Welcome to a walk around 18th century Stirling – the town that became a hotbed of rebellion against the Act of Union with England. The Jacobites were gaining strength and sympathy, and it was near Stirling that the opposing forces met in battle to decide the destiny of the Scottish crown.
Neil Oliver: Welcome to a walk through history, a tour of Stirling which will take us back in time to a period when, in the space of less than ten years, some of the most significant events in Scotland’s past took place.
In the early years of the 18th Century, Scotland was a divided realm. Allegiances to different crowns and churches kept the country perpetually on the brink of civil war. In 1707, the Act of Union was passed uniting the Parliaments of Scotland and England. Union had a mixed reception in this fissured turbulent nation. In the years which followed, there were to be rumblings of discontent, the seeds of rebellion turning to fury, and come 1715 an uprising which could have broken up the United Kingdom.
As guides to these tumultuous times, we have three historians, all of whom live in or near the town of Stirling, which is my home town too.
Before we start, make sure you have a map of the town. Along the way, you’ll hear the following sound to indicate where you should press pause before walking to the next point of the walk and pressing play again.
Point 1: Broad Street
Our walk begins in the centre of Stirling’s old town by the Mercat Cross. Modern Stirling sprawls out in all directions, but in the 1700s these streets on the hill were all there was to this market town of four thousand people. Local historian John Harrison.
John Harrison: Stirling in the early 18th Century is a modest sized market town. It was about the seventh in terms of economic activity amongst the Scottish towns. The market was absolutely crucial to its economy. It was also very important that it was a garrison town, with always at least perhaps a hundred soldiers or so in the castle and at times of tension there would be considerably more. You’ve got small manufacturers, weaving particularly and a whole range of other activities, obviously very closely related to its rural hinterland, socially, politically and economically.
Neil: Visit today and you’ll find its streets thronged with tourists, shoppers, students, even the occasional historian or TV presenter. And three hundred or so years ago, Stirling’s population was much like that of many other Scottish towns. Historian and fellow Stirling resident Bruce Lenman.
Bruce Lenman: There would have been a range of people. There had to be merchants, because this is in the middle of a quite vigorous agricultural area, and agriculture doesn’t work without markets, so there are people who deal in grain, in cattle and so on and so forth. There’s the retail sector. One of the markets was the flesh market. You’d have had a servant class because absolutely everybody had servants if they’re anybody, and you would have had tradesmen, you would have had guilds like the weavers. So, in terms of social structure, it’s mostly the same as any other Scottish burgh, including of course the occasional great nobleman who comes in and out for political reasons, so it’s a typical burgh in an odd place.
Neil: Unlike most 18th Century burghs, Stirling was inland, not on the coast. It’s a gateway town where highlands and lowlands meet, and it would have been a place where those journeying from north to south or south to north passed through. Its heart was its marketplace, right where you’re standing on Broad Street.
John: Broad Street was very much the centre of the town life, administratively and economically, and it was part of the more prestigious area of the town. It would have been the most active. You’d have markets taking place there on the market days, and the fairs. It would be very busy on market and fair days. It could have been very quiet indeed at other times. It would have been very much a social place where people might have talked and have fights, a whole range of activities actually taking place on the street in a way that simply doesn’t happen now.
Neil: So on a busy day, Broad Street would have been a hive of activity. Take a look at the buildings around you. If you’re looking up the hill from the Mercat Cross, the Tolbooth is to your left. That’s where the town’s council would have met, and it would have been pristine, having been altered and rebuilt in 1703. Directly opposite it on your right is Norrie’s House, typical of the homes of the merchants who dominated the borough. With these well preserved buildings and the neatly laid cobbles, it’s not hard to picture Broad Street as it must have been in the 1700s, full of people and animals and produce. But then, imagine that scene disrupted, a rowdy crowd gathered around a crackling bonfire, the shouting and commotion of a riot. As Scotland prepared for union with England, Stirling’s residents decided to make their feelings known. Karin Bowie is a lecturer in history at Glasgow University.
Karin Bowie: There was a public demonstration against the proposed union between Scotland and England here at the market cross in Stirling on the 4th of December in 1706. Now, the town of Stirling had already protested officially against the Union by sending a petition to Parliament, which had been organised by the town council and signed by over 550 people from the town, but some of the people in the town decided to go beyond that and organise a burning of the Articles of Union. So they lit a fire and burned the Articles, with a crowd around and people cheering as the Articles were burned.
