A Few Tasty Treats

18th Century cuisine was certainly interesting but a lot of recipes we’ve found don’t sound all that appetising.

Luckily we’ve found a few sweet treats that might be able to tempt you. These are all from a brilliantly titled book from 1737 called ‘The Whole Duty of a Woman: Or, an infallible Guide to the Fair Sex containing Rules, Directions, and Observations, for their Conduct and Behaviour through all Ages and Circumstances of Life, as Virgins, Wives, or Widows.’


Firstly a Jelly of Raspberries.

First take six pounds of raspberries, then three pounds of currants and seven pounds and a half of sugar brought to the cracked boiling; strip in the fruits, and them let all boil together, scumming it ’til no more scum will rise, and the syrup is become between smooth and pearled; then pour it out into a sieve, set over a copper pan; take the jelly that passes through, and give it another boiling, scum it well, and put it in pots, or glasses.

With seven and a half pounds of sugar, this will certainly be sweet but, if that doesn’t strike you, why not try some Macaroons.

Having provided a pound of almonds, let them be scalded, blanched and thrown into fair water; Then they must be drained, wiped and pounded in a mortar, moistening them with orange flower water, or the white of an egg, left they should turn to oil. Afterwards taking an equal quantity of powder sugar, with three or four other whites of eggs, and a little musk, beat all well together, and dress your Macaroons on paper, with a spoon, that they may be bak’d with a gentle fire.

Finally to try, another classic, some Apple Fritters.

Beat the yolk of eight eggs, the whites of four, well together, and strain them into a pan; then take a quart of cream, warm it as hot as you can endure your finger in it; then put to it a quarter of a pint of sack, three quarters of a pint of ale, and make a posset of it; when your posset is cool, put it to your eggs, beating them well together; then put in nutmeg, ginger, salt and flour to your liking: Your batter should be pretty thick; then put in pippins sliced or scraped; fry them in good store of hot lard with a quick fire.

To help anyone who is wondering, a quarter pint of sack refers typically to sherry or fortified wine so there should be a bit of kick to the batter.

We hope you enjoyed these recipes, as always please like, share, tweet, comment and let us know who your desserts turned out.

All the best, K & D

The Battle of Killiecrankie

In 1689 the Battle of Killiecrankie was fought between Jacobites, led by Viscount Dundee, and Government troops, led by General Hugh MacKay. The battle was part of the first Jacobite Uprising that took place after King James VII & II was deposed and King William of Orange took the throne.

After the Scottish parliament decided, at a convention in Edinburgh, to support King William many people were upset and opposed the decision. John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee was one such man. He was a lowland Scot and Episcopalian and had been made commander of all of Scotland’s forces under King James. Leaving the convention he set out to summon another convention in Stirling, this one in King James’ name. On 13th April 1689 Dundee raised the Stuart Royal Standard on Dundee Law marking the start of the first Jacobite Rising.

1st Viscount Dundee


Following this Dundee headed north to raise an army against King William and for the next couple of months the Jacobite army began to take shape. Initially recruits were slow to emerge but gradually support grew with various clan chiefs pledging their allegiance and men from Ireland coming over to add to Dundee’s men. By July the army had eight battalions of men and were performing the deadly Highland Charge manoeuvre against their enemies.

On 27th July 1689 the Jacobite men faced the Government troops at Killiecrankie. This battle would decide who would gain control over Blair Castle, a main point in the route through the Highlands. It is estimated the Jacobites had roughly 2,500 men whilst the Government stood at 4,000 men. To help them though the Jacobites held a strong position on a hilltop above the Government men and waited until the sun was setting before making their charge. The battle lasted only a few minutes with the Highland Charge so fast that, it is said, the Government men didn’t even have time to fix their bayonets, leaving them unarmed at close quarters. The Government men were quickly forced to retreat and about half of the Government army was killed as they fled the field.

