The Battle of Prestonpans Living History and Re-Enactment Weekend at Greenhills, East Lothian
The Battle of Prestonpans Living History and Re-Enactment Weekend at Greenhills, East Lothian

Famous Jacobite victory is all set to be re-enacted

A re-enactment of the Battle of Prestonpans in East Lothian is taking place next month.

September will see the biggest ever living history event to mark the conflict, as part of a packed weekend of historical events.

The re-enactment will take place across two days as part of the annual East Lothian Battle Weekend and will include a series of dramatic re-enactments including a recreation of the Raising of the Standard; 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 Manoeuvres 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.

The event is supporting Scotland’s Year of Young People, so there will be children’s crafts and even a chance for youngsters to train as Junior Jacobites and try out a Highland Charge.

Between the military action, visitors will be able to explore the Jacobite and Hanoverian camps and talk to the re-enactors, who will remain in character throughout.

Providing a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of this period, visitors will be able to handle historic weapons, witness camp life as the camp followers cook and launder, enter the Royal Enclosure to meet Bonnie Prince Charlie himself and even see an 18th century printing press in action.

Alongside the historical drama, a new area will allow visitors to the event to browse craft and historical stalls, experience falconry and sample local food and drink including locally brewed beers from Prestoungrange Gothenburg, Fowlers Brewery and from Archerfield Brewery.

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 at the event, talks from the authors and stalls from participating clans, this is a standout event for history-lovers and families alike.

The Hanoverian army fighting the Jacobites (Photo: Gordon Fraser)

The Battle of Prestonpans was the first major battle of the last Jacobite Rising. The battle took place on September 21, 1745. The Jacobite army loyal to King James Francis Edward Stuart and led by his son Charles Edward Stuart – Bonnie Prince Charlie – achieved a dramatic victory over the Redcoat army loyal to the Hanoverian King George II, led by Sir John Cope.

The battle took place in fields between Prestonpans, Tranent, Cockenzie and Port Seton. The victory was a huge morale boost for the Jacobites, and despite their ultimate defeat the battle left an important cultural legacy. This will be the 10th time that the Battle of Prestonpans has been re-enacted this century.

Arran Johnston, executive trustee of the Scottish Battlefield Trust said: ‘This year’s East Lothian Battlefield Weekend marks a significant expansion in activity and I’m delighted to be able to present this expanded programme. These events will appeal to young and old alike with the opportunity for everyone to learn more about this fascinating period of history.

‘The history and heritage of this region is strikingly dramatic and of national significance. It’s through events like these that people come to understand this and in turn, calls are made to protect national assets, like the battlefields of the region.’

Tickets to the Battle of Prestonpans Re-enactment cost: Early admissions: 11am- noon – £3 adults / £1.50 children. Regular admissions: noon-5pm, £6 adults / £3 children.

The Battle of Prestonpans Re-Enactment is part of the East Lothian Battle Weekend, with other events running. The re-enactment is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s events directorate, and East Lothian Council.

Click HERE to find out more about the full schedule of events.