Digital Commemoration Weekend in Prestonpans September 2020
There was never a moment when the Battle Trust envisaged postponing or cancelling the 275th Anniversary Commemorations. It was simply a matter of how they could be conducted in the mutating context of societal restrictions occasioned by the Covid 19 pandemic. The Trust was in a very good place having received financial support for the 24 months cycle from NLHF, EventScotland and Bord na Gaidhlig and the early Programme crafted for anticipated face to face gatherings in 2019 was restructured and jigged with widespread consultations to be offered digitally from March 23rd onwards; and it will be continuing for as long as required.
Digital livestreaming and video sharing on Facebook. All the events shared globally with more than 10,000 visitors over long weekend September 16th/ 21st are available at
The Trust's Facebook page LINKED HERE.
They were directed by Dr Arran Johnston and Sharon Beck and involved contributions from more than 40 socially-distanced others from across the local community, the Alan Breck Regiment/ Edinburgh City Guard and Derby's Charles Edward Stuart Society. It began with a webinar Lecture on The Fall of Edinburgh, on even date but the largest production by far was the concert streamed on Saturday 19th, Beneath the Thorntree. It included narration from key figures in 1745, songs and poetry including the Gaelic. Sunday 20th saw day long streaming from The Prince's Pavilion set up on former marsh land just to the south of the original scene of battle at Meadowmill.
The photographs above show those socially gathered at and around the socially-distanced Prince's Pavilion during live streaming on Sunday. All the elements are fully viewable at the Facebook link above and included The Paper Armies, an impromptu rendition of Hey Johnnie Cope from Charlie Zahn in the US, Lesley Weston's Lunches of the 18th century plus a pie baked especially for The Prince by novice chef Sharon Beck, Jacobite Dress, Weapons at the battle from Paul MacDonald including the tale of Big Duncan MacKenzie and most intriguingly, a discussion between The Prince and Edinburgh City Guard Captain Brett Fletcher on their respective conduct of the battle! Sharon Beck concluded the afternoon with Questions to The Prince ending with the inevitable Gotcha Ask: Why did you turn back at Derby? - The Prince was careful to disclaim any responsibility for that disastrous decision.
Notwithstanding The Prince had earlier received a gifted bottle of 100 Limited Edition of The 275 Blended Malt Whisky from local producer George Cairns.
Monday September 21st, the precise anniversary, saw the Laying of Wreaths at the Memorial Tables on the 1722 Waggonway in the centre of the battlefield itself - again growing a fine crop of brussels sprouts this year.
The Lament was played by Alistair Campbell from the Royal British Legion/ Alan Brecks Pipe Band. The Trust's new Interpretation Board was also on display.
It coincided with the unveiling of the coveted Red Plaque of the National Transport Trust at the 1722 Waggonway Museum at 11 am by Vice President John Cameron, who was readily minded to recall the success his Clan had that very day 275 years ago in taking the British Army's artillery as they charged across the rails!
Published Date: September 24th 2020