Slave trade links of Scotland's Glenfinnan memorial revealed

The historical past of Glenfinnan, some of the well-known websites related to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite rebel, is being rewritten after important hyperlinks to the Atlantic slave industry have been exposed.

Historians have discovered proof the Glenfinnan memorial, erected just about the place Charles Edward Stuart got here ashore in Loch Shiel in 1745, was once constructed the use of wealth from slave plantations in Jamaica through a descendant of clansmen who took phase within the Jacobite rise up.

Bonnie Prince Charlie arrived at Glenfinnan on a French-owned send used for slave transports, the Du Teillay. It have been donated to the Jacobite reason through a French-Irish privateer and plantation proprietor, Antoine Walsh, who had grown rich from the transatlantic slavery industry.

The Nationwide Accept as true with for Scotland (NTS), the charity that owns Glenfinnan and lots of of Scotland’s best-known historical websites, is now rewriting its literature and presentations on the memorial, together with relabelling a scale style of the Du Teillay to present prominence to these slavery hyperlinks.

A big portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie at Glenfinnan customer centre is being changed in early 2021 through a brand new show detailing the ones hyperlinks and new analysis that has exposed important ties between many Highland property homeowners and slave plantations around the Americas.

In a odd collision of historical and recent cultures, Glenfinnan may be one in every of Scotland’s most well liked vacationer locations as a result of its within sight railway viaduct options closely in Harry Potter movies: it was once the backdrop to Harry’s flying automobile and utilized by the Hogwarts college educate.

“It’s to not downplay the truth that Glenfinnan monument will all the time be there to keep in mind the ones courageous Highlanders who died at Culloden, however we’d additionally like other folks to replicate on the ones courageous other folks in Jamaica whose tragic tale four,500 miles away contributed to the monument as neatly,” mentioned Emily Bryce, the NTS curator at Glenfinnan.

Steam train going over the Glenfinnan viaduct
The Glenfinnan viaduct featured closely within the Harry Potter movies. : Russell Cheyne/Reuters

“There are two portions of the historical past and I don’t need to no longer inform one or downgrade every other.”

Historians running for NTS, which owns round 139 historical homes, islands, nature reserves and gardens, estimate a minimum of 36 of its structures have ties to slavery. Some homeowners profited from the exploitation of enslaved other folks or from the United Kingdom executive’s reimbursement scheme for slave-owners after abolition in 1833.

Dr Jennifer Melville, a historian main the NTS evaluate, mentioned the ones come with Culzean fortress in Ayrshire, Pollok Area in Glasgow, Brodie fortress in Moray and its well-known Georgian homes on Charlotte Sq. in Edinburgh, together with Bute Area, the legitimate place of abode of Scotland’s first ministers.

Over the past yr, the V&A Dundee relabelled a lot of its historical reveals to replicate their ties to Empire and slavery; in Bristol, protestors toppled the statue of slave dealer Edward Colston; whilst Oriel school in Oxford agreed to take away the statue of Cecil Rhodes, the Victorian-era colonialist after a 5 yr lengthy pupil marketing campaign.

“We’re simply looking for out up to we in all probability can about all of our portfolio,” Melville mentioned. “In the event you handle a heritage portfolio it’s your responsibility to learn about that portfolio and I feel prior to now we’ve checked out that historical past in an excessively linear patriarchal method.”

Melville mentioned a disproportionate choice of Scots emigrated to the Americas right through the 1700s as colonisers. Whilst extremely skilled, there have been too few financial alternatives at house. They moved into the slavery economic system as plantation homeowners, overseers, medical doctors, legal professionals or bookkeepers.

Some, together with Catholic Highlanders and islanders with Jacobite ties, left to keep away from or get away spiritual persecution through Protestant landowners. After Bonnie Prince Charlie’s defeat at Culloden in 1746, 254 captured Jacobites have been deported to Jamaica and Barbados as indentured labourers.

The accept as true with has drawn on new analysis for Neighborhood Land Scotland through Dr Iain Mackinnon, of Coventry college, and Dr Andrew Mackillop, of Glasgow college, who discovered a minimum of 63 land purchases around the west Highlands and islands through the beneficiaries of slavery between 1726 and 1939.

The Glenfinnan memorial’s affiliation was once exposed through Dr Karly Kehoe, a Canadian educational researching Scottish migration to Nova Scotia. The monument was once constructed through Alexander Macdonald, the one son of Alexander “Golden Sandy” Macdonald, and 10th laird of Glenaladale.

Golden Sandy purchased the property from his cousin, John Macdonald, the use of the earnings of his espresso plantation in Jamaica and the wealth of his first spouse, a plantation proprietor who died after their marriage. In 1745, Alexander Macdonald’s grandfather and 3 uncles had welcomed Stuart when he stepped off the Du Teillay at Glenfinnan and fought with him right through the Jacobite rise up.

Melville mentioned NTS guides and curators have been closely interested by a group of 40 volunteers reassessing the historical past of those homes and their homeowners.

“As society adjustments, we wish to take a look at it in a extra textured method. All of our homes are palimpsests in reality, and they’ve a layered historical past which is complicated. And Scotland’s historical past is complicated.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *