The Battle of Culloden

The Battle of Culloden 16th April 1746: The last battle to take place on British soil.

The battle of Culloden was fought to reinstate the Stuart Monarch back on to the throne over the Hanover family. The throne for Scotland Ireland and England was lost to the Stuart family in 1714 with the death of Queen Anne who was succeeded by King George I of the House of Hanover. Anne’s father James II and VII was over thrown in the Glorious Revolution 1688 as his strong Catholic views were not popular however his older brother whilst king insisted Anne and her sister be raised Anglican thus allowing her to take over from her father. James II and VII son James III and VIII tried to take back the thrown numerous times before his son who received the names ‘the Old Pretender’. The Jacobite cause are named after Jacobus which is Latin for James.


Charles Edward Stuart often known as ‘the young pretender' or ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’. Came to Scotland in 1745 to take back the thrown. Initially the Jacobite army had a victorious start just outside of Edinburgh and took over the city allowing the young prince entry to his ancestral home of Holyrood Palace. The Army then marched south across the border but with forces coming from multiple directions they were forced to retreat to Inverness where 1500 – 2000 Jacobites lost their lives. The Bonnie Prince had been warned not to choose Culloden as the battle site but did not head the warning. If he had,, perhaps the outcome would have been very different. The Jacobite army were outnumbered by over 2000 men. The highland army were exhausted and weak from hunger after a failed raid on Cumberland's army the previous night. As a result the battle lasted under an hour. Those that were injured or ran from the field were killed or jailed for treason: with few exceptions. Cumberland's army chased any fleeing Jacobite down this led to Cumberland's well known nickname as the Butcher. The French soldiers that fought with the Jacobites were the only ones to be treated as prisoners of war.

As for Charles Edward Stuart he evaded capture for 5 months eventually sailing to the Isle of Skye dressed as a maid before gaining passage to France, previously the Stuarts greatest ally.

The young pretender’s flight was one that was acknowledged as of legendary scale as with £30,000 for his head the young prince had many Scottish accomplices helping him to gain safe passage. Even those that were not strictly Jacobite supporters. The popular song Skye Boat song commemorates Charles escape from Cumberland’s army.

This was the last Jacobite Rebellion and led to the disempowering of the chieftains of the highland clans as well as the banning of traditional dress worn, as it was considered a sign of support for the Stuart family. This final battle led to a changing Scotland. Keep in mind that not all fighting in the Jacobite Army were Scottish and not all in Cumberland's army were English.

The young pretender died in 1788 aged 67 and 19 years later the Stuart line became extinct with the death of the pretenders younger brother Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart – though both the old and young pretender had illegitimate sons that continue the male line