Jackie Crookstone

Other names: 
Sometimes known as Jackie Crookston
born 18 June 1768, died 29 August 1797

Born in Gladsmuir, Lothian, Jackie was the daughter of Agnes Hogg, and James Crookstone. Little is known of her life apart from the heroic stance she took against the Scottish Militia Act of 1797. The act aimed to supply able men for Britain’s expanding empire, but local miners opposed enforced conscription.

On 28 August 1797, the day before the Tranent registrar was to draw up his ballot, Jackie Crookstone organised a protest march, joined by women from Gladsmuir and elsewhere as they marched towards Tranent and Prestonpans. She used her drum to orchestrate continual chants of ‘No Militia’, intimidating local justices and landowners on the ballot committee. The ballot went ahead on 29 August, amid serious rioting. Soldiers were summoned and killed 11 people in the ‘Tranent Massacre’. Dragoons ‘mopping up’ afterwards were probably responsible for killing Jackie Crookstone. Her body lay in a cornfield for several weeks until discovered by harvesters.

Her death was never officially recorded; she was possibly the victim of summary justice for being a female ringleader of the riot.

The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women
Entry on Jackie Crookstone by Maureen Meikle