John: I think it is very significant that this riot actually takes place at the Mercat Cross. This was almost, one could say, the most public place in Stirling. It’s where official proclamations were made, so in a sense, it’s a claim that we’re acting officially or at least in an official place. This isn’t something, a hole in a corner affair, it’s a public statement.
Neil: But that very public nature of the demonstration was about to backfire on the town.
Karin: The people who organised the protest in Stirling actually were in a sticky situation because a much larger demonstration of the same sort had been staged in Dumfries just two weeks before, and as a result of that Parliament just five days before had passed an act outlawing unauthorised assemblies and meetings, so they’d actually done something very illegal, but they hadn’t actually realised it. They hadn’t heard about this new law yet coming in from Edinburgh. So the people in the castle, the garrison and the castle reported this to Edinburgh, and the town council immediately had to backtrack, and they wrote to Edinburgh saying, “Oh don’t worry, nothing really happened, it was just some boys and drunken people,” because they had to distance themselves from something that had suddenly become a much bigger deal than it might have been had they pulled it off a few weeks before.
Neil: I rather like the idea of this being a rebellious burgh putting forth its views. Across Scotland, there is a mixed reaction to union. Many Scots are worried about taxes, the security of their church and the loss of their Parliament and separate identity. There are others who see union as the only way that a depressed, broke Scotland can stay afloat as the larger countries around it become ever more powerful through international trade. Bruce Lenman.
Bruce: The union is pushed through by the nobles, who by the early 18th Century, they’re just desperate because the economy is in a downward spiral, and they reckon the only way to achieve economic vitality is to enter into a union with England, and at that point they abandoned their sponsorship of the separate Scottish state and go for a union state instead. That’s the fundamental explanation for the Union.
Neil: But there was another element which determined popular attitudes towards affairs of the day, over and above all economic concerns, overshadowing every element of life was the biggest divider of all - religion. Walk now to the top of Broad Street and turn left to get to the next point in our walk, the Church of the Holy Rude.
Point 2: Church of the Holy Rude
This church is the oldest building in Stirling after the castle, and where better than a church to explore just how important religion was in 18th Century Scotland?
Karin: Religion was fundamental to people’s lives, it was central to the practice of their lives, and there were political issues relating to religion at the time. The key issue is that during the 17th Century there was a struggle in the Scottish church over whether it would have an Episcopalian or Presbyterian structure; would it be run by bishops under the control of the King or would it be a more independent church managed by its own ministers? By the end of the 17th Century there were real cultures developed among the people where they are firmly committed to the idea of either a Presbyterian or an Episcopalian church, so it’s not just a matter of high politics, it’s really a matter of people’s own opinions.
Neil: Fundamentally, irrevocably intertwined with religion, was the struggle for Scotland’s throne. With loyalties divided between the Protestant Queen Anne, supported by Scotland’s Presbyterian population, and her younger half brother, James VIII of Scotland and III of England, the Old Pretender, direct male heir of the Stuarts, who had been exiled to France as a baby in 1688. James’s supporters, popularly known as the Jacobites, were mostly Episcopalian, although James himself was Catholic. Now, much of the power in Scotland lay with the Presbyterians, although there were still landowners and lairds a-plenty with Jacobite sympathies.
This church that you’re now looking at had, in centuries past, been a favourite place of worship for the Scottish Stuart kings, but by the early 18th Century it was a place where the Catholic Stuarts and Episcopal supporters would not be welcome.
Bruce: It’s a huge burghal Kirk of the late medieval period, although of course the building is perpetual and it’s never finished and it’s always being changed. It is an awesomely impressive building which preserves the only really good oak hammer beam roof in Scotland, and it had seen the coronation of a king, albeit a baby one, in the shape of James VI. It’s dominant in the town. It stands very close to the castle, and it’s a symbol of the union of church and state, which is fundamental and being undermined by splits in the ruling class, because you can’t operate a church state without having a reasonably unified upper class. As soon as they start splitting, the Kirk’s strength is weakened as well as the State’s.
Neil: And if ever there was a symbol of the divisions religion could create, it is the Church of the Holy Rude. From 1656 until 1936, the Church was actually physically divided in two, split into separate congregations, the result of an argument between two ministers. And by the early 18th Century, the wider religious divisions in Scottish society were having concrete effects on the town of Stirling.
