The MacGillivrays at Culloden

As you walk the battlefield here at Culloden you pass the memorial cairn and many clan graves, but you  also pass the ‘Well of the Dead’. This small spot on the battlefield stands at the point where the Chief of the MacGillivray clan supposedly fell during the battle and, as we are often asked about this spot, we thought we’d take this chance to look a little at the MacGillivray’s during the time of Culloden.

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Stone at the Well of the Dead

 

The MacGillivray’s were strong followers of the Jacobites and came out to support the cause in both the 1715 and the 1745 Risings. They are a part of Clan Chattan, which was essential an alliance between several clans including MacGillivray, Mackintosh and Macpherson. In 1745 Clan Chattan the majority of Clan Chattan followed Prince Charles Edward Stuart in his cause.

However, an interesting exception to this was the chief of Clan Mackintosh who was serving with the Black Watch in 1745 and thus was unable to raise his men for the Jacobites. Thus it was left to his wife, Lady Anne Mackintosh to raise Mackintosh’s for Prince Charles. She herself could not lead the men in battle and so she appointed Alexander MacGillivray of Dunmaglass, the chief of Clan MacGillivray to help lead the men of Clan Chattan at Culloden. MacGillivray was a strong choice as he was a respected leader and fearsome warrior, standing some 6ft 5in tall.

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Clach an Airm

 

Before the battle the stories say that Clan Chattan gathered to sharpen their swords at the Clach an Airm, an ancient stone which rested near the battlefield. Here the men queued in line to sharpen their blades on the four foot high stone, ensuring that their weapons were sharp and ready for the battle to come.

In battle it was MacGillivray who began the Highland Charge with Clan Chattan, making the first moves towards the Government men. The charge, lead by MacGillivray, was a ferocious effort to try and claim a Jacobite victory. MacGillivray led the clan against the Government cannons, grapeshot and musket fire and the Chattan clans were remarkably able to break through the first line of the Government army. They breached Barrells regiment but unfortunately could not make any further progress. The Government ranks from behind moved forward and surrounded the Jacobite soldiers with heavy musket fire and ultimately forced them to withdraw.

MacGillivray himself was gravely hurt in the attack but managed to stumble back a little way before he began to succumb to his wounds. There is a story that tells of MacGillivray as he lay dying. A young drummer boy was moaning for water and MacGillivray, in his last act, was able to lead him to a spring in the moor. The spring is now known as the ‘Well of the Dead’ and is said to mark the point where MacGillivray died.

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Well of the Dead at Culloden

 

After the battle MacGillivray was apparently buried in a mass grave with many other men who had fallen in combat. The graves were supposedly guarded by Government men for six weeks before the MacGillivray’s men were able to go and exhume his body. They then took him to the nearby kirk of Petty where he was given a proper burial.

As a consequence of joining the Jacobite cause the MacGillivray’s forfeited their lands for several years before they were able to regain them. Unfortunately bit by bit the lands had to be sold of to pay various debts. With life in Scotland proving tough many clansmen emigrated overseas to America and Canada. Included in these men was a Lachlan MacGillivray whose son, Alexander, would go on to become High Chief of the Creek Indians in Alabame and William MacGillivray who would become the superintendent of the North West Trading Company of Montreal and after whom Fort William in Ontario is named.

So, there you go, a bit more information about just some of the many men who fought here at Culloden. We hope you enjoyed it, as always please like, share, tweet, comment and next time you walk past the Well of Dead you’ll know the story behind it’s importance.

All the best, K & D

 

Ready for a new adventure?

The National Trust for Scotland is lucky enough to have thousands of people volunteering with us to help conserve properties, artefacts and landscapes in our care and help provide fantastic experiences to all our visitors.

However, you may not be aware just how many ways you can volunteer with the Trust. So, if you’re looking for something new to try this year why not take a look at how you can support the National Trust for Scotland.

