Manuscripts and Special Collections


aide de camp

Army officer acting as personal assistant, secretary and confidant to a general.


A unit of infantry composed of several companies and forming part of a regiment. Commonly consisted of 700 to 800 soldiers.


A sword-like stabbing blade which may be fixed to the muzzle of a gun for use in hand to hand fighting.

The Battle of Culloden was the first time that a new bayonet drill was adopted by the Royalist forces. The technique involved directing thrusts at the Highlander to their right, rather than at the one directly in front of them.

Bill of Rights

Bill passed by the English Parliament in December 1689, ‘An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown’, which recognised William and Mary as the new monarchs of England.

The Bill of Rights set out the basic rights of English citizens and the obligations of the crown and parliament, and barred Roman Catholics from the throne.


A large cutting sword with a broad blade.

The Claymore was a type of broadsword often used by the Scottish Highlanders [Gaelic claidheamh a sword + mor great]


Army officer ranked above lieutenant and below major. Commands a company or troop.

In the navy, an officer ranking above a Commander and below a Commodore.


Army regiments of soldiers who fought on horseback

From the French cavalerie.


Tribal grouping based on kinship and common descent, often associated with a particular geographic area and owing allegience to a Clan Chief.

At the time of the 1745 Rebellion, many Scottish clans fought alongside the Jacobites against the British. Following the battle of Culloden, the Scottish clan system was weakened by the harshness of British reprisals.


Army officer in nominal charge of a regiment, often an honorary title. Ranked above lieutenant-colonel and below brigadier.


Territories settled by non-indigenous people, under the overall control of the country from which the settlers had originally come.

In 1776 thirteen British Colonies established in America declared their independence, thereby establishing the basis of the United States of America.

The thirteen colonies were as follows:

  • Province of New Hampshire
  • Province of Massachusetts Bay
  • Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
  • Connecticut Colony
  • Province of New York
  • Province of New Jersey
  • Province of Pennsylvania
  • Delaware Colony
  • Province of Maryland
  • Colony and Dominion of Virginia
  • Province of North Carolina
  • Province of South Carolina
  • Province of Georgia.


The First Continental Congress representing 12 of Britain's 13 colonies in America met in 1774. The Second Continental Congress declared the independence of the 13 colonies, as the United States of America, on 4th July 1776. Congress was the legislative body of the United States Government

Convention Parliament

A parliament sitting under a new mandate or process, unrelated to previous parliaments. The Convention Parliament of 1689 passed the Bill of Rights, which recognised William of Orange as the new King William III

Declaration of Indulgence

Order sent out by King James II in 1687, and re-issued in 1688, declaring religious toleration in Britain. It allowed Protestant dissenters, Roman Catholics, Quakers, Jews and other religious congregations to worship together. Penal laws which had punished people for not worshipping in Anglican churches and receiving holy communion there were suspended


Protestant religious groups including Baptists, Presbyterians, Independents and Quakers who refused to take the Anglican communion or to conform to the tenets of the restored Anglican Church of England in 1662.

Dissenters were subject to persecution under various acts passed by the Cavalier Parliament from 1661 to 1665.


Army regiments of soldiers who fought on horseback. As mounted infantry, dragoons were considered a 'light' version of the cavalry, being less equipped and distinguished than true cavalry. By the middle of the 19th century they were known as 'Hussars'

Exclusion Bill

Bill introduced into parliament in 1679 aiming to exclude James, Duke of York, from the British throne because of his Roman Catholicism


Mast at or towards the front of a boat or ship


A fast warship used by the navy, carrying a large number of cannons, most of them on a single gun deck.


Fortified place where soldiers are stationed, stocked with weapons and ammunition


Appointed; to have had your name published in an official gazette to announce an army or navy appointment

Great Glen

Series of valleys and lochs in Scotland running from Fort William on the western coast to Inverness on the north-eastern coast. Of great strategic importance during the 18th century Jacobite uprisings.

Also known as Glen Albyn or Glen Mor.


Mountainous north and north-western region of Scotland. Ruled by the Clan system until the 18th century. Highlanders traditionally had their own culture, language and dress.

Most Highlanders supported the Stuart succession through Bonnie Prince Charlie during the 1745 uprising.


French Protestant; term used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The Huguenots were persecuted in France and large numbers fled the country after Protestantism was declared illegal in 1685. Many Huguenots settled in England.


Army regiments of soldiers who fought on foot


Supporter of the claims of the deposed King James II and his descendants to the crowns of England and Scotland. The name comes from Jacobus, the Latin form of 'James'.

Jacobites opposed the The Glorious Revolution of 1688, which replaced a Catholic monarch with Protestant rulers, and wanted restoration of the Stuart line to the throne. In the British Isles, Jacobite support was strongest in Ireland and Scotland.