John: The Church had been physically divided in the 1650s, reflecting internal divisions within the more Presbyterian strand of the Kirk, and it remained physically divided, in fact, until into the 20th Century. There had developed, simultaneously with that, different strands of opinion in the society of Stirling; one as being Presbyterian, the other as being Episcopalian. There was a major struggle within Stirling between those two groups for control of the town council and for control of the Kirk sessions, so it was really a very, very bitter struggle. It did take five years for the Presbyterians to win, and even then it remained a divided society. I think it’s important that towns like this are becoming divided in ways which they had not been before. That’s going to be a problem in the long term.
Neil: It’s now time to move to the next point of the walk. If you wish, before you go, take some time to explore the church. Look out for the place where that dividing wall once stood and the spot where an infant king was crowned. Then make your way up to the slopes of the old kirkyard behind the church, picking your way past the graves, to reach the raised viewpoint at the top.
Point 3: Kirkyard
You should now be on a raised platform of land at the rear of the atmospheric old kirkyard, much loved by locals like John Harrison.
John: We come up through the kirkyard and past the church, between the graves of the kirkyard, and it always seems to me to be one of the most interesting areas of Stirling. You’ve got a large number of monuments going back to the 17th Century, so you very much feel yourself in place with many of these people who were participating in the events we’re talking about, the riots, the arguments and so on that will all be buried there, and significantly it’s high in the town, prestigious area between the town itself and the castle, in an area that’s always been associated with ceremony and ritual.
Neil: The men and women whose graves you’ve passed lived in a deeply fissured Scotland. In these early years of the 18th Century, discontent about the Union was possibly the only thing that did cross religious divides. The Presbyterians were struggling to keep order, and the Jacobites were waiting in the wings, anxious to stir up trouble, offering themselves to the population of Scotland as a political movement which could break the Union. The roots of rebellion were growing deeper. Stirling found itself caught between two sides; a Presbyterian town surrounded by Jacobite sympathising landowners. Look now at the sweeping views around you. From this vantage point, you can see why the balance of power in Stirling, this gateway between highland and lowland, was so crucial.
Bruce: Stirling is strategically hugely important. We are standing overlooking the new cemetery, which of course would not be there in the early 18th Century; it was just a valley in which they held horse fairs. But from this point of view overlooking the new cemetery, you can also look over the extraordinarily flat countryside that surrounds this great rock structure that the castle’s placed on. It’s now some of the best farmland in Scotland, but in the early 18th Century a lot of it is covered by bog, and between the river Forth and the bogs, it’s very difficult to get past Stirling, particularly if you’re trying to come south. So Stirling is a brooch which strategically holds Scotland together. If you control Stirling, you can stop anybody getting any further south towards the crucial targets of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and that’s why the castle is so fundamentally important.
Neil: Let’s go now to Stirling’s castle. There is a path that heads first through and then to the rear of the new cemetery that will take you to some steps. These lead up to the Castle Esplanade and the next point on this walk.
Point 4: Castle Esplanade and outer defences
You’re now outside Stirling’s most famous landmark. Look closely at its outer defences; the face it presents to the town. This fortress was once a lot more vulnerable and looked very different from the castle of today.
Bruce: We’re on the Esplanade looking straight at the front of Stirling Castle. The first thing you have to remember is that in 1706 it wouldn’t have looked like this at all, because the castle actually stood on a separate small hill with a small valley between it and the town. The Esplanade now is smooth, that’s because it was filled in order to give you a parade ground in 1809. If you were here in 1700 you’d see far higher walls facing you. And the present structure of the castle is very interesting, because after the Union, in 1707, there was an attempted Jacobite invasion in 1708, which would have taken advantage of all the resentment bubbling in Scotland over the forcing through of the Act of Union. It aborted, but it put the fear of god into the Government, which then started to design fortifications for Stirling that would enable it to resist a modern siege.
Neil: The Government had hoped that with amendments to the Act of Union popular protest would fade. But in 1708 the first Jacobite challenge following the Union of Parliaments took shape.
