosh was arrested and rode with a military escort to Inverness, sitting erect and unrepentant on her horse, taking great effort not to react to the countless corpses of Jacobite warriors she saw along the way.  Once there she was imprisoned, although it seems she was lodged in reasonably comfortable conditions. She received a lot of visitors and became something of a celebrity, possibly because the redcoats were surprised to see a feminine and attractive young woman rather than a masculine termagant.  General Hawley (whose troops had been soundly defeated at the Battle of Falkirk) had a different view of her and expressed a wish to hang her. She was brought before the Duke of Cumberland, but there’s no record of their conversation.

Portrait of General Henry Hawley

She was soon released to the care of her mother-in-law and allowed to visit her friends in Inverness. Presumably she was considered now to be either repentant or harmless, being a mere woman. She showed this was far from true by immediately hatching a plot with some other women, which resulted in the successful escape of an important Jacobite prisoner, Robert Nairn. (More about this in next month’s blog).

A few years later she met the Duke of Cumberland, ‘Butcher of Culloden’ again, when attending a party in London with her husband. It’s said that Cumberland asked her to dance with him to a Hanoverian song, and she agreed, if he would then return the favour by dancing with her to a Jacobite one. Regardless of whether you would have supported the Stuarts or the Hanoverians, it’s impossible not to admire such a strong-minded, determined woman!

Portrait of the Duke of Cumberland

She continued to live with her husband until his death in 1770, after which she moved to Leith, where she died in 1787. She’s buried in North Leith graveyard, her grave marked with a Jacobite rose.

If you enjoyed this blog, you might also enjoy the book where I obtained the bulk of my information about Anne Mackintosh from. It tells the stories of a good number of women of the ’45, is very readable, informative and entertaining, and was vital in my research for The Jacobite Chronicles. It’s Damn Rebel Bitches – The Women of the ’45 by Maggie Craig.  Thanks go to her for allowing me to use her painstakingly researched information in my blog.

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  1. I just got a notification today from My Heritage Genealogy that there was a match to my ancestor Alex Macintosh. It said that his parents were Colonel Anne Macintosh (born Farquharson) and Angus (Eneas) Macintosh, Chief of Clan Macintosh. Could this be true ?
    Is Lady Anne my ancestor ?

    1. Hi,
      I genuinely don’t know, because I didn’t research her descendants, only the events of the ’45 and her actions there. Having researched my own family history, the only advice I would give is to initially be sceptical of any family trees that link you directly to people of renown. It may be the case that she is your ancestor, but a lot of people are desperate to have a famous or titled ancestor and will follow the most tenuous and unlikely links to get there. I would say, do your own research – don’t accept anyone else’s word. If the person sends you their research, verify it yourself. Good luck!