Scotlands History

John Graham of Claverhouse

John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee became known as both ‘Bonnie Dundee’ and ‘Bloody Clavers’.

To the Jacobites he was ‘Bonnie Dundee’, a hero who led the supporters of the exiled James against the Government forces of William and Mary.

Supporters of the Presbyterian Covenanters however dubbed John Graham of Claverhouse as ‘Bluidy Clavers’ on account of the reputation that he ruthlessly persecuted Covenanters.

In 1685 Graham of Claverhouse captured a Covenanter named John Brown. When John Brown refused to pray for the King, Graham of Claverhouse drew a pistol and shot him dead in front of Brown’s wife and children.

However the year before this, John Graham had married Lady Jean Cochrane who was from a Covenanter family.

In 1689, when John Graham realised that William would become King of Scotland, he marched out of Edinburgh and raised the royal standard on Dundee Law. He was a charismatic leader, calling on the Highland Clans to gather an army loyal to King James.

The Battle of Killiecrankie would be the greatest victory of Graham of Claverhouse. It would also be his last. ‘Bonnie Dundee’ was shot dead as he led his troops against a Government force loyal to William and Mary. The Jacobites won the battle but ‘Bonnie Dundee’ or ‘Bluidy Clavers’ was killed.

  • Portrait of John Graham of Claverhouse with long curly black hair and frilly white tie
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