This rare Jacobite colour, or flag, was carried by the Appin Stewart Regiment at the Battle of Culloden, a battle which saw the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite cause.

The Stewarts of Appin were one of the first clans to come out in support of Prince Charles Edward. At Culloden, the clan regiment was on the right of the Jacobite front.

According to accounts of the battle, 17 clansmen fell while carrying the colour. In the chaos of the Jacobite defeat, the bloodstained flag was ripped from its pole by Donald Livingstone, a soldier of the regiment. He managed to escape with the colour wrapped around his body beneath his clothes. He smuggled it from the field of battle and later gave it to the father of his superior officer, Alexander Stewart of Ballachulish, who had been killed at Culloden.

By rescuing the colour, at great personal risk, Donald Livingstone saved it from the fate of nearly all the other colours of the Jacobite army. The government saw them as symbols of rebellion rather than legitimate trophies of war, and the captured colours were ceremonially burnt at Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross by the public executioner.

National Museums Scotland

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