Edinburgh Culloden Exhibition Revisits The Famous Battle

By Graham Spicer | 31 July 2006
photo of an open hand with a grey coin in it with the worn face of a man on it

This 'King's Shilling' is worn on one side - it could well have been rubbed as a lucky charm at the battle. Photo courtesy National Trust for Scotland

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is running a new exhibition of rare and never before seen objects helping to tell the story of the famous Battle of Culloden.

The Culloden Exhibition, running until September 9 2006 at 28 Charlotte Square in Edinburgh, will shed new light on the battle and also show how the NTS is creating a new visitor centre at the battlefield itself.

Among the artefacts on show is an example of ‘the King’s Shilling’, showing the face of William III. This coin was issued to the troops on the government side of the battle and the one on show is worn down on one side, suggesting it had been rubbed down over time like a lucky charm.

A range of exhibits on loan from The Drambuie Jacobite Collection is also being displayed. These items will form part of the new visitor centre at Culloden and include a medal commemorating the capture of Edinburgh from 1745, engraved wine glasses from the same year used by combatants in the battle, a portrait of a Jacobite lady and the ‘Holyrood Letter’, written by Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in 1745.

computer graphic of a field with a low level brick and glass building at the end of it

The new visitor centre at Culloden battlefield is planned to open in 2007. Image courtesy National Trust for Scotland

“The Drambuie Liqueur Company have generously lent nearly 30 items from its famed Jacobite Collection to the Trust for us to show in our new visitor centre next year, but we’ve seized the opportunity to show the public most of the items in this summer exhibition,” said Clare Meredith, Head Conservator at NTS.

More than 200,000 people visit the battlefield each year and the new centre, with its exhibition and education facilities, aims to enable more visitors to learn about the story behind Culloden and is due to open in 2007.

On April 16 1746 the Duke of Cumberland led a 9,000-strong force against the 5,000-man army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie – at Culloden near Inverness. It was the last pitched battle to take place on British soil.The Duke of Cumberland won the battle within an hour and the clampdown that occurred afterwards marked the end of the traditional highland way of life and quashed hopes of returning the Jacobite Stuarts to the British throne.

Find out more about Culloden at the Culloden Battlefield Memorial Project website.

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