Top 10 FAQs in the last 10 years

The current Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre first opened its doors 10 years ago this month. To mark the 10 years we thought we would share the top 10 most common FAQs.

  1. Who were the Jacobites? The Jacobites are followers of the exiled King James VII & II, and subsequently his son and grandson. They take their name from the Latin for James, Jacobus.
  2. What is the ’45? The conflict has many different names, the ’45 refers to the year 1745 when the rising began. You will see the conflict called a rebellion, uprising or rising. Here at Culloden we tend to call it the ’45.
  3. Was this Scotland v England? No. This was a conflict over the throne of Great Britain. King James VII & II had been exiled from the British throne and that’s what his grandson Charles Edward Stuart was trying to get back. (Scotland and England at the time of James’ exile had their own parliaments but one royal family who ruled over the British Isles. It wasn’t until the Act of Union 1707, which was passed by his daughter Queen Anne, that created the British parliament in London).
  4. Are there people buried here? Yes. It is estimated that between 1200-1600 people are buried in mass graves on the moor. If you take a walk around the moor you will see headstones marking some of the graves, while others are unmarked. These headstones were paid for by Duncan Forbes of Culloden in 1881 and represent some of the clans that fought here. The thing to remember is that these headstones were put in after the battle and do not represent all the individuals who will be buried onsite.25613 Culloden 259
  5. Did my family fight here? This is a question we are asked at least once a day and it’s hard to answer. On our Facebook page we put up information from Families of the ’45 which talks about certain clans and their roles on both sides. This is a really complicated conflict and the thing to remember is some families had split loyalties or were staunchly pro-Government or pro-Jacobite.
  6. Did they film Outlander here? No. The Culloden moor scenes were not filmed on site. But they have filmed at some of our other beautiful National Trust for Scotland sites including Falkland Palace and Culross in Fife,  for a full list of all filming locations across Scotland check out VisitScotland’s  list.callanish
  7. Were the Jacobites always going to lose the battle of Culloden? The Jacobites were undefeated on the field until the battle of Culloden.  There are so many other events and decisions that contributed to the Jacobite loss at Culloden; from the impact of the cold and wet conditions during the infamous Night March on the 15 April to arguments amongst the commanders over where to place men on the day, the loss was no forgone conclusion.
  8. Are the Jacobites all Highlanders?No. Jacobites came from across the British Isles. Men like English Jacobite and Captain of the Manchester Regiment Francis Townley, to Charles Edward Stuart’s secretary, Irishman George Kelly, there were many non Highlanders who supported the Stuarts in exile. Participating in the ’45 there were Highlanders, Lowlanders (like William Home), Englishmen, Irishmen and members of the Royal Ecossaise and Irish Piquets which were Royal French Regiments .
  9. What happened to Prince Charles and the Duke of Cumberland? Prince Charles disbanded the Jacobite forces and attempted to get back to mainland Europe. The aftermath of Culloden saw over 3000 men, women and children arrested for treason and people living in the Highland brought under the Act of Proscription 1746. In September 1746, Prince Charles met up with a French rescue ship and sailed to France. On 5 November 1746 he wrote to his cousin King Louis XV to ask for 12,000 regular soldiers, money and provisions to go back to Britain to try again. This did not happen. William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland wanted to deal with the Jacobite threat quickly and go back to the ‘real war’ in Europe, the Wars of Austrian Succession. His brother and other contemporaries nicknamed him ‘the Butcher’ for his backing of the legal measures and severe treatment of the Highlands post Culloden. He was described by a contemporary as “proud and unforgiving, fond of war for its own sake”. In 1747 he returned to active service, he did not have another military victory after Culloden.  For more information check out other blog posts.
  10. Where is the battlefield? This seems like an odd one but a lot of people who visit the site for the first time aren’t quite sure how to get to the battlefield luckily we are always happy to point the way. Other frequent questions are where are the bathrooms/café/film show.

We have had a brilliant 10 years in the centre and met 100,000s of wonderful people from all over the world. Thank you for coming to visit us and if you haven’t made it yet 2018 is a fantastic year to come to Scotland!

All the best, The Culloden Team

 

 

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‘Gentle Lochiel’ – Chief of Clan Cameron

One of the more well known characters of the ’45 Rising was Donald Cameron of Lochiel who was the 19th clan chief of Clan Cameron.

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Donald Cameron of Lochiel

 

The Cameron clan were traditionally loyal to the Stuarts and fought in both the 1715 and 1719 Risings so, when Prince Charles Edward Stuart landed in Scotland in 1745, he quickly sent word to Lochiel in order to gain his support and his influence.

However, Lochiel, like many men at the time, had misgivings and initially sent his brother Archibald Cameron to meet with the Prince. On 19th August though Prince Charles was waiting at Glenfinnan when he saw Lochiel approaching with some 800 Cameron men forming the largest support of the Jacobite army.

