the Lockhart blunder

Carnwath cemetery

St Mary's

Carnwath is home to the Lockhart family. Sir George Lockhart was a passionate Jacobite and a strong advocate of Scottish independence. Like his father, he died a violent death when he was killed in 1731. His father had been killed by John Chiesely of Kersewell after trying to mediate between his friend and his friend’s wife in a dispute. The third Sir George Lockhart was called ‘Hunting George’ because of his hobby and the fourth fought side by side with Bonnie Prince Charly in Culloden. After the disasterous defeat, he accompanied the unfortunate prince on his escape to France and never came back.

Glenfinnan, where Charles Edward Stuart raised the banner in 1745

headstone wings skull crossbones

This fourth Sir George Lockhart had the dubious honor of replacing the King, not in person but as a statue. Charles Edward Stuart landed in 1745 Glenfinnan on the west coast of Scotland and raised the banner and the Jacobites followed him. The fight for the crown and for the independence of Scotland had begun. And though this fight did not end happily, it has been and has been a defining moment in Scottish history. This required a monument and a statue was ordered and erected in 1816, a memorial tower with the statue of the king. Except that the statue was not the king, but Sir George Lockhart.

How could that happen?

Glenfinnan statueLockhart and Bonnie Prince Charly were friends and no longer available for the artist at the time of the statue’s creation. The sculptor John Greenshields was sent to Lee Castle, then owned by Lockhart’s parents, to copy the king’s portrait.

Unfortunately there were two portraits hanging side by side, one by the king and one by Lockhart. Because Lockhart was depicted with all the insignia of a Highlander and Charles Edward Stuart was not, the unsuspecting sculptor took the wrong man to be king. And understandable and rather funny error.

The other Lockharts are buried in St Mary’s Aisle, the small chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Church of Carnwath. It’s all that’s left of the original 15th century Catholic church.


sources and further reading:

Daniel Martin: Upper Clydesdale. A History and Guide. Birlinn, 2016

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