Since 1746, people from all around the world have visited the battlefield. The story of the Jacobite Risings has influenced works of art and literature across many generations, from ‘The Skye Boat Song’ to Outlander. Less than a year after the Battle of Culloden, Handel composed his oratorio Judas Maccabaeus. First performed at the Royal Opera House in London on 1 April 1747, it celebrated the Duke of Cumberland’s victory over the Jacobites.

Children were also taught about the battle. In Culloden Visitor Centre we have a sampler on display that was made in 1747 by an 11-year-old girl, showing a Jacobite being stabbed by a government soldier.

By the 19th century, Jacobites and Highlanders were being portrayed as heroes, helped by popular author Sir Walter Scott in his novels Waverley (1814), Rob Roy (1817) and Redgauntlet (1824). It was during this period that there was a move to build a memorial on the battlefield.

The first memorial (a tower) was built in the 1820s, to the west of the battlefield, by Lachlan Mackintosh. Later, a memorial at the graves site itself was called for. In 1881, Duncan Forbes, the landowner of the moor, built the cairn and markers you see today.

The Jacobite Risings were international conflicts that had enormous influence over diplomatic relationships between European powers. However, the clan markers do not represent all the people who died at Culloden. Two nations were left out of the Victorian memorials: Ireland and France. The Irish and French regiments are memorialised by a plaque some distance away, on the other side of the cairns. If you walk towards the blue flag on the Jacobite front line, and from there continue straight at the crossroads, you will find the markers installed in 1994 by the White Cockade Society.

Many people visit Culloden because they’re interested in the legacy of the Scottish clans, as well as to research their own ancestral past.

We have resources to allow you to find out which clan you may have been part of, and where and if they fought during the Battle of Culloden. Our Families of the ’45 book is a unique collection of names from the Jacobite Rising and often holds surprises for visitors when they discover which side they fought on.

We also have an ancestry hub where you can discover the origins of your name in even more detail.