Army officer ranked below captain


Army officer in command of a regiment


South and south-eastern regions of Scotland. Normally refers to those parts of Scotland not included in the Highlands.

Gaelic a' Ghalldachd, meaning 'the non-Gaelic region'


The tallest mast on a boat or ship, usually in the centre


Army officer ranked above captain and below lieutenant-colonel


Local military forces recruited from volunteers or by a system of conscription. Raised to supplement the regular army on home territory, and does not normally serve overseas.

When the War of Independence began, the Americans did not have a regular army. Each colony had traditionally provided for its own defenses through the use of local militia. The regular troops were augmented with militia throughout the whole of the war period.


Third mast on a boat or ship, towards the back


Long-barrelled gun used by the infantry, fired from the shoulder. Musketmen were usually arranged in formation, as muskets were slow to reload (though some armies were famed for their fast reloading times).

As weapons they were not very accurate and had no sights for aiming. They were used to fire an indiscrimate hail of musket balls at the enemy.

New Style[N.S.]

A modified form of the Julian calendar, introduced by Pope Gregory in 1582 to counteract discrepancies which had emerged between the tropical (i.e. seasonal) year and the calendar year. Adopted by different countries at different times. Introduced in the Netherlands in 1582 and Britain in 1752

Northern Campaign

Military campaigns in the southern American colonies of Massachussetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in Canada, 1775-1778

Old Pretender

Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766), son of the deposed King James II. 'Pretender' in this context means 'claimant', to the thrones of England and Scotland

Old Style [O.S.]

Dating of a document between 1 January and 24 March by the civil year rather than the historical year, and using the Julian calendar. Old Style dating of documents occurred in Britain up to 1752


Principality in the south of France, annexed by France in 1673. The title of Prince of Orange passed to William the Silent, Stadtholder of the Dutch of Republic, and is still held by members of the Dutch Royal Family


Describes a Roman Catholic loyal to the Pope (Papa in Latin). The term became derogatory, symbolising fanatical support for papal 'tyranny'.


Member of the ruling aristocracy eligible to sit in the House of Lords. Peers are of five ranks (in order of precedence): duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron.

N.b. In Scotland a ‘baron’ is a holder of a feudal barony, not a peer. The fifth rank of the Scottish peerage is called a lord of Parliament.


Derogatory term describing Roman Catholicism - see also papist

regiments of Foot

Infantry regiments of the Army


Members of official Army regiments (as opposed to militia composed of civilian troops).

Rye House Plot

Protestant conspiracy in 1683 aiming to assassinate King Charles II and his brother James, Duke of York. Its aristocratic leaders Lord William Russell and Algernon Sidney were executed

Seven Bishops' Case

The trial of seven bishops accused of seditious libel against King James II.

In April 1688, the King issued the 'Declaration of Indulgence' which allowed more religious freedom, hoping to increase the rights of Roman Catholics. The seven bishops refused to distribute the new laws and publicly petitioned the King, arguing that he had exceeded his authority.

They were tried in June 1688 and found not guilty. Shortly afterwards King James was deposed in The Glorious Revolution.

Southern Campaign

Military campaigns in the southern American colonies of Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, 1778-1781


A distinguishing flag, indicating nationality or the allegience to a particular cause, raised on a boat/ship or in battle.

tartan plaid

A piece of tartan (checked woven cloth) worn over the shoulder or used as a blanket. The association of different patterns with particular Clans is fairly modern and patterns were generally associated with the area where they were produced.

Tartan became associated with the Jacobite cause in the 18th Century. Following the British victory at Culloden, suppression of the Highlanders included laws that banned the wearing of tartan.


The allowing of religious freedom to groups outside the main state religion, i.e. the Anglican Church of England.

The Act of Toleration granted in May 1689 gave freedom of worship to Protestant dissenters, but not to Roman Catholics.


Name given to the supporters of James II during the exclusion crisis of 1679. Opposed William of Orange and the Glorious Revolution.

Term applied to those loyal to the existing political structure, royal authority and the established church.

Later became the nickname of the Conservative Party.

From Irish Gaelic tóraighe, an outlaw or bandit.


Abbreviation of ‘whiggamore’, a term first applied in Britain to the Scots Covenanters during the 1648 insurgency.

Term applied to the opponents of James II during the exclusion crisis of 1679. Supporters of William of Orange and the Glorious Revolution.

Afterwards the name of a British political party, the Whig Party, whose values were civil and political liberty. Later evolved into the Liberal Party.

Young Pretender

Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788), son of the 'Old Pretender' and grandson of the deposed King James II. 'Pretender' in this context means 'claimant', to the thrones of England and Scotland. Also known as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'


Next page:  Timeline


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651