Culloden Battlefield

Highland, United Kingdom

The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745 and part of a religious civil war in Britain. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. Queen Anne had died in 1714 without any surviving children and was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, a daughter of James VI and I. The Hanoverian victory at Culloden halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne; Charles Stuart never again mounted any further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Great Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.

Charles Stuart's Jacobite army consisted largely of Catholics - Scottish Highlanders, as well as a number of Lowland Scots and a small detachment of Englishmen from the Manchester Regiment. The Jacobites were supported and supplied by the Kingdom of France from Irish and Scots units in the French service. A composite battalion of infantry comprising detachments from each of the regiments of the Irish Brigade plus one squadron of Irish cavalry in the French army served at the battle alongside the regiment of Royal Scots raised the previous year to support the Stuart claim. The British Government forces were mostly Protestants - English, along with a significant number of Scottish Lowlanders and Highlanders, a battalion of Ulstermen and some Hessians from Germany and Austrians. The quick and bloody battle on Culloden Moor was over in less than an hour when after an unsuccessful Highland charge against the government lines, the Jacobites were routed and driven from the field.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle. The battle and its aftermath continue to arouse strong feelings: the University of Glasgow awarded Cumberland an honorary doctorate, but many modern commentators allege that the aftermath of the battle and subsequent crackdown on Jacobitism were brutal, and earned Cumberland the sobriquet 'Butcher'. Efforts were subsequently taken to further integrate the comparatively wild Highlands into the Kingdom of Great Britain; civil penalties were introduced to weaken Gaelic culture and attack the Scottish clan system.

Today, a visitor centre is located near the site of the battle. This centre was first opened in December 2007, with the intention of preserving the battlefield in a condition similar to how it was on 16 April 1746. Possibly the most recognisable feature of the battlefield today is the 6.1 m tall memorial cairn, erected by Duncan Forbes in 1881. In the same year Forbes also erected headstones to mark the mass graves of the clans. The thatched roofed farmhouse of Leanach which stands today dates from about 1760; however, it stands on the same location as the turf-walled cottage that probably served as a field hospital for Government troops following the battle. A stone, known as 'The English Stone', is situated west of the Old Leanach cottage and is said to mark the burial place of the Government dead. West of this site lies another stone, erected by Forbes, marking the place where the body of Alexander McGillivray of Dunmaglass was found after the battle.

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Founded: 1746
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vlad Sabau (2 months ago)
[visited in August 2016] visitor centre with informative experience/materials; the battlefield itself is large, beautiful and quiet and, if the weather is not totally against you, makes for a very an exceptional setting for a good couple of hours spent outside.
Adrian Grieve (3 months ago)
We did the self guided battlefield tour which was fine but if we'd had more time we definitely would have done the guided tour. The visitor's center has great information about the battle and the guides inside were so helpful. Great gift shop and a must see for all Scots and lovers of Scottish history.
sarah mcanaw (5 months ago)
Was a bit disappointed entry to the museum was £11 per adult, seemed a bit pricey to me. The views on the trail were stunning and it's worth a trip. £2 for 2hrs of parking in the car park.
PA Pursley (6 months ago)
We visited this location and it was a great experience! Large walking path with stones erected to give facts about the battle. There is also a gift store and place to eat. Thank you, Culloden Battlefield!
Alan Sheridan (7 months ago)
The guided tours are brilliant and recommended. There's an eerie feel to the place. So many lives lost believing in their cause on both sides. To walk past the grave sites and the stones with the clan names was a humbling experience. Well worth the visit.
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