Annual Gathering 2007
Thursday 30 August --- Sunday 3 September
This year the 1745 Association held its annual gathering at the Glen Mohr hotel in Inverness. Attending members and guests arrived in the afternoon or early evening in time to settle in and renew friendships before sitting down for dinner on the first evening. This year we had forty-three members attending. After breakfast on Friday morning the coach arrived to take us to our first appointment which was scheduled to be the new visitor centre at the Culloden battlefield. This ambitious new project is due to open in 2007 and we were all hoping that the building work would be sufficiently advanced to allow us a pre-opening visit to the new facilities. We were also hoping to see the Culloden Walk made up of the many stones sponsored by individuals and organizations including the 1745 Association. Unfortunately work has been delayed and the new centre will not now open
until late November. With this in mind we made our first stop at Balnain House in Inverness. The building is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and serves as the Highlands and Islands regional office and is not usually open to the public. The house was built in 1726 and used as a hospital by Hanoverian troops after the Battle of Culloden. Alexander Bennett, Culloden project co-ordinator, provided us with an overview of progress towards completion of the new visitor centre. We were also privileged to see a new film on the Battle of Culloden. Mr Bennett said that the film would be the centrepiece of its new exhibition and would be shown on four floor-to-ceiling screens all around the visitors. The film provided a shockingly realistic of the horrors of eighteenth century battles and we only saw it on a small screen. When the exhibition opens the visitor will leave in no doubt of the dreadfulness of the conflict and the brutality of war.
The film was not made at Culloden as the battlefield is an official war grave and so the filming happened on a similar moor near Lauder.
We left Balnain suitably chastened by what we had seen and proceeded to the battlefield. where we were met by Jill Harden, battlefield archeologist. Jill gave us a talk and conducted tour of the field explaining the latest thinking on the battle and NTS plans to return the site to the condition it was in in 1746 as nearly as possible. It seems that front lines of the opposing armies were much longer than previously thought and the NTS site only covers part of the original battlefield. There is land both to the north and south of the present NTS property that could usefully be incorporated into the site. Jill also explained how a recalculation of the position of the armies has been made by archaeological finds including those made by metal detectorists. It is quite amazing that despite the field having been picked over for genuine research and also by souvenir hunters over the last 250 years there is still enough evidence remaining to produce a
Leanach Enclosure Dyke
rethink of the course of the battle. Dr Harden also explained the function of both the Leanach and Culwhiniac enclosures on the outcome of the battle. Both these enclosing walls, the Culwhiniac of stone and the Leanach a turf dyke, are being restored to their original heights as part of the 2007 visitor centre operation.
You might like to take a look at this
story on the
BBC News website.
|New Visitor Centre Culloden||Culwhiniac Enclosure||Memorial Cairn (with trees removed) Culloden|
After lunch we moved on to Fort George, a monumental piece of eighteenth century architecture designed by Major-General William Skinner. Construction began on Ardersier point in 1748 and finished to all intents and purposes by 1769. Twenty-one years is a long time in the history of post Culloden Highlands and the political climate changed considerably during that time. Fort George was designed with the control of the Highlands and possible further Jacobite uprising in mind. However the Jacobite disaffection so clearly perceived in 1748 was no more than a romantic notion by 1770 and it might be said that the fort had been a waste of money. It cost about £200,000 to build and that was more than the whole of Scotland's GDP for 1750!
I could not resist it!
Fort George Cannon
Built to house a garrison of 1600 men Fort George covers 42 acres and was built on a huge scale with all the ancillary buildings required to service the needs of such a large garrison. The bastion fortifications are geometrically angled to allow defenders to effectively lay down artillery and musket fire covering all possible lines of attack. It might be argued that such an imposing fortification was an unnecessary excess simply to keep a recalcitrant Highland population under control . The scale of the place perhaps indicates two concepts, firstly that the Highland threat was taken very seriously by the Hanoverian government and secondly that the same government would go to whatever expense and length required to ensure that insurrection did not occur again..
|Fort George Entrance||Click the picture above for a video of Fort George||Imperial Power? (small flag-big mortar!)|
Saturday morning saw us off again; this time to Moy churchyard where Donald Fraser, the Moy blacksmith, one of the characters of the '45 is buried.
