Poem on the death of the earl of Dundee, 1689

Scope and Content

On the death of the Great Dundee.

[Anonymous copy of ?] a poem on the death of John Graham of Claverhouse, first Viscount Dundee, which starts "Haile sacred shade ! happy where ere thou art". 18 lines.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Graham of Claverhouse (1648?-1689) was the eldest son of William Graham of Claverhouse with lands around Dundee and connections to the Montrose Grahams and to the Scrymegours of Dudhope, constables of Dundee. After studying at St Andrews University, he entered upon a military career, serving in the army of Prince William of Orange, then for James, duke of York, on his return to Scotland, commanding a troop of cavalry used to break up field conventicles led by covenanting ministers. After defeat by covenanters at Drumclog, he went to London to attend the court where he continued his association with James, later James VII and II, from 1679. He accompanied him to France and to Scotland and back to London. He was given lands and titles and made sheriff depute in Dumfries, Annandale and Kirkcudbright, leading to conflict with William Douglas, third earl of Queensberry, and sheriff of Dumfriesshire, over jurisdiction in these lands. He continued to hunt down covenanters with increasingly harsh punishments for those that did not conform, and was accused by later covenanting historiography of brutal torture and summary executions. He faithfully supported James even after invited by William of Orange, now in England, to join him. Despite failing to persuade James to stay and fight, he was elevated to viscount of Dundee and commander in chief of the Scottish army. He organised a highly effective Highland resistance to William’s troops under Hugh Mackay of Scourie, gaining a striking victory at Killiecrankie in Perthshire, but falling victim himself. His handsome youthfulness, military daring and unswerving loyalty to James made him a hero to the Jacobites who knew him as Bonnie Dundee, but his alleged persecution of covenanters ensured he was vilified as 'bluidy Clavers' by the opposing side.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Ifan Kyrle Fletcher for 10s.9d, 25 Oct 1943.


Call number used to be ms593Formerly housed between two sheets of glass bound by brown tape with display card.

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Paper: single sheet, 20.6x29.7cm.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.