Scottish Enlightenment

Whilst we mainly focus on the Jacobite history here at Culloden it is always nice to branch out and look at life in the 18th Century from a broader view. This week we get to look at something a bit cheerier than usual and discover some of the achievements that occurred in Scotland during the Scottish Enlightenment.

The Scottish Enlightenment saw a period of time where thinkers excelled and Scotland saw a rush of scientific and intellectual accomplishments. Important fields such as chemistry, medicine, archaeology, philosophy and engineering all advanced at a much faster rate than previously seen. But what caused this period of success?

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Portrait of bustling Edinburgh in the 18th Century

 

To understand how such a time of enlightenment could come about we have to look back a little. Firstly, for centuries Scotland was lucky enough to have strong links with Europe and from the 13th Century they had studied at Europe’s great institutions learning from all avenues and bringing back their knowledge to Scotland. Secondly, if we look to after the Reformation there was a desire that every parish should have a school. It took a long time for this to be a reality but by the late 17th Century most places, especially in the lowlands of Scotland had a school. Therefore, most children were attending school, if only for a few years, and were encouraged in the act of learning.

Then we look at the Jacobite Risings. The events that took place, the Act of Union and the eventual defeat of Prince Charles’ army led to a time when politics did not take such a front seat. This meant there was a social gap which educated men were ready to fill. Edinburgh became a great place to be and the hub of many great men. The city went through big changes with the creation of the New Town and its university, where students were able to attend lectures in a range of subjects, became one of the best in the world.

Men from the enlightenment are still know today and include David Hume, a philosopher who had great impacts of the theory of knowledge, Adam Smith who did amazing work in the field of economics, Robert Adam the architect whose work is seen in Culzean Castle and James Hutton who is credited by many as being the founder of modern geology.

NPG 2953,Robert Adam,attributed to George Willison
Robert Adam whose architectural can be seen at Culzean Castle

 

Scotland thrived as the political and religious authorities relaxed their views on new ideas and the country became a leader in new research across Europe. We see amazing inventions stemming from the Enlightenment. James Watt invented a new type of steam engine in 1765 transforming the way many factories worked and Charles Macintosh developed the waterproof material from which his famous Macs were made.

After the hardship and turmoil of the Jacobite Risings, Scotland emerged as a nucleus of innovative thinking and the Scottish Enlightenment was a period of great progress and innovation.

We hope you enjoyed this very brief insight into the Enlightenment, as always please like, share, tweet, comment and be sure to discover more about the many men who contributed to this amazing period in history.

All the best, K & D

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The Mysterious Jacobite Verse of the National Anthem

There occasionally arises rumours that the British National Anthem actually contains an extra verse which takes aim against the Jacobites. But, how true are these claims?

The National Anthem as we know it today consists of three verses, of which we only usually sing one. It was established in the early 19th Century but its precursor was first sung during the 1745 Jacobite Rising. The anthem was performed on 28th September 1745, just a week after the Battle of Prestonpans, in the Drury Lane Theatre in London. The performance was of just the first two verses, the third was added to the anthem slightly later, but it was apparently so popular that the performance was repeated every night that week.

The verses in their original form were as follows:

God save great GEORGE our king,
Long live our noble king.
God save the king.
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us.
God save the king.
O Lord, our God arise,
Scatter his enemies,
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On him our hopes we fix,
O save us all.
Thy choicest gifts in store
On George be pleas’d to pour,
Long may he reign:
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To say with heart and voice
God save the king.

So, where did this fourth verse come from? Luckily the words help us with this answer as the fourth verse was supposedly as follows:

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
and like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush!
God save the King!

although it also appears as:

Oh! grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy gracious aid
Victory bring;
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush,
And the French King!

Either form helps us decipher the mystery as they talk of Marshal Wade bringing victory to the British. Wade commanded part of the British army during 1745 before being replaced by the Duke of Cumberland in the New Year. Therefore there was a period of roughly three months, between Prestonpans and the New Year, where this verse may have been used.

There are no accounts of the extra verse ever being performed or sung and only a couple references in texts so it was a very short lived phenomenon. Also, it is important to note that the verse was never part of the National Anthem as this was not formalised until the early 19th Century. If anything it was a used as a temporary sing-along that would quickly have become irrelevant following the arrival of the Duke of Cumberland.

There have been a number of additional verses and alternate versions of the anthem over the years, including a peace version in 1919. The stories of the Jacobite Risings as fascinating tales and it is not surprising that this one verse has popped up over the years to stoke debate. However, it cannot be classed as an official verse of the National Anthem and so must remain a temporary event that is now held in history.

We hope you enjoyed this short post, as always please comment, share, tweet and like.

All the best, K & D

 

 

Sgian Dubh

Many people who visit Scotland love discovering more about the traditional Highland dress and part of that is the Sgian Dubh.

Today the Sgian Dubh (pronounced ‘skian doo) is a small single edged blade worn at the calf, tucked into your sock. The Gaelic roughly translates as ‘black dagger’, sgian meaning dagger or knife and dubh meaning black.  The reason for the term black has had some theories over the years. Some feel it represents the most common colour of the hilt of the blade whereas others feel it has a meaning of secrecy and symbolises that the blade was hidden away as a secret weapon.

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Example of a Sgian Dubh (museumreplicas.com)

 

It is not entirely clear where the blade originated from. Some believe it was developed from an old dagger that men used to conceal in the upper sleeves of their jacket, known as the ‘armpit dagger’ or sgian achlais. Women may also have kept a similar blade tucked in the folds of their skirt. Others believe it evolved from a simple small skinning knife that was then utilised as a hidden weapon.

