A Little Bit More Gaelic

In 2015, we wrote a blog post offering some facts about the Gaelic language. As it was such a big part of the Jacobite culture, there has been a lot of effort made to include it at the visitor centre, which encourages many questions about the language, including its history, prevalence at the time of the Battle of Culloden and vocabulary. Below is some more information about Scottish-Gaelic:

In the mid-18th century, Gaelic was by no means spoken by the majority of the Scottish population. Its decline is believed to have begun during the reign of Malcolm III of Scotland (1058-1093), who broke with tradition by giving his sons Anglo-Saxon names. Norman French became favoured by the royals and aristocrats, whereas speaking Ingles, later known as Scots, became increasingly common among those outside of the court. By the 1300s, Scots was the dominant language in both written law and literature.

The Bruce, a patriotic poem written in around 1375, was notably written in Scots, not Gaelic, which reflects the shift that had occurred. By 1755, approximately 23% of the Scottish population spoke Gaelic. Of the 23%, many of them lived in the Highlands and Islands; it had always held great importance to the clans, but repeated blows, such as the loss at Culloden, and the subsequent Highland Clearances, diminished its use more and more as the years passed.

Last autumn, Catriona, Culloden’s Head Education Guide, designed a resource pack for the schools that visit throughout the year. In it she included biographies, family trees, timelines and explanations of commonly used terms. She decided to write it as a dual-language booklet, so that the person can read it in English or turn to the back for the Gaelic. This has proved popular with those who have seen it, as there is the opportunity to attempt to read it in Gaelic, whilst knowing the meaning in English.

To end today’s post, here are some common Scottish surnames and their Gaelic meanings:

The prefix Mac- means son in Gaelic, so Macdonald means son of Donald and so on.

Duff is derived from the Gaelic dubh, which means dark.

Buchanan comes from a Scottish place name that means house of the canon.

Cameron means crooked nose (Gaelic: cam – crooked / sròn – nose).

Murray is derived from the Scottish region Moray and means seaboard settlement in Gaelic.

We hope you enjoyed this little insight into Scottish Gaelic. As always please share, tweet, like and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Advertisements

The Battle of Falkirk Muir

On the 17th January 1746, just under three months before Culloden, the Jacobites won their last battle.

After their success at Prestonpans in September 1745, the general feeling among the Jacobites was one of increased optimism. Charles Edward Stuart, along with the Jacobite army, marched to England in November, reaching Derby in December. He had been hoping to find English and French recruits waiting to join the Jacobites so that they could march on London and overthrow the Hanoverians; upon arriving in England, however, they were all soon disappointed. Back in Montrose, 800 French soldiers had joined, but of the 12,000 that Louis XV had promised to aid an invasion, no more had arrived. There were also fewer English additions than had been expected. Charles wanted to continue onto London regardless, but he was convinced not to, and on the 6th December the Jacobite army began their march back to Scotland.

When the Jacobites returned to Scotland, they were strengthened by the addition of some more recruits, which brought their number to almost 8000 (mostly infantry, with around 300 cavalry). The Jacobites besieged Stirling Castle, which was under the control of Government Major General Blakeney. In an attempt to help Blakeney, Lieutenant General Henry Hawley (known by men as Hangman Hawley due to his harsh treatment of deserters) led a Government army of around 7,000 (mainly infantry, with approximately 700 dragoons) towards Stirling, but found that he was blocked by Lord George Murray at Falkirk Muir.

lordgeorgemurray
Lord George Murray

 

The Jacobite troops were deployed on the 15th and 16th January, as George Murray had been expecting an attack, but the Government army remained in their camp. On the 17th, Henry Hawley, feeling that a battle was not imminent, went to have lunch with Lady Kilmarnock. It was then that George Murray decided to attack, marching the Jacobite army into two lines. As this was happening, Henry Hawley was alerted, and he and his army made the steep climb to meet the Jacobites.

The conditions of the ground at Falkirk Muir, unlike at Culloden, were good for the Highland Charge. Hawley underestimated the power of the Charge, believing that his soldiers would be triumphant due to the speed at which they had shown they could fire volleys of musket shot; on the day, however, as a result of the horrible weather, most of the powder was damp, and as a result the volleys shot were rather weak. A tactic used by the Jacobites to fight the dragoons was to thrust their dirks into the horses’ stomachs, before attacking the dragoons as their horses lost balance.

