271 Years

Today, marks the 271st anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, which took place on 16th April 1746.

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Wreaths laid at the Memorial Cairn

 

This weekend we have been thrilled to see so many people coming to the battlefield to join us in our commemorations of this event and remember the events of 1746.

The Battle of Culloden is an important part of Scottish, British and indeed world history. In the space of less than an hour the final battle of the Jacobite Rising of ’45 was concluded with 1,500 Jacobite men and 50 Government men killed. Soon after the battle the Rising was over and Prince Charles Edward Stuart had fled, never to return to Scotland again. The impact of the day has had far reaching and long lasting effects that are still recognised to this day.

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The Procession out to the Memorial Cairn

 

The story of the Battle of Culloden resonates with so many different people from across the world and it is wonderful to see all these people coming together at this time of year to remember the past and the history that shaped so many lives. We are grateful that visitors from all corners of the world come to Culloden to trace their ancestry and visit Culloden to try and help gain a sense of life in Scotland in the 18th Century.

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Flags Flying for the Procession

 

This site is so special for all of us who work here and despite the weather being less than ideal this year (we like to say atmospheric) it was lovely to see so many coming along to attend the annual Commemoration Service with the Gaelic Society of Inverness. The sight of so many people forming a procession out to the memorial cairn is one of the highlights of the year, with flags waving, colourful tartan displayed and pipes playing, it is a wonderful way to remember the battle.

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Wreaths Laid to Remember the Battle

 

We wanted to thank everyone who attended, and also those who held their own ceremonies across the world, for being part of Culloden’s journey and helping us keep this incredible story alive.

The 16th April 1746 is a date that hopefully will not ever be forgotten and it is our privilege to share its story with visitors from around the globe. We hope you enjoy listening to the story and take this time to remember Culloden in your own special way.

All the best, K & D

Archaeology at Culloden

With 2017 being the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we had to take a look into the archaeology here at Culloden. Something that many people may not know about Culloden is that it was one of the first battlefields in Scotland to be subject to archaeological investigation making it an intriguing subject.

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Culloden Battlefield

As part of the Culloden Battlefield Memorial Project, work first began at the site in 2000 and has included topographic, geophysical and metal detector surveys.

These surveys have allowed us to discover and learn more about the battle and what exactly happened on that fateful day in April 1746. The fact that objects and details discovered hundreds of year after an event can help inform our knowledge is a fantastic and intriguing subject.

Unsurprisingly, metal detector surveys managed to uncover a lot of items from the field including musket balls, mortar fragments, buckles and buttons many of which we have on display in our exhibition. The interesting aspect of these finds though was their location. When mapped all of these individual finds suggested the battle took place over a larger piece of land than originally anticipated.

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Mortar Fragments and Grape Shot

The intensity of finds also showed the majority of  hand-to-hand fighting took place further south than expected. The presence of broken musket pieces indicated the weapons were damaged by fire at close range or smashed off by a broadsword. The lost buttons and buckles most likely removed in struggles which offers an insight into the extreme battle conditions on the moor. These lost items open up a harrowing picture of Culloden and bring the battle into a harsh reality with objects you can truly connect with.

Close to the area of close quarter fighting were fragments of mortar bombs which would have been fired into the charging Jacobites to stop their dreaded attack. The power of these bombs could take out up to twenty men at a time, making it remarkable the Jacobites made it to the Government front line at all. The position of the mortar fragments, so close to the Government front line, also opens up the possibility that Government men could have been killed as the shells were rather unpredictable and broke apart as the powder inside ignited.

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Pewter Cross

As well as gathering information on the fighting and tactics of the armies surveys also helped uncover a couple of more personal items. A silver coin was found dating from 1752, after the battle. The coin is a silver thaler from the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin which was one of the German Baltic states. The presence of the coin suggests the possibility that it was dropped by a soldier who had served time in the continent. They could even have been based at Fort George and travelled to the battlefield to visit the graves of some of their fallen comrades. Also found was a small pewter cross. This discovery near Leanach Cottage is a beautiful pendant and you cant help but wonder who it belonged to and the story behind it. Was it given to a soldier by a loved one? Was it kept close for luck? The stories that could lie behind the objects make them all the more special and important to preserve.

We are lucky to have found so many items that have opened up new theories of the battle of Culloden and raised new questions and thoughts about the men on the field. If you want to find out more be sure to come along to our exhibition to see the finds for yourself. As always we hope you enjoyed this brief insight into the archaeology of the site and please comment, like, share and tweet.

All the best, K & D

 

 

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