Inventory Battlefield

Battle of GlenshielBTL10

Date of Battle: 10 June 1719

Status: Designated

Documents

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Designation Record and Full Report Contents

  • Name
  • Summary Information
  • Overview and Statement of Significance
  • Inventory Boundary
  • Historical Background to the Battle
    • The Armies
    • Numbers
    • Losses
    • Action
    • Aftermath and Consequences
  • Events and Participants
    • Context
  • Battlefield Landscape
    • Location
    • Terrain
    • Condition
  • Archaeological and Physical Remains and Potential
  • Cultural Association
    • Commemoration and Interpretation
  • References

Summary

Date Added
21/03/2011
Last Date Amended
14/12/2012
Local Authority
Highland
NGR
NG 99566 13704
Coordinates
199566, 813704

Overview and Statement of Significance

Glenshiel is significant as the sole battle fought during the 1719 Jacobite Rising. The 1719 Rising was the only one conducted with Spanish support, where it was usually the French who assisted the Jacobite cause, and is the second last of the risings in Scotland. The battlefield itself is also significant as one of very few within Scotland where extant field fortifications survive, and for the first known use of coehorn mortars in battle by the British Army.

The catalyst for the 1719 Rising was the outbreak of war between Spain and Britain in 1718. The Spanish saw the benefit of resurrecting a Jacobite uprising for increasing pressure on the British government and helped to re-ignite their cause with the offer of an alliance and assistance in war.

The Spanish forces set out to invade Britain in March 1719. The fleet was wrecked by a storm and the invasion abandoned, but a small contingent of Jacobite and Spanish troops landed in Scotland. A Government force was dispatched from Inverness to counter the threat and met the Jacobite and Spanish army already in position on the steep slopes of Glenshiel. The following Government victory saw few losses on either side, with the majority of the Jacobite troops fleeing the field in the early stages of the battle. The Jacobite defeat at Glenshiel marked the end of the 1719 uprising.

Inventory Boundary

The Inventory boundary defines the area in which the main events of the battle are considered to have taken place (landscape context) and where associated physical remains and archaeological evidence occur or may be expected (specific qualities). The landscape context is described under battlefield landscape: it encompasses areas of fighting, key movements of troops across the landscape and other important locations, such as the positions of camps or vantage points. Although the landscape has changed since the time of the battle, key characteristics of the terrain at the time of the battle can normally still be identified, enabling events to be more fully understood and interpreted in their landscape context. Specific qualities are described under physical remains and potential: these include landscape features that played a significant role in the battle, other physical remains, such as enclosures or built structures, and areas of known or potential archaeological evidence.

The Inventory boundary for the Battle of Glenshiel is defined on the accompanying map and includes the following areas:

  • Key positions of the battlefield landscape defined on Bastide's plans of the battle. The start of the Government line on the flood plain to the north of the river (opposite Lùb nan Coileach); the position of the Jacobite left and the advance of the Government line on the lower north slopes of Spanish Hill; the outcrop of Bealach nan Spainteach where Government troops are shown in formation; the approach road of the Government left on the south side of the river and the Jacobite forward position on a prominent outcrop on the south slopes of the glen.
  • Earthworks associated with the static positions of the Jacobite army on the promontory on the north slopes of Spanish Hill.
  • The upper slopes of Spanish Hill and westward along the valley base. The probable route of the Jacobite flight.
  • The well preserved landscape features of the glen including the intact elements of the northern and southern slopes of the glen, the River Shiel, the valley floor and the surviving course of the old military road.

Historical Background

The main Spanish fleet had left Cadiz in March 1719 with a force of 5,000 men under the Irish Jacobite Duke of Ormonde, intent on invading Britain. A smaller expeditionary force made up of around 240-300 Spanish troops led by George Keith, the 10th Earl Marischal, sailed from Corunna and on 13 April landed on the shores of Loch Alsh and set up their headquarters in Eilean Donan Castle, a traditional stronghold of the MacKenzies. Although a small force, it was hoped that the promise of invasion from the south would prompt a general rising in Scotland, which would effectively trap the Government forces in a pincer movement from north and south. Unfortunately for the Jacobites, the main invasion fleet was wrecked in a storm, leaving the Scottish bound contingent to go it alone.

News of the wrecking of Ormonde's fleet did nothing to tempt the clans to the cause, and a disagreement over the command structure did little to aid matters. Eventually it was agreed that the Earl of Tullibardine, who was a Lieutenant-General in the exiled Stuart's service and had landed with the Spanish, would command the land forces and Keith, the Earl Marischal, the naval arm. It is said that when he heard of the main fleet's fate, Tullibardine was all for leaving the same way they had come, but the Earl Marischal settled the issue by sending the ships away, which was certainly within his power as he had the naval command. The arrival of Lord George Murray (Tullibardine's younger brother) from Perthshire, along with Rob Roy MacGregor, Cameron of Locheil and Lord Seaforth, brought together a combined force of around 1,000 men, most of them Highlanders.

