Scotlands History

Act of Proscription

The Act of 1747 came in the aftermath of the ’45, the last Jacobite Rising. It was an attempt by the Hanoverian government to destroy the clan system of society across the Highlands. It was aimed at the Scots that had:

...lately raised and carried on a most audacious and wicked rebellion against his Majesty, in favour of a popish pretender... in a traitorous and hostile manner.

The Act of Proscription banned the wearing of tartan and Highland dress throughout the area, except by the Army.

Government officers were authorised to search houses at will if the occupants were suspected of keeping swords or other weaponry. The Act stated:

...it should not be lawful for any person or persons ... to have in his or their custody... broad sword or target, poignard, whinger, or durk, side pistol, gun, or other warlike weapon.

It was not until 1782 that the Proscriptions were lifted, mainly by the efforts of the Highland Society of London.

  • Photo of a lock of hair and a fragment of tartan fabric with writing above it
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