Campaign to give ‘Colonel’ Lady Anne a memorial at Leith grave

She fought off thousands of soldiers with just a handful of servants, saved a prince’s life, and is said to have changed the outcome of the ‘45 Jacobite rising... so why have we never heard of “Colonel” Lady Anne Macintosh?

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 6:00 am
New book on Jacobite heroine Lady Anne Mackintosh (pictured), who led out her clan during the 45 rising as her husband fought for the British army with the Black Watch

This is the problem amateur historian Euan Macpherson hopes to address with a campaign to grant Lady Macintosh her own memorial plaque in North Leith Burial Ground, where she is buried.

“We don’t have many Scottish heroines that are properly celebrated,” said Mr Macpherson.

“Anne Macintosh risked a lot for the love of king and country. She was a remarkable woman and she should be recognised.”

Mr Macpherson, 60, who is the author of The Last Jacobite Heroine, a historical novel about Lady Macintosh, visited Edinburgh from his home in Dundee to see her grave.

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But he was “disappointed” to learn that not only is the site of Lady Macintosh’s grave unmarked, she shares a memorial plaque with Reverend David Johnston and the unnamed grandparents of William Gladstone.

“It’s disrespectful. If you want to remember someone you should do it properly, and put the name and the dates of birth and death on the plaque,” he said.

Lady Macintosh was born in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, in 1723, and died in Leith in 1784.

She defied her husband, in the British army, by fighting for the Jacobite Bonnie Prince Charlie, and showed such courage she gained the nickname “Colonel”.

In the Rout of Moy, she is said to have driven away two thousand approaching soldiers from Moy Hall, where she was sheltering Prince Charles.

It is said she sent a small group of servants out to make as much noise as possible and fire at the approaching British soldiers to give the impression the house was defended by a huge army.

“It’s an astonishing incident and if she hadn’t done it the war would have been lost,” said Mr Macpherson.

He also points out that another memorial plaque, especially one honouring a woman of Scottish history, would be an attraction for tourists in Leith.

Donald Gray, owner of Up Close Edinburgh, which conducts walking tours around the city, agreed.

“There aren’t that many women recognised in Edinburgh, and this would be a good thing for tourists coming to the city, and to Leith in particular,” he said.

Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said: “The story of Anne MacIntosh and her role in Scotland’s history is important and we thank Mr Macpherson for his interest in commemorating her.

“We welcome approaches for a new plaque, and are able to offer guidance on its wording, manufacture and location, working in consultation with the appropriate departments.

“For generations, the people of Edinburgh have in their grief or gratitude, joined forces to create memorials for those they admired and I hope a similar project can take place here.”