However, things took another bad turn when a flotilla of Royal Navy warships arrived in Loch Alsh. On the evening of 10 May they proceeded to bombard Eilean Donan Castle, where most of the Jacobite provisions and ammunition were stored under the watchful eye of 45 Spanish troops. After three days of relative little success through bombardment, Captain Herdman of The Enterprise, one of the warships, sent an assault on the castle, overwhelming the defenders and leaving them little option but to surrender both themselves and their charges, which consisted of 343 barrels of powder and 52 barrels of musket balls. A Government force led by Major General Wightman marched from Inverness on 5 June, and now it was the Jacobites who were in extreme danger of being caught in a pincer movement from both land and sea.

In order to stop Wightman's advance from Inverness, the Jacobites made the best use of a bottleneck in the pass of Glenshiel, erecting barricades along the road and across the high ground overlooking it, while the Spanish took up position on a fortified knoll immediately to the north of the road. On 10 June, Wightman began his final approach after leaving his camp beside Loch Cluanie. The Jacobites, who had been waiting since 8 June, were deployed across both slopes of the glen, with the right located on a knoll protruding from the steep slopes just to the south of the river: their position is clearly shown on contemporary eyewitness plans. In response, the Government force formed into line across the glen, just less than a mile to the east of the Jacobite positions.

Battle commenced at about 5 pm, with Wightman's advance with the dragoons along the line of the road toward the Jacobite centre which occupied a strongly fortified promontory on the north side of the road. They were accompanied by the coehorn mortars and, upon reaching a point almost directly opposite the Jacobite right on the southern side of the road, used them to shell the knoll on which the advanced piquet was located. Immediately after this softening-up exercise, four platoons of Clayton's and Munro's regiments, positioned on the Government left, began their assault. It took several attempts to oust the Jacobites from their strong point. Initially, they fell back behind a defile to the west of the knoll, but despite attempts by Lord George Murray, McDougall and Avoch to rally the men, they eventually began to stream away to the west along the steep slopes of the glen. Bastide's plan shows a body of men moving from the Jacobite centre to assist in the struggle but to no avail.

Meanwhile, the coehorns were turned against the Spanish positions on the fortified promontory on the northern slopes of the glen and also the Jacobite barricade which blocked the road below the Spanish citadel: Bastide's plan shows the mortars located around 250 m to the east of these positions. The barrage failed to dislodge the enemy and so thirty-five dismounted dragoons advanced to the attack. This assault, which appears to have met stiff resistance, was supported at the foot of the hill by Clayton's and Munro's regiments, which crossed the river and successfully assaulted the barricade.

The main body of the Government army, comprising Harrison's and Huffel's regiments along with the grenadiers, moved across the northern slopes of the glen to engage with the Jacobite left, which was strung out across the northern slopes higher up and to the front (east) of the Spanish position. The Government troops, who had quite a steep climb to negotiate, first encountered Seaforth's party on the far left, where they may have been concealed by rocks. Seaforth was wounded in the arm during the fire fight, and the left began to retire, despite the efforts of Rob Roy and the MacKinnons, who moved up to assist. Rob Roy's men, seeing Seaforth's contingent in retreat, followed suit, along with the Camerons who were sent up the hill from the centre. A general rout of the Jacobite line quickly ensued.

At around 8 pm, if not before, by which time most of the Highland units had departed, Tullibardine, who was in command of the centre, organised an orderly fighting retreat of the Spanish troops, who apparently escaped without loss.

Despite the strength of the Jacobite position, the tenacity of the Government assault, along with the inexperience of the bulk of the Jacobite force in maintaining a fire fight and standing as a unit when others were seen to be leaving the field, ensured a Government victory.

The Armies

No further information.

Numbers

Jacobite: c.1,200 Highlanders (Wightman gives a figure of 1,640) plus between around 240 and 300 Spanish regulars. The Spanish troops were the only regular soldiers in the Jacobite force, and they would need to draw on every ounce of their military experience when thrown together with their irregular allies, amidst what must have seemed a most alien landscape. The remainder of the force was made up from the dependents of the clan leaders, with Seaforth being the local chief (he was wounded in the battle, as was Murray and possibly Keith). Very few of these men would have seen action before, though some of the gentlemen among them may have seen some service as officers on the continent and in Ireland. Although 2,000 muskets were brought in on the Spanish ships, many of them may have been more comfortable with the more traditional Highland weapons of broadsword and dirk, targe and Lochaber axe.

The inexperience of what was essentially an army of levies was to show itself during the battle, when the retreat of one of Seaforth's contingent on the far left prompted a rolling back of the entire line. The only troops to stand firm were the Spanish regulars.

Government: 850 infantry, 130 Highlanders, 120 dragoons, plus a battery of coehorn mortars. Major General Wightman, along with several of the Jacobite command, was a veteran of Sheriffmuir during the 1715 rising. News of the 'invasion' prompted the shipping in of Dutch reinforcements in the form of Huffel's regiment and four Swiss companies from Amarongen's regiment, which was also serving with the British army in Holland. The mixed force is also notable for its two companies of loyal whig Highlanders, the Mackays from Sutherland and the Munro's under George Munro of Culcairn (according to Clayton's account he was shot in the thigh).