Lochiel was considered a loyal and fair man and became known as ‘Gentle Lochiel’. After the Battle of Prestonpans he ordered that all the Government men should be taken care of and receive adequate medical attention. Similarly, when the Jacobite army marched through Glasgow, he ensured there were no reprisals for not supporting Prince Charles. Indeed to this day city bells are rung when the present Cameron of Lochiel enters the city.

Lochiel took part in all the major battles of the ’45 Rising. The Camerons were instrumentally in the seizing of Edinburgh and fought in the successful attack at the Battle of Prestonpans. Late in 1745 Lochiel was even made Governor of Edinburgh. It is reported that having secured Edinburgh Lochiel counselled Prince Charles to stop and strengthen his hold on Scotland. However, Prince Charles was determined to continue and Lochiel continued on the campaign down to Derby and back.

At Culloden the Camerons were positioned on the front line and struck the front line of the Government men. After the battle the Lochiel home of Achnacarry was burned to the ground and Lochiel was forced to go on the run. He eventually met up with Prince Charles in the hiding place of Clunys cave before both men managed to flee to France.

We hope you enjoyed this short insight into Lochiel. As always please like, share, tweet, comment and definitely read more about the Camerons of Lochiel who are a fascinating family.

All the best, D

 

The Brodie Sword

WGrant Jacobean collection_12Jan2016_0590To celebrate the return of the Brodie Sword, from display at the National Museum of Scotland’s Jacobites exhibition, we thought we would re-share the story of this intriguing sword.

Sword and Symbols

With the recent exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, many iconic and beautiful pieces related to the Stuart court and its followers were brought together under one roof.

As part of the exhibition the book Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites was published by NMS; with a chapter dedicated to  ‘Weapons fit for a Prince’ it brings new insights into the Brodie sword within the context of two other pieces – The Kandler Sword and a Targe

The Brodie sword was reportedly commissioned by James Drummond the 3rd Duke of Perth to be presented as a gift to the Stuart heir to the throne.  A basket-hilted broad sword, the Brodie sword dates to the 18th Century, along with the sword the matching scabbard has survived and can be seen on display at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre.

The basket hilt is constructed from moulded silver; with the individual pieces of silver cast and then soldered together to create the hilt.

The design centres on the Greek mythological being of medusas’ head. Medusa was a symbol used by the Stuart royal family, as for every head of the snake cut of more would appear.

A pair of snakes coming out from the head twist forming the wrist guard, on the hilt there are many military trophies – from Hercules club, swords, arrows to guns – with a dolphin found at the pommel. It was suggested by Helen Wyld and George Dalgleish that the Dolphin might relate to the French word Dauphin meaning heir to the throne (Wyld & Dalgleish, 2017).

The basket hilt features many images of conflict it also contains images of peace. From the olive branch (meaning peace) on the sword  to yet more olive braches and the cornucopia (representing plenty) on the matching scabbard, the idea is that when the sword is sheathed at the end of the campaign and the ultimate goal of restoration for James VIII & III being achieved Great Britain will see peace and prosperity.

The Brodie Connection

This sword was said to have been removed from Charles Edward Stuart’s baggage train in the immediate aftermath of Culloden, the Dukes of Gordon (who fought on both sides of the ’45 conflict) had many objects related to the ’45 – everything from pieces of tartan to the beautiful sword.

It was in the care of the Dukes of Gordon until it came into the care of the Brodies through the marriage of Elizabeth Brodie (1794-1864) to George, fifth Duke of Gordon in 1813.

The castle ancestral home of the Brodie clan is a picturesque Brodie Castle in Moray. The castle has a history dating back over 400 years there is a magnificent collection of books, art and objects to explore.

We hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a little more about this amazing piece. Hopefully you will have a chance to come and visit it ! As always please like, share, follow, tweet, comment and let us know if you were able to visit the Jacobites exhibition at NMS.

Discover more about the symbols of the ’45 at our Swords and Symbols event on the 26 November 2017

Bibliography

Forsyth, D. (2017). Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites. Edinburgh: National Museum Scotland .

Wyld, H., & Dalgleish, G. (2017). “A slim sword in his hand for batle” Weapons fit for a Prince. In D. Forsyth, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites (pp. 80-93). Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland .

 

 

The Unsolved Appin Murder

On 14th May 1752 Colin Campbell of Glenure was murdered and the subsequent capture of his killer is a story full of intrigue and one of Scotland’s most famous unsolved murders.

