Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds This gold and enamel ring is more commonly referred to as the Four Peers Ring. And it is a particularly poignant object, because it was created to commemorate the execution of four noblemen and 17 officers during 1746 and ‘47. These men are remembered, on this ring, by their individual initials, which can be seen on the face of the ring and also around the shank. The majority of the officers that were killed were from the Manchester regiment, and they paid the ultimate price for their part in the 45 on the 30th July 1746. The other officers mentioned on the shank of the ring were from a variety of regiments and from different backgrounds.
Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds And there’s an AW, which we now know was for Andrew Wood, and he was a shoemaker in Glasgow and he served with the Royal Stuarts army. There is also a JN, and that’s for James Nicholson. And he owned a coffee house in Leith, and he served with the Duke of Perth regiment. Needless to say, the majority of the discussion surrounding this ring have really focused on the four peers, whose initials can be seen on the face of the ring. You have a K for William Boyd. He was the fourth Earl of Kilmarnock. And you also have a B for the sixth Lord Balmerino, Arthur Elphinstone.
Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds And both Kilmarnock and Elphinstone were executed on the same date, which is also listed on this ring as being the 18th August 1746. You have a D for Derwentwater, the fifth Earl of Derwentwater. That’s Charles Radcliffe, and he was executed on the 8th December. And lastly, you have an L for the 10th– for the 11th Lord Lovat Simon Fraser, and he was executed on the 9th April 1747. Each of the four peers has that initial cemented with a coronet, and their initials are highlighted in gold, as well. Each of the four peers assisted the Stuarts to varying degrees during their ‘45 campaign.
Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds Derwentwater was primarily based on the continent, so he really gave organisational support, but he did set sail in 1745 for Scotland from France with a ship full of arms. Unfortunately for him, the ship was captured by the British, and he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Derwentwater was actually already wanted by the British for his part in the 1715 rebellion. And at that time, he had been captured, had been tried, and he was to be executed, although he had escaped. So this was the second time that he has been captured. Kilmarnock was somebody who was– he was more interested in personal wealth and fortune than he was a particular religious or political ideal.
Skip to 3 minutes and 22 seconds And you see that with his changing allegiance. In 1715, he is with the government, but by 1745, when his finances are doing less well, he decides to support the Stuarts. He is with Charles at the Battle of Culloden, and that is where he’s captured and then imprisoned. Balmerino, Arthur Elphinstone, he was from a strict Episcopalian family, and his father had been an anti-unionist. Although, he himself did accept a commission under Queen Anne, so he did serve as an officer, and he did serve as an officer during the ‘15 at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. Although, he did defect after that point, and he joined the Jacobites.
Skip to 4 minutes and 1 second 1746, he is with Charles at the Battle of Culloden, and he helps him escape, although, he actually hands himself in a few days afterwards. Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, was a complete opportunist, and motivated by self gain. Throughout his life, he changed sides numerous times. And even during the ‘45, when he came out in support of the Stuarts, he was actually still corresponding with Whigs and government in the north of Scotland until as late as the start of October 1745. He’s eventually captured fleeing his home, although he doesn’t play any part in Culloden. He’s quite an old man by that point. The ring itself, tradition has it that it was made by the Edinburgh Goldsmith, Ebenezer Oliphant, and that is fitting.
Skip to 4 minutes and 55 seconds Ebenezer Oliphant was the maker of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s silver canteen, and, therefore, it seems quite appropriate that he would have made a ring, such as this, to commemorate those men who gave their lives during the 1745 rising.
The Four Peers ring
What is it?
This is a gold and enamel ring, possibly made by Ebeneezer Oliphant – the silversmith who made Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s silver canteen.
It is commonly referred to as the ‘Four Peers ring’ as it commemorates the death of four Jacobite noblemen and 17 Jacobite officers who were executed during the period 1746 and 1747.
Why is it important?
Remember the Hanoverian powder flask, with inscriptions about the 1715 rising?
This ring is a collective memorial and a poignant record of some of those who took part in the ‘45 and their fate following the Jacobite defeat at the battle of Culloden. It is also a remarkable example of mid eighteenth-century craftsmanship on a minute scale.
In this short film, Curator Lyndsay McGill talks us through the names of the Jacobites commemorated on this precious object.