Meanwhile the victory had also cost the Jacobites. It is suggested that almost a third of the Jacobite force was killed and Dundee himself was fatally wounded. Victory had come at a high price. Dundee was believed to have been hit by a musket ball which knocked him off his horse. His men carried him to the nearby St Brides Kirk where he was buried in a vault in the kirk. His helmet and breastplate, removed from the vault below the church in the 19th century, are still preserved in Blair Castle.

Dundee burial marker at St Brides Kirk


For a while there was a legend that Dundee had not died from the bullet that hit him. People claimed that he had made a pact with devil who gave him a charm to make him invulnerable to lead bullets. Instead legend arose that one of the silver buttons from his own coat had been pushed into the wound and it was this that had killed him. Legends also say that Dundee rode a great black horse which was given to him by the Devil after it had been ripped from its mothers womb.

Regardless of the legends, the loss of Dundee at the head of the Jacobite army was a devastating loss and though the Jacobites continued to advance, without the strong leadership of Dundee they were defeated less than a month later at the Battle of Dunkeld.

This first step into Jacobitism did not end with Dundee though. IT would continue for years to come emerging in the 1715 and 1719 Rebellions before finally ending at Culloden at the end of the 1745 Uprising.

We hope you enjoyed this brief insight into the Battle of Killiecrankie. As always please share, comment, like, tweet and head to Killiecrankie itself where you can learn more about its history.

All the best, K & D



The 1719 Rebellion

We here at Culloden tend to put most of our focus of the 1745 Jacobite Rising, but there were a few risings before this that are worth taking a look at. We explored the 1715 Rising in our earlier post ‘1715 – The Rebellion that should have Worked’ but today we look at the small rising of 1719.

With Britain at relatively peace with France the Jacobites found a new ally for this rising, Spain’s minister to the King, Cardinal Guilio Alberoni. Tensions were high between Spain and Britain as Philip V of Spain launched successful campaigns taking control of Sardinia and Sicily. In 1718 Britain responded declaring a violation of the Utrecht Treaty which then led to Spain declaring war on Britain. In order to try and stop, or at least delay, an attack Alberoni decided to stir up trouble in Britain.

The original Jacobite plan had two phases. A small fleet would land in Scotland and raise support in the west to distract the British army and then the larger fleet would land in South West England to march to London and dethrone King George I. The main fleet set sail but, three weeks after leaving Spain, they encountered a storm which damaged many of the ships and left the fleet scattered. The ships were forced back to several Spanish ports to repair and wait for better weather.

Unfortunately, by this time the small distraction fleet had already set sail and landed on the west coast of Scotland near Lochalsh. The men disembarked and set about raising the highland clans to join them. But, alas, another set back. Highlanders did not join the army in the numbers expected, they were wary of the plan and wanted to wait for news from the south before they committed to the cause. The men did not have enough support to make their way to Inverness and were forced to establish headquarters in the west at Eilean Donan Castle.

Eilean Donan Castle


At the beginning of May 1719, the Royal Navy sent five ships along the coast to inspect the Scottish coastline. Two patrolled off Skye whilst three headed to Lochalsh. On 10th May the latter three ships, HMS Worcester, HMS Flamborough and HMS Enterprise anchored off Eilean Donan and as evening fell the ships boat went ashore and captured the castle against very little resistance. It is said they then spent the next two days demolishing the castle with some 27 barrels of gunpowder. The Jacobites were not defeated though. Much of the main force of the army, including Spanish troops, had left Eilean Donan to try and recruit more men to their cause and were on their way to Inverness.

After travelling for more than a month the Jacobite forces learnt that the main Spanish fleet would not be coming to help them. They had a little over 1,000 troops but were determined to fight. 12 miles from Eilean Donan they took defensive positions at Glen Shiel, a narrow valley which they had reinforced with basic fortifications to block the road as the Government army marched out from Inverness to meet them. In the afternoon of 10th June 1719 the Government forces made their move. Though the armies were fairly evenly matched in size the Government had the added benefit of four mortar batteries.