The Campbell’s were supporters of the Government and, following the defeat of the Jacobites and the end of the ’45 Rising, were not popular with those who had taken up arms to fight with Prince Charles Edward Stuart. There was also said to be anti-Campbell sentiments from the scenes of the Glencoe massacre in 1692 when the Campbell’s, on Government orders, killed members of the MacDonald clan.

On the 14th May Colin Campbell, along with a few other men, had just crossed Loch Leven and were on the road through Lettermore wood when a musket shot rang out. Campbell was hit and killed but there was no sign of the shooter.

The local Stewart clan had suffered evictions at the hand of the Campbells and were prime suspects. Less the two days later an arrest was made. James Stewart, or James of the Glen, was arrested for Campbell’s murder. He was taken to Inveraray Castle, a Campbell stronghold where he was placed on trial. The trial was seemingly rigged from the start. On the jury eleven out of the fifteen men were Campbells and the presiding judge was the Duke of Argyll, the Campbell clan chief. Stewart was found guilty and sentenced to death.

It is widely held that Stewart went to the gallows as an innocent man. He is said to have had an alibi for the time of the shooting and no real evidence appears to have been present to put him in the frame for the murder. The Stewart family apparently knew who the true killer was but refused to give him up and Stewart was hanged by the ferry crossing. His body was left hanging for some eighteen months and it is said as the body deteriorated that his skeleton was held together by wires to remain as a stark warning to others.

The true killer still is not known, however, in 2001 a descendent of the Stewart clan claimed that the secret had been passed down through the generations. They named the real killer as Donald Stewart of Ballachulish. They claimed four young Stewarts had planned the murder and they had chosen their best marksman to take the infamous shot, Donald Stewart.

James Stewarts body was eventually buried. It is said a local man, known as ‘Daft MacPhee’ couldn’t take seeing Stewarts remains every day and tore up the gallows, throwing them into Loch Linnhe. The remains floated south before becoming caught. Here they were carefully gathered and buried by none other than Donald Stewart of Ballachulish.

The tale of the Appin murder inspired Robert Louis Stevensons book Kidnapped and to this day remains one of Scotlands great mysteries. We hope you found this post interesting and as always please share, like, tweet, and comment.

All the best, K & D

The Ferocious Highland Charge

During the Jacobite Risings in the 17th and 18th Century the Jacobites became known for their fearsome battle tactics and the most formidable of these was the Highland Charge. A fast paced and deadly move the action combined all their power into one attack that took down many men who stood to face them.

The Highland Charge may seem like an impulsive rush towards the enemy but in reality there was an orchestrated set of steps that were deployed to ensure the optimum levels of destruction. Firstly before even starting battle the Jacobites looked at the terrain around them to try and find the best spot for their charge. They wanted firm ground that would be quick underfoot and a slope to carry them to their enemy. Speed was essential for the charge to work.

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The Highland Charge

 

The Jacobite army would stand facing the enemy and begin banging their targes, yelling their clan mottos or cries of battle. Before they even moved they tried to instil some fear in the men opposite. At the time the Highlands were seen as a wild place and those that lived there must be wild also. For the British army, many of whom could be new recruits the site of these ‘savages’ in front of them may have seemed quite imposing.

Eventually the Jacobites would begin to move forward. Slow at first they conserved their energy. As they got closer the British army would begin to fire their grapeshot and their muskets. The charge was not for the faint hearted. The Jacobite soldiers would be running though fire and would undoubtedly suffer losses. When they reached striking distance the Jacobites would fire their muskets. Rather than reload like the British across from them they would throw the muskets down and begin their sprint. The smoke from the musket fire acted as a brief screen to shadow them as they charged.

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Images from our Battle Immersion Theatre

 

The Jacobites would race into the front line of the British army with their broadswords, targes and dirks. The men were skilled in close combat and would use the targe to deflect the enemies bayonets or blades with the dirk hidden behind to slice across a mans neck. As they took out one man the broadsword would already be swinging to take out the next. Such an impenetrable mass would quickly break through the ranks and typically after only a short burst of hand to hand fighting the enemy would begin to withdraw.

The Highland Charge was a daring but highly effective tactic that saw the Jacobites win almost every battle in the ’45 Rising right up until the Battle of Culloden. Here the boggy ground, poor communication and the tactics of the British army saw the Highland Charge, along with the Jacobite rising defeated.

We hope you enjoyed this post on the Highland Charge. As always please like, share, tweet, comment and if you are here be sure to talk to our volunteers who are excellent at demonstrating the charge.

All the best, K & D

 

A Fight for Freedom…

The story of John Wedderburn of Ballindean and Joseph Knight is wonderfully intriguing and was begging to be shared here.

In 1745 Johns father joined the Jacobite army to fight with Prince Charles Edward Stuart. He served as a colonel but after the Battle of Culloden was captured and held prisoner. Eventually he was taken south to London where he awaited trial. On 4th November 1746 he was tried for treason and found guilty. John followed his father south and is said to have pled for his fathers life amongst his fathers friends. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful and his father was hung, drawn and quartered on 28th November.

