The Brodie Sword

WGrant Jacobean collection_12Jan2016_0590To celebrate the return of the Brodie Sword, from display at the National Museum of Scotland’s Jacobites exhibition, we thought we would re-share the story of this intriguing sword.

Sword and Symbols

With the recent exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, many iconic and beautiful pieces related to the Stuart court and its followers were brought together under one roof.

As part of the exhibition the book Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites was published by NMS; with a chapter dedicated to  ‘Weapons fit for a Prince’ it brings new insights into the Brodie sword within the context of two other pieces – The Kandler Sword and a Targe

The Brodie sword was reportedly commissioned by James Drummond the 3rd Duke of Perth to be presented as a gift to the Stuart heir to the throne.  A basket-hilted broad sword, the Brodie sword dates to the 18th Century, along with the sword the matching scabbard has survived and can be seen on display at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre.

The basket hilt is constructed from moulded silver; with the individual pieces of silver cast and then soldered together to create the hilt.

The design centres on the Greek mythological being of medusas’ head. Medusa was a symbol used by the Stuart royal family, as for every head of the snake cut of more would appear.

A pair of snakes coming out from the head twist forming the wrist guard, on the hilt there are many military trophies – from Hercules club, swords, arrows to guns – with a dolphin found at the pommel. It was suggested by Helen Wyld and George Dalgleish that the Dolphin might relate to the French word Dauphin meaning heir to the throne (Wyld & Dalgleish, 2017).

The basket hilt features many images of conflict it also contains images of peace. From the olive branch (meaning peace) on the sword  to yet more olive braches and the cornucopia (representing plenty) on the matching scabbard, the idea is that when the sword is sheathed at the end of the campaign and the ultimate goal of restoration for James VIII & III being achieved Great Britain will see peace and prosperity.

The Brodie Connection

This sword was said to have been removed from Charles Edward Stuart’s baggage train in the immediate aftermath of Culloden, the Dukes of Gordon (who fought on both sides of the ’45 conflict) had many objects related to the ’45 – everything from pieces of tartan to the beautiful sword.

It was in the care of the Dukes of Gordon until it came into the care of the Brodies through the marriage of Elizabeth Brodie (1794-1864) to George, fifth Duke of Gordon in 1813.

The castle ancestral home of the Brodie clan is a picturesque Brodie Castle in Moray. The castle has a history dating back over 400 years there is a magnificent collection of books, art and objects to explore.

We hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a little more about this amazing piece. Hopefully you will have a chance to come and visit it ! As always please like, share, follow, tweet, comment and let us know if you were able to visit the Jacobites exhibition at NMS.

Discover more about the symbols of the ’45 at our Swords and Symbols event on the 26 November 2017

Bibliography

Forsyth, D. (2017). Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites. Edinburgh: National Museum Scotland .

Wyld, H., & Dalgleish, G. (2017). “A slim sword in his hand for batle” Weapons fit for a Prince. In D. Forsyth, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites (pp. 80-93). Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland .

 

 

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Preview of the new learning resources!

For the past 10 months our learning team has been working on a new resource for school teachers.

In this blog post we thought we would share some of the resource with you and show you what our learning team get up to!

It all started when our Head Education Guide, Catriona, was tasked with a re-vamp of our teacher resource pack, what started out as a refresh ended up as a brand new Gaelic/English resource.

One of the bits some pupils, and sometimes the teachers, find the toughest is getting to grips with the family tree!  For Catriona it was one of the most important parts of the resource. The family tree can look off-putting and confusing so we have made a simple, not too fussy version of it. It goes from Mary, Queen of Scots all the way through to George III; Catriona would have loved to go all the way through to Queen Victoria or even the current monarchy, sadly it wouldn’t all fit on an A4 double page spread!

Family Tree
This is a section of the family tree taken from the new teacher resource

One of the other aspects of the resource is biographies of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. There is a lot of information out there on the two Princes and the learning team wanting to bring the key information into one place which was accessible for teachers.

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The final section of the resource should be one of the most useful – over time the words we use to talk about the conflict have changed.

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A wee explanation covers what the Act of Settlement(1701) actually is, what does Divine Right of Kings mean and other key phrases.

One of the most interesting things that the team discovered while writing this related to the word Red Coat. The term redcoat came widely into use after Culloden and starts to be used during the American Revolution/Wars of Independence (depends on which side you fall) in the 1760s. Dearganach is a Gaelic word and it describes men in red coats; some believe it was used during the Jacobite era to describe government soldiers.

Hopefully it will help teachers who maybe don’t know too much about the ’45 to feel inspired and encourage them to teach it in their classes!

With much valued input and advice from 18th century historians and Jacobite specialists:  Prof. Murray Pittock, Prof. Christopher Duffy, Prof. Allan MacInnes and Dr Domhnall Uilleam Stiubhart this resource will be available from later October 2017.

All the best, K&D (and our lovely learning team!)

 

A day as an intern at Culloden Battlefield…

Hello! My name is Caroline and I am an intern at the battlefield. I’m currently studying Museology and Heritage Sites in France and I was very lucky to get an internship here in Scotland.

Since I know most of you are probably raring to know what an intern does all day in a place such as this, I’m going to tell you how my typical day goes.

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Culloden Battlefield

 

I arrive for 9:00 at the Battlefield. Then, depending on if volunteers are already here or not, I change into costume. You might have seen me with two different costumes on, that’s because each costume is for a different presentation.

A 9:30, if no other volunteer is in, I do a presentation for the visitors at the Battle Zone. It implies me talking about a topic (that can vary from Frenchmen in the Jacobite Army to the Highland Soldiers) in front of an audience, handling weapons and making people participate in military drills. It’s always a nice moment every time because I either get very enthusiastic people volunteering or I have to choose at random. The people who are chosen are also very cooperative once they get into the atmosphere. The goal is not to take yourself seriously.

After this presentation, I start handing out stickers and doing tours. Most of my day is spent at the back desk of the Visitor Centre, answering questions and taking bookings, and then on the Battlefield, doing tours. Even though the tour is only supposed to last 30 minutes, mine always last at least 40 minutes! It seems I just can’t stop talking sometimes… The tours are very enjoyable because they’re always different. In spite of the fact that I say a very similar text every time, the audience reacts in a variety of manners and asks a lot of different questions!

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Guided tours take in all the main parts of the battlefield

 

Sometimes, I can also stay in costume and work at the handling tables, where I present many replicas of objects from the time of the battle to the visitors, allowing them to touch them and interact with them. I’ve had quite a few visitors from France and Germany coming to the tables and since I speak these two languages, I’m able to explain things to them. It makes them happy and it’s always an experience: try to translate “Basket-hilted broadsword” in French (or in German for that matter)!

At the end of the day, I try to work on the project I decided to complete while I’m here. I was able to find a newspaper article telling about the battle from a French newspaper dating from 1746. I’m currently in the process of retranscripting and translating it. I would like to enable British pupils studying French to study it and translate it as part of a school program. It’s an interesting article, as much because of its contents, than because of the evolution of the French language you can witness in the article.

As you can see now, my days are quite busy at the Battlefield and they go by much too fast! I’m really enjoying every day I spend here and I hope I will be lucky enough to always work in such a nice environment.

As always please like, share, tweet and if you ever want to be an intern feel free to contact us.

All the best