Karin: The degree of protests against the Union didn’t die down, people remained very unhappy about the Union, and the French decided to take advantage of that in 1708 by trying to land James, the Old Pretender, and stage an invasion of Scotland, and Stirling is important to that because they were aiming to try to take Stirling, and in fact news of the impending arrival of James was spreading through Scotland, and it was lairds in Stirlingshire who actually took horse and tried to ride out to meet what they thought would be their Jacobite King. They ended up being arrested and sent to London for trial. But it shows both the degree of Jacobitism in the lands around Stirling and the degree of unhappiness about the Union.
Neil: The English Navy had got wind of the plot and scared off the French ships headed towards the Scottish coast. Jacobite sympathisers were thrilled that the attempt had been made; devastated that it had not been successful. The Government was horrified and took measures to secure Scotland, including building the great stone walls that stand in front of you now.
Bruce: They brought in a man called Theodore Drury, who was the King’s military engineer in Scotland, and he put in modern defences, which is what we’re looking at, and the whole point about them is you cannae see them. They’re low, they do not offer a target to artillery, and they offer positions for garrison artillery to sweep the front of the castle, and attacking it from this point of view once they’ve done that in 1708 (sic) is suicidal. So you’re looking at a virtually unstormable fort. It’s a monument to military engineering in the early 18th Century.
Neil: With such an undercurrent of rebellion, support for the Jacobites was increasing by the day. Move on now, back towards the town. Head across the Esplanade and down onto Castle Wynd, which is dominated by two mansions; one intact, the other now a shell.
Point 5: Castle Wynd, Argyll's Lodging and Mar's Wark
Take a close look at the two buildings on either side of the street. The one closest to you is a huge house called Argyll’s Lodging, and slightly further down on the other side of the road is a ruined but still very impressive town house, Mar’s Wark. It’s time to introduce Argyll and Mar, two nobles who were to overshadow events in this part of Scotland.
John: We’re now on the Castle Wynd, and the key buildings on each are the Argyll Lodging, actually built around a central courtyard, and almost opposite it is the 16th Century Mar’s Wark, another town house built in the 1570s for the then Earl of Mar who at that time was Regent to Scotland. And those two families were both, over a period of several centuries, very important in this area and continued to be important right down to the time that we’re talking about. In fact, both families, representatives of both families, were going to play key roles in both the Union and the Jacobite risings.
Neil: The Earls of Mar where the hereditary keepers of Stirling Castle, and their family, the Erskines, were prominent in the Elites of Stirling. The Deputy Governor of the Castle was an Erskine, as was the Provost of the town, and the Earl himself had a house and grounds in nearby Alloa. The Argyll family had taken over and extended their town house in the 1660s, and they too would have had a longstanding influence on the area. The second Duke of Argyll and the 11th Earl of Mar were both politicians who played a big part in pushing through the Act of Union, but by 1713 the Earl of Mar is disillusioned. He’s not the only one. A House of Lords motion to repeal the Union is defeated by just four votes, and then Mar’s fortunes change completely. In 1714 Queen Anne dies, leaving no heir. Her successor is George I from the German - Protestant – House of Hanover. With a new King comes a new Government, and Earl of Mar embarks upon a path that will secure his place in Scottish history.
Bruce: Mar is of course the key to the whole thing, and he had been very strongly pro Union. When the Hanoverians came in, he was anxious to curry their favour and to stay in government, and then it becomes clear that there’s no job for him, at which point he experiences a Pauline conversion to Jacobitism and hostility to the Union. Of course, once you rebel you’re in trouble, because treason law is draconian, so it really is an irreversible decision. Once you raise the Jacobite standard and draw your sword, you’ve taken your decision, there’s no way back.
Neil: The Earl of Mar had joined the Jacobites and began to gather an army. His nickname is Bobbin’ John, the Lord who had a strop upon losing his job and switched sides. But there’s perhaps a kinder view to take of a noble who saw the hopes he had for Scotland dashed. In 1715, the year Mar called Jacobite sympathisers to arms, Scottish support for Union was at its lowest ebb, the disappointment felt across society. Union was supposed to make things better and hadn’t. Karin Bowie.
Karin: Scotland had a credit crunch in the late 1690s and fell into recession, and it really didn’t climb out of that recession for quite a long time, and that continues through 1715, there’s no real recovery that anyone can point to and attribute it to the Union. So the economic miracle hasn’t happened, if anything things are worse, and so there’s concern about the new taxation levels that have been imposed on Scotland. English customs and excise taxes have now been put into Scotland; new tax collectors have been sent to Scotland. Smuggling begins to explode at this point as people try to evade these new taxes, there’s great concern about this new tax regime, and then various laws start to get passed in the British Parliament that people see as against the spirit of union and disadvantageous to the Scots.
