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The Prince at Blair Castle: August 31st - September 2nd 1745

Delighted as the Murrays were to support the Prince!

Hot on the heels of word from Dunblane of the Prince's stay there on September 11th came messages of 'some considerable concern' that the Prince's earlier three day sojurn at Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, should not be overlooked in the Prestonpans Tapestry either!

Lord George Murray, whose home it was, was away at the time joining the Prince several days later in Perth, but his staff reportedly gave the Prince a very warm welcome showing him how to play bowls on the green pictured first in the set of six images below. Lord George had specifically written to ask his cousin, Lady Charlotte Robertson of Lude, an 80 year old daughter of Lord Nairne, to do the honours of the house during the Prince's stay and so she reportedly did, bemused and giggling as the Prince and his followers danced happily. She apparently also took it upon herself to assist the Prince in recruiting clansmen by threatening to hang any tenants that did not join him.

John Roy Stewart and Robertson of Straun came to join the Prince at Blair Castle.

click to enlarge photograph of present castle

Drawings of the castle as it looked in 1745, before reconstruction, are readily accessible. More than that, however, curatorial photographs and originals are available of artefacts the Robertsons of Straun had carried off in Cope's coach after the battle was won at Prestonpans including Cope's fiddle. We'll be including it on the existing panel describing that event. Gifts by the Prince, gloves he wore and a pipe he reputedly smoked are also to be found in the exhibition at Blair Castle. One of the most beautiful exhibits is Lord George Murray's own white cockade.

So, once again we've been delighted at the Trust, as we were with Balhaldie House at Dunblane, to add a further panel for Blair Castle - we always said we would whenever a local community spoke up with their own reminiscence of the Prince on his way to that famous Victory at Prestonpans.

click to enlarge the images

There is also an intriguing footnote. During the Prince's return to the Highlands from Derby with the Clans in the Winter of 1745/ 1746, Lord George Murray had the dubious honour of besieging his own castle at Blair Atholl which by that time had been occupied by the redcoats! So, that was probably the last Castle siege recorded in British history books then....

Published Date: December 5th 2009

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