The battle itself lasted for about twenty minutes, but as a result of the heavy winds, rain and fading light (the battle had begun at 4pm), there was initially a bit of confusion as to who had won. The Government survivors had retreated towards Linlithgow, and it was not until the next day, when George Murray saw more than 300 dead Government men lying on the ground, that he was sure that the Jacobites, who had lost around 50, had won. It is estimated that a further 300 Government soldiers were captured.

falkirk
Battle of Falkirk Memorial

 

The Jacobites abandoned the siege of Stirling Castle, and instead decided to go north to their Highland strongholds with the plan of renewing the campaign in the spring. The Duke of Cumberland arrived in Edinburgh on the 30th January. Henry Hawley met with him and the two, along with the rest of the Government army, travelled to Aberdeen. The Duke of Cumberland made sure than the troops were practised in a new tactic that would make them able to withstand a Highland Charge (in a pair the troops were told to always stab at the right regardless of what was coming towards them, reducing the power of the targe). In pursuit of Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobites, they reached Culloden in April, where the two armies fought for a final time.

We hope you enjoyed this insight into one of the most famous battles of the ’45. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Special Screening of the short film 1745

1745 poster - portrait_updated

Culloden and the ’45 have acted as a backdrop to many different stories (from the stories of Bonnie Prince Charlie escaping the Highlands to lost gold and treasure) some with more truth in them than others; and on Friday the 2 March we are hosting a special screening of the short film 1745 – An Untold Story of Slavery.

Originally created by writer Morayo Akandé and developed together with her sister Moyo Akandé as The Atkin Sisters, “1745” won a place on the coveted Scottish Film Talent Shorts scheme for 2016.

Joining us for the evening will be the Director of the film Gordon Napier.

Gordon Napier is originally from the Highlands of Scotland Gordon has a Master of Fine Art in Film Directing at Edinburgh College of Art. Gordon was awarded the highly coveted UK Prince William BAFTA & Warner Bros. Scholarship for his film work and is supported by both organisations through his professional development. He’s also had varied film experience from working on big productions like Harry Potter and 007: Skyfall and on intimate charity documentaries in the Mongolian Gobi Desert. His focus is primarily on directing short fiction films, which explore the human condition and the complexities of family relationships through the prism of the natural world. Gordon has filmed extensively in the Highlands of Scotland – shorts include Annam and Tide.

The proceeds of the screening go to the National Trust for Scotland helping conserve and tell the story of some of Scotland’s most iconic sites and untold stories.

After the screening members of the team will run a twilight tour of the exhibition highlighting some of the links between Culloden and the history of slavery.

We hope some of you will be able to join us!

To discover more events at Culloden Battlefield check out our website: https://www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Culloden

Who wasn’t at Culloden?

We get many people coming through the exhibition here at Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre asking where their clan was in the battle and sometimes the answer isn’t always what they expect.

Whilst many men from the Jacobite army were indeed at Culloden there were a couple of parties who didn’t make it to the field of battle on 16th April 1746.

arch
Culloden Battlefield

 

Firstly, the Earl of Cromarties regiment. This regiment originally joined the Jacobite forces in Perth and consisted of men raised by George MacKenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie. There were many Mackenzies in the regiment as well as other clan names with MacLeod, Ross, Campbell and MacLean, just to name a few. Around 80 men had been raised from Cromarties own estates and many of the other men were recruited from the northern highland around Dingwall and Tain.

In early 1746 the regiment was ordered north to try and meet with a French ship in the Moray Firth and to try and help contain the Government regiment of Lord Loudon. The regiment was largely successful and took command of Dunrobin Castle as their base. However, the day before Culloden (15th April 1746) the regiment was returning to the castle when they were surprised by a Government force. Many of the men were killed and some 180 men were taken prisoner including the Earl of Cromartie and his son. Thus, the regiment would not be present at Culloden and many of the men would face a spell in prison followed by transportation.

cull5
Jacobite marker at Culloden

 

Another large regiment not present at the battle of Culloden was that of MacPherson of Cluny. This regiment was raised largely in Badenoch by Ewan Macpherson of Cluny and joined the Jacobites in Edinburgh in October 1745. The regiment was the last to leave Derby in the retreat and took a key role in the Battle of Falkirk in January 1746. On the day of Culloden they were said to be just a few miles from the moor when they came across men retreating. The battle had barely lasted an hour and the regiment could not make it to the moor to help their fellow Jacobites in time. They did however, form part of the rear-guard which helped protect the men as they fled to Ruthven Barracks. Following Culloden many of the men later surrendered in Badenoch, however Cluny himself remained a fugitive for 9 years until he finally made his way to France.

As well as these regiments there were many individual men who were absent from the battle. Some were on separate expeditions like these regiments whilst others were simply exhausted from the unsuccessful night march and the lack of provisions. As Culloden was the last of several Jacobite battles there were also many men who were taken prisoner by the Government forces, killed during battles and skirmishes or injured in the Jacobite Rising.

We hope you found this information interesting. As always please like, share, tweet and comment to let us know if there is any topic you’d be interested to know more about.

All the best,

The Culloden Team