Firstly, check out the Thistle Camps. These are essentially working holidays. The National Trust for Scotland recently launched its new list of Thistle Camps for 2017 and they are a great opportunity to volunteer, gain skills and have a bit of a fun whilst discovering somewhere new at the same time. There are lots to choose from and you can help with archaeology projects, discover drystane dyking techniques, spend some time kayaking or help create and maintain footpaths on some of Scotland’s most beautiful mountains. (The evenings off aren’t too bad either!) The camps are fantastic fun and very popular so be sure to get in quick to grab your top choice as they fill up fast. Thistle Camps

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Drystane Dyking in Threave

 

If you love the outdoors then definitely consider becoming a Conservation Volunteer. Here you can help the Trust by joining various projects across the country. This could be helping in the garden of a castle, building footpaths on a gorgeous mountain, or contributing to woodland management. You get to experience the wonderful countryside we help protect across the country, meet new people and fit in some exercise. Not only that but there are also training opportunities and lectures which you can attend to learn more skills and build on your knowledge of our wild and beautiful landscapes. The only thing we can’t guarantee is the weather, it is Scotland after all. Conservation Volunteers

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Footpaths Repaired by Conservation Volunteers

 

Probably our best known volunteers are our property volunteers. If you want to help a property then we are always happy to hear from you. Here at Culloden you can join our learning team sharing the knowledge of the battle to people from across the globe and running object handling sessions. If castles tempt you you can become a room or tour guide at many of our properties and our gardens are always looking for those with green fingers to come along. Many of us starting life as a volunteer, including myself as a tour guide at Brodie Castle. It’s easy to fall in love with a property as you discover all its secrets and it is incredible to be able to then share these stories with visitors and make their visit to Scotland even more special. Volunteering

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Volunteer Demonstrations at Culloden

 

With over 3,000 amazing and supportive volunteers we have a brilliant volunteering community throughout Scotland. If you want to join us and help support the National Trust for Scotland, what are you waiting for? Check out the links above, stop by your nearest property and get started on a new adventure. Volunteer with us

All the best, K & D

A Year in Pictures

With 2016 drawing to a close we thought we’d take a look back at all the fun we’ve had this year, with a year in the life of Culloden.

Things started off pretty crazy at Culloden with a total shop refit in January. In the space of three weeks we had the entire space gutted and rebuilt. The best parts for us was firstly getting to help tear the old shop apart. We certainly impressed some of the guys with our ability to rip up floor tiles! And obviously the finished result which looked amazing.

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From an empty shell to a stylish shop

 

To get the year started with a smile we had great fun running kelpies and selkies workshops. Here we got to share some of the great folk tales that Scotland has, as well as getting to have a bit of a play with some arts and crafts.

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Some happy Kelpies at Culloden

 

We also had some snow in February which made the battlefield look gorgeous. No snow yet this winter but we’ll have to wait and see what the new year brings.

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Our gorgeous snow covered battlefield

 

Big excitement in March when we welcomed two new members to the Culloden team, our new ponies, Rosie and Glen. These two fitted in straight away and have busy working hard all year helping our facilities team to maintain the battlefield and prevent the spread of invasive plant species.

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Glen (all white) and Rosie (black with white stripe) our stunning ponies

 

By April we hit the Anniversary and this year it was big one as it marked 270 years since the battle. We hosted the annual commemoration service and had lots of guest lecturers delivering a whole programme of talks about the Jacobites, the battlefield and its archaeology.

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Marking 270 years since the Battle of Culloden

 

In summer things were non-stop. With coaches, cruise ships, visitors from all across the world it was certainly a busy season. We hosted our annual walk in the gloaming which saw its best attendance yet and is fast become a favourite annual event.

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Atmospheric Walk Through the Gloaming

 

And of course, we managed to keep the visitors happy with our volunteers working hard to deliver insightful presentations and run our living history workshops.

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An example of one of our workshops

 

We also managed to take time out to head down to Glenfinnan which reopened the doors to the famous monument after some wonderful restoration work on the tower itself and the beautiful plaques that surround it.

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Glenfinnan Monument

 

By October we were pleased to welcome Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland back for the annual Culloden Run which saw almost 500 runners taking part and raising money for this fantastic cause.

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Annual Culloden Run

 

Things didn’t slow down with our Community Thank You Day in November offering tours, presentations, dancing and singing for everyone to enjoy. And so that brings us to December where we’ve all been getting into the Christmas spirit and enjoying the last few weeks before we start the whole cycle again!

