Glencoe Massacre Timeline 1692

Glencoe ScotlandThis timeline details the main events of the Glencoe Massacre – the killing of members of the MacDonald clan in the Highlands of Scotland


1673 (29th March)
Test Act
This act stated that anyone in public office had to swear an oath of allegiance and could not be a Catholic.
1685 (6th February)
King Charles II of England and Scotland died. He was succeeded by his brother James as King James II (VII). It was well known that James was a Catholic since he had refused to take the Test Act oath.
1686 (March)
James II upset the Scottish council by requesting that they allow toleration for Catholics but not for rebellious Presbyterian Covenanters.
1687 (Autumn)
Determined to gain a repeal of the Test Act, James decided to place his supporters in positions of power and in parliament. Where those in office opposed him he removed them and appointed favourable replacements. This further alienated those who had initially supported James’s rule.
1688 (10th June)
A son, James Francis Edward, was born to James II and Mary of Modena at St James’s Palace, London. He was styled Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay.
1688 (mid June)
The birth of James’s son secured the succession but also meant that there was a very strong likelihood that Catholicism would return to Britain. Rumours spread that James Francis Edward was not James’s true son but had been smuggled into the birthing room.
1688 (30th June)
Glorious Revolution
Seven Protestant nobles – the Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl of Devonshire, Earl of Danby, Viscount Lumley, Bishop of London, Edward Russell and Henry Sydney, wrote to William III of Orange, husband of James II’s daughter Mary and asked him to join them in making Mary heir to the throne in place of the new-born prince. William was told that if he landed in England with a small army he would find that he had much support.
1688 (August)
Battle of Mulroy
This battle was fought between government forces and those of the Mackintosh Clan against the MacDonald clan of Keppoch supported by the Cameron Clan over lands in the Braes of Lochaber.
1688 (5th November)
Glorious Revolution
William of Orange landed at Brixham in Devon. After the army and navy defected to William, James decided not to march to meet him.
1688 (9th December)
James’s wife, Mary of Modena, escaped London in disguise with her baby son  and fled to France where King Louis XIV granted her the palace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and a pension.
1688 (11th December)
King James threw the Great Seal into the River Thames before making for the coast where he hoped to take a boat to France. He was captured in Kent but was allowed to escape to France soon afterwards.
1689 (6th February)
Parliament agreed that since James had fled abroad he was deemed to have abdicated. Both of James’s daughters refused to rule over William so it was agreed that William and Mary should jointly take the throne as William III and Mary II.
1689 (March)
A Scottish Convention of 125, mostly Royalist, delegates, was elected to agree to settlement of the Scottish  monarchy on William and Mary.
1689 (12th March)
James II (VII) landed in Ireland at the head of a French force determined to regain the crown. Those that supported him were known as Jacobites, collectively known as the Jacobite Movement. The name is derived from Jacobus which is Latin for James.
1689 (11th April)
William and Mary were proclaimed King and Queen in Scotland. However, there were many Scots, especially those in the Highlands, that believed that James was still the rightful King. Viscount Dundee, a member of the Jacobite Movement, raised an army against the new monarchs.
1689 (18th May)
In Scotland, Viscount Dundee marched to try to engage King William’s commander, Hugh Mackay. He was unable to provoke a battle and many of his men went home.
1689 (July)
Jacobite reinforcements arrived in Scotland. On hearing this Hugh Mackay marched to meet them.
1689 (27th July)
Battle of Killiecrankie
This battle was fought between the Jacobite Movement and the Scottish Government army. Although Viscount Dundee was killed and Jacobite losses were large, the Jacobites won the battle. However, those that survived were unable to mount further resistance to the rule of King William III and Mary II.
1689 (21st August)
Battle of Dunkeld
This battle saw the Scottish Government army victorious over the Jacobite Movement in Scotland.
1689 (16th December)
Bill of Rights
The English parliament drew up this bill which stated basic civil rights and settled the succession. It also stated that no Roman Catholic could take the throne nor could an English monarch marry a Roman Catholic.
Events and Aftermath
1691 (June)
Declaration of Achallader
This was an agreement between Jacobite Highland chiefs and the Scottish government. In return for a financial settlement, the chiefs of the Highland clans agreed to support William and Mary. They were ordered to swear an Oath of Allegiance by 1st January 1692.
1691 (26th August)