Following his fathers death John made his way back north to Scotland where he found himself with little inheritance and no prospects in his home country. Whilst in Glasgow he managed to convince the captain of a ship to let him work for passage to the Caribbean where hopefully he would find better chances for himself.

Eventually John landed in Jamaica and it was here he based himself for the next few years. The island, which had previously been seized by the Spanish, was quickly emerging as a centre for exportation and sugar production. John apparently tried his hand at a number of jobs including working as a doctor despite having no qualification for this. Finally though he managed to get some land and entered the profitable world of sugar production.

Over time his business prospered and he acquired more land becoming, at one time,  Jamaicas largest landowner, owning some 10% of the island. He soon had other members of his family joining him and owned vast estates on the island as Britain became one of the largest consumers of sugar.

In 1762 John purchased a young African boy called Joseph Knight. John decided that rather than working the fields like many slaves Joseph would be a house boy and saw that he was taught to read and write. Some years later in 1769 John returned to Scotland and brought Joseph with him.

For a while everything went well. John met and married Margaret Ogilvy and Joseph met a servant girl from Dundee named Annie Thompson and John gave the pair permission to marry as well. However, in 1778 Joseph became aware of a ruling that had occurred in England which held that slavery did not exist under English law. Assuming this would be the same in Scotland Joseph demanded his freedom and asked for backdated wages from John who refused his claim.

John felt he had treated Joseph well, he had given him an education and taken care of him, and was apparently not impressed at Josephs actions against him. When Annie fell pregnant John dismissed her and refused to allow Joseph to go with her. Joseph packed his bags to leave but John had him arrested and thrown in jail. Joseph then brought a claim before the Justice of Peace court against John. Initially things moved in Johns favour and the Justice of the Peace found against Joseph but he appealed to the Sherriff Court who found in Josephs favour. It was then taken to the Court of Session in Edinburgh who again found in Josephs favours. Finally Joseph succeeded in arguing that he should be allowed to leave domestic service and provide a home for his wife and child.

John Wedderburn was the first time a man was taken to court by another to claim their freedom. We hope you enjoyed reading the story of John and Joseph. As always please keep sharing, tweet, commenting and joining us for more intriguing stories.

All the best, K & D

 

 

 

Clan Mottos

Many people who come to Culloden are interested in their own family history and the ties they may have with Scottish culture. One of the most popular questions we get asked is for information about clans and visitors own family connections to their clan heritage.

One area of interest is the mottos of clans. Every clan has their own motto and whilst some have simple or clear meanings, others can be more complicated, and some have great stories connected to them. Today we thought we’d pick a few of our favourite clan mottos and stories to share with you.

 

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MacGillivray Clan Motto

 

Firstly, the motto of Clan MacGillivray which is ‘Touch not this cat’. The MacGillivray motto has existed for some 300 years or more and in its full version is ‘Touch not the cat bot a glove.’ Often people can mistake this as meaning ‘don’t touch the cat unless you are wearing a glove’, however, the true interpretation is ‘touch not the cat without a glove’. A cat is said to be without a glove when its claws are extended. Therefore the motto is a warning to others not to tackle a MacGillivray when their claws are showing.

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Fraser Clan Motto

One of the most famous mottos now is that of the Fraser of Lovat clan, which is ‘Je suis prest’, or ‘I am ready’ in English, and is well known thanks to the popularity of Outlander. The motto is in French as the clan originates from France. Indeed some believe the name Fraser stems from the French word ‘Fraisier’ meaning strawberry which incidentally is the clans plant badge.

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Brodie Clan Motto

 

For a good story regarding mottos it is nice to look at Clan Brodie. The Brodie clan, whose home, Brodie Castle, is just down the road from Culloden, has the simple motto ‘Unite’ which is nice and easy to understand. When you visit the castle you can enter the dining room with its gorgeous plaster work ceiling and see the elegant dining set. Each piece of the set has the clan motto delicately portrayed in its centre right underneath the coat of arms. Unfortunately though on two of the pieces the word has been misspelled and instead of ‘unite’ the pieces read ‘untie’. An unfortunate mistake to make. With just two letters the creators have completely altered the meaning of the ancient clans motto. Now of course it serves as an excellent story for the tour guides!

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One of the gorgeous pieces from Brodies dining set

These are only a few example of clan mottos but each clan has its own and during fighting these may have been yelled out by the fighting soldiers to strike fear into the opposition and rally the clans to join together to fight.

We hope you enjoyed this very short look at mottos and as always please like, share, tweet, comment and let us know of any stories you’d like to know more about.

All the best, K & D