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John Erskine


(6th Earl of Mar, Bobbing John)

1675 - 1732

A Scottish Jacobite born at Alloa who frequently changed his political allegiance, earning the nickname 'Bobbing John'. He developed his family estates in Clackmannanshire and established Alloa as a coal-mining centre. He was active in Parliament in the early 18th century and was appointed a Commissioner for the Union of 1707. He also served as Secretary of State for Scotland, but was renowned for switching support between the Tories and the Whigs. He lost favour after the accession of King George I and became a fervent Jacobite.

He headed the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, but was a poor leader and was defeated at Sheriffmuir. He was forced to flee to the Continent and was stripped of his title and estates. He set up home in Paris in 1720. He maintained close links with the Jacobite Court, while also negotiating with the British Government, ensuring both sides lost all confidence in him. His health and finances both deteriorated and he died at Aix-la-Chapelle (France).


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