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Glenfinnan monument
(Gleann Fhionain)
Glenfinnan monumentGlenfinnan monument sits at the head of Loch Shiel, Lochaber, 17 miles west of Fort William on the A830.

It was here that Prince Charles Edward Stewart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") gathered his supporters and raised his standard at the start of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Sailing from France, he landed on Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides on 23 July 1745. French ships joined him with supplies and artillery. He then went on campaigning for his cause to reinstate the exiled Stuarts on the throne, landing at Borrodale near Arisaig on 25 July. Finally, at Glenfinnan, on 19 August, an army of over 1000 men was there and the standard of the Prince's father, called by his supporters "King James VIII of Scotland and III of England", was raised.

Loch ShielAfter some victorious skirmishes, his army entered Edinburgh and Charles as Regent of the three kingdoms took up residence at Holyrood. On 17 January 1746, the Jacobites won their second (and last) victory at Falkirk before their eventual defeat on 16 April 1746 by the troops of the Duke of Cumberland ("Butcher Cumberland"), George II's youngest son, at Culloden.

The Monument was designed by Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham, built in 1815 by Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale (who died before the completion of the monument in 1815 at the age of 28).

Glenfinnan monument with shooting box The stone tower originally had a two-storeyed bothy, the "shooting box" (for the use of fishing and shooting parties), abutting one side. It was removed in the 1830's, when the octagonal perimeter wall was built and the statue of a Highland chieftain was added on top. The statue, carved by stone mason John Greenshields (1792 - 1835), a friend of Sir Walter Scott, derived from an engraving by James Logan in 1831.

(the image on the left depicts part of an engraving of Loch Shiel showing the shooting box abutting the tower (c) by NTS)


Glenfinnan monumentVisitors can climb a narrow staircase inside the tower, which leads to an open top with great views all around.

Since 1938 the monument is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. They also run the nearby visitor centre, where you'll find displays and an audio programme about the 1745's Rebellion to the final defeat at Culloden.

 

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James Gillespie Graham (1776 - 1855), born in Dunblane,

was one of the most successful architects of the 19th century. He designed for instance St. Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow, St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, Armadale Castle on Skye, Duns Castle in Berwickshire, Murthly Castle in Perthshire, Inverary Courthouse in Argyll, Torrisdale Castle in Argyll.
 

 

This panel by the National Trust for Scotland tells us:

Raising the Standard – where did it happen?

The Glenfinnan Monument (1) commemorates the raising in 1745 of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s standard, and is a memorial to the sacrifice of Highland people in the Jacobite Rising. It was erected in 1815, and the site at the head of Loch Shiel was chosen for dramatic effect.
In fact, the Standard was raised on higher ground. Those who witnessed the event said that the Prince and his companions landed at Slatach (2), crossed the River Finnan and climbed a small hill. On recently rediscovered slabs of rock on high ground above the river, are inscriptions and symbols carved probably in the mid-19th century, claiming it to be the spot where this ceremony took place (3). However, many believe that Torr á Choit (4), the hill behind the National Trust for Scotland Information Centre, was the point where the Standard was raised.
Only the site of the Monument belongs to the Trust – the other alternatives are on private ground

Glenfinnan NTS panel

click on image for
an enlargement of
the depicted map

 

 

 

 

 

Glenfinnan monument memorial panel

click on image for an enlargement of the memorial panel

There are three panels like this one built into the perimeter wall around the monument, with inscriptions in Gaelic, Latin and English. The panels date from the 1830's.

ON THIS SPOT WHERE
PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD STUART
FIRST RAISED HIS STANDARD,
ON THE XIX DAY OF AUGUST MDCCXLV
WHEN HE MADE THE NOBEL AND GALLANT ATTEMPT
TO RECOVER A THRONE LOST BY HIS ANCESTORS.
THIS COLUMN WAS ERECTED BY
ALEXANDER MACDONALD, ESQUIRE, OF GLENALADALE
TO COMMEMORATE THE GENEROUS ZEAL
THE UNDAUNTED BRAVERY, AND THE INVIOLABLE FIDELITY
OF HIS FOREFATHERS AND THE REST OF THOSE
WHO FOUGHT AND BLED IN THAT
ARDUOUS AND UNFORTUNATE ENTERPRISE

THIS PILLAR IS NOW.
ALAS!
ALSO BECOME THE MONUMENT
OF IT’S AMIABLE AND ACCOMPLISHED FOUNDER
WHO
BEFORE IT WAS FINISHED
DIED IN EDINBURGH ON IV DAY OF JANUARY
MDCCCXV
AT THE EARLY AGE OF XXVIII YEARS.

 

 

useful links:
map

Visit Glenfinnan

The National Trust for Scotland

Lochaber.com


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