Highland Journey Pt 5. Culloden

The Battle of Culloden.

On 16 April, 1746, the Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stewart was decisively defeated by a British government force under Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, on Drummossie Moor near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.

Culloden and its aftermath continue to arouse strong feelings. The University of Glasgow awarded the Duke of Cumberland an honorary doctorate, but many modern commentators allege that the aftermath of the battle and subsequent crackdown on Jacobite sympathisers were brutal, earning Cumberland the sobriquet “Butcher”. Efforts were subsequently made to further integrate the Scottish Highlands into the Kingdom of Great Britain; civil penalties were introduced to undermine the Scottish clan system, which had provided the Jacobites with the means to rapidly mobilise an army.

The Battle of Culloden in fiction

  • The Skye Boat Song was composed in the late 19th-century and recalled the journey of Bonnie Prince Charlie from Benbecula to the Isle of Skye.[116]
  • The Battle of Culloden is an important episode in D. K. Broster‘s The Flight of the Heron (1925), the first volume of her Jacobite Trilogy, which has been made into a TV serial twice: by Scottish Television in 1968 as eight episodes, and by the BBC in 1976.
  • Naomi Mitchison‘s novel The Bull Calves (1947) deals with Culloden and its aftermath.[117]
  • Culloden (1964), a BBC TV docudrama written and directed by Peter Watkins, depicts the battle in the style of 20th-century television reporting.
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (1992, London) is a detailed fictional tale, based on historical sources, of the Scots, High, and Lowlanders, mostly the Highlanders within Clan Fraser. It has the element of time travel, with the 20th-century protagonist knowing how the battle would turn out and was still – once transported to the 18th century – caught up in the foredoomed struggle. The battle figures in the 29th episode (Season 2, episode 13) of the STARZ series Outlander, based upon Gabaldon’s series of books. The battle and its importance to Scottish history is alluded to many times in the books and throughout the TV series.
  • The Highlanders (1966–67) is a serial in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who. The time-traveller known as the Doctor and his companions Polly and Ben arrive in the TARDIS in 1746, hours after the Battle of Culloden. The story introduces the character of Jamie McCrimmon.
  • Chasing the Deer (1994) is a cinematic dramatisation of the events leading up to the battle, starring Brian Blessed and Fish.
  • Drummossie Moor – Jack Cameron, The Irish Brigade and the battle of Culloden is a historical novel by Ian Colquhoun (Arima/Swirl, 2008) which tells the story of the battle and the preceding days from the point of view of the Franco-Irish regulars or ‘Piquets’ who covered the Jacobite retreat.[118]
  • In Harold Coyle‘s novel Savage Wilderness, the opening chapter deals with the protagonist’s service battle of Culloden.
  • In the Star Trek novel Home Is the HunterMontgomery Scott is sent back in time to 18th-century Scotland by an alien angered over the death of a child, where he participates in the Battle of Culloden prior to being returned to the 23rd century.
  • Portuguese author Hélia Correia opens her novel Lillias Fraser (2001) in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. The work was praised by national critics when it came out, eventually winning the PEN Club Fiction Award.

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