Friday, April 16, 2010

The Battle Of Culloden Moor, 254 Years Ago Today

1746 - Battle Of Culloden

Culloden Moor, known then as Drummossie Muir, was the site of the last pitched battle on the British mainland on 16 April 1746.

The Jacobites were pulling back into the Highlands, ending their siege of Stirling as they headed for Inverness.

Ghosts of Culloden... can you hear them...?
It was called the Rising of the Forty an' Five. In 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart undertook to retake the throne of England for his Father, James II of England. Prince Charlie was called the Young Pretender, because he was in line for the throne if he were successful in his effort. [...]

It was on this day in 1746. 254 years ago on a cold and windswept moor near Inverness, Scotland. A haunted place known as Culloden Moor. A field that, like other killing fields, shall live forever in legend and tears. And infamy. It is a story of heroes and of cold blooded brutality.

Ghosts of Culloden ~ Isla Grant

Slaughter of the Wounded; The Cruel Aftermath
Notwithstanding the massacres which were committed immediately after the battle, a considerable number of wounded Highlanders still survived, some of whom had taken refuge in a few cottages adjoining the field of battle, while others lay scattered among the neighbouring inclosures. Many of these men might have recovered if ordinary attention had been paid to them; but the stern duke, considering that those who had risen in rebellion against his father were not entitled to the rights of humanity, entirely neglected them. But, barbarous as such conduct was, it was only the prelude to enormities of a still more revolting description.

1746 - Highland Dress Proscription Act
Following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden, the last pitched battle on British soil, Prince Charles fled to South Uist then eventually across to France.

His supporters who remained suffered terribly from ‘Butcher Cumberland’ and his medieval reprisals. To further punish Scotland, Parliament issued imperious Acts to destroy the clans, their identities and economic structures.

New laws imposed abolished heritable jurisdictions, claimed estates for the crown, banned the playing of bagpipes, the wearing of tartans and Highland dress for all except government troops, and restricted the possession of weapons.

After Culloden
The absolute will of the Scottish lairds was to be replaced by the execution of the king's laws. Legislation of 1746 and 1747 was passed to weaken the independence of the Highlands. Public executions of those loyal to the Jacobite cause impressed upon the Scottish people the need to toe the line.

The lands of the Jacobite chiefs were forfeited and a determined effort was made to end the clan system once and for all. Yet, as more than one historian has pointed out, the great lords on the fringes of the Highlands such as Argyll, Montrose, Gordon, Atholl and others lost their baronial rights, in the more remote regions, the power of the chiefs had been patriarchal rather than feudal, personal rather than legal and territorial. It was the inexorable advance of a money economy into the Highlands that followed the rebellion, and not the effects of any royal statute that finally ended their supremacy.

The Disarming Act of 1746 forbade the carrying and concealing of arms, made broadsword illegal and the search for them legal. The wearing of Highland clothes or plaid was prohibited to all except serving soldiers of the Crown. Another act was passed to suppress nonjuring, meeting houses, considered "seminaries of Jacobitism" and "nurseries and schools" of rebellion.


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