Culloden Battlefield, Inverness


The Jacobite Risings

Patriotic Scots, disaffected Britons, acts of great bravery, tactical mistakes and many inspiring tales - the war-torn years of 17th and 18th century are a complex and well-known chapter of Scottish history.

Highly romanticised in stories and songs, the Jacobite Risings, in reality, were a much bleaker affair, marked by bloody and divisive uprisings, rebellions and battles. They failed to restore the Stuarts to the throne, ultimately leading to the tragic Battle of Culloden that changed communities and the infrastructure of the Highlands forever.

Spanning the century from the deposition of James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the death of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1788, learn about this fascinating and tumultuous period of Scottish history.

Learn more about Bonnie Prince Charlie and retrace his fascinating journey, 250 years on.

The beginning and the Glorious Revolution

It all started with James VII, as we called him in Scotland or James II as he was known in England, the last Roman Catholic monarch to reign over the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. Invaded by his Protestant son-in-law and subsequently overthrown, James was forced into exile in France.

The Risings of 1689 - 1690

Glencoe Highlands

Viscount Dundee, James' most zealous Scottish supporter, rallied troops and turned to military action against William and Mary's government forces. The first Jacobite rising broke out, but didn't prove popular at all. 

  • Led by:  John Graham of Claverhouse - Viscount Dundee - also known as 'Bonnie Dundee'
  • Main battles: Battle of Killiecrankie (1689), Dunkeld Siege (1689), Massacre of Glencoe (1692)

The Risings of 1708, 1715 and 1719

Eilean Donan Loch Duich water sunny

In 1707, the two kingdoms of Scotland and England were united much to the dismay of those who supported the Jacobite cause. James VIII/III attempted to claim the throne twice, in 1708 and in 1715, which resulted in a rising led by the Earl of Mar. In 1719, the Jacobites found an ally in Spain and this rebellion was led by Lord Tullibardine and Earl Marischal. 

  • Led by:  James VIII/III - James Francis Edward Stuart - also known as the 'Old Pretender'
  • Main battles: Battle of Sherrifmuir (1715), Battle of Glenshiel (1719)

The Rising of 1745

Memorial cairn Culloden Battlefield inscription

After failing to persuade the French government to commit to another invasion, Prince Charles, the 'Young Pretender', decided to fund his own rising. He sailed from France to Scotland, arriving on Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides in July 1745 and then travelled across the Highlands, to assemble a Jacobite army.

  • Led by: Prince Charles Edward Stuart - Charles III - known as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' or the 'Young Pretender'
  • Main battles: Battle of Prestonpans (1745), Battle of Falkirk (1745), Battle of Culloden (1746)