Bruce: Clearly there was enough discontent in Scotland in general to make a coup d'état very feasible, particularly if you drew fighting men from the highlands. The lowlands were basically disarmed, which is why Mar, who’s a lowland nobleman, actually starts the rebellion in his estates in the highlands. You don’t need to have a majority, to talk in a wholly anachronistic modern term, to take over a country, you need a big enough resolute armed group, and Mar has that.
Neil: The man charged with facing Mar’s resolute armed group is the Duke of Argyll. An army man, he came north to this Stirling town house as soon as Mar gathered his army. History has perhaps been kinder to him. Bruce Lenman.
Bruce: Well, the big difference is Argyll’s a soldier. I mean he’s got an ego the size of a mountain, but he’s actually a very brave fighting man, Red John of the Battles, and he is the one who comes back and pulls things together and forms an army. He is the one who sees Stirling as the crucial point and who forms an armed force and takes his stand here and is prepared to fight as the Jacobites try to move south.
John: Argyll certainly seems to have used Stirling as his base in 1715. It is known that some of the councils of war were held there and his army was camped both within the town and in the King’s Park just outside the town, so it was very much the HQ for the Government forces, constant with Argyll’s realisation of the key role that Stirling was going to play in the defence of the rest of Britain.
Neil: The clash between the two sides was not instantaneous. Argyll would have had a small Scots army to draw on, but both sides needed to call a wider range of supporters to arms.
Karin: The Earl of Mar raises his standard, but you can’t raise an army out of the ground. It takes time to raise men, get them armed. Mar faced real challenges because it was harvest time, and so although some of the clan leaders and the lairds were politically sympathetic, their followers were not necessarily as interested in walking away from home during harvest time. It did take some time to raise the men. They were raising regiments and men through into October, and by early November they were in Perth. Argyll had managed to get his regular forces and the volunteer forces here gathered at King’s Park below Stirling.
Neil: Let’s now start to head in the direction of King’s Park, the part of Stirling where I live. Walk down past Mar’s Wark, past the church and down St. John Street, which then continues as Spittal Street. Turn left onto Academy Road and at the bottom take the steep footpath that branches to the right. This brings you to the Smith Art Gallery and Museum on Dumbarton Road. Turn right onto Dumbarton Road; one block up you’ll reach Queen’s Road. If you walk along there and you’ll find a choice of ways into the great, green expanse of King’s Park.
Point 6: King's Park
You’re now in a much loved place in Stirling – today, somewhere locals can walk dogs, take children to run about or play the occasional round of golf. But in 1715, it served a very different purpose.
John: We’re in the King’s Park of Stirling. This was established as a royal park in the 12th Century and was in continuous royal control thereafter. Still is, in fact, Crown property. It was important, various stages in its existence, for hunting, but in many ways its real practical importance was to provide hay and pasture for horses, and in times of crisis it would also provide a campsite for armies, for dragoons, for mounted soldiers and so on, and there are records of that happening going back several centuries even before the 18th. And it’s a large area, several hundred acres, and you could encamp a large number of people here within the park, so it was a very, very important thing for the castle to have.
Neil: Although Argyll’s army was smaller than the Jacobites’, around two thousand men, the influx of soldiers would have had a huge impact on the town.
Karin: Stirling of course was very familiar with the garrisons of the troops in the castle which were there regularly, but I think it still would have been quite a sight to see the thousands of soldiers and camp followers spread out across King’s Park below what was still a very small town.
Bruce: An early modern army is not like a modern army, and they can’t function if they don’t have camp followers because they need to buy things like drink, shoe laces, buttons, gaiters, and so there’s a whole horde of people living off them, including of course large numbers of women, and you’ve probably got quite a fair number of children milling around. I mean it’s an encampment, it’s a community; it’s quite different from a modern army.
Neil: And although the townsfolk of Stirling would have been used to quartering soldiers, it didn’t mean that the incoming army was well received.
Karin: One of the troubles with this open ground of course is that there’s no barracks, the army are all camping here, and it’s winter time, it’s November, it’s getting cold, and one of the complaints that the town of Stirling makes is that on cold nights soldiers end up trying to find warm rooms in Stirling to sleep in instead of staying in their tents as they’re supposed to be.
