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

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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

 

King Charles II

We tend to start our story here at Culloden with James VII & II but before he became king, it was his brother Charles II who ruled in Scotland and England.

Charles II was king of Scotland from 1649 when he was proclaimed by the Parliament of Scotland on 5th February. He was eventually crowned at Scone in 1651. However, he only became King of Scotland, England & Ireland in 1660 when the English restored the monarchy following a period of republican rule led by Cromwell.

Prior to the restoration of the monarchy Charles II operated in exile. He attempted to lead a force against Cromwell and the republic. It was during this time that the famous story of Charles hiding in an oak tree to escape capture originates. Charles II was unsuccessful in his attempts to overthrow Cromwell and following his defeat he spent ten years moving from country to country to stay out of Cromwell’s reach.

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Charles II

 

When Cromwell died in 1659 Charles issued a declaration in which he promised to uphold the Anglican church and offered his enemies a pardon if he was restored to the throne. Finally, he was eventually invited back and became King of England, Scotland and Ireland. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1661 for which a new set of crown jewels had to be made after Cromwell melted down the previous set.

Charles II’s reign was filled with some major events, including an awful plague in 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. He unsuccessfully led the English against the Dutch in the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667) and then joined forces with the French to fight again in the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-1674) which ended with the Treaty of Westminster.

Part of his agreement with the French when he joined to fight with them was a treaty he signed in which he agreed to convert to Catholicism. Although he did not do this straight away it was still a worry for the parliament who did not want a Catholic ruler. Charles and his wife, Queen Catherine, had not managed to produce an heir to the throne and many were already concerned that the crown would pass to his brother James who had become a Catholic. To try and dispel some of the worry amongst his subjects Charles II arranged for his niece Mary to marry William of Orange, a protestant, in 1677.

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Charles II coronation in 1661 at Westminster Abbey

 

However, this did not solve the issue. A year later there was a plot to assassinate Charles II’s brother and the tension between Charles II and his subjects appeared to take a toll on him. Eventually, apparently fed up with all the conflict, he dissolved the Parliament in 1679 and decided to rule alone.

He continued as King for another 6 years when he suffered a suspected stroke. On his deathbed he finally made good on his treaty with France and did indeed convert to Catholicism. The suddenness of Charles II’s death led some to believe he had been poisoned but this has been shown, through modern analysis, to be false. Charles II was buried in Westminster Abbey in Henry VII’s chapel but there was no monument raised for him. Instead, a life size wax effigy was placed over his grave and this figure can still be seen in the museum at Westminster Abbey.

We hoped you enjoyed this little insight to Charles II. As always please like, tweet, comment and share and feel free to delve deeper into the history of what many would call the most popular member of the Stuarts.

All the best, K & D

 

 

 

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.

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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

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