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This great summary of what has happened to the Highlands and Islands after Culloden was written by Chris Grant, who has just written a book about Culloden and its aftermath, with particular reference to the Grants of Glenurquhart and Glenmoriston, and their Clansmen and women.

“The harsh treatment of the Highlanders and their families after Culloden merely served as a starting pistol to what we would call today cultural genocide. What followed in the pacification of the Highlands was successive Acts of Parliament, which would in effect implement policies which sought to gradually, but systematically, dismantle all the cornerstones of Highland Gaelic culture.

 These acts would in time not only change the clothing, culture and way of life in the Highlands, but by the ending of Heritable Jurisdiction, fundamentally change the very structure of their society, and this in turn greatly contributed to the later Highland Clearances, which were also encouraged. The majority of ordinary people saw that they had no economic future in light of how they were being expected to live.

 The policies which were rolled out over a protracted period even sought the very eradication of the language of the people. These policies contributed greatly to emptying the Glens of people throughout the Highlands and Islands, and set the scene for what we see today, where once thriving communities on many a Highland hillside and in the lower glens, now hold nothing but the vegetation-covered skeletons of the former homes of those people.

Areas which once thrived with population are now eerily empty and largely devoid of life and people, in what were acts of vindictive cultural vandalism that the Highlands has never recovered from and which it is so much the poorer for in our modern age, where little but tourism and wealthy landowners coexist over huge swathes of a picturesque but sadly empty land.

They created a desert largely devoid of people and life and called it peace, which is quite an apt way of portraying the Highlands of Scotland in our modern era.”

Thanks to: Dot MacKenzie GSDC. Group To Stop Development At Culloden.

Maeshowe was probably built around 2800 BC. In the archaeology of Scotland, it gives its name to the Maeshowe type of chambered cairn, which is limited to Orkney.

Maeshowe is one of the largest tombs in Orkney. The mound encasing the tomb is 35 m in diameter and rises to a height of 7.3 m. Surrounding the mound, at a distance of 15 m to 21 m is a ditch up to 14 m wide. The grass mound hides a complex of passages and chambers built of carefully crafted slabs offlagstone weighing up to 30 tons. It is aligned so that the rear wall of its central chamber is illuminated on the winter solstice.

Maeshowe is a significant example of Neolithic craftsmanship and is, in the words of the archaeologists, “a superlative monument that by its originality of execution is lifted out of its class into a unique position.”

The Historic Environment Scotland digital documentation team has created a 3D interactive model.

Maeshowe entrance


Cross-sections of maeshowe

The interactive 3D model can be seen via the link below.

Masehowe – 3D interactive model

The Act of Proscription did not ban ‘tartan’ but Highland dress made from tartan for men and boys. It did not ban the Gaidhlig language or the playing of bagpipes.

There had been many attacks on the Gaidhlig language, including acts which made important land owners send their eldest children to the south to be educated and barred from inheriting the estates if they did not speak English, but it was not banned as such by law and not in the Act of Proscription. Later, the British Government, at the suggestion of Cumberland’s Major General Bland, would give the Kirk substantial amount of money to set up ‘schools’ – not to offer local children general education but to teach them not to speak Gaidhlig and to be Presbyterians:

‘Schoolls should likewise be Establish’d in Several Parts of the Highlands, not with a view of making them Learned, but to Teach them English and the Rudements of the Protestant Religion, as the greatest part of the Common People here are ignorant of both.’ Major General Sir Humphrey Bland, Fort Augustus, 1746.

The Bagpipes were never banned, but increasingly became associated with the many newly formed Highland regiments being sent around the world to fight for the British Empire.

It is a simple thing to look up the language of the Act and read it but that seems a bridge too far for many who continue to spread misinformation.

277 years ago  the Jacobite army had been defeated at the battle of Culloden.

Immediately after being led from the field by William O’Sullivan, Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his one attendants made for the military road, south west of the battlefield, which ran from Inverness to the south.

The original plan, ordered by the high command, was for all men to muster at Ruthven Barracks, near Kingussie, 2 days after the battle. This was the fall back plan should the day not go in their favour.

After the Prince crossed the River Nairn at Faillie he turned west instead of joining his army at Ruthven. It is said he passed along Stratherrick and arrived at Gorthleck House, south east of Loch Ness, the evening of the battle. This is where he is said to have his fateful meeting with Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat. A meeting, which along with other deeds, would cost Lovat his life.

The fleeing Jacobites, many wounded, made their way from the field towards the Findhorn River and camped at Balvraid near present day Tomatin. From there they crossed Sluggan Bridge and headed south through Rothiemurchus and onwards to Ruthven. Jacobites who hadn’t made it to the battle in time, such as Ewan MacPherson of Cluny (known as Cluny MacPherson) and his men, joined Lord George Murray and helped reorganising the army to continue the campaign. They waited the arrival of their Prince…..but he didn’t come. He sent a letter. He letter stated that he would go to France and raise more support and money and that each man should look after themselves as best they could.

Prince Charles believed that he had been betrayed by some of his officers including Lord George Murray so instead of joining his men he travelled to the west coast in an attempt to meet up with a French ship and return to the continent. For the next 5 months the Prince hid in the heather evading capture by the hunting British soldiers. Despite a reward of £30,000 (over £1.7 million today) he was never betrayed by those who helped him hide. Finally on 20th September 1746 he boarded a ship for France and left Scotland never to return.

The men at Ruthven began to disband and return to their homes, wanted and hunted fugitives. Many would be forced to go into exile oversea or simply hide in the countryside, moving from place to place to evade capture. Some were arrested including many who hadn’t taken part in the rising, others forced to take sanctuary wherever they could. A great many made their way to France and would serve in French regiments raised by exiled Jacobite Lords.

Lord George Murray, who would never be forgiven by the Prince, would go into exile in Holland becoming a very successful General. His wife would join him a short time later.

Cluny MacPherson would live out the next 9 years a fugitive living in caves before also escaping to France. He too was joined by his wife but in 1764, living in extreme poverty, Cluny would pass away in Dunkirk.

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, the Old Fox, was captured. He was first sent to Edinburgh Castle before being sent south to London for trial. He would be found guilty and beheaded at Tower Hill in April 1747, the last noble to be beheaded in Great Britain.

The Prince would attempt to gain more support for another rising from some of the powers of Europe but with no success. Over the next 42 years his character would change dramatically. The confident young Prince that marched at the head of his army would become a drunken, sullen, sick old man. Stories of violence and rage within his relationships would tarnish his reputation and many of his former close supporters would turn their back on him. In 1788, nursed by his daughter Charlotte and supported by his younger brother, Henry Benedict, Cardinal Duke of York, he would die as a result of a stroke aged 67.

Life had been changing in the Highlands for over a hundred years before the battle of Culloden. The lifestyle and warlike culture was seen by outsiders as savage and barbarian. The fiery temper of the Highland clans, quick to anger and rebellion, had to be stamped out.

The British government aided this change firstly by laws such as the Act of Proscription which banned traditional Highland dress, weapons were turned in or confiscated. But the government also saw potential in the brave fighting men of the Highland.

Over the next few decades more and more Highland regiments would be raised to see service for King George all over the globe. Highland warriors would again charge into battle but this time wearing a redcoat. The proud traditions and deeds of the Highland Regiments would become renowned and respected wherever they went.

Ref: gaelhistory

Lord George Murray. Prince Charles would be blame Lord George Murray for much of the disaster of Culloden, believing he had betrayed him and the cause.

Sir John William O’Sullivan, adjutant general and quartermaster general of the Jacobite army. Later authors would depict O’Sullivan as a fool whose actions aided in the Jacobite defeat at Culloden.

Charles Edward Stuart crosses the River Nairn at the ford of Faillie.

Gorthleck House where a retreating Charles would meet the “Old Fox”, Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat.

Ruins of Ruthven Barracks, near Kingussie.



Wanted poster for Prince Charles Edward Stuart. A record of £30,000 was placed on the Prince’s head.

Charles Edward Stuart in his later years.

Charlotte, Duchess of Albany, daughter of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Charlotte would only outlive her father by near 2 years, dying in November 1789 of liver cancer.

Ben Alder. After the defeat at Culloden, Cluny MacPherson spent nine years hiding in the wilderness with a price on his head. Much of the time was spent in his “cage” on the slopes of Ben Alder.

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, whose meeting with Prince Charles at Gorthleck House sealed his fate.


After Culloden many new Highland regiments would be raised, seeing service all over the world.








The last Highland Charge on Culloden Moor in 1746. “Culloden“, Peter Watkins’ first full-length film, a docudrama made for the BBC, portrays the important Battle of Culloden which in the words of the narrator “tore apart forever the clan system of the Scottish Highlands”. The film was hailed as a breakthrough for its cinematography, as well as its use of non-professional actors and presentation of an historical event in the style of modern TV reporting. Watkins is known for pushing boundaries to the extreme with his documentaries and his films continue to inspire today.

In a barren Scottish moor on April 16th 1746, the tired and hungry men of the last Highland army made their final desperate charge against a well-disciplined British force led by the Duke of Cumberland. Despite their incredible courage and valour, the clan warriors met a terrible end. It was to be the ruin of the Jacobite cause…forever.

“Culloden” (1964) Scottish Jacobite Rebellion Classic Docudrama

National Clan Cameron in Australia members can find an interesting a link on the Members Section to a short YouTube clip (approx. 14 minutes) of a guided tour from West Highland Museum of the Kilmallie kirkyard, a small kirkyard with a wealth of history!

From Cameron chiefs and stories of witches, to reknowned Gaelic poets, tragic seafaring disasters, and the ‘other Telford’. This wee special place has it all.