Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear, lend an ear!
Robert Burns, 1791
In the year that marks 300 since the Jacobite Rising of 1715, there are plenty of ways to delve into one of Scotland’s most fascinating and turbulent periods of history. During the summer months, you can discover more about the battles, people and places associated with the three Jacobite Risings of the late 17th and 18th centuries – without hitting the dusty history books!
A redcoat carries a marching drum at the Soldiers of Killiecrankie
Redcoats at the Soldiers of Killiecrankie
Redcoats load their muskets at the Soldiers of Killiecrankie
Commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of Killiecrankie at the Soldiers of Killiecrankie event
Proud Jacobites at Jacobite Day at Braemar Castle
© Braemar Castle
Preparing for battle at Jacobite Day at Braemar Castle
© Braemar Castle
Swords clash at Jacobite Day at Braemar Castle
© Braemar Castle
Traditional festivities taking place at Jacobite Day at Braemar Castle
© Braemar Castle
Whether it’s the brave deeds of John Graham of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee, the mystique of the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, or the bloody deeds of the Hanoverian leader, the Duke of Cumberland (or you might even be inspired by the hit TV series Outlander), there are plenty of heroic tales and exciting escapades to draw you in. Relive the events which inspired legends and folk songs at some striking Scottish locations, from grand castles to significant battlefields, hear from costumed interpreters and see living historians in centuries-old warfare. Plan an outing to one of the great events, as listed below.
Imagining Power: The Visual Culture of the Jacobite Cause
Until 31 December 2015, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
Step into the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, a beautiful neo-gothic palace in red sandstone, and look upon the faces of the loyal supporters of the deposed Stuart dynasty. With paintings by a range of artists, the exhibition focuses on the ways in which those involved with the Jacobite Risings present themselves in portraiture.
Blair Castle’s Centenary Exhibitions
Until 31 October 2015, Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Perthshire
At this fascinating exhibition, explore Blair Castle’s deep connections to some famous battles throughout history. Uncover the gripping tale of the Atholl family’s Jacobite 1715 feud, where the 1st Duke of Atholl held Blair Castle for the government and his sons, Lord Tullibardine and Lord George, joined the Jacobites and fled into exile.
A Jacobite Story
Until 30 September 2015, Traquair House, Innerleithen, Scottish Borders
Scotland’s oldest inhabited house commemorates 300 years since the Jacobite Uprising of 1715 with an exhibition showcasing some wonderful artifacts from the Traquair archives. In addition, you can see glassware on loan from the Drambuie Collection and contemporary Jacobite-inspired jewellery by Josephine Conkie.
Every Thursday evening until 29 October 2015, Star and Garter Hotel, Linlithgow, West Lothian
If you’ve been drawn into the history of Jacobites through Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series or have caught the hit TV drama of the same name, then A Taste of Outlander is not to be missed. Sample a fine meal of honest Scottish fare as eaten by the series’ characters, listen to live music with roots in the Jacobite era, and enjoy warm Scottish hospitality at its finest – all just a short train ride from Edinburgh.
Rebels and Redcoats
23 & 24 May and 1 & 3 September 2015, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Learn about the role played by one of Scotland’s most famous and imposing castles during the Jacobite Uprisings of 1745. With four presentations taking place in Edinburgh on each day, you can hear accounts of the conflict in Edinburgh’s historic streets from a costumed character, and see the weaponry of the day.
27, 28 May & 25, 27, 28 August, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
When it comes to the history of the Jacobite Uprisings, the tales of brave men and their pursuits on the battlefield might be commonly known, but did you know that women also played a part? At this costumed character session, come along and meet a secret Jacobite lady and hear tales of the 1715 and 1745 Risings, learn how the cause divided families, and find out more about the arrival of Bonnie Prince Charlie in Edinburgh.
3, 4 & 5 July 2015, Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness, Highlands
Get up close with a living historian at one of Highlands’ most iconic of ruins. By the banks of Loch Ness, you’ll hear from a Jacobite soldier as he recalls his experience of attacking the castle, and reveal how it came to be that the castle was to forever more remain a ruin.
4 July 2015, Braemar Castle, Ballater, Aberdeenshire
Sit down at the banquet table with Jacobites and the Earl of Mar in the grand setting of Braemar Castle for a feast of food, wine and folk song. The castle and its occupants have an enthralling history which ties them to Jacobite cause – the uprisings of 1715 were even plotted in Deeside. In the castle’s opulent dining room, the log fire will blaze as guests tuck into an authentic 18th century menu, and Jacobite era music will be played by local musicians.
Soldiers of Killiecrankie
25 & 26 July 2015, Killiecrankie Battlefield, near Pitlochry, Perthshire
The historic battlefield of Killiecrankie will once again hear the sound of war cries and the blast of gunfire over two days in July. Witness a 17th century Jacobite cavalry during the re-enactments, wear Highland dress from the period and listen to working songs in the Gaelic language. In addition, there will be battlefield tours, storytelling, talks, plays and a ceilidh dance.
26 July 2015, Braemar Castle, Ballater, Aberdeenshire
Braemar Castle’s famous connections to the Jacobite Uprisings may be written in the history books, but at this event you can see its past brought to life. Meet historical characters, from the notorious Black Colonel to John Erskine of the 1715 Rising, who was also known as Bobbin’ Jock. Set in the grounds of this Deeside castle, you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time with a costumed fete, re-enactments, a living history camp, live music, Scottish dancing, traditional fare and games.
The Great Escape
23 August 2015, Doune Castle, Doune, near Stirling
Relive the events surrounding the final Jacobite victory in 1746 and head to Doune Castle. It’s here that after the Battle of Falkikr Muir, some notable Redcoat soldiers were kept prisoner – but not for long. Join the minister John Witherspoon, signatory of the American Declaration of Independence, as he and his comrades take you through the plan, and see how their daring escape played out.
Rebels and Redcoats
26 & 27 September 2015, Stirling Castle, Stirling
Three hundred years might have passed since the Battle of Sheriffmuir, where Jacobite rebels met British Government forces near Dunblane, but you can meet redcoat soldiers garrisoned in Stirling Castle, and hear from captured Jacobite prisoners as they recall heroic and bloody exploits from the battlefield. Find out more about the battle leaders and learn what happened in the aftermath and the defeat of the 1715 Jacobite Rising.
Find out more
And why not put a little bit of research in before you go? Get to grips with the timeline to find out what happened when, discover the key players, and learn what happened during significant events, including the Massacre of Glencoe and the Battle of Culloden.
While you’re on your journey to discovering the story of the Jacobites, find other famous sites linked to the dramatic events which you can visit – it’s all on our dedicated Jacobite Scotland section!