WITH it being the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, several events are being held today and over the weekend to mark the occasion and commemorate those who fell.

One of the main events at the National Trust for Scotland’s Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre will be a talk tomorrow by Dr Darren Scott Layne, a graduate of the universities of California Berkeley and Edinburgh who received his doctorate from the University of St Andrews.

He is also the creator of the Jacobite Database of 1745 website, which is currently being developed.

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Entitled Insistence Of Legacy, Persistence Of Memory, Layne’s talk will focus on The Battle of Culloden 275 Years On: Ideology, Optimism, And Why We Still Care.

It is a free online event, with more details on the trust’s Culloden website. Ahead of his talk, The National spoke to Layne about why he personally cares so much about Culloden.

Layne said: “For this particular anniversary, I was most interested in briefly addressing how we popularly and collectively feel about the battle and its aftermath, rather than what we think we know about it.

“In that transposition there is a refreshing inclusiveness that battles back against some of the intellectual and political elitism often associated with modern conceptions of historical Jacobitism and what it means to people around the world today.”

In tomorrow’s talk, Layne will discuss how Culloden conjures a “collective memory of loss” for many, on a personal, familial, communal and national level, highlighting that the battle is “often described as the trigger for the death of the clan system”.

He also suggests that the battle could have been the first hint of the later clearances, both Highland and Lowland, in targeted genocide upon the culture by the British state.

He will explore the moral identification that some reflect on with the Jacobite cause, by “imagining the dedication, gallantry and sacrifice of those who ‘came out’ for Bonnie Prince Charlie” – in addition to the brutality from the British government following defeat.

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However, he will also point out that the battle is a “vital marker of the longevity and vitality of the British empire” after a victory for the Union, with Britons on both sides of the Border welcoming the government’s success.

The patriotism and loyalty to king and country for many Scots who supported the Hanoverian regime of George II “did not necessarily” depend on a Stuart restoration, he will say.

Layne is additionally set to explore his own personal view on the battle and its legacy, where he says he thinks about “the individuals on both sides whose lives embodied this conflict” and the continuing study of it upon walking the field, observing artefacts or leafing through old documents in archives.

We have “a lot more to learn and discover” about Culloden, he said, including “the people who were engaged within it, and the land itself upon which they bled.