The Government army was very well equipped, with a battery of coehorn mortars (Glenshiel is the first recorded use of these weapons in a British field engagement), and 200 grenadiers, who proved their worth in the storming of the heights.

Losses

Jacobite losses are unknown, but were between 10 and 100. The entire Spanish contingent surrendered and were treated as prisoners of war. The Government losses were 21 killed; 121 wounded.

An intriguing broadsheet ballad called A Hymn to the Victory in Scotland, published in London in 1719, suggests that no Jacobites were killed in the battle, and that the dead, like the living, were able to walk away from the fight

'Yet when the battle it was done,

There was not found so much as one,

Nor none could tell which way they'r gone'.

This seems to be a sarcastic retort to Jacobite claims that no losses were incurred in the battle, and at the same time goes on to make much of the mercy displayed by the victorious Government army.

Action

The Jacobites, who had been waiting in the glen since 8 June were initially deployed across both slopes of the glen, with the right located on a knoll protruding from the steep slopes just to the south of the river. According to contemporary accounts, this advanced contingent consisted of: Murray, MacDougall of Lorn, Mckenzie of Avoch, 100 of Seaforth's men and 50 others. This position is clearly shown on Bastide's plans.

In response, the Government force formed into line across the glen. The grenadiers were posted to the right of the line, along with a company of Highlanders (Mackay's); next came Montagu's regiment, Harrison's detached battalion (sitting astride road) and Huffel's Dutch regiment along with the Swiss and then four companies of dragoons (mounted infantry). Across the river to the south were placed Clayton's regiment and on the far left Munro's Highlanders.

The Jacobite left was strung out across the northern slopes higher up and to the front (east) of the Spanish position. Lochiel was next in line from the Spanish with around 150 men, then Lidcoat's and others (150), then some 20 volunteers, then Rob Roy (50), Mackinnon (50) and then 200 of Seaforth's men under Sir John MacKenzie of Coul. Furthest to the left was Lord Seaforth himself with over 200 of his best men, along with Brigadier Campbell of Ormondale and George Keith, the Earl Marischal (this disposition is probably the most accurate and comes from Tullibardine's letter to the Earl of Mar, written not long after the battle and now in the Stuart Papers).

The Government troops, who had a steep climb to negotiate, first encountered Seaforth's party on the far left, where they may have been concealed by rocks. Seaforth was wounded in the arm during the firefight, and the left began to retire, despite the efforts of Rob Roy and the MacKinnons, who moved up to assist. Rob Roy's men, seeing Seaforth's contingent in retreat, followed suit, along with the Camerons who were sent up the hill from the centre; a general rout of the Highland line quickly ensued.

Aftermath & Consequences

Perhaps more than any of the other Risings, the '19 has been regarded as nothing more than a sideshow with little in the way of historical importance attached to it. It did, however, serve to breathe new life into the cause, which after 1715 could well have been allowed to wither and die. Indeed, the Jacobite defeat at Glenshiel may have lulled the Government into a false sense of security in relation to the Highlands, and this again may have allowed the seeds of the '45 to take root (MacLeod 1996, 158). It also goes without saying that if the Spanish invasion attempt had not met with such early misfortune, then the trajectory of British history may have been dramatically transformed.

In tactical terms, the battle is interesting because it was the only battle of all the Jacobite Risings in which the Jacobites did not advance, or charge, to engage with hand to hand fighting with the enemy, but waited for the enemy to come on to them, a factor which helps to explain the low casualty figures.

Additionally, the Government force displayed a perhaps surprising aptitude in its response to the strong Jacobite positions in difficult terrain. The staged assaults effectively dismantled the Jacobite line piece by piece and displayed something of the flair that was to serve the British army so well against the French in Canada later in the 18th century ' and the role of the Highland units should not be underestimated here.

Events & Participants

The Battle of Glenshiel is notable as the only battle of the 1719 uprising, which was effectively ended with the Government victory. It is also marked out from the other major battles related to the Jacobite Risings as it involved around 200 Spanish troops fighting alongside the Highland clans. The international character of the battle is also reflected in the Government force, which included British troops, Scottish clans loyal to King George and also Swiss and Dutch regiments brought over from Holland in the face of the emergency. The battle is also unusual for the Jacobites fighting from a defensive position instead of employing their preferred tactic of the charge.

There were numerous participants of local and national importance involved in the battle of Glenshiel. The Commander of the Government forces, Major General Wightman fought at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715 where he was one of the senior officers under Argyle (sic). The mixed nature of the Government army saw continental troops and loyal Highland units play important roles in the battle. Of the latter the most prominent individual was George Munro of Culcairn who was wounded in the battle. He was to go on to be assassinated by Jacobites in 1746 after being mistaken for Captain Grant of Knockando who had previously ordered the execution of a number of Camerons.

The Jacobite side featured a number of important clan chiefs, including Lord Seaforth who was wounded in the action while leading his clansmen on the Jacobite left. The now legendary Rob Roy MacGregor was also present with his clan, having earlier been involved in the Risings of both 1689 and 1715.