Regardless the sgian dubh as we know it was probably around from the early to mid 18th Century and there are some great portraits in the national Portrait gallery of clan chiefs with the sgian dubh being worn. Early blades were quite simple with hilts made from antler and simple leather sheaths. However, as time moved on and they became more widely used, along side the highland dirk, the work became more elaborate, especially for those wealthy enough to afford quality weapons. The handles were, as we said, often black and shaped to rest beside the leg, they became more intricately carved with celtic designs or clan motifs and some even had stones set into the top of the handle.

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Sgian Dubh (thekiltstore.com)

 

Today the sgian dubh are typically shorter than they would have been during the 18th Century, maybe an inch or so less on the blade. Also the modern blades made today are unsurprisingly used for ceremonial purposes rather than skinning animals and threatening enemies. Many are made with blunted edges and there are even ‘safe’ sgian dubh made from plastic so that children can wear them and for travelling.

We hope you enjoyed the insight into part of the Scottish dress and as always please share, like, comment and tweet and feel free to share your stories with us.

All the best, K & D

Damn Rebel Bitches: Women of the ’45

On the 30 September Maggie Craig will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of her classic book Damn Rebel Bitches: Women of the ’45. drb20

Damn Rebel Bitches takes a closer look at the roles women played in the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and the consequences it had on their lives.

Most people visiting Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre have heard the name Flora MacDonald, normally mentioning she helped Bonnie Prince Charlie when he dressed up as a woman, right…? Not necessarily knowing much else about her.

Many other women involved in the ’45 are virtually unheard of to some of our visitors. Here are just a couple which Maggie Craig looks at in her writing.

Barbara Campbell, red haired, age 19, and from Perthshire. She was described as tall and clever, she was arrested with seven other women on the Carlisle road in November 1745. On the 8 May 1747 Barbara was on the Veteran, a ship with 149 people destined for indentured service in Antigua. However, in a strange twist of fate Barbara and her fellow prisoners were rescued by a French ship.

Anne Stewart of Burray from Orkney was arrested for treason at her home in August 1746. Anne was transported to London by ship, she was then imprisoned on a prison hulk by Tilbury in Essex. She was imprisoned in a cabin on the ship (not the hold where common folk were kept) she slept on the floor and had the basic rate of subsistence, 4pence per day. She was transferred with the help of Colonel James Stuart, a government officer, to a house in Derby Court. After a trial, where her tenants testified against her, she was released under the general amnesty in July 1747 and went to live in Quality St in Leith.

Charlotte Robertson, Lady Lude was a young widow in her early 30’s and daughter of Jacobite supporter Lady Nairne, her cousin was the Jacobite Duke of Atholl, William. She threatened her tenants into joining the Jacobite army. Charlotte was described as a “…light gigelet…” and presented Prince Charles Edward Stuart with his first Pineapple! Her home was later plundered and vandalised by government soldiers and she was arrested. She was later released without charge.

Isabel Haldane of Ardsheal came to the attention of Captain Caroline Fredrick Scott of the government army. Scott, a notoriously nasty man,  arrived at her home in August 1746 and ransacked her entire house and cut down the trees in the orchard. The doors and wood panelling were removed and the contents were taken to Fort William to be sold. At the time Isobel was pregnant and had her children with her.

Hopefully the stories of these ladies has inspired you to join us at Maggie Craig’s celebration of Damn Rebel Bitches or pick up a copy of the book and be inspired by the stories of women caught up in the turbulent events of 1745/6. #DRB20

maggie craig

As always please like, share, comment, tweet and share your love of Maggie Craigs amazing works.

All the best, K & D

 

Touch Pieces and the ‘Royal Touch’

Our recent visit to the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh was a fantastic trip and the collections of objects on show was brilliant. Amongst the artefacts were some unique touch pieces that were used during the Jacobites Risings.

Touch pieces were typically a coin or a medal that was believed to cure diseases or bring good luck. During the Jacobites Risings the Stuarts were believed to have the ‘royal touch’ and they were able to help cure people simply by touching them.

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An example of a touch piece

 

Most Jacobite touch pieces were used to help cure people of scrofula, a form of tuberculosis. The disease was also known as the ‘King’s or Queen’s Evil’ and many people “found” themselves cured after being touched by a monarch. This was seen to be proof that the monarch had the divine right to rule directly from God. However, scrofula was not generally fatal and could cure itself but that didn’t stop the idea of the ‘royal touch’ from growing.

When James VII & II was deposed and William and Mary took the throne they refused to participate in the ‘royal touch’. This furthered the idea for some Jacobites that Mary and William were not the rightful heirs to the thrones. When Mary’s sister, Anne took the throne she apparently shared William and Mary’s views and did not wish to touch people but her advisers convinced her to restart the practice.

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Prince Charles Edward Stuart

 

All the Jacobite Stuarts, including Charles Edward Stuart and his brother Henry Benedict Stuart, were known to have carried out the ceremony to help cure their followers. There are lots of records of Jacobite touch pieces being made, it is believed the majority were made from silver, although there were gold versions produced.

The Stuart royal family were one of the last main users of touch pieces in British history as the practice eventually stopped, many believe this is because it was seen as too Catholic.

We hope you enjoyed finding out a wee bit more about touch pieces as always please like, tweet, comment, share and be sure to check out the Jacobite exhibition at the NMS in Edinburgh for yourselves.

All the best, K & D