Weapons of the ’45

One of the things that people seem to really enjoy discovering more about here at Culloden is the weapons. Mainly, I think because you get to handle replica weapons. So, we thought we’d attempt a short post on the most common weapons used in the ’45.

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Some 18th Century weapons

Firstly, the broadsword. Basket-hilted swords would have been in use in Scotland from about the mid 16th century. The design came first from Scandinavian and German sword makers before making it across to England and Scotland. Throughout the 17th Century ribbon baskets were being made in large quantities and as we reached the 18th Century and the main Jacobite risings the Highland basket was an intricate piece. The broadsword was an essential weapon for the Jacobties with broadsword in one hand and targe in the other. They were ideal for the favoured tactic of the Highland Charge with sweeping deadly motions and a heavy pommel weight at the base to deal with enemies close at hand.

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Close up of the basket of a replica broadsword

Since we have already mentioned the targe it’s only fair it should be next on the list.

The targe or ‘shield’ was traditionally round from 19 to 21 inches in diameter and made from two layers of wood positioned together with the grains at right angles. Often they were made of fir but most light woods would do the job. Targes were often decorated across the front with a central boss of brass, from which a spike could be screwed in, and this was surrounded by geometric patterns in the leather and studs of brass.

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Scottish Targe or Shield

With the broadsword and targe you may think there would be no room for any other weapons but often the Jacobites would carry a dirk as well. This stabbing knife, sometimes up to 50cms long would be held behind the targe largely hidden from sight and would be ideal for close quarter fighting. The Highland dirk was usually distinguished from other similar weapons of the time by its long triangular and single edged blade and by its handle which was traditionally cylindrical with no guard. It would be shouldered at the junction of the blade, the grip swellin gin the middle and the pommel circular and flat topped.

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Typical 18th Century Style Dirk

Similar to the dirk was the Sghian Dubh. This was a smaller knife only four to six inches in length that was often hidden in a small holster up a sleeve. It would have been used when no other weapon was available and it is believed it was more common in the late 18th Century following the ban of weapons of Scotland. Dubh is Gaelic for black and traditionally the handle and scabbard of the sghian dubh were made from dark coloured woods and leather to keep it out of clear sight.

When the Act of Proscription was lifted the sghian dubh came out of hiding and was then worn mainly in the stocking. In the 19th century when the wearing of the sghian dubh became less functional and more fashionable the hilt would often been made from stag horn or ebony and even decorated with jewels.

Obviously there were more weapons in use and we haven’t touch on guns and cannons but hopefully this has given a little insight into some traditional weapons. As always please share, comment, like, tweet and feel free to come along to Culloden to get a closer look and the weapons of the ’45.

All the best, K & D.

Bonnie Prince Charlies Flummery?

Flummery, when we first saw the word we had no idea either, but it turns out that flummery is rather interesting.

First a description, flummery is a sweet dessert pudding that was popular in the UK from the 17th to 19th Century. We first found the word upon seeing an interesting dish for Bonnie Prince Charlie Flummery and naturally had to discover more.

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Flummery tin – a similar one can be seen at Glenfinnan

 

According to one legend Flora MacDonald was half way through a dish of flummery when she was arrested for her part in helping Prince Charles escape following his defeat at Culloden. Another says that she made the dish for Prince Charles before he escaped, but who knows which, if either, is true. Even so it was enough for us to find out what on earth flummery is!

There appear to be variations on flummery from as early as the middle ages where it was more of a broth that could be made by pretty much anyone. Oats were a staple food of many and thus even the poor could make their own flummery. Most recipes seem to follow along the lines of soaking cereal (oats appear most popular), the liquid from which is then set to form a clear jelly. Thankfully this then seems to have been flavoured with orange or rosewater and topped with honey.

Whilst we are calling the dish flummery in England it was said to have been called ‘wash-brew’, no doubt because the resulting grey liquid resembled dishwater. Regardless of its appearance the dish was considered healthy and was served to many invalids believing that its bland but hardy nature would strengthen those who were unwell. This practice of eating flummery when sick looks to have continued until the 20th Century though variations in the dish were becoming more common. As time went on the jelly like texture was achieved with gelatin and the basic dish was enhanced with cream, eggs, fruit and even wine.

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Flummery (from http://www.historicfood.com)

 

If you want to give it a go here’s one of the best recipes we can find from ‘The Cook and Housekeeper’s Complete and Universal Dictionary’ from 1822:

Steep in cold water, for a day and a night, three large handfuls of very fine white oatmeal. Pour it off clear, add as much more water, and let it stand the same time. Strain it through a fine hair sieve, and boil it till it is as thick as hasty pudding, stirring it well all the time. When first strained, put to it one large spoonful of white sugar, and two of orange flower water. Pour it into shallow dishes, and serve it up with wine, cider, and milk; or it will be very good with cream and sugar.

Rather unappetizingly flummery became known as a word to mean bland or unsatisfying food and today the word is still used to mean an empty compliment or nonsense.

We think we’ll stick with having our oats in porridge or flapjack but if you want to give it a shot you can find more recent recipes for flummery on the internet. As always please like, tweet, comment, share and let us know how you enjoy your flummery!

All the best, K&D

 

James VII & II

On 16th September 1701 James VII & II died of a stroke in exile, at the Chateau of St Germain-en-Laye in France. Aged 67 when he died James led a complicated life and within it lie some of the roots of Jacobitism.

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James II & VII by Sir Godfrey Kneller

 

James ruled England and Ireland as James II and Scotland as James VII from 1685 until 1688 when he was deposed. When he first took the throne, following his brother, Charles II’s, death there was little in the way of opposition to his coronation and he was generally welcomed warmly to the throne. However, only a month after his coronation there was a rebellion in England led by the Duke of Monmouth; as well as one in Scotland led by the Earl of Argyll. The Duke of Monmouth was James’ nephew and believed he was the rightful heir to the throne as he was the son of Charles II. He insisted his mother was married to Charles but there was no evidence of this and therefore he was illegitimate and did not qualify as a suitable heir. Fortunately the rebellion was not to last long and in the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6th July Monmouth was defeated and executed for treason just nine days later.

James was not to prove to be very lucky though and this rebellion would prove to be just the start of his trouble. After the rebellion ended he decided to ensure he was protected by forming a large army which alarmed many people. Then, James began to anger the parliament with his views on Catholicism. James was brought up a Protestant but later converted to the Catholic faith. In 1687 he issued a Declaration of Indulgence which allowed people to worship out with the Church of England and removed the need for people to take religious oaths before they could advance in civil or military roles. James ordered public clergy to read the Declaration in their churches but when seven bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, attempted to petition against this they were arrested.

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James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II & VII

 

Finally things reached the boiling point when, in 1688, James and his second wife gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward Stuart on 10th June. Now there was a new successor to the throne and he was a Catholic. When it had just been James’ Protestant daughters, from his first marriage, things weren’t so serious, but now, the threat of a Catholic succession had people scared. On 30th June a group of seven prominent men invited William of Orange, husband to James’ daughter Mary, to come over to England with the intention he would bring an army to fight for the throne.

William arrived in November 1688 and many key Protestants began to defect from James’ army and join Williams. James’ other daughter Anne also joined William and Mary in contesting the throne. James had the larger army on his side but for whatever reason decided not to fight the invasion. A month after William arrived James attempted to flee to France and even allegedly threw the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames on his way. Unfortunately he was caught but William allowed him to go free and he was received in France by his cousin, Louis XIV.

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William of Orange by Sir Godfrey Kneller

 

Following James’ departure the English parliament decided he had abdicated and therefore the throne was vacant. William and Mary were quickly offered the throne and declared joint sovereigns. Meanwhile in Scotland the parliament took a little longer but eventually decided the James had indeed forfeited the throne and they too offered it to William and Mary who accepted in May 1689.

Thus, the crown stayed with the Protestants and after William and Mary it moved on to their sister Anne. During their reigns they saw the Act of Union in 1707 and also the Act of Settlement in 1701 which removed Catholics from the line of succession. Therefore, when Anne passed away without any heirs the crown moved over to the Hanoverian line and King George I and not with James II & VII’s son, James Francis Edward Stuart. Unsurprisingly the Stuarts were not pleased and in 1715 we saw the first Jacobite Rising to try and take the throne from George I with the 1719 and 1745 Risings completing the Jacobite Rebellions.

James II & VII may only have been king for a short four years but it cannot be denied that he started a fight that lasted for much longer. Without him we would not have the Jacobite Risings and all the history they contain and who knows who would be ruling now.

We hope you enjoyed this little foray into James II & VII. As always please like, share, comment, tweet and check out more of our posts for tales of the Jacobites.

All the best, K & D

Lord George Murray

We all know Prince Charles Edward Stuart led the Jacobite army in 1745 but he had plenty of help from his band of advisers and generals. One of the most well known members of Prince Charles’ council was Lord George Murray.

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Lord George Murray

 

Born in Perth, Scotland in 1694, George was the sixth son of the 1st Duke of Atholl, chief of Clan Murray. He joined the army in 1712 and then three years later, along with two of his brothers, he joined the Jacobites in the 1715 Rising with each brother commanding their own regiment of Atholl men. He fled to France for a while before returning to help aid the short lived 1719 Jacobite Rising. Here he was injured and spent months in hiding before finally finding his way back to the continent.

Not much is known of his life on the continent but he finally returned to Scotland in 1724 following his fathers death and settled down with a wife and five children. When the ’45 Rising began George was sceptical of Prince Charles and his scheme despite his earlier support of the Jacobites. Indeed a month after Charles landed in Scotland George went to pay his respects to Sir John Cope, commander of the government forces, and was appointed deputy-sheriff of Perthshire.

George then met Prince Charles for himself when he stayed at Blair Castle and eventually announced his support for the Jacobite cause. Something had changed his mind, though there were those that suspected he had never truly supported the government and still others that now thought he could be a government spy. Either way George quickly won the Jacobites armies confidence with his decisive leadership and by September he was practically running the army having ordered the successful attack at the Battle of Prestonpans on his own initiative.

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Battle of Prestonpans

 

Whilst he was certainly close to Prince Charles he did not always agree with the man. When the army moved into England George was against the plan but followed the Princes orders. In Carlisle George conducted the siege but after the town surrendered he resigned his command apparently claiming he felt his authority had been undermined by the Prince. His replacement, the Duke of Preth, was not well liked by the army and it was not long before George was reinstated and leading the army towards Derby.

Here George urged the Prince to retreat. He was concerned by the lack of both French and English support and felt it unwise to continue on towards London as the Prince wished. At a council of war the majority sided with Murray and a retreat was planned. Prince Charles had been out voted and was furious. He would never forgive George for turning against him.

During the retreat Murray commanded the rear guard as the Jacobites headed back north until they reached the fateful day of Culloden. Here Murray advised placing the army on the right bank of the river Nairn but Prince Charles ignored his advise at set the army on Culloden Moor to the left of the Nairn. The Jacobites were defeated, though George managed to escape the battle. He headed to Ruthven Barracks to try and piece together what was left of the Jacobite army and set about forming a resistance. It is said he managed to amass some 3,000 men however, whilst waiting he received word from Prince Charles that the cause was to be abandoned and the men were to disband.

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Ruthven Barracks

 

George managed to make his way to the continent where he was received well by Prince Charles’ father, James who granted him a pension. In 1747 he travelled to Paris to see Prince Charles but despite his fathers hospitality the Prince refused to meet with him. During the next decade George travelled through the continent living in numerous places before he eventually died in Holland in 1760 at the age of 66.

We hope you enjoyed this little insight into George Murray. As always please like, comment, reblog, tweet and feel free to suggest other figures you’d like to learn more about.

All the best, K & D

A Few Tasty Treats

18th Century cuisine was certainly interesting but a lot of recipes we’ve found don’t sound all that appetising.

Luckily we’ve found a few sweet treats that might be able to tempt you. These are all from a brilliantly titled book from 1737 called ‘The Whole Duty of a Woman: Or, an infallible Guide to the Fair Sex containing Rules, Directions, and Observations, for their Conduct and Behaviour through all Ages and Circumstances of Life, as Virgins, Wives, or Widows.’

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Firstly a Jelly of Raspberries.

First take six pounds of raspberries, then three pounds of currants and seven pounds and a half of sugar brought to the cracked boiling; strip in the fruits, and them let all boil together, scumming it ’til no more scum will rise, and the syrup is become between smooth and pearled; then pour it out into a sieve, set over a copper pan; take the jelly that passes through, and give it another boiling, scum it well, and put it in pots, or glasses.

With seven and a half pounds of sugar, this will certainly be sweet but, if that doesn’t strike you, why not try some Macaroons.

Having provided a pound of almonds, let them be scalded, blanched and thrown into fair water; Then they must be drained, wiped and pounded in a mortar, moistening them with orange flower water, or the white of an egg, left they should turn to oil. Afterwards taking an equal quantity of powder sugar, with three or four other whites of eggs, and a little musk, beat all well together, and dress your Macaroons on paper, with a spoon, that they may be bak’d with a gentle fire.

Finally to try, another classic, some Apple Fritters.

Beat the yolk of eight eggs, the whites of four, well together, and strain them into a pan; then take a quart of cream, warm it as hot as you can endure your finger in it; then put to it a quarter of a pint of sack, three quarters of a pint of ale, and make a posset of it; when your posset is cool, put it to your eggs, beating them well together; then put in nutmeg, ginger, salt and flour to your liking: Your batter should be pretty thick; then put in pippins sliced or scraped; fry them in good store of hot lard with a quick fire.

To help anyone who is wondering, a quarter pint of sack refers typically to sherry or fortified wine so there should be a bit of kick to the batter.

We hope you enjoyed these recipes, as always please like, share, tweet, comment and let us know who your desserts turned out.

All the best, K & D

Intercepted Post – we need your help!

Culloden Battlefield is a special place to many people.

It has been an inspiration for writers of fact and fiction for 270 years.
Inspiration can come from the individual stories of people who fought at the Battle of Culloden; those who were affected by the Uprising and the aftermath; to the stories of the visitors who come to the moor...

 As part of an upcoming event “An Epic Tale: The facts and fiction of life during the Rising” we would like you to send why Culloden is special, inspirational or thought provoking place to you.

Whether you have visited or would like to visit we would like to hear your story of why Culloden and the stories of the ’45 Uprising are important to you.

To be part of this event please send your stories on the back of a postcard to:

Learning Team @ Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre
Culloden Moor
Inverness
Scotland, U.K
IV2 5EU

All the postcards sent in will be on display at the visitor centre from 1 July to the 31 July.

Thank you for your help and we look forward to reading your stories.

Scurvy, Vaccination and Hospitals

As this week saw the celebration of International Nurses day, on 12th May, this weeks blog takes a look at some medical history. During the 18th Century there were many innovations in medicine and many hospitals were founded. To start off with today we look at scurvy.

In 1747 a Scottish surgeon, James Lind, conducted one of the first controlled clinical trials in medical history on board the HMS Salisbury. Here he concluded that citrus juice was a more effective treatment for scurvy than five other standard treatments, from seawater to laxatives. While there was nothing new about Linds discovery – the benefits of lime juice had been known for centuries – Lind managed to establish the superiority of citrus fruits above all other remedies. Lind published his finding in 1753 in ‘A Treatise on the Scurvy’ but his evidence was largely ignored during his lifetime; indeed it was not until more than 40 years later that an official Admiralty order was issued on the supply of lemon juice to ships. With this, scurvy disappeared almost completely from the Royal Navy.

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Citrus fruits perfect for treating Scurvy

 

Meanwhile in 1796 a man named Edward Jenner realised that milkmaids who caught cowpox were immune to smallpox and invented the modern form of vaccination, though no one really knew then exactly how the process worked. Patients were cut and then matter from a cowpox pustule was introduced and this allowed the patient to gain immunity to smallpox. Up until the introduction of vaccination the main way of combatting smallpox was inoculation. This involved provoking a mild form of the disease which would then provide lifelong immunity for the person.  Inoculation was likely practiced in Africa, India, and China long before the 18th century, when it was introduced to Europe. Jenner’s vaccination system however, was safer and more effective than inoculation and was made compulsory in 1893. This early form of vaccination eventually led to smallpox’s eradication in 1979 and thus smallpox is no longer part of the standard vaccinations we receive today.

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Modern day Smallpox vaccine

 

As we said earlier there were also many hospitals founded during the 18th Century, included Guy’s hospital in 1724.Guy’s hospital was founded with a bequest from a merchant named Thomas Guy who had been successful on the Stock Market during the `South Sea Bubble’ Crash of 1720. Guy invested much of his new wealth into the hospital, which he began building in 1721. Unfortunately, three years later (at the age of 80), Thomas Guy died before the first patients were admitted. Guy’s Hospital eventually opened in 1726 with 100 beds and a staff of 51.

M0003348 Guy's Hospital, Southwark: an aerial view, with smaller scen
Guy’s Hospital

Also founded in the 18th Century was Middlesex hospital in 1745. Founded by twenty benefactors, it consisted of 15 beds in two houses, Nos. 8-10 Windmill Street. In 1747, it was the first hospital in England to provide ‘lying-in’ beds for pregnant women and a sign was placed at the end of the street stating ‘The Middlesex Hospital for Sick and Lame and Lying-In Married Women’. There were also hospitals founded in Bristol in 1733, York in 1740, Exeter in 1741 and Liverpool in 1745 making the 18th Century a very popular time for hospitals and medicine.

We hope you enjoyed this look into 18th Century medicine and as always please like, share, comment, tweet and we’ll keep hunting down more interesting stories to share with you.

All the best, K & D