Lord George Murray was one of the senior commanders of the Jacobite army in the '45 Rising. Born at Huntingtower Castle near Perth in 1694, at aged 18 he served with the British Army in Flanders. Murray and two of his brothers took part in the Jacobite Rising in 1715, after which he had to flee into exile in Europe. He returned and commanded part of the Jacobite forces at Glenshiel in 1719. Murray was wounded in the battle and again forced to escape to Europe after the Jacobite defeat. After being pardoned for his involvement in 1725, Murray returned to Scotland and in 1728 married Amelia Murray, heiress of Strowan. Murray initially refused to join the 1745 rising, but later sided with the Jacobites once more, being made a lieutenant-general by Charles. He commanded the left wing in the Jacobite victory at Prestonpans, but opposed the subsequent plan to advance into England. During the debate at Derby, Murray was a strong supporter of withdrawing to Scotland. Murray commanded the rearguard during the retreat, but Charles increasingly distrusted him. At Culloden, Murray unsuccessfully attempted to convince Charles of the unsuitability of the location for the Jacobite army. In the aftermath of the defeat Murray attempted to gather the remnants of the force at Ruthven Barracks, but with the failure of the Rising and Charles' flight back to Europe Murray had no choice but to return into exile himself at the end of 1746. This third exile would be his last, and he never returned to Scotland before his death in 1760 in Holland.

Context

The Jacobite risings intermittently spanned more than half a century between 1689 and 1746. Their motivation was the return of the exiled Stuart monarchs to the throne, James VII & II having been ousted in 1688 by the Glorious Revolution. The 1719 Jacobite Rising differed from the other attempts to place a Stuart back on the throne because it came about as the result of collaboration with Spain rather than France, though it followed an aborted alliance with the Swedes. This circumstance was a result of the outbreak of war between Spain and England in 1718 in the War of the Quadruple Alliance. Any pressure brought to bear by the Jacobites in the north of Britain would obviously benefit the Spanish, who for the first time since the Armada of 1588 were seriously contemplating an invasion of England.

Accordingly, in March 1719, a force of 5,000 men under the Irish Jacobite Duke of Ormonde, who in more settled times had been Captain-General of the British army, left from Cadiz with the intention of invading England, while sometime later an expeditionary force made up from of between 240 and 300 Spanish troops led by George Keith, the Earl of Marischal, sailed from Corunna and on 13 April landed on the shores of Loch Alsh and set up their headquarters in Eilean Donan Castle, a traditional stronghold of the MacKenzies. Although a small force, it was hoped that the promise of invasion from the south would prompt a general rising in Scotland, which would effectively trap the Government forces in a pincer movement from north and south. Unfortunately for the Jacobites, the main invasion fleet, like its more famous earlier counterpart, was wrecked in a storm, leaving the Scottish bound contingent to go it alone.

News of the wrecking of Ormonde's fleet did nothing to tempt the clans to the cause, and a disagreement over the command structure did little to aid matters. Eventually it was agreed that the earl of Tullibardine, who was a Lieutenant-General in the exiled Stuart's service and had landed with the Spanish, would command the land forces and Keith, the Earl Marischal, the naval arm. It is said that when he heard of the fleet's fate, Tullibardine was all for leaving the same way they had come, but the Earl Marischal settled the issue by sending the ships away, which was certainly within his power as he had the naval command. The arrival of Lord George Murray (Tullibardine's younger brother) from Perthshire, along with Rob Roy MacGregor, Cameron of Locheil and Lord Seaforth brought together a combined force of around 1,000 men, most of them Highlanders.

However, things took another bad turn when a flotilla of Royal Navy warships comprising three frigates, The Flamborough, The Worcester and The Enterprise, arrived in Loch Alsh. On the evening of 10 May they proceeded to bombard Eilean Donan Castle, where most of the Jacobite provisions and ammunition were stored under the watchful eye of 45 Spanish troops. The bombardment continued for three days, but had little effect due to the strength of the walls. Captain Herdman of The Enterprise sent his men ashore to assault the castle and the successfully overwhelmed the defenders. The Spanish had little option but to surrender both themselves and their charges, which consisted of 343 barrels of powder and 52 barrels of musket balls, with the gunpowder then being used by the Government to destroy the castle. A Government force led by Major General Wightman marched from Inverness on 5 June, and now it was the Jacobites who were in extreme danger of being caught in a pincer movement from both land and sea.

Battlefield Landscape

The location of the battle is well established through good primary sources including three detailed eyewitness plans by John Bastide. The battle was fought in Glenshiel, some 7 miles to the south-east of Shiel Bridge and around 16 miles (by the road) from Eilean Donan Castle, where the initial strong-point and arsenal was established.

In addition to the obvious case of Spanish Hill, it is possible to identify the various locations of the action through reference to Bastide's plans. The centre of the Government line, at its start position, sat on the wide part of the flood plain to the north of the river, opposite Lùb nan Coileach. The position of the Jacobite left, strung out along the north side of the glen, sat within the block of forestry immediately to the east of Spanish Hill. However, this forestry is patchy in places and the potential for identifying the location of Jacobite positions along the ridge line is high. Further action may have taken place higher up the slope, beyond the tree line, as the Jacobites retired to the west. Indeed, Bastide's map show's Government troops in formation on the outcrop which forms the eastern edge of the steep defile known as Bealach nan Spainteach (Pass of the Spaniards), and this is at a height of around 800 m.

