Jacaobites at Culloden Memorial Cairn 2005
Photograph by Hugh DP McArthur
My native language is ancient, yet it is foreign to my tongue and has been for many generations of my family now. My native dress was once illegal in this land, yet, although bastardised almost beyond recognition, today it is recognised around the globe. My native music was also made illegal, but now it is played in virtually every country on the planet. There was a time when you could have been put to death on the spot just for carrying my name. My culture has almost been obliterated. My history has been all but expunged. My family has not left their native shores in over 2,000 years, yet still I am dispossessed of my native lands and my heritage.
Who am I? Believe it or not I am a native Scot of Highland descent born and still living in Glasgow. I am a product of the mix of indigenous North British tribes (Scot, Pict and Briton) and it has taken me near forty years to realise that I, like so many other peoples on this planet, have been robbed of my heritage by a “British” Government.
Let me explain - I am a Clansman, a tribal being, one who relates to others with a similar social culture. That is why I am a member of the MacArthur Society, that is why I research and write our history - To explore and expand our common bond. A bond that our ancestors fought for and died to preserve, a bond that once understood, we cannot ignore.
The Battle of Culloden was fought on 16th April 1746 between the Jacobite rebel forces of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and Hanoverian Government troops on Drummossie Moor a few miles east of Inverness. It was to be the last battle ever fought on British soil. The Jacobite defeat at Culloden marked the end of a long series of rebellions and the end of a way of life that had endured in Scotland (and previously all of Britain) for thousands of years. It was not the defeat but the aftermath of the battle; the ethnic cleansing of the Highland people; the trials; the executions; the clearances; the burnings; the killings and the mass transportation to the New World, that left a blight on Scotland's character which has never truly healed.
In psychiatry the first step towards healing is to recognise the trauma. Our greatest trauma is Culloden. It took nearly two millennia for successive invaders to end tribal life in Britain. The erosion began with the Roman invasion in 43AD and ended over 1700 years later on the killing fields of Culloden moor. Boudicca stood against them. Calgacus stood against them. Arthur stood against them. Wallace and Bruce stood against them. Finally a few thousand clansmen rallying to the Stewart banner charged for the very last time . . .
That is why on the 15th April 2006, I and several of my clan folk shall make the journey north once more to pay our respects to those who fought and fell trying to preserve our ancient way of life. Join us - To forget their sacrifice is to forget who we really are.
End of rant - Now it’s time for a wee lament . . .
Hugh DP McArthur FSA Scot
Publicity Liaison Officer
The MacArthur Society in Britain
A Branch of Clan Arthur