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Discovering the Doctor’s Surgery

 

We’d love to see you come along and join the excitement and history at Culloden next year. As always please like, comment, tweet and keep your eye on the Culloden website to keep up to date with all the events coming up next year.

All the best, K & D

 

 

Clifton Moor – last battle on English soil?

On 18th December 1745 the Jacobites and the Hanoverians met at Clifton Moor. The Jacobites had begun their retreat from Derby with the British forces following closely behind. At Clifton the Jacobites chose to make a stand and face the men chasing them. They once again proved the effectiveness of the Highland Charge and were able to defeat the Hanoverians and continue on their trek north.

However, the big question for today is, was this the last battle on English soil? It sounds a fairly simple question but the answer is not so straightforward.

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The main problem here is, how do you class something as a battle? Culloden we are happy to call a battle but Clifton Moor is not so easy and is considered by many to be a skirmish. The difficulty lies in definitions generally a battle is larger than a skirmish and is usually a pitched event with large numbers and the main body of the army coming together to support their cause. A skirmish on the other hand is considered to be smaller without the main body of the army and with limited combat.

Since Clifton Moor involved mainly just the rear guard of the Jacobites with roughly 1,000 men it is typically given the title of skirmish. So, if we discount Clifton Moor we have to look back to the next closest contender with would be the Battle of Preston in 1715, another Jacobite action. Here Jacobites barricaded the main streets of Preston as six regiments of Government men arrived to stop the Jacobite advance. The main battle lasted from 12th November to the 14th November when a surrender was finally agreed and almost 1,500 Jacobites were taken prisoner.

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But again, was this a battle? Here the debate is that Preston was actually a siege. A siege is considered to occur when an assault is made on a place that has been blocked and sealed by forces within. Thus the town,city etc. is surrounded, supplies are cut off and the hope is that the forces inside ultimately surrender and/or are captured.  This sounds like it matches the description of the Battle of Preston so once again some choose to discount this battle and look even further back.

Finally we come to 1685 and the Battle of Sedgemoor. Fought on 6th July 1685 this battle was the last battle of the Monmouth Rebellion. The rebellion was fought between the duke of Monmouth and King James II & VII. James had taken the throne following the death of his brother Charles II but the Duke of Monmouth believed he should be king as Charles II’s illegitimate son. the battle saw 4,000 of Monmouth’s men face 3,000 royalist troops. The superior training of the royalists quickly outflanked Monmouth’s men and the battle was a decisive win for James II.

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Battle of Sedgemoor Memorial

 

The Battle of Sedgemoor seems to meet all the criteria for a battle. It saw the main force of Monmouth’s army all coming together to fight for one cause and saw a pivotal moment in the rebellion as it effectively ended Monmouth’s attempt on the throne. It was certainly not a siege and the men and gravity of the fighting make it too large for a skirmish. Therefore, most people at least agree that this was a battle so this could be classed as the last battle on English soil.

Before we finish also worth a mention is the Battle of Graveney March. This took place on 27th September 1940. Here a German plane was forced to crash land and when the British forces arrived the German crew had armed themselves with weapons. After a heated exchange of gunfire the German crew were eventually captured. The action allowed the British to take hold of the German aircraft and gain useful information and intelligence from the craft. Once again though the classification of a battle is debated and with the German crew consisting of just four men many class the action as a skirmish.

So, when was the last battle on English soil? To be honest we still don’t know for sure. It all depends on how you feel these actions should be classified. but, then again, should the classifications really matter. Each of the battles/skirmished/sieges above are important in their own right and each show acts of bravery, pain, success and losses. who can say which is the most important? Regardless of which one was ‘the last battle’ they are all important and all deserve to be remembered.

We hope you enjoyed this post. As always please like, comment, follow, tweet and be sure to give us your views on battles and sieges and skirmishes and conflicts and any other actions that are important.

All the best, K & D

History in Action

Among the amazing castles, homes, gardens and, of course, battlefields that the National Trust for Scotland looks after there are some great places of industrial heritage which we thought we’d take a little look at today.

Firstly, one of our favourites, and perfect for us wannabe writers, Robert Smail’s Printing Works.