In an attempt to weaken the enemy, the Government first used the mortars to bombard the Jacobite position. The infantry then came forward to attack the Jacobite flanks, whilst they continued to shell the enemy centre. This kept the Spanish troops pinned down in their defences on the northern slopes of the glen. After three hours of stubborn resistance, the Jacobites were eventually driven from their defensive position and forced into retreat. The Spanish men surrendered later that evening with the local highlanders fleeing to escape execution as traitors.

The Battle of Glen Shiel by Peter Tillemans

The Jacobite lost roughly 100 men and three of their commanders, the Earl of Seaforth, Robert Roy MacGregor and Lord George Murray who was badly injured. When the expected support from the Lowlanders failed to materialise spirits fell and the rising was abandoned.

The Spanish prisoners were taken to Edinburgh but were eventually released back to Spain later the same year. However, one of the peaks of the mountain in Glen Shiel on which the battle took place was named Sgurr nan Spainteach which translate as ‘The Peak of the Spainiards’ in honour of the Spanish forces who fought admirably in the battle.

We hoped you enjoyed this little foray into the 1719 Rising. As always please comment, like, share, tweet and keep coming back to discover more about the many tales of the Jacobite Uprisings.

All the best, K & D







Maria Clementina Sobieska

We have all heard, and know at least a little, of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) but today we take a look at his mother Maria Clementina Sobieska.

Born in 1702, and granddaughter of Polish king John III Sobieska, Maria was one of Europes wealthiest heiresses. She had connections with courts across Catholic Europe, as well as her sizable dowry.

Portrait of Maria Sobieska

Upon her betrothal to James VIII & III, King George I of Great Britain was said to be rather concerned and greatly opposed the idea. He immediately feared the union would result in children who could then challenge the claim to his throne. In order to reassure George I, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI arrested Maria as she made her way to Italy to marry James. She was confined in Innsbruck Castle but eventually was able to make her escape by deceiving her guards and headed to Bolgna in Italy. Here, on 9th May 1719, she was married by proxy to James who was, at the time, in Spain.

Fours months later the couple finally formalised their marriage in a ceremony in the cathedral of Santa Margherita in Montefiascone, Italy on 3rd September. The couple were recognised as the Catholic monarchs of Britain by Pope Clement XI and accepted his invitation to reside in Rome on a Papal allowance of 12,000 crowns a year. The Pope provided them with a papal guard of troops, gave them accommodation in Rome, plus a country villa at Albano.

Santa Margherita in Montefiascone

The marriage is said to have been a turbulent and unhappy affair. Whilst James was fond of Maria’s beauty and elegance it appears Maria was not so taken with James’ less than stunning appearance. Despite this the couple had two sons; Prince Charles was born in December 1720 and was followed by Prince Henry in 1725.

After the birth of Henry though things turned even more sour. James fired the sons governess, a Mrs Shelton, against Maria’s wishes. Shelton had been Maria’s confidante and after her dismissal Maria decided to leave James and went to live in the convent of St Cecilia in Rome. Maria claimed her husband had been unfaithful and, in order to gain support, she also said he had planned to give his sons a protestant education. These claims ensured that the Pope, the Kingdom of Spain and the general public took Maria’s side in the affairs but it would be three years before the couple finally reconciled in 1728.

Charles and Henry Stuart

In practice however, the couple spent their lives living apart. Maria stayed in Rome whilst James tended to stay at the country house in Albano. Maria’s life was one filled with spates of depression and her commitment to her Catholic religion meant she spent a lot of time in prayer and led to long periods of fasting. Her relationship with James consisted only of formal engagements and they rarely connected on a private level. Her relationships with her sons was also interesting. Her youngest, Henry, was his fathers son and therefore the relationship was poor, but with Charles, the eldest, Maria had a much stronger bond. Indeed, when Charles fell ill in 1732, Maria tended to him despite the fact that he was in Albano at the time and she would have to see James to visit him.

