A SHOE buckle thought to have belonged to a Jacobite clan chief wounded in battle at Culloden has been discovered by archaeologists among other artefacts.

Among the discovered artefacts are a large number of musket balls and grapeshot which were uncovered in a 60 square-metre area close to what was the British government frontline at Culloden Battlefield.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) have revealed the findings ahead of the 278th anniversary of the battle on April 16, 1746.

Around 1600 men were killed in less than an hour and the battle marked the end of the 1745 Jacobite rising.

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A single piece of heavy lead grapeshot and a broken copper alloy buckle, which were in proximity to each other, were of particular interest to the NTS archaeologists.

It is believed the copper alloy buckle (below) may have belonged to Donald Cameron of Lochiel, a Jacobite, and the hereditary chief of Clan Cameron.

The National:

Cameron is believed to have led the 400-strong clan regiment into the battle at Culloden where he was wounded.

Derek Alexander, NTS head of archaeology, said: “The grapeshot has obviously hit something with great force as one side of the lead ball has been completely flattened.

“The juxtaposition of both these artefacts, recovered from the same hole and within 20-30m of the British army front line, is intriguing and the obvious conclusion would be that the grapeshot hit the shoe buckle and broke off one end.

“This is of particular significance as one of the most recounted stories of the Jacobite charge at Culloden is the wounding of Donald Cameron of Lochiel, known as The Gentle Lochiel.

“The late Christopher Duffy, a leading authority on the Battle of Culloden, tells how Lochiel, advancing at the head of his regiment (the Camerons), was so near Barrell’s (government regiment) that he fired his pistol, and was drawing his sword when he fell, wounded with grapeshot in both ankles.

“This description shows us that Lochiel was hit in the ankles charging forward and if he had been wearing shoes with buckles, it is possible that these would have been hit and partly absorbed the impact.

“We can’t prove that this is what happened but both objects combine to tell the story of the terrible events that took place on that day.”

The National:

Donald Cameron of Lochiel played an important role in the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Despite being wounded at Culloden he managed to escape to France with Bonnie Prince Charlie in September 1746.

Cameron died in 1748 of a stroke at the age of 53 in northern France.

He earned the nickname “The Gentle Lochiel” due to him preventing the Jacobite army from sacking the city of Glasgow in 1746.

Donald Cameron of Lochiel, the current chief and Tory peer who sits in the House of Lords, said: “This fascinating archaeological discovery adds to the legends surrounding one of my most famous ancestors, the Gentle Lochiel, and certainly tallies with the fact that he was injured by grapeshot in that particular location at Culloden.

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“We will, of course, never know the full picture but it’s intriguing that the battlefield is still producing such interesting artefacts even today.”

The artefacts were found during test pit excavation and metal detecting in late 2023 at the site and experts have since been processing the discoveries.

Gail Cleaver, NTS operations manager for Culloden, said: “Culloden Moor is a powerfully emotive place, and it’s rare for a landscape of this age to be so relatively intact.

“The National Trust for Scotland has been acquiring and caring for parts of the battlefield since 1937.

“But the field of battle and the views that surround it are increasingly under threat from development and, as well as sharing the stories of Culloden, our charity works hard to protect its sense of place.”