[“Clan Ross News” Newsletter, Summer 1995]
From the Historian…
Gloria S. Ross, Clan Ross Historian
This article copyright 1994, by Gloria Ross, Clan Ross Historian
The Rosses and the ‘45
As this year marks the 250th Anniversary of the Jacobite Rising which began when Prince Charles Edward Stewart raised the Royal Standard at Glenfinnan, clans are looking back to see what was happening in their clan during these difficult times.
Largely due to the influence of Lord President Duncan Forbes of Culloden, many of the northern clans remained loyal to the government. Forbes, related by both blood and marriage to the Rosses, expected their unconditional support. He was horrified to find his own nephew, Malcom Ross, Younger of Pitcalnie, joining the Prince’s army in October of 1745 after he had been made an ensign in Lord Loudoun’s regiment the previous June. The Lord President had been given twenty blank commissions from the War Office for members of the “well affected” clans, for raising companies of a hundred men. Some had attempted to gather, but young Pitcalnie’s “madness” was making it difficult to form a company. With the death of David Ross of Balnagown, last of that line, the Rosses of Pitcalnie were recognized by many as representing the family, although they had not succeeded to the Balnagown estates. There was a practice during this period of always having part of the clan or family on opposite sides of a dispute. Many clans could remember all too well the earlier risings and the results of their supporting the losing side.
Despite the urging of the Lord President, the gentlemen of Ross refused to be rushed, “…as there is a mercatt next week, at which all the people have necessary bussyness to doe, in order to pay their rents and other demands, wee are assured they will not willingly go till that mercatt is over. But thereafter, we hope the men will be at Inverness…” Robert Ross, Simon Ross, Duncan Ross, Thomas Ross, David Ross, David Ross, Arthur Ross. The Ross Company arrived at Inverness on January 6,1776 [sic]  to join Lord Loudoun’s garrison. When reports of the approach of the Prince’s army arrived in mid-February, Loudoun withdrew to the north leaving the Rosses and Grants with 80 regulars to defend the Castle. After two days, while the engineers of the Prince’s army mined the fortress, the garrison surrendered. Those forces, which followed Lord Loudoun across Easter Ross, by Balnagown Castle and Tain, across the Dornoch Firth and into Sutherland, have been credited by some as the deciding factor that caused the defeat of the Jacobite forces at the battle of Culloden.
Our present chief David Ross of Ross and Shandwick, in an article on the Rosses of Shandwick and the Jacobite era, put forth the view that the duel between Hugh Ross of Achnacloich and Hugh Ross of Shandwick in 1721 may have been at least partly political as Shandwick fled to Gothenburg, Sweden, where many of the Jacobite exiles had settled. Hugh Ross of Shandwick in 1746 commissioned his nephew, Andrew McCulloch, to lead the official French mission to rescue the Prince after Culloden. The operation was unsuccessful, as their ship, the Pollux, was intercepted by British ships and kept under surveillance.