Sadly Maria’s life was cut short when she died aged just 32. On 18th January 1735 her trying lifestyle had caught up with her and she passed away at the Apostolic palace in Rome. She was interred with full royal honours in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Pope Clement XII ordered she have a state burial. Today there is a monument to her in St Peter’s Basilica. She is one of three women honoured with monuments in the basilica and hers sees her looking down to those of her husband and sons.

Maria Sobieska’s monument at St Peter’s

We hope you enjoyed this brief insight into Maria Sobieska and as always please like, share, tweet, comment and if you get the chance go and see her monument at St Peter’s.

All the best, K & D





A Jacobite Tale

The Outlander Series of books is not the only time Jacobite history has appeared in works of fiction. In fact, the Jacobites and their complex history have intrigued writers for centuries.

Firstly, we step back to 1814 and Sir Walter Scott with this historical novel ‘Waverley’. This was Scott’s first venture into prose fiction and was originally published anonymously, although it is said almost every reviewer guessed it was his work and many readers recognised his hand. The novel is set during the ’45 rising and follows the story of one Edward Waverley, a young English soldier, as he is sent to Scotland and into the heart of the rebellion. When it was first published it was an astonishing success with the first edition of 1,000 copies selling out within two days. Critics widely praised Scott’s work and it became so popular that his later novels were advertised as being by the author of ‘Waverley’.

From Scott to Stevenson. Written as a ‘boys novel’ Robert Louis Stevensons story ‘Kidnapped’ was first published in the magazine ‘Young Folks’ in 1886 before becoming a novel. The story follows the adventures of David Balfour following the ’45 Rising and includes the ‘Appin Murder’ of 1752 in Ballachulish. Though many of the characters were real people the novel is not historically accurate. The book sold well whilst Stevenson was alive and he followed it up with a sequel ‘Catriona’ but the themes were more romantic than adventurous and it did not reach the same level of fame as ‘Kidnapped’.

Also on the list of Jacobite fiction authors is John Buchan, perhaps best known for the book ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’. In 1923 he published ‘Midwinter’ which is set during the ’45 and tells the tale of Alastair Maclean, confidant of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, who embarks on a secret mission to raise support for the Jacobite cause in the West of England.

Historical fiction was not just tackled by men. In 1925 the first book of ‘The Jacobite Trilogy ‘ was produced by Dorothy Kathleen Broster, better known as D.K. Broster. Featuring the dashing hero Ewen Cameron the trilogy consists of ‘The Flight of the Heron’, ‘The Gleam in the North’ and ‘The Dark Mile’.  The books follow Ewen a small landowner and close relative of the chief of the Clan Cameron across the ’45 Rising and the aftermath of the Jacobite defeat at Culloden.

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon has been the latest big success showing the interest in historical fiction remains and the Jacobite period has plenty to offer in the way of adventure and, in Outlander’s case, romance. Following the main characters of Jamie and Claire through Jacobite history and beyond, the books have now been made into a TV series filmed in Scotland showcasing the dramatic scenery of the country and encouraging many people to see Scotland for themselves.

Recently we have also seen ‘Gathering Storm’ by Maggie Craig published in 2013. The book is set in Edinburgh in 1743 where Jacobite support is growing, causing new tensions in the city. The story could be classed as an historical romance but is full of plenty of crime, politics and intrigue to keep everyone happy. Craig is probably best known for her books ‘Bare Arsed Bandetti’ and ‘Damn Rebel Bitches’ which look at the stories of the men and women of the ’45 Rising and should definitely be checked out.

We hope you enjoyed this dabble into Jacobite fiction and, of course, all these books are on sale in our shop at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre. Also, this month we have a series of talks looking into the world of the Jacobites in fiction including talks from Maggie Craig and Diana Gabaldon. For details on these check out our Events page. http://www.nts.org.uk/Culloden/Visit/Events/

As always please like, share, tweet, comment and let us know your favourite historical fiction books.

All the best, K & D