A Little Note to Say ‘Thank You’

It’s coming to the end of the year and we wanted to take this opportunity to say a little ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has helped support our blog.

Working at Culloden we are lucky enough to meet people from across the world who come to discover more about Scottish history, their ancestors and their heritage. However, we are aware that there are many people who can’t make the journey to Culloden and even those who do might only a have a brief time here to try and take in everything the site has to offer. So, with that in mind we decided to start this blog as a way of sharing the stories of Culloden and the NTS to people across the world and we can’t believe how well it has been received!


Neither of us are writers so we were weren’t sure how well the blog would go down. Nor are we historians or experts of any kind, the closest we can offer is a degree in Geology? and the experience of working with the NTS for quite a few years between us. (We won’t tell you how long because we want to believe we are still young) But, working at Culloden we are fortunate to have the chance to discover and learn all about the Jacobite history and since we enjoy it we thought other people might to.

Luckily you were quick to respond and overall it has been very positive. So, thank you for all your comments, your corrections and your enthusiasm which has kept us motivated to write these posts even when we’re running out of time and trying to do our ‘normal’ jobs at the same time.

National Trust for Scotland

We both love working at Culloden and are passionate about the work that the National Trust for Scotland does in helping to conserve and protect amazing sites across Scotland. Things can sometimes get pretty busy here and occasionally a little stressful but we wouldn’t change it. We are lucky to get something different every day of the year, meeting new people and hearing new stories.

We hope we have brought a little bit of Culloden into the homes of those who cannot visit us themselves and shared a few extra secrets for those who come and see us year after year. We will endeavour to keep writing and hope you will all keep reading and inspiring us to find new stories and fun facts to share with you.

KODAK Digital Still Camera


So, thank you for supporting us and we hope you all have a great time over the holidays and will join us again next year to continue our crazy adventure!

We hope you all have a fantastic time over the holidays and a wonderful New Year!

K & D


George I – The First Hanoverian King

George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1st August 1714 until his death on 11th June 1727 and was the first monarch from the House of Hanover. Before we look at George himself we need to first understand how exactly he came to become king.

When Queen Anne died in 1714 without heirs the throne of Great Britain would surely have gone to here nearest relative, James VIII & III. However, following the removal of his father James VII & II there were a number of acts passed that prevented James VIII & III from taking the throne.

Queen Anne

Firstly in 1701 was the Act of Settlement. This prevented Catholics from the line of succession. The Act was put into place after William and Mary, as well as Anne herself, failed to produce any heirs and all the other members of the Stuart line were Roman Catholics. In 1700 Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, the only son of Anne to survive infancy, died aged only 11. His death destabilised the succession and ultimately led to the English parliament passing the Act of Settlement in 1701. Under the Act anyone who became a Roman Catholic or married a Roman Catholic was unable to inherit the throne. The Act was also used to reinforce the Bill of Rights (1689) and strengthen the principle that government was undertaken by constitutional advisers and not personal advisers chosen by the King or Queen.

Reproduktion des "Act of Settlement", der im Leineschloss in Hannover an Kurfürstenwitwe Sophie übergeben wurde. Mit dem "Act of Settlement" (dt. Grundordnung) schuf das englische Parlament 1701 eine neue Grundlage für die Thronfolge im Königreich England, die eine 123-jährige Personalunion (1714 - 1837) zwischen Hannover und Großbritannien begründete.
Act of Settlement 1701

This alone prevented James VIII & III from taking the throne but it did not guarantee the Hanoverian line would rule throughout Britain. In 1703 in response to the Act of Settlement, the Act of Security was approved by the Scottish parliament and was later ratified in 1704. This Act placed the power of appointing a successor to the Scottish throne in the hands of the Scottish parliament. The successor should be of the Royal line of Scotland, Protestant and not the same as the English successor unless various economic, political and religious conditions were met. The Scottish parliament were not happy that the English parliament had chosen Electress Sophia of Hanover as a successor without consulting them.

Finally in 1707 came the inauguration of the Treaty of Union which created the United Kingdom of Scotland, England and Wales. The Union mean the dissolution of the Scottish parliament and thus Act of Security was made invalid and there would be only one successor to the thrones of Scotland, England and Wales. This was decided to be Electress Sophia of Hanover who was the nearest relative to Queen Anne who was a protestant. By all rights it was her who should have followed Anne onto the throne but she unfortunately died a couple of months before Anne so her son George became King following Anne’s death.

