In the early morning of 21st September 1745, the Jacobite Army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart swept to victory across the stubble fields to the east of Prestonpans. Their success was swift and complete, and for the victors it now seemed that anything was possible. The Battle of Prestonpans was the first battle of the last Jacobite uprising, and the most comprehensive victory the cause of the exiled Stuarts had ever achieved. It was all the more astonishing for its unlikelihood. So shocking was the outcome that people on both sides of the conflict had an instant fascination with the events at Prestonpans; a need to understand what had happened and to commemorate it.
The names of those who faced each other that day would be forever remembered – Bonnie Prince Charlie and Gentle Lochiel, Johnnie Cope and gallant Colonel Gardiner to name but a few. In English, Scots and in Gaelic, in novel song and poem, through brushstroke and needlework, the Battle of Prestonpans has left a unique and continuous cultural legacy like no other battle in our history.
Since 2006 the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust has worked to protect, promote and continue that legacy. Through interpretation, education, events and exhibitions, the Trust has carried the story of the battle to hundreds of thousands of people, whilst supporting ongoing research and evaluation of the battlefield and campaigning for its protection. In 2010 it launched the Prestonpans Tapestry, triggering a renaissance of narrative embroidery in Scotland and beyond.
This year (2020) marks the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Prestonpans, the 300th anniversary of the birth of Prince Charlie, and the 10th anniversary of the Prestonpans Tapestry. That gives us lots to talk about – and we hope you will join the conversation.
This website is an extension of our main site at http://www.battleofprestonpans1745.org, which is currently being completely rebuilt by students at Edinburgh College as part of our 275th anniversary project. These pages carry information relating to that project and its wider context, from details of how to find out about events to how you can get involved in our creative projects.