The uphill advance by the right wing of the Government line is likely to have been along a ridge now obscured by the trees, as is the advance of the dragoons along, or just north of, the old drove road. A small bridge that survives as a culvert beneath the modern road close to the foot of Spanish Hill may relate to this drove road, though in its current form it probably relates to the military road built post-1719. The approach route of the Government left was on the south side of the river.

The Jacobite forward position was on the southern slopes of the glen ' clearly defined on Bastide's plan and in the modern landscape by a prominent outcrop. The position of the barricade along the road was at the foot of Spanish Hill which has been obscured by the modern road. There are, however, features on the north and south side of the river at this point which could represent further examples of Jacobite defences.

The battle was fought within the very steep sided valley of Glenshiel. This mountainous landscape is defined by the sheer slopes on either side of the river and the knolls and spurs projecting from them. This easily defendable topography must have dictated the Jacobites choice of location, the manoeuvres of the troops and the outcome of the battle (it has often been suggested that the Jacobites were defeated as they could not revert to the more traditional Highland charge as deployed with such success at Killiecrankie in 1689 which would not have been possible down the precipitous hill slopes from the high position which they had placed themselves). This landscape survives almost intact and some elements are very well-preserved including the barricade features on the lower slopes of Spanish Hill. Tree plantations on the north and south side of the road will have had a detrimental effect on the potential for surviving battle debris in these areas though there is scope to open up important views from Spanish Hill down the glen.

Location

The battle was fought in the steep sided valley of Glen Shiel some 7 miles to the south-east of Shiel Bridge, and around 16 miles (by the road) from Eilean Donan Castle, where the initial strong-point and arsenal was established (the castle was bombarded by Royal Navy ships).

In addition to the obvious case of Spanish hill it is possible to identify the various locations of the action through reference to Bastide's plans. According to the Bastide plans, the centre of the Government line, at its start position, sits on the wide part of the flood plain to the north of the river, opposite Lùb nan Coileach (bend or meander of the cock) on the modern OS map. The position of the Jacobite left, strung out along the north side of the glen sits within the block of forestry immediately to the east of Spanish Hill. However, this forestry is patchy in places and the potential for identifying the location of Jacobite positions along the ridge line is high. Further action may have taken place higher up the slope, beyond the tree line, as the Jacobites retired to the west. Indeed, Bastide's map show's Government troops in formation on the outcrop which forms the eastern edge of the steep defile known as Bealach nan Spainteach (Pass of the Spaniards), and this is at a height of around 800 m.

The uphill advance by the right wing of the Government line is likely to have been along a ridge now obscured by the trees, as is the advance of the dragoons along, or just north of, the old drove road.

Until recently, the Jacobite forward position on the southern slopes of the glen ' clearly defined on Bastide's plan and in the modern landscape by a prominent outcrop ' had escaped tree planting. However, this situation has changed and young saplings can now be seen sprouting across the steep slopes and on the promontories, the same appears to hold true for at least some of the approach route taken by the Government left on the south side of the river.

The uphill advance by the right wing of the Government line is likely to have been along a ridge now obscured by the trees, as is the advance of the dragoons along, or just north of, the old drove road.

The Jacobite forward position on the southern slopes of the glen ' clearly defined on Bastide's plan and in the modern landscape by a prominent outcrop ' is now planted with trees. These trees are now visible on the outcrop and the slopes below. The approach route taken by the Government left on the south side of the river has also been at least partially planted. Tullibardine's account notes that

'The first attack they made was on our men with Ld. George on the Right, by a small detachment of reed coats and there highlanders, who fir'd several times on other without doing much dammage, upon which they sent a second and third detachment which made most of those on the little hill run to the other side of the steep banks of a rivulet. Where Ld. George and the few rest were afterwards obliged to follow, continuing there til all was over (1719a)'.

There seems little doubt that this rivulet is the defile through which the burn runs immediately to the west of the knoll or 'little hill'.

Terrain

The drove road through the foot of the glen at the time of the battle was upgraded to military road status by Wade post-1725, though this probably followed the same route as the earlier track. The entry for Glenshiel in the 1845 Statistical Account states that the military road has been neglected since 1776, up until which time it was serviced by soldiers, and that the bridges are in a poor state of repair (SA 131-2). The road was further modified in the 19th century and again in the 20th century, by which time it had become the A87. The stone bridge below Spanish Hill became redundant with the slight re-alignment of the road and was replaced by a concrete structure. Fortuitously, this modification has left the old stone bridge preserved along with a loop of the old road ' however, this may be a replacement for an earlier stone bridge made at the time of Military road construction. The relevance of this bridge becomes clear in a description of the Jacobite positions contained in the letters of the Duke of Ormonde

'The position selected for defence was at the place where the present road crosses the river Shiel by a stone bridge, some five miles above Invershiel..'

Sitting on the wrong side of the bottleneck across the glen, the bridge does not appear to have played an active role in the battle ' it is absent from Bastide's plans, which terminated further to the east, with the barricade across the road located several hundred metres to the east of the bridge.