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Robert Smail’s Printing Works

 

Located in the Scottish borders, this small business first starting printing in 1856 and continues to this day. It is a fantastic place, a real treasure trove of items with newspapers, ledgers and paper stacked everyone. Details of every job that the company took on in over 100 years was kept and catalogued. And today, you can still see the machinery in action and be taken back to the time of the Victorian printer. You can try typesetting and letter pressing all with the tremendous sounds of industry in action around you. It’s a fantastically fun place to see and great that it still makes some of the Trusts literature we use today.

Over in the east, we have the lovely site of Preston Mill.

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Preston Mill

 

Some people will recognise this as one of the locations in the Outlander TV series and it’s easy to see why it was chosen, with its unique charm and character. Today the site offers guided tours taking you inside to see the workings of what was East Lothians last working water mill. A mill has been on the site since 1599 but the building would have changed a few times over the years. With its distinctive Dutch style conical-roof it is instantly recognisable and offers a lovely escape from the cities to a quieter spot.

Looking west, we get to Weavers Cottage near Glasgow.

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Weaver’s Cottage

 

This 18th Century cottage recreates the living and working conditions of a typical handloom weaver. Here you can explore the authentic Kilbarchan looms and spinning wheels, as well as see the traditional tartan that they could have made. In the 18th Century there were over 800 handlooms in the village but by the 1930’s just 20 remained. Today the process is rather soothing with its rhythmic motion and we love the fact that there is plenty of colour around the house with all the different fabrics to be found.

Finally, a bit further north near Dundee is another mill, Barry Mill.

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Barry Mill

 

The big highlight of Barry Mill is the fact that it is still working. And for a place where the youngest bit of equipment is from roughly 1910, this is quite impressive. Barry Mill is one of very few remaining water mills in Scotland that are operational and can actually be viewed by the public. We like it because of its peaceful setting that is broken by the splash of the water wheel as it turns. If you go try and visit on a Sunday when demonstrations of the milling typically take place.

Hopefully, one or more of these properties take your fancy and it’s nice to discover a little about the variety of the properties that the National Trust for Scotland helps care for and protect. As always please like, share, tweet, comment and remember if you’re a member of the Trust then you can visit all these places for free.

All the best, K & D

 

The Old Pretender

James Francis Edward Stuart was nicknamed ‘the Old Pretender’ after his father was deposed and the throne of Scotland and England was passed to William and Mary. Here we take a look at his life.

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James VIII & III

 

James was born on 10th June 1688 at St James’s Palace in London and his birth was controversial to say the least. James was the son of existing king James VII & II and his second wife, Mary of Modena. James would be a Catholic heir to the throne of Scotland and England and this was not something that was favourably look upon. Almost as soon as he was born rumours began to spread that James was an impostor. It was believed that the true child had been a stillborn and James was smuggled in in a warming pan to replace the sadly deceased baby. James’ father was forced to publish several eyewitness testimonies to put a stop to these rumours and assure everyone that James was indeed their son and heir.

Less than a year after James’ birth the Glorious Revolution began with William of Orange arriving from Holland to contest the throne. On 9th December 1688 James’ mother Mary, supposedly disguised as a laundress, escaped Britain taking James over to the relative safety of France. It was here that he was brought up with the French court regarding him and his family as the true monarchs.

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The Old Pretender

 

When James’ father died in 1701 King Louis XIV of France along with Spain and the Papal States recognised James as James VII of Scotland and III of England. However, as a result of accepting this title he was attainted for treason in London and all his English estates were forfeited. The next twenty years would see James make various attempts to retake the throne which he felt was rightfully his.

In 1708 his first attack was launched. Initially delayed because James had contracted measles he set out from France with almost 30 ships carrying some 5,000 men to reach Scotland. This would be the largest ever French expedition to come within striking distance of Britain in support for James. Unfortunately, as the fleet approached the Royal Navy were ready. James’ measles may have given them the time needed to prepare for James’ attack. The French ships were forced to flee under the strength of the Royal Navy and took flight along the north coast of Scotland, with many ships being destroyed along the rocky coastline. After this James joined the French army for a while before he was asked to leave France in 1713 as part of the conditions of Frances peace agreement with Britain.

In 1715, James tried again. This time he reached mainland and most people suggest that this was the uprising that should have worked. See our blog on 1715 for more info. Unfortunately, once again James was denied. Despite winning at the Battle of Sheriffmuir, and in Preston, James ultimately gave up the fight when he heard Government reinforcements were on the way. He fled Scotland and returned to the continent but his apparent abandonment of his men left a poor impression on many and his welcome back was not great.

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James VIII & III

 

After the failed 1715 invasion he eventually took up residence in Rome where the pope recognised him as the rightful king and gave him the Palazzo Muti to have as his home. James made one finally attempt on the British throne in 1719 with some Spanish support but this ultimately came to nothing. Then in May 1719 James married Maria Sobieska by proxy and later, in September, they renewed their vows in person. The following year they gave birth to their first son Charles Edward Stuart. This was followed five years later by another son Henry Benedict Stuart.

By 1745 it was Charles who was looking to take the British throne and it is said that James and Charles clashed many times over Charles plans to attempt his own rising. As we know the rising did not succeed and Charles returned to the continent. The relationship was further damaged when James helped his son Henry in his goal of becoming a cardinal. AS such Henry would have no legitimate children to carry on the Stuart line and Charles was said to be angry that the decision had been made without him being consulted.

James lived in Rome for the rest of his life where he was well treated. He died on 1st January 1766 in his home at the Palazzo Muti. Later he was buried in St Peters basilica in Vatican city and his tomb is marked by a monument to the Stuarts. After James’ death the Pope refused to recognise Charles as the rightful king and finally accepted the Hanoverian succession to the throne.

Interestingly James ‘reign’ had it been recognised would have lasted for 64 years, 3 months and 16 days longer than any other monarch until Queen Elizabeth passed this total in May this year.

We hope you enjoyed this brief insight into the life of James and as always please like, share, tweet, comment and keep coming back for more.

All the best, K & D

 

 

 

FAQ’s

We get many questions asked here at Culloden so to help clear a few things up here are our most common queries.

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Culloden Memorial Cairn

 

 Where does the name Jacobite come from?

We talk about the Jacobites a lot but don’t mention the origin of the name that much. The term actually comes from the Latin for the name James which is Jacobus. James VII & II was deposed as King and it was after this that the first Risings began. So the Jacobites were essentially the followers of King James VII & II and subsequently his son and grandson.

 So, the English won?

No! We get a lot of visitors who believe that the battle of Culloden was Scotland vs. England but this just is not true. There were Scots on both sides and English on both sides. The Jacobites had a whole regiment raised in Manchester and the Government army had Scottish clans fighting with them. And, this doesn’t even consider the number of French, Irish and Dutch fighting. Culloden was a civil war which pitched members of the same family against each other so was not a simple matter. For more check out our other blog ‘It’s not Scotland vs England’

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Jacobite flag on Culloden Battlefield

 

Why did they fight at Culloden? 

This question is for the Jacobites. They were famous for their tactic of the highlands charge and yet at Culloden they were lined up on a boggy field which served to slow them down. The answer is debated to this day. After a long march the night before the Jacobites were scattered as they searched for food or tried to sleep but the Government were soon upon them. Some argued they should position themselves nearer the river Nairn where they could use their charge with more effect. Some felt the boggy moor would hinder the government horse and artillery. Ultimately on the day of the battle no council of war was held to decide the best spot. This may have been because Prince Charles feared his men would argue for a tactical retreat. Thus, on the day of battle it was Prince Charles who ordered his men to form a line across Drummossie Moor to meet the Government men.

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One of the gravestone on the battlefield

 

How many men fought on each side and how many died?

Again a little tricky as there is some debate about the exact numbers in each army. The Jacobites had roughly 5,500 men whilst the Government had around 7,500. As to those who died, the Jacobites lost approximately 1,500 men in the short battle. Official Government records give their losses at just 50 men although the accuracy of this number is questioned. Certainly hundreds would have been injured and many would have later died from their wounds. The figure of 50 may also have been lowered to make their victory seem greater.

These are probably the most popular questions we get here at the battlefield, apart from ‘Where are the toilets?’ and hopefully you enjoyed discovering the answers. As always please like, share, tweet, and let us know if you have any questions you’d like us to try and answer.

All the best, K & D