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
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    User Reviews

    Colin Murray (2 years ago)
    I've wanted to visit for a long time and finally made it. Well worth it. Good presentations and excellent (if not poignant) immersive battle film. Well laid out shop and cafe with good quality coffee and food.
    Rev. Dr. David Cole (2 years ago)
    You have to appreciate the smell of cordite and the clash of cold steel to imagine the epic scene that transpired on this quite ordinary field. The place where each brave clan fell is well marked. For a true historian this is an amazing journey in time. It isn't too late for the canny Scots to ditch the enigmatic England and fulfill their destiny as part of greater Europe versus lesser Brexit Britain!
    John Vromans (2 years ago)
    Wonderful place to visit. Visitor Centre is world class; has everything you need. Wikipedia the history of this battle to really understand what happened. Different world then when men fought and died for....what?? Can't for the life of me imagine English armies marching up the M1 now to sort the Scottish people out. God bless people of the UK.
    Russell Coid (2 years ago)
    Fantastic visitors center, very informative and thought provoking. Visited on a rather miserable day so felt the experience was more so accurate to the day of battle. Definitely recommend if you are in the area. Well worth a visit.
    Keith Ratcliff (2 years ago)
    Didn't think the history would interest me but either I'm getting older or it's truly an engaging exhibition. The story of the two opposing forces and their journey to the battle at Culloden is told brilliantly as you work your way around the building. The coffee was not quite cafe standard but the exhibition and the walk around the expansive battlefield were enjoyable.
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