Stuarts Town

Posted By Bill Payer on Aug 14, 2022 | 2 comments

Have you ever heard about Stuarts Town….an early 17th century settlement by religious refugee Scots believed to be on land that is now Beaufort, SC.? The Sunday Post & Courier has a story of archaeological activity in Beaufort and also gives some background including how the English proprietors felt the Scottish colony would be a welcome buffer against the Spanish influence to the South.

“Because almost all the Scottish settlers had been imprisoned in their homeland for their beliefs, they particularly wanted peace in Carolina. They hoped to establish friendly relations with the Spanish and become trading partners. Already they had allied with the Yamasee in the area, even providing the Natives with shotguns and pistols. 

But the Spanish had a different attitude about the Scots: They saw the newcomers as intruders on their territory, which they had claimed since the time of Christopher Columbus. 

In March 1686, events took a fateful turn. 

A group of Yamasee, armed by the Scots, raided a Spanish mission. They killed some people, burned several towns, stole items from a church and brought back prisoners, whom they sold as slaves.

Six months later, the Spanish took revenge. 

In August, they launched a surprise attack on Stuarts Town. About 150 men drove the Scots into the woods. Then they plundered the houses, slaughtered the livestock, and torched the town.”

The Scots retreated toward Charles Towne with the Spanish in pursuit but the Spanish were stopped by a looming hurricane near Edisto Island. There’s lots more in the Post & Courier article. To read it CLICK HERE. Non subscribers will encounter a pay wall.

For more background on the ill fated settlement, here’s an abstract from Edinburgh University Press entitled Scotland’s Lost Colony Found: Rediscovering Stuarts Town, 1682–1688

The Scots venture to build a colony in South Carolina in the late 17th Century was short lived. PIC: Creative Commons.

And for more from The Scotsman website, CLICK HERE


  1. Please see details about the Stuarts Town Symposium, 2/4/2023 in Beaufort, and feel free to redistribute this information. Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • Laurence,
      Thanks for the headsup. I’ve posted the info here on our website blog as well as the DIHS Facebook page and Twitter.
      Bill Payer for DIHS

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *