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.

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.

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

Anne Marie d’Orléans: 18th Century Jacobite Heiress

Anne Marie d’Orléans is mostly forgotten today, but in the early eighteenth century, the combination of her royal lineage and Catholic faith meant that, amidst the political uncertainty and civil war, she stood out as a significant figure; this is especially true in regards to the Jacobite succession, as for six years, between 1714 and 1720, she was the Heiress Presumptive to the Jacobite claim on the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Anne Marie d’Orléans


Anne Marie was born on the 27th of August 1669 at Château de Saint-Cloud to Henrietta Anne of England and Philippe, Duke of Orléans. Known as Madame and Monsieur at court, her parents were first cousins and had a tumultuous relationship. Philippe was the only sibling of King Louis XIV of France; Henrietta Anne was the youngest daughter of Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland. Henrietta had lived most of her life in France, but was close with her eldest brother Charles, and from the time that he became Charles II in 1660, she often acted as an intermediary between the French and English courts.

Anne Marie’s birth would have been a disappointment for her parents, as they had been hoping for a son; since their marriage in 1661, despite several pregnancies, only one other daughter, seven year old Marie Louise, was still living. Less than a year after the birth of her younger daughter, Henrietta Anne, whose health had never been strong, died at the age of twenty-six.

Louis XIV had no legitimate daughters who survived childhood, and so, as Anne Marie and her sister were two of the highest-ranking women in France, much consideration was given about their marriages. In 1679, Anne Marie’s sister, Marie Louise, married the King of Spain; five years later, Louis XIV, in an effort to maintain French control in northern Italy, had Anne Marie marry Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy. Louis gave his niece a large dowry, and her father travelled with her to Juvisy-sur-Orge, before she left France and journeyed to Italy.

Though they did not have the happiest of marriages, Anne Marie and Victor Amadeus would go on to have nine children together, and he sometimes made her regent in his absence. Despite the marriage being made as a means of linking France and Italy, Victor Amadeus joined the anti-French side in the War of the Spanish Succession, and in 1706, Anne Marie and her sons were forced to flee to Genoa after Turin was besieged under the direction of her half-brother. For his role in the War of the Spanish Succession, Victor Amadeus was made King of Sicily in 1713, before being made to exchange the Kingdom of Sicily (whilst still retaining the title of King) for the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was considered inferior, in 1720.

In addition to the titles she owed to her husband, Anne Marie, at the beginning of the 1700s, was in her own right an important figure in British politics; in 1701, William of Orange was King of England, Scotland and Ireland, and both he and his successor, Anne of Denmark, were childless, and it was decided that a succession needed to be established. As one of the last remaining legitimate grandchildren of Charles I (her sister, the Queen of Spain, had died in 1689), Anne Marie’s Stuart blood linked her closely with the crown, but she had always been a devout Catholic, so she was barred from becoming queen. Sophia of Hanover, a protestant descendant of Charles I’s sister Elizabeth, was named Anne’s successor. King William died the following year, and Sophia predeceased Anne by a month in 1714; Sophia’s son George became king.

In 1714, Anne Marie’s name was again brought up in talks of succession. The deposed James II of England (and VII of Scotland) had died in 1701, and his son, James Francis Edward Stuart, was now the Jacobite claimant. In 1714 he had no children, and so in August, when Queen Anne died, Anne Marie became the Heiress Presumptive to the Jacobite claim.

She remained an Heiress Presumptive for six years. An Heir/Heiress Presumptive can be dislodged by an Heir/Heiress Apparent, whereas an Heir/Heiress Apparent cannot be dislodged by anyone; Anne Marie was dislodged in 1720 when James Francis Edward Stuart’s Heir Apparent was born, a son named Charles Edward Stuart. Charles would go on to fight at Culloden in 1746 and succeed his father to the claim in 1766.

Anne Marie died eight years later, one day before her fifty-ninth birthday, outliving all of her children but one: her son Charles Emmanuel, who succeeded his father his titles in 1730 and died in 1773. Through her daughter Marie Adelaide, Anne Marie was a grandmother of Louis XV of France, and through her daughter Maria Luisa, she was a grandmother of Louis I and Ferdinand VI of Spain. Anne Marie was buried at the Basilica of Superga in Turin.

Years after her death, she again was linked to the Jacobite Succession; Charles Edward Stuart had died, leaving no legitimate issue, in 1788, and his brother, Henry Benedict, succeeded to the claim, with the Jacobites calling him Henri IX. As he was a cardinal, he had no children, and when he wrote his will, which he signed Henry R., he named another Charles Emmanuel, Anne Marie’s great-grandson, his successor; Henry Stuart died in 1807, and through Anne Marie, the claim fell to the House of Savoy. Charles Emmanuel IV neither acknowledged nor renounced the legacy that had passed down to him.

We hope you enjoyed this insight into the life of Anne Marie. As always please like, tweet, share and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Grave markers at Culloden

When people visit Culloden Battlefield most will inevitably head out across the moor and stand in front of the large memorial cairn in the centre of the field. Surrounding the cairn are most, but not all, of the grave markers on the field so it seems fitting to turn our attention to the history of these markers.

Old photo of the Clan Mackintosh marker


The markers on the battlefield were put in place in 1881, some 130 years after the battle. One of the main question we are asked regards the names on the stones, as many carry the names of one or more clans who fought at Culloden. We have had geophysical tests of the area completed and they show that the area around the cairn does indeed hold many mass graves but how the names on the gravestones were chosen is something of a mystery.

Selection of gravestones at Culloden


Clansmen would not have been easy to distinguish from one another. There was no clan tartan back in 1746 so identifying a persons clan relied on smaller things that their cap badge or clan plant that men may have worn. After the battle it would have been incredibly difficult to accurately determine who was from which clan so it is believed that the markers on the field are symbolic of the major clans who fought at Culloden and who suffered significant losses.

As well as the marker by the cairn, there are a few others across the field. Further north are three stones that commemorate the MacDonald’s who fought on the far left of the Jacobite front line. Whilst they did not take part in the hand-to-hand combat that occurred further south they were instrumental in aiding the retreat of the Jacobite army. Each year at the anniversary of the battle the local MacDonald clan and supporters will march down to the stones after the main ceremony to lay a wreath for the men.

Clan Donald stone
Clan Donald Stone


Perhaps one of the most annoying and intriguing stones on the battlefield is that of the ‘Field of the English’. This stone lies behind the front line of the Government troops and supposedly marks the site of a grave of the Government men who died during the battle. However, there are two issues we have with the stone. Firstly, research has shown that there is no sign of a mass grave by the stone. The nearest lies some fifty yard to the West of the stone. Secondly, its inscription, ‘Field of the English’. As we know this is not accurate. The Government army was not an English Army, it was made of men from Scotland, Wales and England making it a British Army.


Despite some questions on the accuracy of the markers though there is no doubt to how special they are to the site. Many who visit take a moment as they walk past the stones to take in the incredible atmosphere of the battle and remember the history of the site.

We hope you enjoyed this short piece about the marker as always please like, share, comment and tweet.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Highland Women’s Clothing in the Mid-18th Century

Unlike that of their male contemporaries, in the mid-1700s women’s clothing in the Highlands did not differ much from what was being worn in the Lowlands, England or the rest of western Europe.

The distinctive arasaid (Gaelic: earrasaid or earasaid), a large piece of plain, striped or tartan fabric that covered the head and wrapped around the body, had been worn often at the beginning of the century; as the years passed, it gradually became less and less popular, until eventually it was mainly worn just by women of the Western Isles. The Royal Dress Act of 1746, which restricted the use of tartan, did not apply to women, and so tartan was sometimes included in a woman’s outfit, often as the print for a modesty cloth or scarf. The general items worn at the time are detailed below, but as is the case today, factors such as the woman’s wealth, age and occupation, as well as personal preference, varied things significantly.

Depiction of an arasaid


The first thing put on would have been a shift. A shift was a long white garment, which often doubled as a nightgown, and it was worn to separate the body from the clothes that were to be put on top; in an age when daily bathing was not common, this was considered necessary in order to preserve the other items of clothing. Next, the woman would have put on stays, a tight linen garment heavily reinforced with whalebone on the top, and structured with whalebone or cane at the bottom. Stays were worn to help obtain the fashionable hourglass shape, to provide a rigid structure over which the outer clothes could be arranged, and prevent curvature of the spine in cases of rickets and similar conditions.

Following this base, she would have worn a dress, which could be plain, striped or printed, or a petticoat, skirt and some sort of fitted sleeved garment on top, such as a day jacket, casaquin, bed gown or short gown (which reached mid-thigh). Rich women would also have had ball gowns and riding habits, and would have chosen costly imported fabrics and dyes for their clothes; those with more limited means used local plants for homemade dyes. Some examples are brambles, which were used for a burnt orange colour, braken for yellow, elderberries for blue and sundew for purple.

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Example of 18th Century pockets


Finally she might have worn an apron, depending on her rank and occupation, and pockets (cloth bags) which were connected with a string, tied around the waist under the petticoat or apron, and accessed through slits. Bits and pieces, such as money, thimbles and keys, would be kept in these pockets, hidden from view. A modesty cloth would have been tied about the neck, and, unless young and unmarried, a woman covered her head with a scarf or a cotton cap.

Shoes varied a lot from class to class. Women who did not need to work would have softer, flimsier shoes, purchased for how fashionable they were rather than their sturdiness; a working woman would have had plainer shoes, made of leather or wood, sometimes with a buckle of ties. Many woman had only one pair of shoes, and so apart from in winter, they were worn only at church in an effort to maintain them.

We hope you enjoyed this little insight in women’s fashion. As always please like, share, tweet, comment and if you visit Culloden you may see one of our volunteers dressed in outfits like those described.

All the best, The Culloden Team

War Atrocities and other Bedtime Stories: learning programmes at Culloden

Over the past few years our learning team have spoken at conferences about the realities of teaching at Culloden. Our talks are normally titled War Atrocities and other Bedtime Stories: Learning at Culloden.

Our learning team has seen over 80 000 people through their programming and events so far: 4,500 of those individuals were here on school trips.

Schools have visited us from all across the British Isles and even Europe and North America. We have had a great year and thought we would share some of the brilliant programming the learning team develops.

The Big Picture (upper primary)

This is our most popular programme with primary schools! Its a great day where the pupils find out about five people who were alive at the time of the Jacobite Rising.

The kids find out about five people and their experiences in the Jacobite Rising through sessions involving a team quiz and exploring objects. They also have the opportunity to head out on to the battlefield and look at the amazing items in the exhibition.

The feedback we get from pupils is great! Here some feedback we received from some P6 visitors:

It was very funny when I dressed up as Francis Townley an English man… I was in the middle and not poor and I was a Jacobite!”

I liked when we did the quiz. The best bit outside was when we all lined up and shoot BANG! next line BANG! next line BANG!!”

I really enjoyed the battlefield I learnt a lot. It was fun learning about the battle and prince Charlie and the sneck attack at night. unfortunate they lost each because it was dark, thy probably got about 4 or 5 hours sleep before the battle started at Culloden. Some girls watched the battle with a picnic! !


Bring on Burns (upper primary)

The kids arrive at 10:00 and spend a full school day exploring the battlefield and playing with Scots words until in the afternoon they create their very own poem.

Pupils in the workshop bringing their poem to life!

Then the feicht began and the beautiful landscape became a stramash!

The guns were shot and the cannon was fired.

The brithers were lost to the grund.”

“About ta fecht, in a gruesome war,

Yin gaun taw steading for yin time more,

I’m laithe taw fecht but I know I must”

Interpreting Culloden (lower secondary school)

This is a great programme which let students get hands on with objects and start thinking about the bigger questions at the site.

Pupils get hands on with the objects thinking about what they are, why they would be on the battlefield and who might have used/owned them. They then head out onto the battlefield to think why objects are found on specific locations on the battlefield and the considerations of managing a site that is also the location of mass graves.

The idea of speaking to a group of teenagers and young people about mass graves, child soldiering and other consequences of conflict  sounds challenging and slightly scary – however this session is incredibly rewarding and can provoke interesting debate and conversations which continue back in the classroom.

Some of the objects used in Interpreting Culloden (S1-3 workshop)


If you would like more information on our schools programme check out our website or email culloden@nts.org.uk

All the best, The Culloden Team

‘No Room to Swing a Cat’

We have all heard the phrase ‘no room to swing a cat’ but where did this saying come from?

Thankfully it has nothing to do with animal cruelty and literally swinging a living cat around but the actual answer is not exactly that nice either.

The phrase is believed to have come from the cat o’ nine tails. This was a fearsome punishment that was used during the Jacobite Risings especially in the British military. If you had committed a crime you would be punished with a whipping. The cat o’ nine tails consisted of nine knotted ropes used together in one blow to inflict punishment on the wrongdoer.

Cat o’nine tails


Here the instrument can look quite tame, especially lying on our handling table, but with a little force it was designed to lacerate the skin so as to cause the recipient a great deal of pain. As you can imagine, to get the full effectiveness of the whip there needs to be space to create some power behind it.

The knotted tails could cause a lot of damage


The ‘no room’ part of the phrase seems to stem mainly from naval usage. Down below the deck of the ships there was very little room so any floggings would occur above deck where there was plenty of room.

Thankfully the practice of flogging has been abolished across most countries but the phrase still lives on, though thankfully now it just means an awkwardly small space.

Another phrase which many have associated with the cat o’ nine tails is ‘cat got your tongue’. This one apparently stems from the fact that after a flogging the recipient tended to be rather quiet. However, there is no clear answer on the origin and some believe it may in fact come from ancient Egypt where liars tongues were cut out and fed to cats.

We hope you found this post interesting. As always please like, tweet, comment and share.

All the best, The Culloden Team