Prince Charles was staying at Moy Hall, the home of ‘Colonel’ Anne Mackintosh, a loyal Jacobite whose husband was in the government army. Lord Louden, the Hanoverian holder of Inverness, was interested in the reward of £30,000 that was on the Pretender’s head and the kudos to be gained from his incarceration and so resolved to capture Charles. Louden marched towards Moy with 1500 men intending to take the Prince by surprise. However, his Lordship had not reckoned on the response of Colonel Anne’s mother, Lady Mackintosh, who lived in Inverness. According to James Gib, the Master of the Prince’s Household, when Lady Mackintosh heard of Louden’s plan she dispatched a young clansman, Lachlan Mackintosh, through the government cordon to her daughter’s house to warn Charles. On hearing the news Colonel Anne sent five men, including the Moy blacksmith, to keep a look out for the arrival of Louden’s men. When they saw the advance guard approaching the men fired their weapons and filled the air with war cries and chants. Believing that the whole Jacobite army was about to descend on them the terrified attackers panicked and fled back to Inverness in disorder. The ‘Rout of Moy’ produced only one casualty, the MacLeod hereditary piper, Macrimmon, who had prophesied his death in the lament ‘Cha til me tuille’ which translates as ‘I’ll return no more.’ However, the ignominious rout demoralised the garrison in Inverness and two hundred men deserted the following day.
The inscription on the gravestone reads, "In memory of Donald Fraser blacksmith of Moy Hall. Captain of the five at the
Rout of Moy, Feby 1746 who died at Corry Brough June 1804 and of his son, Donald, Ground Officer, Corry Brough who died Dec 1825."
Next we moved on to Ruthven barracks where another story of the '45 was enacted. The barracks was erected in 1724 as part of the general attempt to pacify the Highlands. In August 1745 it was garrisoned by Sergeant Terrence Malloy and perhaps a dozen men.
Believing that General Cope was preparing to cross the Corrieyairack pass from the south the Jacobites decided to seize it and block his advance. Once the pass had been occupied the Highlanders came upon redcoat deserters who informed them that their army had withdrawn. Having secured the way south without needing to fight and, perhaps in order to placate those who were anxious for some action, Prince Charles gave permission for a couple of raids. A hundred men, jointly led by Archibald Cameron and John O’Sullivan, attacked the barracks. The venture failed and the Highlanders were driven off with one killed and several wounded. As the Jacobite army withdrew in 1746 the barracks at Ruthven were visited once again. On 10 February Charles marched to Dalnacardoch where he spent two nights while his men went on to Ruthven. The small government garrison was still commanded by Terrence Malloy who had been promoted to Lieutenant after successfully repelling the Jacobite attack the previous September. This time Malloy was outnumbered and surrendered to the rebels who destroyed the barracks with gunpowder.
|Ruthven Barracks||Members of the 1745 Association at Ruthven||Blacksmith of Moy|
The last visit of the day was to the cairn erected in memory of John Roy Stuart, the commander of the Edinburgh Regiment. He was a remarkable man, a poet as well as a soldier. Stewart was born round about 1700 and enlisted in the Scots Greys in his twenties. After being refused a commission in the Black Watch he joined the French army and helped defeat the Duke of Cumberland’s army at Fontenoy in May 1745. While in France Stewart became active in the Jacobite cause and often acted as a liaison officer between Jacobites in France and those in Scotland. At the outbreak of the Forty-Five John Roy was in Ghent with the French army but joined Prince Charles as quickly as he could. Stewart gained a reputation as a wit, raconteur and poet but sadly much of his poetry has been lost. The best known and most entertaining of that remaining is a parody of the 23rd Psalm.
The Lord’s my targe, I
will be stout,
With dirk and trusty blade,
Though Campbells come in flocks about
I will not be afraid.
The Lord’s the same as
He’s always good to me;
Though red-coats come a thousand more,
Afraid I will not be.
Though they the woods do
cut and burn,
And drain the lochs all dry;
Though they the rocks do overturn
And change the course of Spey;
Though they mow down both
corn and grass,
Nay, seek me underground;
Though hundreds guard each road and pass—
John Roy will not be found.
There is more about John Roy on the Cairns and Memorials Page
|Cairn to John Roy Stuart||Plaque on Cairn||Click the Picture above for a video link|
Saturday evening saw us back in the hotel for the grand occasion of our Annual Dinner. The usual profusion of Highland dress was on show and the hotel did us proud with excellent food. After dinner we were addressed by Dr Jill Harden who spoke on " Interpreting the Culloden Battlefield". Dr Harden also proposed the toast to The Royal House of Stuart. The Gathering ended on Sunday morning but we all look forward to next year.
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