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Prolific historical writer Mary McGrigor has just published her latest book.
The Rebel’s Redeemers is a 200-page comprehensive study of the lives of two men remarkable for their humanity in their day.
Most people know of the Jacobite rising of 1745 but few are aware of the efforts made by General Campbell, later the 4th Duke of Argyll, and Duncan Forbes of Culloden, who was Lord President of the Court of Session, to mitigate the suffering of Prince Charles’ supporters following the defeat of his army.
The author, who is in her 90s and lives on the shores of Loch Awe, grew up in a 15th-century Scottish castle which inspired her love of history.
Married to a soldier at 20, she has lived in Argyll for more than 60 years since her husband Sir Charles McGrigor left the army to buy a sheep farm.
Beginning with writing local histories, she then branched out into historical
With a large family of four children, 12 grandchildren and two great granddaughters, Lady Mary still finds plenty of time to write from an upper-floor study at her home in Port Sonachan.
Her first history book in 2000 was Argyll – Land of Blood and Beauty, which captured a vast magical past and took 10 years to write.
The next one was an edit of James McGrigor’s autobiography. Not only was he Wellington’s Surgeon General in Spain during the Peninsula campaign, surviving battle, typhoid and shipwreck to become the founding father of the the Royal Army Medical, but he was also an ancestor of her late husband.
Tales of spies, admirals and princesses followed, but her favourite account was that of The Tsar’s Doctor – a true story about James Wylie born in Kincardine in 1767 who went to Russia to escape punishment for stealing sheep. He went on to become one of the most celebrated doctors in Europe, performing the first tracheotomy operation to be carried out in Russia on a favourite of Tsar Paul I, who was so impressed he made him his personal doctor.
A book in 2018 lifted a lavish lid on Margaret, Scotland’s Tudor Queen, and the same year saw the publishing of The Great Survivor: The Amazing Escapes of James VI of Scotland and first of England.
Lady Mary’s first published work was a poem at the age of just eight and her first historical essay was in 1969 for a Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes. She went on to become a regular contributor to the Scottish Field magazine.
The Rebel’s Redeemers is published by Austin Macauley Publishers and is
available on Austinmacauley.com and Amazon and all major booksellers.