Culloden Moor is the site of the last ever battle on British soil and the final nail in the coffin of the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, which arose in response to the loss of the British crown by the Stuart dynasty. The Battle, which took place on April 16, 1746, lasted just 40 minutes. By its end, most of the supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Stuart Candidate for the British throne were dead- as was a whole way of life in Scotland.
The Highlanders supporting the would-be King were outnumbered and exhausted, having only just trekked back from Northern England where they had attempted to rally support for their cause. Conditions on the battlefield were against them as the boggy ground of the moor that did not suit the Highland style of fighting.
After just twenty minutes of being fired upon by the red coat artillery commanded by the Duke of Cumberland, most of the Jacobite forces had been wiped out. As Prince Charles himself was not on the field, the Jacobites were left without direction and in the end saw no other course of action but to charge the enemy troops.
It was a bloodbath. The redcoats cut down with sword and bayonet those Highlanders they did not manage to shoot. Retribution at the end of the battle was just as brutal. Any Jacobite found to be alive but wounded were executed where they lay. Few escaped, but the English hunted down those who did manage to flee. Culloden smashed the clans, and the Crown outlawed all emblems of the Highland way of life. Not only did the Jacobite Highlanders lose Culloden- they lost their culture.
At the time of the battle, Culloden was grazing grounds for local tenant farmers. In the years between, heather has grown on the moors, and headstones erected for the graves of each clan lost. It is a sad but peaceful place. But birds reputedly never sing about the exact site of the battle.
And every April 16th, the ghosts of Culloden’s dead are said to rise again, and visitors can hear echoes of the cries of death and the clash of steel over the moor. Many visitors have also reported seeing a tall man in tartan, his features drawn in pain stumbling about the area, murmuring ‘defeated,’ and some are said to have seen the ghosts of the severely wounded lying on the ground.