A Royal Proclamation was issued that offered a pardon for anyone who had supported the Jacobite movement providing they swore the Oath of Allegiance by 1st January 1692.
1691 (October)
Many of the Scottish clans were bound by oath to James VII so a request for permission to take the Oath was sent.
1691 (12th December)
Unable to mount a new invasion of Scotland, James sent permission for the Oath to be taken.
1691 (23rd December)
The MacDonald chief, Glengarry, received the authorisation to take the Oath. However he delayed passing it on to his kinsman, Alasdair MacDonald, known as Maclain of Glencoe, possibly due to rivalry between the two men.
1691 (28th December)
Maclain of Glencoe received the authorisation from James VII.
1691 (30th December)
Maclain of Glencoe began the journey to Fort William.
1691 (31st December)
Maclain of Glencoe reached Fort William where he was told by Lieutenant Colonel John Hill that a sheriff needed to be present and that the nearest sheriff was Inveraray, 60 miles away. Hill gave Maclain a note stating that he had arrived before the deadline.
1691 (6th January)
Maclain of Glencoe swore the Oath of Allegiance in front of magistrate Sir Colin Campbell before returning home.
1692 (January)
In Edinburgh, John Dalrymple, Secretary of Scotland, was either unaware that Maclain had sworn the oath or had deliberately not been informed or decided to make an example of the clan. It was well known that he had no love for the Glencoe MacDonalds. He issued instructions to eliminate the Glencoe clan.
1692 (1st February)
Around 120 soldiers from the Earl of Argyll’s regiment, led by Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, arrived in Glencoe with a note for ‘free quarters’. This system, an alternative to taxation, meant the clan had to house and feed the men. It is unlikely that they were aware of the order to eliminate the Clan, more likely they were ordered to await instructions.
1692 (12th February)
400 government soldiers under Hamilton were sent by Colonel Hill to block the northern end of Glencoe. A further 400 men led by Duncanson were ordered to approach Glencoe from the southern end. They were to burn houses and kill members of the Clan. Having lived with the Glencoe Clan for nearly 2 weeks it is believed that some of the soldiers alerted their families advising them to spend the night elsewhere.
1692 (13th February)
The massacre began in the early morning, around 5 a.m. It was very cold and snowing.  Maclain was killed along with around 30 other members of the Clan. Maclain’s two sons managed to escape along with other Clan members, largely due to the fact that the government troops did not reach the northern end until 11 a.m. by which time many had fled. It is not known how many of those that fled died from exposure to the elements.
1692 (13th February – late evening)
Some of the survivors returned to mourn and bury their dead.
1692 (after 13th February)
News of the attack spread and earned widespread condemnation.
1693 (during)
Jacobite barrister, Charles Leslie, devoted time to finding out exactly what and why the Glencoe Massacre had happened. He published articles and ensured the event was not forgotten forcing King William III to order an official enquiry.
1693 (during)
The enquiry was rigged and a statement was issued stating that the King and Scottish government bore no responsibility.
1695 (during)
A second enquiry was held and concluded that the Massacre of the people of Glencoe was not justified. However, it was decided that not accepting Maclain’s oath was a mistake rather than a deliberate ploy to eliminate the clan.
1695 (around)
Although he was following orders under pain of death, Robert Campbell shouldered the blame for the incident. Parliament wanted him to stand trial but it never took place. Campbell himself never recovered and died an alcoholic.
The survivors of the attack had returned to Glencoe and rebuilt their homes. The eldest son of Maclain, John, became Chief of the clan.


Published Feb 13, 2021 @ 10:45 am – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page::

Heather Y Wheeler. (2021). Glencoe Massacre 1692. Last accessed [date]


1 thought on “Glencoe Massacre Timeline 1692”

  1. The timeline has not ended around 1695. Not for some people, and at least not for me. Although I am familiar with the history of this terrible massacre, it shudders me everytime, when I think of it. For many people it is just a place of a not so very nice history of Scotland. I guess, not many of the tourist travelling trough this valley are aware of what really happened here. – Can someone of you readers follow my experience I made recently? I drove into this valley towards the hills. In my head it begann to darken. Suddenly I heard voices in my head of dozens of female an childrens voices crying loud for help. Was it just imagination, since I know the history of this sad valley, or can it be, that there are still some tortured souls around this place, who cannot find peace?


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