The Battle Of Prestonpans, September 21st 1745
by Ben Johnson
The Battle of Prestonpans was the first significant conflict in the second Jacobite Rising. The battle took place on September 21st 1745. The Jacobite army loyal to James Francis Edward Stuart and led by his son Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) achieved a stunning victory over the redcoat army loyal to the Hanoverian George II, led by Sir John Cope.
It was initially known as the Battle of Gladsmuir but was fought at Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland. The victory was a huge morale boost for the Jacobites, and the story of it soon entered legend; a story of triumph over a large army by a smaller force of farmers, peasants and rebels, led by a young man with no previous experience of battle.
Listen now to Arran Paul Johnston describe the battle:
The Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust was established in 2006 to ensure more proper ‘conservation, interpretation and presentation’ of the battle. The battlefield itself was immediately listed in the Scottish Government’s national inventory of significant battle sites when that was established in 2009. The Trust appointed Martin Margulies, author of ‘The Battle of Prestonpans 1745’ as its official historian in 2007. In 2008 he became Colonel-in-Chief of the Alan Breck Regiment of Prestonpans Volunteers, which regiment has responsibility for annual re-enactments each September. In 2009/ 2010 Dr Andrew Crummy led a team of 200+ embroiderers across Scotland in the creation of the 103 metre Prestonpans Tapestry telling the story of the Prince’s campaign in 1745 leading to Victory in Prestonpans. http://www.battleofprestonpans1745.org/
Several interpretation boards have recently been installed around the site to assist visitors, and a large pyramid monument flying the Jacobite standard clearly identifies the battlefield location.