The historic Battle of Prestonpans will be marked this month with a massive living history event.
Held as part of the annual East Lothian Battle Weekend, and supported by EventScotland and East Lothian Council, a series of family friendly activities have been planned on 15th and 16th September, at the culmination of East Lothian Archaeology and Local History Fortnight.
The weekend’s events will kick off with a Memorial Parade through Prestonpans and its streets, named for the Clans that fought in 1745.
Organised by The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust, with support from the Scottish Clan Event Fund, managed by EventScotland, the Parade starts at 10am on 15 September from the battlefield at Meadowmill.
It promises to be a dramatic act of remembrance, as Chiefs of the Highland Clans that fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Prestonpans and representatives of the British Army regiments who stood against them, march to the Greenhills event site. At the Parade’s conclusion they will unite in a ceremony of remembrance led by the Lord Lieutenant and the Provost of East Lothian.
Carried amongst the regimental banners of those taking part in the procession, flags created by school pupils across the East Lothian and at Hanover Primary School in Aberdeen will be flying.
In celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People, these schools have painted panels over the summer that will be hand-stitched into banners and carried through the streets alongside the historical sigils of the Highland Clans and British Army regiments.
The parade will end at Greenhills and culminate in a moment’s silence to mark those who fought and fell on both sides of the battle.
Following on from the Parade, a dramatic re-enactment of the Battle of Prestonpans will take place for the tenth time, and it promises to be the biggest yet. The re-enactment is a key element in East Lothian’s County Battle annual celebration each September sponsored by the Scottish Battlefield Trust – a cycle which includes Dunbar 1650 and Pinkie Cleugh 1547.
Supported by East Lothian Council and funded through EventScotland’s National Events Programme, the Battle of Prestonpans Re-enactment will take place from 11am on both 15 and 16 September with a series of dramatic living history events in the encampment.
It will include a recreation of the Raising of the Prince’s Standard at Glenfinnan; General Cope’s War Council at which the redcoat officers plan their strategy; a Cavalry Display with the chance to find out more about the horsemen of the battle; Redcoat manoeuvers as General Cope puts his soldiers through their paces; Prince Charlie’s War Council; and ultimately, the spectacular re-enactment of The Battle of Prestonpans itself.
Amongst the military action visitors will be able to explore the Jacobite and Hanoverian camps and speak to the re-enactors, who will remain in character throughout, as well as Clan Chiefs and their representatives.
The encampment provides a unique opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the history of this period; handle historic weapons, witness camp life as the camp followers cook and launder, see an 18th century printing press in action, and enter the Royal Enclosure to meet Bonnie Prince Charlie himself. Young visitors can also try their hand at some children’s crafts, and even a chance to train as Junior Jacobites and try out a Highland Charge.
Alongside the historical drama, a new area will allow visitors to browse a range of craft and historical stalls, experience falconry and sample local food and drink including locally brewed beers especially those from the Prestoungrange Gothenburg and its Fowler’s Brewery – famous since the ’45! People of all ages will enjoy replaying the battle on the war-games table and watching the pipe band displays. With two history book launches taking place with talks from the authors and stalls from participating Clans, this is a standout weekend for history-lovers and families alike.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: ‘Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and we are delighted to be supporting East Lothian Battle Weekend: The Battle of Prestonpans, which will explore a fascinating moment in both the region and country’s rich history through a series of exciting activities and events, which will cater to all ages.
‘It is also fantastic to see in Scotland’s Year of Young People, school children engaging with their local heritage and traditions through banner making, letting their creative talents shine.’
For more information on the Battle of Prestonpans Re-enactment event and East Lothian Battle Weekend visit www.eastlothianbattles.com.