It is windswept. It feels desolate. There is a sadness to this place, like I have never experienced before. This is the place where the Battle of Culloden took place in 1746. This is the place where Scotland’s story took a turn towards a very different future.
Leadup to the Battle of Culloden
Queen Anne, the last monarch of the House of Stuart, died in 1714, with no surviving children. 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. Many, however, particularly in Scotland and Ireland, continued to support the claim to the throne of Anne’s exiled half-brother James, excluded from the succession under the Act of Settlement due to his Roman Catholic religion.
On 23 July 1745 James’s son Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) landed on Eriskay in the Western Isles in an attempt to reclaim the throne of Great Britain for his father.
At first, the Jacobites were quite successful, achieving victory several times, including at Prestonpans. Eventually, it all came down to one big battle – the Battle of Culloden.
The Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden took place on April 16, 1746. It marked the final battle of the Jacobite rising of 1745 and is considered one of the most brutal battles in Scottish history. The conflict was fought between the Jacobite forces, led by Charles Edward Stuart (also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie), and the British government army, led by the Duke of Cumberland.
The battle itself was short and bloody, lasting only an hour. The Jacobite army was significantly outnumbered, with only around 5,000 men compared to the British army’s 8,000. The Jacobites charged towards the government lines but were met with a hail of gunfire that devastated their ranks. The British army then advanced, forcing the Jacobites to retreat.
The battle resulted in a decisive victory for the British army, with the Jacobites suffering heavy losses. Around 1,500 Jacobites were killed or wounded, compared to only around 300 government soldiers. The battle effectively ended the Jacobite rebellion and marked the end of any serious attempt to restore the Stuart monarchy to the British throne.
Visiting the Battlefield
The Culloden Battlefield is located near Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands. It is now a popular tourist attraction and historical site that attracts visitors from around the world.
Today, the Culloden Battlefield is preserved as a National Trust site, with a visitor centre and a guided tour of the battlefield. Visitors can see the exact location of the battle, as well as learn about the events that led up to it and its aftermath. There is also a memorial cairn that was erected in memory of the Jacobite soldiers who died in the battle.
Visiting the Culloden Battlefield is an emotional and educational experience that offers a unique glimpse into Scottish history. It is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for their beliefs and their country, and a testament to the resilience of the Scottish people.
Historical Sites Nearby
- The ancient Clava Cairns lie less than 2 miles away, along the B9006
- The ruins of the medieval Beauly Priory are 19 miles West
- Castle Leod is located 23 miles North-West, along the A9
- Site visit and observation
- On-site information boards
- Wikipedia website
- National Army Museum website
- National Trust for Scotland website