Other than the upgrading of the road, the only other major change to the landscape has been the planting of conifer trees in parcels on the slopes of the north and south sides of the glen. The northern hill slope to the immediate east of Spanish Hill has been forested for a distance of around 700 m, which after a short break continues again even further to the east. Another, smaller parcel of trees stands immediately to the south of Spanish Hill on the other side of the river.

As previously noted, the defences on Spanish Hill are well preserved and are protected as Scheduled Monuments. Some of these are clearly barricades, with clear views onto the road below and the glen up ahead. There may some suggestion of a remnant of the barricade placed across the road on the south side of the river. This takes the form of an earthen bank, running north to south and this may be the same feature identified by Galbraith in 1928 (Galbraith 1928, 302). A site visit in March 2010 did identify certain linear features on the lower slopes of the south side of the glen, across the river from and roughly opposite the approximate location of the barricade.

At the rear (west) of the summit of Spanish Hill, which actually a terrace running along the northern slope of the glen, is a funnel-shaped pen, which although possibly related to sheep is more likely have been a goat pen, as the First Statistical Account of the 1790s suggests that even then the locals preferred to keep goats rather than sheep, and that in 1786 the proprietor had refused to allow sheep farmers to rent the land despite their offer to pay three times the usual rent (vol XVII: 408).

low stone cairn in a hollow on the terrace, which anywhere else would be interpreted as a clearance cairn, may be a grave. The First Edition Ordnance Survey map has an annotation on Spanish Hill (which is not named as such) indicating 'Colonel Wightman's grave'. This is obviously erroneous: for one thing, Wightman did not die in the battle. However, it may relate to stories told about the cairn. A further gravesite is known as the 'Dutch Colonel's Grave,' but this is not on the OS map. It is thought to relate to the grave of Captain Downes of Montagu's Regiment, who was the only Government officer killed and was buried on the south side of the river, where his ghost is said to walk at night (Dickson 1895).

The National Monuments Record for the battle site lists two traditional locations for the Spanish dead, of which none are reported in any of the accounts, as Eilean nan Gall (NG 9320) and beside the old church at Clachan Duich (NG92 SW3). The same record also quotes the Rev. John Macrae as the source of a reference to 'the green mounds which cover the graves of the slain,' still being visible at the scene of the battle in 1836 (although no reference is made to this fact in his Statistical Account entry for the Parish 1845) but may be found in the OS Name Book of 1874. Green mounds do exist today, both on Spanish Hill and on the north bank of the river but these appear to relate to shieling structures.

Aside from the shielings, the only buildings in the area are three ruinous structures on the south side of the river below the knoll occupied by the Jacobite right. These are recorded in the Highland SMR at NG 995 132. These do not appear on Roy's map mid 17th century map nor on the 19th century 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, and are therefore unlikely to have been there at the time of the battle ' if they had been there would undoubtedly be an account of them being occupied by elements of the Jacobite right.

Condition

The archaeological potential for the battlefield to yield further information is still very high despite the planting of forestry on both sides of the glen. The mature planting on the north side contains patches of open ground within it, while the trees on the south side are, at the time of writing, still very immature. However, tree planting will have had a detrimental impact on the archaeology and mature trees also make it difficult to fully appreciate the nature of the terrain. More extensive survey will be required to assess the impact of this on the areas of fighting on both the northern and southern slopes of the glen.

The site clearly has potential for visitors above and beyond Spanish Hill, though perhaps only hill walkers would be interested in exploring the higher altitude elements of the battlefield.

The area of Spanish Hill, with its stone breastworks and other features has survived well. It is in the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland and is protected as a Scheduled Monument.

The widening of the road (A87) through the glen, which in places over-lies the Old Military Road, will have had some impact on the valley floor. A small quarry has been cut into the base of Spanish Hill on its south-east side, probably as a source of stone for the road. The easement created by this scoop is now occupied by the modest cairn commemorating the battle. Despite the imposition of the 'new' road, the military road has partially survived, as for considerable distances it strays away from the new route and is visible as a tarmac-covered relic (obviously itself having undergone an upgrade prior to redundancy). An example is the stretch just to the south-west of Spanish Hill where the old road and bridge now exist as a meander, isolated from the later road.

Archaeological & Physical Remains and Potential

Jacobite field fortifications in the form of rough stone barricades or breastworks survive on the northern slopes of the glen. Such remains are extremely rare on British battlefields and they are protected as a Scheduled Monument.

A topographic survey was carried out in 1997 by Martin Wildgoose. It revealed a variety of stone breastworks, cairns and structural features within the glen which may relate to the battle and graves constructed in the aftermath. A sheep or goat pen (see below) may have been in existence at the time of the battle and utilised as a defence ' it may have been here that the Jacobite baggage was left, guarded by 30 Spaniards.

A site visit in 2010 identified linear features on the lower slopes of the south side of the glen, across the river from and roughly opposite the approximate location of the Jacobite barricade of the mouth of the glen. Further investigations would have to be undertaken on these field monuments to confirm their date and function.

The only recorded artefact from the site is a lead ball exposed alongside a footpath during the 1997 survey.

