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When the Jacobites fined the town of Paisley

The Jacobite extortion of £500 from Paisley as punishment for raising men against them

On 29 December 1745, a summons was issued by Charles Edward Stuart from Glasgow to the magistrates of Paisley demanding that the town pay a £1,000 fine for raising a militia regiment against the Jacobites.

In November 1745, around 200 volunteers were raised in Paisley and the surrounding area to oppose the Jacobites and on 10 December under the command of the Earl of Home they marched with the 600-strong Glasgow Regiment to Edinburgh.

Charles Edward Stuart’s summons was issued under threat of military execution and the Jacobites took Bailie Matthew Kyle and former Bailie William Park hostage to ensure the fine was paid, which was later reduced to £500 with the condition that the full amount was paid by the following evening.

Despite the extension of the payment window by 12 hours, the town could only pay £300. With the deadline approaching, the remaining £200 was able to be raised and paid to the Jacobites, and a receipt was issued by Charles’s Secretary, John Murray of Broughton.

Matthew Kyle and William Park were released on 3 January 1746, the day that the Jacobite army left Glasgow to continue its withdrawal north.

On 17 January, the Paisley Volunteers fought against the Jacobites at the battle of Falkirk. Serving alongside the Glasgow Regiment they lost eight men in the engagement.

Following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden towns that the Jacobites had fined including Glasgow and Dumfries were reimbursed by the government for their losses however Paisley did not receive any compensation.

In 1759, Paisley brought an action at the Court of Session against John Murray of Broughton who was an accessory to the extortion. However, as Murray had taken the indemnity of 1747 which pardoned any wrongdoings during the Jacobite Rising of 1745, the judges acquitted him.

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of and is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. Neil has a keen interest in the military history of Scotland and in particular the military history of the Jacobite risings.

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