Anorak News | Robin Hoodlum

Robin Hoodlum

by | 3rd, November 2003

‘SCOTLAND loves its heroes, especially the ones who gave their treacherous English neighbours a black eye – Rob Roy, William Wallace, Robert The Bruce, David Sneddon…

‘I’m as Scots as Rod Stewart’

So you can only imagine that they might be quite upset to discover that one of these bravehearts was in fact a confidence trickster who spied for the hated English.

That is the conclusion of Professor David Stevenson who has spent years researching the life of Rob Roy MacGregor using records of court proceedings and estate records of the dukes of Montrose and Argyll.

“Perhaps the most controversial claim concerns Roy’s behaviour during the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 when he betrayed his clan by acting as a paid agent to help the English army,” says the Telegraph.

According to the professor, Roy (who had previously been regarded as a staunch Jacobite) took no part in the battle of Sherrifmuir where the Jacobites were finally defeated because of his close links to the pro-Hanoverian Duke of Argyll.

Worse, he sold Jacobite secrets to the chief of the Hanoverian army in Scotland.

Rob Roy’s reputation as a Scottish Robin Hood was established by Sir Walter Scott in his novel of 1817 and cemented by a Hollywood film starring Liam Neeson.

But Professor Stevenson says that the suggestion that Rob Roy was outlawed after being set up in a plot to steal money from the Duke of Montrose is rubbish.

“He was outlawed as a result of a carefully arranged swindle,” he says. “Roy deliberately planned to go bankrupt at least six months in advance and hid his assets by passing them on to his family.”

Needless to say, not every dyed-in-the-woad Scot is happy to discover that one of their national heroes was nothing better than a cheap conman.

A spokeswoman for the Clan Gregor Society said she was “shocked” by the findings.

“It is dreadful and completely untrue,” she says. “Rob Roy was the Scottish equivalent to Robin Hood, except he was actually real.”

Just as William Wallace spoke with an Australian accent and slept with King Edward II’s wife.’

Posted: 3rd, November 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink