The Skirmish of Tongue

In March 1746, less than a month before the Battle of Culloden, a number of those belonging to the two conflicting sides met at Tongue, a coastal village in the Highlands; there, those loyal to the Jacobite cause were captured, and their ship, Le Prince Charles Stuart, was plundered.

The ship in question had been the British HMS Hazard, but had been stolen by some Jacobites a few months earlier in Montrose, before being sailed to Dunkirk and given its new name. Louis XV of France sent it back up to Scotland, filled with around 160 French, Spanish, Irish and Scottish men. Up until this point, the Jacobites had been disappointed in King Louis’ underwhelming acts of assistance. However, along with some supplies, Louis sent £13,000 in gold, which translates to a little over £1.5 million in today’s money.

tongue2
King Louis XV of France

The sailing over to Scotland was not simple though as it experienced trouble not long after leaving Dunkirk and was forced ashore by a couple of English privateers on the coast of Belgium. It suffered some damage, but not enough to stop Captain Talbot from wanting to continue the voyage to Scotland. The intention had been to disembark at Portsoy, a harbour town located about 50 miles from Aberdeen, but soon it became clear to Talbot that Le Prince Charles Stuart was being chased.

Four Government ships pursued Le Prince. Talbot, desperate and acknowledging his lack of knowledge of the area, took aboard two local fishermen to help him escape the enemy. Eventually on ship, the 24-gunned HMS Sheerness, broke off from the other Government ships and tailed Talbot, getting closer and closer. Talbot sailed into the Kyle of Tongue, where he hoped that the larger Sheerness would not be able to fully enter, but he ended up beaching his ship on a sandbank, trapping it as the Sheerness was still close enough to shoot.

tongue
Kyle of Tongue

After several hours of continual shots being fired between the two ships, Talbot gave the orders to unload the goods. The plan was now for the crew to carry the gold and supplies to Prince Charles’ base in Inverness. As daylight broke the men began their trek to Inverness but the captain of the Sheerness had by this point realised that Le Prince was what had been known as HMS Hazard, and sent out a group to look for Government supporters to help to capture the Jacobite soldiers.

Before long the Jacobites were surrounded by Government men, and after several deaths and the arrival of further opposition headed by Captain George Mackay, the Jacobites surrendered, but not before reportedly throwing the gold into the water.

The surviving Le Prince men were captured and imprisoned aboard the Sheerness which prevented them from being able to fight at the Battle of Culloden. Le Prince became known as HMS Hazard again, and after some repairs, it was put back into the Government navy. As for the gold, it was largely recovered and shared among the Government leaders and their men as a reward for taking it from the Jacobites.

It makes for an interesting what if? The Bellona and the Mars arrived once the Battle of Culloden had been lost, but if the gold and soldiers of Le Prince had got to Charles in time, it is difficult to say how much of an impact it would have had, how much it could have changed things for the Jacobites. Not only would Charles have had money to properly feed, equip and pay the troops he already had, as well as hire new ones, but it would also have been a morale boost for the Jacobites to feel that they had such support and that the confidence of the leader they had been following was not unfounded.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Advertisements

Viscount Dundee

The first Viscount Dundee was one of the strongest supporters of the Jacobite cause in its beginning. His raising of the Standard was a mark of the start of the First Jacobite Rising in 1689, and his death at the otherwise victorious Battle of Killiecrankie a few months later was a huge blow for the Jacobites. He became known as a Jacobite hero, and can still be identified by the epithet ‘Bonnie Dundee’.

He was born John Graham of Claverhouse and was the elder son born into an old family situated near Dundee. After being educated at the University of St Andrews, he served with the French and Dutch armies, where he achieved some distinction. However, after striking a fellow soldier and subsequently being refused a promotion, he returned to Scotland in 1678.

dundee
John Graham of Claverhouse aka Viscount Dundee

Back home, it was suggested to King Charles II, by his brother James, that Claverhouse be given charge of one of three sets of troops tasked with supressing the Covenanters in south-west Scotland. Claverhouse was frustrated at his lack of resources in this position, and was defeated at the Battle of Drumclog. He and his troops were then absorbed into the Duke of Monmouth’s army, and the Covenanters were defeated at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge a few weeks later. In the next decade, Claverhouse was given his other enduring nickname: ‘Bluidy Clavers’. The Covenanters dubbed him this for his perceived harshness in combating their movement.

James gave Claverhouse several proofs of his favour, which continued when he became King James VII and II in 1685; in 1688 Claverhouse was made Viscount Dundee. James’s rule, however, would prove rather short, and he was deposed soon after this appointment. Dundee was greatly disappointed when the Scottish Parliament ultimately ruled in favour of William and Mary as joint Sovereigns.

In March 1689, Dundee sneaked into Edinburgh Castle and encouraged the Duke of Gordon to continue to hold the Castle against the Government army. Dundee then travelled around in search of support. Before going home to his wife, he met with some Highlander allies. Although a Lowlander, Dundee was said to have had an interest in the culture of the Highlands, reading about their ancient songs, poems and customs. This knowledge, along with their united goal, probably helped to forge a bond between him and the Highlanders, who typically did not like being led by someone who was not one of them.

Dundee waited for news from the deposed King, before marching to Dundee Law to raise the Standard on 13th April 1689. He then departed and travelled around Scotland rallying support. Dundee had been branded a ‘fugitive and rebel’ and soon a reward was being offered for his immediate capture.

On the 27th of July, a Jacobite army (around 2,500), led by Dundee, met a Government army (around 4000), led by General Hugh Mackay at Killiecrankie. The Jacobites had a better position, starting on a hilltop above the Government soldiers, and the effectiveness of the Highland Charge meant that it was soon a decisive victory for them.

Dundee, however, had been hit by a musket ball and fallen off his horse. While dying, he was said to have asked a fellow Jacobite soldier, ‘How goes the day?’, to which the man replied, ‘Well for King James, but I am sorry for Your Lordship’. Dundee’s reported last words were in response to this statement: If it goes well for him, it matters the less for me’. There is a stone in Killiecrankie dubbed ‘Claverhouses’s Stone’ as he is believed to have died leaning against it.

dundee2
Claverhouse’s Stone

We hope you enjoyed this short insight into Viscount Dundee. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite winning the battle, the death of their leader at Killiecrankie was a crushing setback for the Jacobites. It is thought that they lost around 700, including some of their best men. A few weeks later, under an inferior leader, the Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Dunkeld, and before long the First Rising fizzled out.

 

 

 

 

Glasgow and the Jacobites

Having done blog posts on Edinburgh, Stirling and Aberdeen, today we thought we would write about Scotland’s largest city.

In Webster’s census, completed nine years after the Battle of Culloden, Scotland was recorded as having a population of 1,265,000, with around 23,500 of its people living in Glasgow. This was the first reliable census to be taken within the British Isles, and it showed a large increase in Glasgow’s population that had occurred since the beginning of the century, when it had been estimated at around 12,000.

 

mercat2
Mercat Cross in Glasgow

Before 1700, Scottish people were spread out across the country, working the land, but as a result of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, many moved to the bustling centres where there was an increasing demand for workers. When Scotland and England merged with the 1707 Acts of Union, Scotland was given access to trade with the Americas, and the Glasgow merchants had ships sent out to trade for tobacco, sugar, cotton and rum. Though Glasgow would later greatly support abolition, for a while the merchants benefited from the slave trade.

Many in Glasgow, a largely Presbyterian area, were initially against the Jacobites having no desire to see the Catholic Stuarts restored. However, despite promises of economic improvement, the 1707 Union did not bring the immediate benefits that the Scottish people had hoped for and, as a result, some of those who had been apathetic about or against the Jacobites began to support them in the hopes of James Francis having the unification undone. After failed 1715 and 1719 Uprisings, James made no further attempt to defeat the Hanoverians. By the time his son arrived in Scotland many years later, enthusiasm for the Jacobite cause had dwindled in Glasgow.

In 1745, Charles Edward Stuart wrote to the council in Glasgow requesting £15,000. Ex Provost Buchanan refused, stating that the people of Glasgow did not care for the cause, and that he feared their riots on the streets more than he feared the Jacobites. A smaller sum of £5,500 was given to appease Prince Charles, but simultaneously citizens of Glasgow were contributing money to fund Government troops to resist the Jacobites.

 

pces
Prince Charles Edward Stuart

Charles arrived in Glasgow at the end of 1745 and, perhaps attempting to give off more confidence than he felt, he held several balls. It was said that he admired Glasgow itself, but was forced to acknowledge that he had few friends there. He soon found out about the plans to raise troops against him, and angrily demanded that Provost Buchanan give him names, threatening to hang him if he did not. Buchanan gave no names but his own, declaring that he believed he was doing a duty, and that he was not afraid to die because of it.

Charles’s troops’ clothes were worn and ragged, and so he made Glasgow pay for them all to have new outfits before they left; this amounted to a cloth coat, two shirts, a waistcoat, a pair of shoes, a pair of stockings and a bonnet for each of his 6,000 men. This did nothing to endear the inhabitants of Glasgow to his cause. The Glasgow Militia would fight against the Jacobites at the Battle of Falkirk Muir in January 1746.

Before he left Glasgow, Prince Charles inspected his newly attired troops on Glasgow Green; a witness said of him, “He had a princely aspect, and its interest much heightened by the dejection which appeared in his pale fair countenance and downcast eye. He evidently wanted confidence in his cause, and seemed to have a melancholy foreboding of that disaster which soon after ruined the hopes of his family for ever.”

We hope you enjoyed this little insight into the Jacobites and Glasgow. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Exploring Culloden : The Weapons

As you walk through the exhibition at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre it is perhaps unsurprising that there are number of weapons on display. It may be easy to pass some of them by but each piece holds its own unique story and so we’ve pulled some of the best together to whet your appetite.

One of the first weapons you come across is the Brodie Sword, a magnificent 18th Century broadsword with intricate hilt and gleaming steel blade. First impressions may lead to you think that it would have been part of the battle but this sword was far too nice for anything as messy as battle. The sword is in fact one of a pair that were made for Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his brother, Henry. The exquisite nature of the sword is such that it would have been used as an ornament rather than a weapon, perhaps part of the reason why it still looks so good today.

WGrant Jacobean collection_12Jan2016_0590
Hilt of the Brodie Sword

 

Rounding the corner and you quickly see the difference between an ornament and a real weapon as you experience those weapons used in combat. Standing proud is a large targe which would have been used by the Jacobite army as a shield. The dark leather outer layer hides within it the marks of musket balls that penetrated the outer skin piercing through to the wooden centre of the targe. These small details make the artefact come alive with history and stories of the past as you try to imagine the terror of being in the midst of battle with guns firing down upon you.

In the battle exploration zone large glass cabinets display the power of the two armies as weapons face each other across the display space. Alongside the muskets and swords sits a rather unique weapon, the blunderbuss. Rather than the sleek long muskets this gun is short and stocky and is probably best described as an 18th Century shotgun. The wide barrel allowed multiple projectiles to be fired towards the enemy. Upon the barrel is an inscription ‘Taken at the Battle of Culloden 16th April 1746 by Capt John Goodenough with 18 balls in it ‘ which adds yet more intrigue to this special piece.

DSCN4448
Typical Highland Targe

 

Every piece in our exhibition is special and has its own story. Just stopping for that moment to get up close and study the objects allows such a rich history to come forward and brings the story of Culloden alive for everyone who visits the site.

We hope you enjoyed this blog about Culloden. As always please comment, tweet, like, share and hopefully you will be able to come and see these weapons for yourself one day.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Edinburgh and the Jacobites

Culloden Battlefield, located a few miles outside of Inverness, the “capital of the Highlands”, is probably the place that people associate most with Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobites. Before the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the Jacobites had been attempting to get their rightful king (James VII & II and when he died in 1701, his son, James Francis Edward Stuart) on the thrones of Scotland, England and Ireland for more than fifty years. There are several cities and locations that hold special significance when learning about the Jacobites and their journey; today, we will start with a post about Scotland’s capital.

James VII of Scotland and II of England and Ireland succeeded his brother in 1685, before being deposed three years later during the Glorious Revolution. Not long after becoming King, James had appointed the Duke of Gordon, a fellow Catholic, Constable of Edinburgh Castle. In March 1689, the Castle was besieged by 7,000 Government soldiers, who were there to claim it on behalf of William and Mary.

Viscount Dundee, who went on to fight and die at the Battle of Killiecrankie a few months later, climbed up the Castle in order to urge the Duke of Gordon (whose resolve was shaky) not to surrender. The siege ended up lasting for three months. During that time, serious developments were happening in Parliament; William and Mary had already been proclaimed King and Queen of England and Ireland in February, and on the 11th of April, the Parliament of Scotland, its meeting place being at Parliament Hall, Edinburgh, declared that James was no longer King of Scotland, and that William and Mary were to be the joint sovereigns. They were proclaimed King and Queen of Scotland in Edinburgh the following day.

Meanwhile in Edinburgh Castle, supplies were dwindling and the Government troops were standing strong outside. In addition to these problems, there were instances of sickness and religious discordance among the 160 within the Castle. By the middle of June, the number inside had dropped to 90, and the Duke of Gordon surrendered the Castle. Under the 1707 Acts of Union, Edinburgh was one of four castles, alongside Stirling, Blackness and Dumbarton, to be permanently garrisoned by the Government troops.

There were further attempts by the Jacobites to reclaim the Castle. During the Jacobite Rising of 1715, Lord James Drummond led around 100 Jacobites in an attack. They tried to scale the Castle walls at night, but ladders dropped for them were too short. The Government troops were alerted, and the Jacobites were forced to abandon their siege. Those who had attempted to help them from within the Castle were either whipped or hanged.

Thirty years later, in September 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, campaigning on behalf of his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, arrived in Edinburgh. Thousands of spectators lined the streets as he made his way through the city, and the courtyard fountain at Linlithgow Palace was said to have flowed with red wine in celebration. People cheered as he made his way to Holyrood Palace, where he stayed and held court for the following six weeks.

However, the Government soldiers who garrisoned Edinburgh Castle, led by General George Preston, held out against Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobites. On the 21st of September, the Jacobites defeated a Government army, headed by Sir John Cope, at Prestonpans, a small fishing town on the east side of Edinburgh but the castle held strong. The Jacobites had no heavy guns with which to combat the shots coming from the Castle, and ended up withdrawing after several lives had been lost and damage had been done to the city.

Finally, in November, Charles Edward Stuart and his army left Edinburgh and marched to England with the expectation that they would find more recruits there and the hope that they would be able to overthrow the Hanoverians. However, it wouldn’t be long before they made their long retreat back north and stood at Culloden for their final battle.

We hope you enjoyed this foray into the Jacobites and Edinburgh. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

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

Before the Battle of Culloden in 1746, what Highland men wore could be divided into two categories: Highland dress and non-Highland dress. When not in Highland dress, their clothing was similar to that being worn in the rest of western Europe, apart from the occasional addition of tartan here and there. Richer men could afford a greater variety of clothing, as well as better fabrics and cuts.

Highland dress, on the other hand, was very distinct. First, the man would have put on a loose-fitting thigh-length white linen shirt, which was also considered underwear and was often used as a nightshirt. Next, he would have put on belted plaid (known as the great kilt), a kilt or trews. Belted plaid consists of between four and six yards of sixty inch fabric. The pleats in the plaid were hand folded, and it was secured either by tying or belting it, or by the use of pins. A kilt was generally half the length of the great kilt, and the trews (the word originates from the Gaelic for trousers) were short tartan trousers, made of wool and worn with thigh-high socks.

25613 Culloden 256
A couple of our volunteers dressed as Jacobite soldiers

 

On his top half, the man would have worn a waistcoat and a woollen coat or jacket. The waistcoats were usually cut a little longer than the jackets, and both were shorter than average so that they could be easily worn with the kilts. The waistcoat and Highland jacket were usually of different tartans. A neckerchief was also worn, which offered a little protection against blades.

The Highland bonnet was made of wool and was usually blue, green or red. It was at least twelve inches in width and was worn flat across the head. On the bonnet a white cockade (fabric fashioned in the shape of a rose) was attached to show that the wearer was a Jacobite. A sprig of the man’s clan plant would have been worn at the front of the bonnet so that he could be identified, and the chiefs, sub-chiefs and other senior clan officials would also wear feathers on their bonnets.

Highland men wore brogues, worn with woollen bag socks. The brogues tied, and if he had enough money, a man could buy better-quality brogues that came with a buckle. Riding boots were worn with trews, but not kilts; men wearing kilts either went barefoot or wore gillies (open sandal-like shoes that tied up the calf). Along with the chosen weapons, a man would have also worn a belt and a sporran. The sporran was necessary for carrying money and other small important objects, as the kilt had no pockets.

The Royal Dress Act of 1746, which was introduced several months after the Battle of Culloden, greatly restricted the wearing of Highland dress. Certain groups of people, such as the gentry, men serving in the Highland regiments and women, were exempt from the ban; for others, however, harsh punishment was promised to those caught wearing Highland dress; for example, if a man was caught wearing Highland dress twice, he ran the risk of being sent to a plantation for seven years.

We hope your enjoyed this little foray into clothing. As always please like, share, tweet and comment.

All the best, The Culloden Team

Memories from the Past Ten Years.

This month we celebrate ten years since the current visitor centre was opened at Culloden Battlefield. A lot has happened over that time and we asked some of our longest serving employees and volunteers to share their highlights.

One of the biggest highlights was getting the chance to meet the Queen. We were honoured to have Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visit the site in 2009 and many of the staff and volunteers still remember the day she came.

queen
Plaque marking the visit of Her Majesty The Queen to Culloden

 

The new centre offered a chance to display more artefacts and expand the information we could share. We were able to include items found during archaeological work on the battlefield so that today people can see exactly where items were found and how they have helped us interpret the events of the battle.

cross
Pewter cross found at Culloden

 

We have seen many changes over the last ten years but our main goal has always been to protect the site and share its history with people from all over the world. It has been lovely to receive various awards over the years recognising the staff and volunteers dedication to the site. Most recently we had Peter, our volunteer, win the Hospitality Hero award at the HITA awards and it creates a real buzz when you come to work to know that what you are doing is appreciated.

 

Most importantly though the one thing that everyone mentioned was the joy at meeting different people. Whether it is the chance to speak Gaelic and share our history, to learn more about visitors connections with Culloden or more simply the teams we work with here on site. The one thing that seems to keep people coming back to work here is the people.

25613 Culloden 031
Visitors exploring the exhibition

 

And finally a great story that shows that people are always the highlight of our days. One Spring day a young lady come up from one of the car dealerships in Inverness (she was new to her job) looking for Charlie Stewart as she was to pick him up. We did an announcement, looked around and could not find him. Then it dawned on the team it wasn’t just any Spring day it was April 1st, or April Fool’s day, and her colleagues were playing a trick on her. There was a postcard from the shop with Charles Edward Stuart on it so we gave it to her and wrote a message giving apologies for not being here to be picked up.

bpc
Prince Charles Edward Stuart

 

Hopefully we will continue to protect and share Culloden’s incredible past for many years to come with amazing visitors from all over the world.

Hope you enjoyed our highlight as always please like, share, tweet and comment and book your visit to come and see us.

All the best, The Culloden Team