Monthly Archives: November 2013

THE BEST OF ENEMIES by Christopher Duffy



Germans against Jacobites, 1746


One of the best stories of the Forty Five yet to be told, that of the Hessian soldiers who marched into the Pass of Killiecrankie.The Hessians have been portrayed as the villains of the Forty Five, brutal mercenaries. Yet they were very different from the legend. Their leader, Prince Frederick sympathised more with his foes than with his allies. In later years his crisis of conscience would perplex Germany.


 The Jacobite clans were on the Great Atholl Raid. Their leader, Lord George Murray, hoped to outflank the army of the Duke of Cumberland. This may have been a fine chance for Jacobite victory. The result was the siege of Blair Castle. The Hessians defended their base at Dunkeld from Jacobite probes. Then they were ordered to relieve the Castle by marching through the feared Pass of Killiecrankie. 

The cast of characters includes many who behaved unexpectedly: the irresponsible defenders of the Castle; the rival Dukes of Atholl; the Campbell whose assassination featured in Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped; the inn-servant Molly; the European hussars seeking information by talking in Latin, the irascible Duke of Cumberland; the lovelorn Earl of Craufurd, attached to the Hessian force; and many more.

Visit site.

Blunderbuss Culloden

This may be of interest to members

Steve Lord

To Members of the 1745 Association

Invitation to ‘Secrets of Culloden’ – Tuesday 3 December

Perhaps you will have driven past the battlefield of Culloden or you may even have been to the Culloden Visitor Centre. Would you like to know more about what really happened on that fateful day on 16th 1746?

As you are a supporter of the National Trust for Scotland, I would like to invite you and a guest to attend an event on Tuesday 3 December at 6:30pm which will shed some light on the ‘Secrets of Culloden’ and allow you the chance to view the ‘blunderbuss’ – one of the few remaining objects within the National Trust for Scotland’s care that has direct provenance to the Culloden battlefield.

The blunderbuss is a very early example of its type (a muzzle-loading firearm with a flintlock mechanism and dog lock). The artefact is inscribed ‘Taken at the battle of CULLODEN 16 April 1746 by Captain John Goodenough with 18 balls in it’. This particular blunderbuss would presumably have made a good battle trophy for Capt. John Goodenough, who is known to have served in Blakeney’s 27th

It is thought the gun was taken from a fallen officer after the battle.

This has been on display at Culloden Visitor Centre since 1996 and is now due for sale. The National Trust for Scotland has been offered ‘first refusal’ to purchase. If the Trust is unable to secure funds, the gun will be returned to the owner for sale. The most likely scenario is that it will then be purchased by a collector overseas and possibly removed from Scotland.

The Trust will endeavour to receive half the cost from a grant-maker with the other half dependent on the philanthropy of our members and supporters. It is one of only a small group of objects from the battlefield with powerful associations, providing a tangible link to the past. This item of national significance deserves to be shown where it can be appreciated – at Culloden Visitor Centre.

Please join me and my colleagues, Scott McMaster and Alexander Bennett on Tuesday 3rd December at 6:30pm for a chance to view the blunderbuss up close and discover more about the historical significance of this item and some of the lesser-known ‘Secrets of Culloden’.

I do hope you are able to join us on the evening. Please RSVP by emailing or

call 0844 493 2100 to confirm attendance.

With best wishes,

Emma Inglis, Curator – National Trust for Scotland

Ps. If you are unable to attend on the evening but would still like to keep the blunderbuss at Culloden, donate online at

Jacobite fans research project

Can anyone help with this

Hello, my name is Anita Fairney and I am currently researching Scottish Jacobite women. It was recommended to me by one of the museums in Scotland to contact you. I was wondering whether you, or anyone else in the association, may know about Jacobite Fans. I have located the Fans in Culloden (Drambuie Coll.), West Highland Museum, Scottish National Museum (Chambers st), British Museum, the V&A, Boston Museum and the Fan Museum. I was wondering if anyone knew of any other Jacobite fans, and not just pertaining to the ’45, but from 1688 to 1788? Thank you so much for your assistance.



the West Highland Museum in Fort William


As you know by my previous mail I’ve been touring the Highlands during the week of the 15th…  I’ve planned my trip to include what I reputed the most significant Jacobite places; among them I’ve seen  some museum; the one which has more conquered my attention is the West Highland Museum in Fort William. I’m sure the majority of you already knows it and maybe you’ve also visited it many times. However, since-for which I know-there aren’t posts about it on the Association website, I think to be nice to write down one. (Naturally the Museum has its own website, that’s really nice, but it’s really poor of photos and I’ll try to write something that’s not already there:

The ground floor of the museum is dedicated to a wide variety of subjects. A room is reserved to the british green berets who trained during WWII near Fort William, another room is about the Highland’s fauna, another yet to archaeological findings from the area and a last room, maybe the most interesting, is the reconstruction of how it may have appeared the apartment of the garrison commander of fort William in the last years of the 17th Century. There, among the furniture you can see a banner that should have belonged to the piper of Donald MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart.

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Upstairs there’s a room dedicated to the evolution of the Highland dress, with among other pieces a silver set (belt, crossbelt, broadsword, dirk, sghian dubh, sporran) belonged to John Brown, the Scottish ghillie of queen Victoria, and some memorabilia of the Queen herself.

The remaining part of the floor is wholly sacred to Jacobite History.
Here we can find a wide collection of portraits of Charlie and Henry Benedict and some of James and Clementina. Many interesting print published by the Hannoverian propaganda during the 1745 and a lot of Jacobite miniatures.

Also of great interest a pair of showcase with pieces of tartan, a sporran, some tools and a jacket reputed to have been used by Jacobites, some at Culloden and some other during the Rising.

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In one of this showcase too is exposed a very refined silk waistcoat tailored for Charlie to be used at his triumphal entrance in London, the waistcoat was never worn neither the embroidery completed. In the same showcase is one of Charlie’s bonnet… more black than blue to be sincere…

the little things on the glass pedestal are Charlie’s shoebuckles.

Really near this showcase is exposed the most publicized item of the museum a “secret portrait” of Charles obtained by mirroring a distorted image painted on a table. It was bought from a London antiquarian and its origin is unknown.


Sincerely I found it really nice but I repute much more interesting the bronze plaque hanged at the opposite wall, engraved for the printing of Jacobite paper money during the Rising. Sadly this item too was never used. However, recently a limited circulation of notes have been printed with it for exhibition in museums.


Going on with the visit, if someone would like to enroll himself, there’s also an officer appointment signed by Charles and left blank…


For those who love bagpipes, like me, there’s also a set of pipes that’s said to have played at Culloden and Charlie’s Musette. One of the last showcase presents another bagpipe(largely reconstructed) that should have played at Bannockburn, even if-to my modest opinion-this is quite a pretense…

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The last room is reserved to tools used in agriculture and some pre-industrial spinning wheel… coming back to the ground you can again see some Jacobite broadswords, targes and Lochaber Axes… there are many of them scattered through the whole museum.

Last but not least, I’ve felt really proud when I’ve seen that the museum exposes and sells also something given by our Association: the white cockades.

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Concluding, the museum is really wonderful and I’ve to thank its staff that keep it open for free, that has been most kind chatting with me and that permitted to take these photos.

I hope you enjoy this post as I’ve enjoyed the museum.