Kathleen Lyle’s debut book, “Afore the Highlands: The Jacobites in Perth, 1715-16”, is a fascinating study of the Jacobites during the 1715-16 rising and the occupation of Perth by forces loyal to James Francis Edward Stuart.
And it has been a real labour of love by the 75-year-old debut author.
To the Jacobites, James was the king, to those loyal to the government, he was the Old Pretender.
For a few months in 1715-16, when it was occupied by Jacobite forces, Perth was a focal point of British and European history.
However, despite its importance, it is a part of the city’s past that has been largely forgotten.
Perth, which then had a population of about 5,000, became the headquarters for an army of perhaps 10,000 men.
Where were they all accommodated? How were they fed? What did the townspeople think of the occupation? Did they all support the Jacobite cause?
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Questions such as these are not often addressed by existing histories of the 1715 Jacobite rising, which tend to concentrate on military events or national politics.
Kathleen’s book, published by Tippermuir Books, answers these questions and pieces together information from a wide range of sources to illuminate details of the Jacobite occupation.
Kathleen was born, raised and schooled in Perth but now lives in Oxford.
She studied biochemistry at St Andrews in the 1960s and then worked in publishing, most recently as a freelance copy editor of scientific and medical books. She is now retired.
She said: “My interest in history has developed gradually over many years and eventually led to a masters degree in historical studies which I completed in 2018.
“When researching for my dissertation on the Jacobite occupation of Perth in 1715-16, I realised how much information about the rising there is to be found, not only in the local archives but also in rare 18th and 19th Century publications. This book is the result.”
Kathleen’s effort was recently launched at the Words Of War book festival held in The Black Watch Museum at Perth’s Balhousie Castle.
It has been well received and she is now working on a follow-up.
At a time when most folk are putting their feet up, Kathleen has embarked on a new career with her book shining a light on an important and integral part of Scottish history.