Cultural Association

The battle is a largely overlooked incident in the period of Jacobite conflict. The failure of the Spanish fleet and the defeat of the Jacobite force before it could strike out from the western Highlands and recruit more supporters have effectively denied it the strong tradition of ballads and other remembrances common to events such as the '45. One contemporary ballad does survives called A Hymn to the Victory in Scotland, the title leaving little doubt as to its pro-Government affiliation.

The battle has had a lasting impact on the landscape, the summit of the north hill of the glen is known as the 'Sgurr nan Spainteach' or the Hill of the Spaniards, with Coirein nan Spainteach 'Little Corrie of the Spaniards' to its east and Bealach nan Spainteach 'the Pass of the Spaniards', to the south-west.

There is a painting of the battle by the Flemish artist Peter Tillemans which may in part be based on maps drawn up by John Bastide, the latter being a participant on the Government side. This painting is reproduced on a National Trust for Scotland interpretation board located at the foot of Spanish Hill.

There does appear to be a memorial to the battle in the form of a small mortared cairn-like plinth with a large quartz fragment on its top. This is set into what must have been a quarry scoop related to road construction, but this has been modified with a stretch of low walling which forms a crescent feature framing the monument. The memorial's origins are not clear.

Commemoration & Interpretation

The campaign was to see the destruction of Eilean Donan Castle, which was bombarded by ships of the Royal Navy prior to the battle. The castle was rebuilt in the early 20th century by the owner, the building's original appearance apparently having come to him in a dream. Eilean Donan is today widely regarded as the quintessential Highland castle and has appeared in numerous films and television programmes.

The cairn-like plinth monument may have been erected by the White Cockade society at some point in the 20th century but its origins are not definite.

References

Bibliography

Anon 1997 'Battlefield Remains'. The National Trust for Scotland Archaeology Bulletin, Spring 1997.

Dickson, W. K 1895 'The Jacobite Attempt of 1719'. Scottish History Society. 19, xlvii-liv.

MacLeod, J. 1996 Highlanders. Hodder and Stoughton, London

Millar, A.H. 1885 'The Battle of Glenshiel. Note upon an Unpublished Letter in the Possession of C.S. Home-Drummond-Moray, Esq of Abercairney'. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland VII, 1884-1885, 64-66.

Taylor, I. C. 1965 'The Affair in Glenshiel'. Scotland's Magazine, November 1965, 104-114.

Sadler, S. 1996 Scottish Battles. Canongate, Edinburgh.

Sinclair-Stevenson, C. 1971 Inglorious Rebellion: The Jacobite Risings of 1708,1715 and 1719. Panther reprint, St Albans (1973).

Information on Sources & Publication

Although relatively few in number, the primary sources are of good quality and provide a reasonably detailed account of the battle. However, it would appear that two of these accounts (the first published by Millar in 1885, while the second is part of 13 handwritten pages in the Irvine Robertson papers entitled: A distinct abridgment of some materiall points to Scots affairs, are actually copies or paraphrases of an original account in a letter written by Tullibardine to the Earl of Mar - possibly on 15 June 1719).

These accounts differ in their descriptions of the Jacobite dispositions, but this may be due to nothing more than a misunderstanding of what Tullibardine meant in his original account.

The first and fullest account, from the Irvine Robertson papers has:

'150 men, including 2 companies of Seaforth's on the 'little hill' on the south side of the glen (the forward position) ' another 80 were told off to join them from their position high on the mountain above (south side) but never arrived. On the north side of the glen were the Spanish (200) next Lochiel with about 150 men, then from the neighbouring bounds 150 with 20 volunteers. Next in the line was Rob Roy with 90 men, 50 McKinnons, 150 Seaforth's under Sir John McKenzie of Coull and then on the far left at a considerable distance Lord Seaforth with 200 of his best men, along with the Lord Marshall and Campbell.'

Although seemingly detailed this description makes no mention of the barricade across the road in the Jacobite centre.

In the other account (published by Millar), the barricade is stated correctly to be manned by Tullibardine, Lochiel and 80 Camerons, but also by others including Rob Roy, giving a total of around 400. They are described as being in the centre, where it was believed the main Government attack would come, 'being the most open and the best and common passage and road'. It is possible that this account has borrowed from Tullibardine's and has confused the disposition, placing those in the 'centre' of the main Jacobite line on the hill (in reality the left of the entire Jacobite disposition), including Rob Roy, in the actual centre down on the road.

Other useful accounts are provided by men of high rank on both sides, including the letters of the Duke of Ormonde and the memoirs of General Wightman and the Earl Marischal (the latter two of these are quoted in poorly referenced secondary sources and as yet the location of the originals have still to be traced, but these would appear to be less detailed than the Tullibardine account).

The written accounts are complemented by three detailed plans, though all of these are by the same cartographer ' John Bastide, who was a lieutenant in Montagu's regiment during the battle. His first plan was a perspective from behind the initial Government line, looking across to the Jacobite positions further down the glen to the west. This perspective provides a useful counterpoint to the other two plans, one of which is an almost identical copy of the other. This view is from the south, looking across the glen, with the Jacobite right in the foreground. All of the plans show the movement of troops from both sides.

