Rob Roy

The scottish Robin Hood?


Engraving from 1820

Robert ‘Roy’ MacGregor (gael: Raibert Ruadh) was born in March 1671 as the Son of Clan Chief Donald Glass MacGregor and Mary Campbell in the Trossachs on Loch Katrine. From his Mother he inherited the red Hair, which is why he was also called Red Robert.
Apart from the Entry in the baptismal Register of ‘Buchanan Parish’, nothing is known about his Childhood and Youth. Only again at the Age of 18, he made his Way into the History Books.

Cattle Dealer and Thief

The first experiences Robert gathered in the Army.
After the ‘Battle of Killiecrankie’ in 1689, in which he fought for the Jacobites, he gave up his activity as a Soldier and founded a Cattle trade. He bought Highland Cattle, which he sold profitably on the Market of Crieff, whereby he brought it to Prosperity and even became Laird of Inversnaid at Loch Lomond. In January 1693, he married his Cousin Mary Helen MacGregor, with whom he had four Sons, and led a “normal” Life. That changed towards the End of the Year 1711.
Robert borrowed £ 1,000 from the Duke of Montrose and in early 1712 commissioned his Drover to buy new Cattle with the Money. This did that, but sold the Animals immediately and disappeared with the Proceeds. When Robert returned home after an unsuccessful search, he learned that his Land had been confiscated because of his Debts, his Family had been thrown out of the House, and he himself had been declared an Outlaw. Within Days, he lost all his Possessions.

Driven by the Idea of R​revenge, Robert began to raid the Cattle Herds of the Dukes of Montrose. Also, he kidnapped one of his Representatives, who had £ 3,000 for a Deal with him and took the Money from him. Over time, Robert began to attack other Landlords and extort Money from them. His Vendetta brought him not only Enemies.
Nobles such as The Duke of Argyll, who had long been enemies of Montrose, made Alliances with Robert and supported him.

Time of the Jacobite Uprising

When the Jacobites revolted against King George in 1715, Robert was again on their side and was tasked to raise Troops from the House MacGregor. In addition, he served as the Leader of the jacobite Highlanders and in November drove the Troops from Perth to Stirling, where the march ended in the ‘Battle of Sheriffmuir’ and Robert met the Duke of Argyll, who tried to stop the Advance.
After realizing who he was facing, Robert was torn between his jacobite Upbringing and his Alliance with the Duke, causing him to seem like an uninvolved Spectator during the Battle. As a result, he was accused of secretly working for the Duke of Argyll, but this was never proven.
Because of his Involvement in the Uprising and his crimes as a livestock Thief and Extortionist was banned after the Battle on Robert and he sought a new Home in the Country of the Dukes of Argyll.

From there Robert played only a small Role.
For example, he helped spanish Troops in the Battle of Glen Shiel (1719) in the defense, who supported the Jacobites on behalf of the spanish Cardinal Giulio Alberonie.

Last Years

Over the years, Stories about the alleged heroic Deeds of Roberts emerged again and again.
So it was said, among other things, he would have arrested several times, only to flee again. His Life and actions inspired many Writers. At the time of Robert, Daniel Defoe published his Story in 1726 under the title Highland Rogue. Due to the heroization of his Deeds, Robert was pardoned by the King in 1726 and became a living Legend through Defoe’s work.

Robert Roy MacGregor finally died in late December 1734 in Balquhidder Glen and was buried in the Cemetery of the ‘Old Church’.

In 1817, Sir Walter Scott published the three-volume Novel ‘Rob Roy’, which appeared anonymously, in the time of the Jacobite Rebellion and only from the middle played in Scotland. Although the Novel received positive reviews, it was criticized that Robert was not the main Character and was not described very impressive. Walt Disney filmed 1953 the Novel by Defoe.
However, the most famous Film Adaptation is Scott’s work Rob Roy with Liam Neeson as Robert from 1995.

Today, the Name is still omnipresent in Scotland. The Trossachs Region is called ‘Rob Roy Country’ and there is a Trail that leads along Roberts’ Life Stations.