Journal

The mystery of ‘James of the Glen’ and ‘The Red Fox’

Who killed the Red Fox? The Appin Murder – is one of the blackest marks on Scottish legal history and a mystery immortalized in Robert Louis’ Stevenson’s “Kidnapped”

The story of James Stewart, “James of the Glen” (or “Seamus a’Ghlinne” in Gaelic) has been the subject of much controversy and debate since it occurred in 1752, not long after the Jacobite uprising of 1745.

James was convicted of the killing of the “Red Fox”, or Colin Campbell of Glenure, who was a factor in charge of carrying out evictions in Appin on Jacobite estates forfeited by the Government following the Battle of Culloden. It is widely believed James was innocent yet was tried in front of a mainly Campbell jury with the Duke of Argyll, the clan chief, as judge.    It was a sham of a trial, and he didn’t stand a chance.  James had been outspoken against the Campbells and their English masters, and it is thought the authorities simply used him as a scapegoat.

He was sentenced to death, then hanged at the Ballachulish Ferry and left to rot for 18 months.

Several theories exist as to the true assailant, and even after more than 260 years the notorious mystery fascinates historians the world over.

Several significant sites are located close to Stormhouse including the Glen Duror bothy thought to be the birthplace of James of the Glen.

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