Bruce: All armies are deeply unpopular in the early modern period. It doesn’t matter whose army it is; it can be your army or the enemy’s army, it doesn’t matter, everybody hates soldiers.
John: And they possibly hated them with good reason as well because they were a rough, tough lot. I mean some of these guys were not people you’d want around too close.
Neil: Eventually, the news comes that the Jacobites are headed south from Perth, and the Government forces move north, followed by locals from Stirling and around keen to watch the action. They march towards what would turn out to be the key battle of the 1715 rebellion in nearby Sheriffmuir.
Karin: The battle is, it’s an encounter battle, which is it’s a battle between two forces who are on the move, so it’s not that they’re drawn up ready to go into battle and they’re perfectly formed where they would like to be. They’re actually both marching, and one group comes over the hill and sees the other, and that’s the start of the battle. It’s chaotic, people don’t manage to deploy their forces the way they might have liked to and, as a result, the battle is inconclusive. There are casualties on both sides, but it’s not really clear who’s won, there’s not a decisive winner. But Mar falls back and Argyll’s therefore able to stand his ground and Mar falls back, so although Mar has inflicted more casualties on Argyll and had the larger force, he doesn’t break through, he doesn’t get through Stirling.
Bruce: It’s a confused fire fight. It’s quite clear that mostly they stood and fired muskets at one another, and they do so in a state of total confusion so that the armies actually go round like a revolving door, and at the end of the day Argyll camps on the battlefield expecting the fight to resume the next day. At which point he expects to lose because you don’t need to defeat him, you just need to keep fighting him until he runs out of replacements, and Mar falls back, at which point he has irreversibly lost it.
Neil: It was a battle with no clear winner, and an inconclusive battle is a victory for the status quo, that is for Argyll. Mar’s lack of military leadership has cost him dear. The energy and impetus behind his Jacobite rebellion has gone and his army withdraw to the north. Not even the arrival of James, the Old Pretender, the exiled King in whose name they’ve been fighting, can rouse the troops again.
Karin: The Government forces march north in pursuit of Mar, and this is now the dead of winter, and they’re marching through heavy snows. It’s actually a very impressive military operation to move that far north through the snows, and Mar’s I think surprised that they actually manage it. So they’re putting pressure on Mar, and it becomes clear that the military operations really can’t continue in the winter. It’s unusual in this time for there to be war in wintertime anyway, and after Sheriffmuir many of the clansmen feel they have done their duty and performed in battle, and they head home. So Mar’s facing serious levels of desertions, and things really just fizzle out through December and eventually Mar and James VIII, the Old Pretender, take ship and head back to France and exile.
Neil: And so ends the Jacobite uprising of 1715. ‘The Fifteen’, as it’s come to be known. Our walk through history too is almost at an end. Before you return back into the town, do wander around the King’s Park, the place from which an army set off to do battle, and as you walk, listen to Bruce Lenman and Karin Bowie explaining why the Jacobite uprising of 1715 is now looked back on as a lost opportunity. It’s the rebellion which should have been won, a cause which was never again to see such levels of popular approval in Scotland.
Karin: One of the significant things about The Fifteen is the degree of popular support for the rebellion. Mar raised upwards of fifteen thousand men at one point, which for an early modern rising is a significant number of people, especially when we consider how divided Scotland was and that he was only drawing on the Jacobite Episcopalian side of Scotland.
Bruce: It is by far the most important Jacobite rebellion. It’s the one with the widest support, it’s the one with support in England, and it’s the one that could and should have mounted a serious threat to the core of British Government, which then as now was London. The Jacobites should have brought down a threat which had a sporting chance of unseating a recently installed Government, and it’s mismanagement that accounts for the fact that it fizzled out the way it does.
Neil: From now Scotland begins to settle down, the people slowly becoming reconciled to union, to the Hanoverian rulers and to each other. The Jacobite story is not yet over; Bonnie Prince Charlie will see to that. The people of Stirling will have more battles to live through, but it will be a long time before so many voices are raised at once again. These were events that affected the ordinary people in towns like Stirling, citizens engaged and concerned about the fate of their country, living through events which had a real impact on their lives, walking the very streets that we have today.
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