The 1719 Jacobite Rising has been largely overlooked by historians, with the 1715 and 1745 Risings attracting most of the attention. There has been some debate, however, as to the length of time it took the Government forces to defeat the combined Highland and Spanish force. The popular perception of the battle is that the Jacobites were soon put to flight (e.g. Coull 2000), while others (e.g. Galbraith 1928) make more of the stubborn resistance put up by the Jacobites ' the latter stating that the fighting against Seaforth was so heavy that Government troops were reduced to two shots per man (ibid, 304). Reference to the contemporary accounts does suggest some tenacity on the part of the Jacobites, and in a fighting style (defensive fire-fight) to which they were unaccustomed. For example, it took the Government left several attempts to storm the knoll occupied by the Jacobite right. Likewise, after fighting for three hours the Spanish contingent on the fortified outcrop appear to have been among the last to leave the field, making a fighting retreat under orders from Tullibardine.

Primary Sources

National Archives of Scotland

[Irvine Robertson papers]. Shelfmark: GD 1/53/96. [includes an account of the events leading up to the battle of Glenshiel, and of the battle itself].

[Letter from Mr Johnson to Admiral Gordon giving an account of a skirmish between the Hanoverian forces and the Jacobites at Glenshiel, 22 June 1719]. Shelfmark: GD 24/5/78.

[Volume of Jacobite papers including correspondence, receipts and passes, 1716-1748]. Shelfmark: GD 24/5/162/1-32. [includes: copy account of the engagement at Glenshiel, 15 June 1719 (GD 24/5/162/4].

Printed primary sources

Anon. 1719 Ane Account of the Ingagement at Glenshiel, June 10th 1719.Reproduced at length in Millar, A H 1885 'The battle of Glenshiel. Note upon an unpublished letter in the possession of C S Home-Drummond-Moray, Esq. of Abercairney', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 19 (1884-1885), 64-66.

Dickson, William K. (ed.) 1895 The Jacobite attempt of 1719: letters of James Butler, second Duke of Ormonde, relating to Cardinal Alberoni's project for the invasion of Great Britain on behalf of the Stuarts, and to the landing of a Spanish expedition in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish History Society. [copy in Glasgow University Library at shelfmark: Sp Coll Stone 205]

Galbraith, JJ 1928 The Battle of Glenshiel, 1719. In: Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. Vol. XXXIV (1927-28), 280-293. [a collection of primary sources including letters from the Duke of Ormonde to various; Forbes of Culloden to Cols William Grant and Clayton. Also a letter from the Marquis of Tullibardine to the Earl of Mar, which contains the fullest written account of the battle consulted ' and which provides the basis for at least two others ' see above].

Sinclair, J (ed.) 1981 Statistical Account of Scotland ' (1791-1799). EP Publishing.

Online New Statistical Account of Scotland- Inverness-shire and Cromarty (1845) ' accessed through Glasgow University library.

Cartographic & Illustrative Sources

National Library of Scotland

Bastide, J. 1719 A disposition of His Maj'ties forces - commanded by Maj. Gen. Wightman of ye rebels at ye Pass of Glenshiells in Kintail - 10th of June 1719. Shelfmark: EMS.s.163.

Bastide, John Henry 1719(?) Plan of the Field of Battle that was fought on ye 10th of Iune 1719, at the Pass of Glenshiels in Kintail. Shelfmark: MS.1648 Z.03/22b. [a fair copy of MS.1648 Z.03/22a; a copy of this plan was also discovered in the collections of the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace, as described in Millar, A H 1883 'The battle of Glenshiel, 10th June 1719. Note upon an unpublished document in the possession of his Grace the Duke of Marlborough', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 17 (1882-1883), 57-69].

Bastide, John Henry n.d. Plan of the Field of Battle that was fought on ye 10th of Iune 1719, at the Pass of Glenshiels in Kintail. Shelfmark: MS.1648 Z.03/22a. [see MS.1648 Z.03/22b above].

Roy's map ' no detailed information ' shows road and river and erroneous annotation: 'field of battle 1718'.

1st Edition OS 6' map, surveyed 1874, published 1880. Sheet CXXXII.

Secondary Sources

Anon 1997 'Battlefield Remains'. The National Trust for Scotland Archaeology Bulletin, Spring 1997.

Coull, S. 2000 Nothing But My Sword: The Life of Field Marshal James Francis Edward Keith. Birlinn, Edinburgh.

Dickson, W. K 1895 The Jacobite Attempt of 1719. Scottish History Society. 19, xlvii-liv.

MacLeod, J. 1996 Highlanders. Hodder and Stoughton, London

Taylor, I. C. 1965 'The Affair in Glenshiel'. Scotland's Magazine, November 1965, 104-114.

Sadler, S. 1996 Scottish Battles. Canongate, Edinburgh.

Sinclair-Stevenson, C. 1971 Inglorious Rebellion: The Jacobite Risings of 1708,1715 and 1719. Panther reprint, St Albans (1973).

About the Inventory of Historic Battlefields

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

The inventory is a list of Scotland's most important historic battlefields. Battlefields are landscapes over which a battle was fought. We maintain the inventory under the terms of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

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