Treaty of Union 1707

George I finally arrived in Britain in September 1714 after being forced to wait at the Hague while bad winds prevented passage. He arrived speaking only a few words of English with, it is said, 18 cooks and two mistresses, one very fat and the other tall and thin who became nicknamed ‘Elephant and Castle’ after an area in London. His coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on 20th October and was accompanied by rioting in over 20 towns in the South West of England disrupting and, in some cases, assaulting those celebrating and ransacking their properties.

With some Tories sympathetic to the Jacobites, George turned to the Whigs to form a government, and they were to dominate politics for the next generation. This led to many turning against George and fighting to get James VIII & III onto the throne in the early Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1719.

george i
King George I

In 1720 the South Sea Company, with heavy government, royal and aristocratic investment, collapsed. The resulting economic crisis made the king and his ministers extremely unpopular. Robert Walpole was left as the most important figure in the administration and in April 1721 was appointed first lord of the Treasury and in effect, ‘prime minister’. His ascendancy coincided with the decline of the political power of the monarchy and George became less and less involved in government.

George remained unpopular in England throughout his life, partly because of his inability to speak English but also because of the perceived greed of his mistresses and rumours concerning his treatment of his wife. He finally died on 11 June 1727 during a visit to Hanover and was succeeded by his son, George II.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this little insight into the first Hanoverian King of Britain. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, K & D.



Anyone for a Jacobite Christmas?

In 1644, Christmas was banned by Oliver Cromwell. Carols were forbidden and all festive get-togethers were deemed against the law. With the restoration of Charles II, Christmas was re-instated, albeit in a more subdued manner and by the Georgian period it was once again a very popular celebration.


So, how to make your Christmas an 18th Century wonder?

Firstly, traditional decorations included holly and evergreens. The decoration of homes was not just for the gentry: poor families also brought greenery indoors to decorate their homes, but not until Christmas Eve. It was considered unlucky to bring greenery into the house before then. By the late 18th century, kissing boughs and balls were also popular, usually made from holly, ivy, mistletoe and rosemary. These were often also decorated with spices, apples, oranges, candles or ribbons.

Example of a traditional Kissing Bough

The tradition of a Christmas tree in the house was a German custom and apparently brought to Court in 1800 by Queen Charlotte, wife of George III. However it was not until the Victorian era that the British people adopted the tradition, after the Illustrated London News printed an engraving of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family around their Christmas tree in 1848. So, if you’re going for an authentic 18th Century look then I’m afraid the Christmas tree will have to be put away.

As for food why not serve a roasted bubbly-jock? (Love the name, it can’t help but make you give a childish smile) A bubbly-jock is a turkey or to be precise, a turkey-cock, and it has been found on Scottish tables since the 17th century, and probably before. So food shouldn’t be a problem with winter vegetables to accompany your bubbly-jock you can’t go wrong. And to close the evening off you can even serve plum pudding.

Lovely Christmas Dinner

In 1714, King George I was apparently served plum pudding as part of his first Christmas dinner as a newly crowned monarch, thus re-introducing it as a traditional part of Christmas dinner. Unfortunately there are no contemporary sources to confirm this, but it is a good story and led to his being nicknamed ‘the pudding king’.

Or if you prefer you can always serve Twelfth Cake, a version of present day Christmas cake, which was sliced and given to all members of the household and guests. It contained a dried bean and a dried pea. The person whose slice contained the bean was King for the night; a slice with a pea indicated the Queen. Even servants played along and if they won, they were recognized by everyone, including their masters as the evening’s King and Queen.

For presents you’re going have to steer away from technology and go down the more intimate hand crafted route but importantly don’t forget to make you Christmas box. The custom of giving a ‘Christmas box’ – a sum of money – to tradesmen and servants became commonplace, as did paying small amounts to the needy. The day after Christmas, St Stephen’s Day, was the day when people gave to charity and the gentry presented their servants and staff with their ‘Christmas Boxes’. This is why today St Stephen’s Day is called ‘Boxing Day’.

‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’

Finally for entertainment you can’t go wrong with some classic Christmas carols. No ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ I’m afraid but you can get by with carols written in the 18th Century including; ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, ‘Silent Night’, ‘Joy to the World’, and of course ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’.

Hopefully you’ll all be busy planning your Jacobite Christmas but if you can please as always like, share, comment, tweet, re-blog and belt the carols out loud and clear.

All the best, K & D.



Dilemmas at Derby

This week sees the 270th anniversary of ‘Black Friday’, the day the Jacobites turned at Derby and began their long retreat back up to Culloden. So, in honour of this we thought we’d look a little closer at the events that occurred in Derby.

On 3rd December 1745 word reached Derby that a nine or ten thousand strong Jacobite army was about to arrive. The newly formed Derbyshire Blues, under the command of the Duke of Devonshire, decided to retreat fifty miles to Retford and left Derby to its fate.

True enough the following day the Jacobite army entered Derby,  having marched south from Carlisle on 18th November. The entry of the army into the town was carefully planned to give the impression that Charles did indeed have 9,000 men, though the true number was a lot less. At eleven o’clock in the morning the vanguard, consisting of some thirty horse entered the town and ordered quarters for nine thousand men. In the afternoon the life-guards and some of the principal officers on horseback arrived and this was followed by the main body through the course of the evening; entering in detached parties to make the army appear as numerous as possible.  The capital was said to be in panic and the Bank of England in chaos as neither Cumberlands or Wades armies were well placed to tackle the Jacobite army.

The next day, 5th December, the Jacobites called a council meeting in Exeter House to decide the best way to proceed. They were now only 125 miles from London, just six days march and while Charles wanted to continue south and take on London many were against this decision. With the two government armies behind them and a third army defending London some Jacobites were worried they didn’t have enough support. They had not gathered many men on their route south and the long-promised French help had failed to materialise. Lord George Murray argued that during their march south they had seen more enemies for their cause than friends and he feared being penned in on three sides. He argued that even if the Jacobite army defeated on of the Government armies they would undoubtedly lose men and be unfit to face a second battle. If they were defeated so far from home then the reality was they would be captured and likely sentenced to death. The Prince was forced to admit he had no promise of support from English Jacobites and no idea when or if the French would invade.

Exeter House in Derby

As the Jacobites began their deliberations Dudley Bradstreet, a government spy, met the Duke of Cumberland at Lichfield before travelling on to Derby to join the Prince as a ‘Jacobite’. Bradstreet was brought before the council at their second meeting and told them of a supposed fourth force of 9,000 men at Northampton. Apparently this extra army was enough to settle the argument and convince the Jacobites to retreat. However, there is no clear evidence this story is true and even if it is the decision to retreat had already been made at the first meeting with the second simply to try and talk the Prince around which was unlikely to ever happen.

On 6th December 1745, known to the Jacobites as Black Friday, the Jacobites began the march north from Derby  led by Lord George Murray. It is said that only those present at the council of war knew of the retreat and the regular officers and men were given powder and ball making them believe they were heading into battle. When it became clear they were actually in retreat the army was angry and despondent. The Duke of Cumberland did not hear of the retreat until late in the day but was determined to make chase. The Jacobites had a head start so he left most of his infantry behind and hurried on with just cavalry and 1,000 volunteers who claimed to know how to ride. Though not capable of taking on the Jacobites by themselves Cumberland hoped Wade’s army would be able to throw itself in the Jacobites path.

Ironically, unbeknown to Charles the French were preparing to invade England. Charles’s gamble that his military success would prompt the French king to act was paying off, the problem was timing. Charles’s success had been rapid and he had gone into England before the French were ready. When the French learned of the Jacobites retreat though the invasion was cancelled leaving many what ifs to ruminate on over time.

The events of Derby have been questioned by many people and the alternate paths the Jacobites could have taken have been argued over many times. However, the fact remains that Derby was as far south as Prince Charles managed to get in his campaign and his retreat north would eventually lead him to the fields on Drumossie Muir in his final battle.

Statue of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in Derby

We hoped you enjoyed this insight into Derby and the Jacobite ‘Black Friday’, as always please like, share, tweet, comment and if you get the chance visit Derby and see the statue of Prince Charles on Cathedral Green.

All the best, K & D