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This content is taken from the The University of Edinburgh & National Museums Scotland's online course, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds This is an 18th century broadsword, which is typical of the kind that was used in the highlands. The hilt is a pure silver hilt, which was made in Edinburgh by a well-known Edinburgh goldsmith called Henry Bethune. The blade has various inscriptions on it. On one side, it has– this one on this side says, for God, my country, and King James VIII. So that’s a reference to James VIII and III, but just using his Scottish title. And on the other side, there is a depiction of St. Andrew and the phrase, prosperity to Scotland and no union.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds The fact that the spelling of Scotland on the blade is more Schottland, implies that this blade is actually made in Germany, which is fairly common for blades to be brought in from Germany for use in the highlands. However, this fact that this has got Jacobite inscriptions on it implies that it was made for a specific purpose. We know that the hilt dates from around 1715, and there are several existing blades similar to this. It’s thought that one explanation of this could be that a group of blades were commissioned around the time of the 1715 Jacobite rising and dispersed around highlands to notable people, possibly clan chiefs, who then had their own hilts made and attached to the blades.

Skip to 1 minute and 47 seconds The fact that this has the slogan, prosperity to Scotland and no union is a reflection of the fact that in 1715, the Jacobites were attempting to capitalise on anti-union sentiment. The union of the parliaments dating from 1707 had led to some discontent in Scotland, particularly around taxes and trade. And in 1715, just before the Jacobite rising, James VIII issued a proclamation saying that he would reinstate a parliament in Holyrood. So while James VIII did support having a parliament in Holyrood as well as in Westminster, it’s also important to remember that he was claiming the throne of Great Britain and not just Scotland and not just England or Ireland, but all three.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 seconds And that was a very important part of his Jacobite claim.

'For God, My Country and King James VIII'

What is it?

This is an 18th century broadsword, typical of the type used in the Highlands of Scotland during this period.

The hilt (the handle) is Scottish, made by Henry Bethune around 1715 and the blade is German.

Why is it important?

The blade of this broadsword has been engraved with a series of pro-Jacobite slogans: Prosperity to Scotland and no Union and For God my Country and King James the VIII.

It is also engraved with the figure of St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.

Watch this short video as Assistant Curator, Adrienne Hynes tells us more about this sword and its place in the 1715 rising.

We will discuss the sword and other objects linked to the 1715 rising later in this activity – so please, be ready to share your thoughts and ideas in due course.

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This video is from the free online course:

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

The University of Edinburgh