Want to keep learning?

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 powder flask. It is made from ram’s horn. You can see some of the texture of the horn there. It’s got silver mounts on the top and at the end. This would have been used for priming the pans of flintlock guns and pistols. And the reason why this is particularly important is because this is a Hanoverian object. So while a lot of Jacobite objects were treasured and kept and looked after, Hanoverian objects don’t necessarily have the same importance attributed to them, particularly historically. And so this is really significant, because the inscription that goes around the top of the collar mount is a Hanoverian inscription, which describes the events of the 1715 Jacobite rising.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds The first line of the inscription talks about the Battle of Sheriffmuir, which is the most famous battle in the 1715 rising. It took place in November, 1715. And the inscription here describes it as happening at Dunblane. And that is the contemporary term for the battle of Sheriffmuir. Interestingly, for this object, Sheriffmuir, because it stood out so much in history, is only the first line of this inscription. So there’s much more detailed information on this inscription than just that one battle. The Battle of Sheriffmuir was actually inconclusive. But on here it is described as a Hanoverian victory.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 seconds Moving on to the next part of the inscription, it talks about the events that happened in the north of Scotland, which are not really very widely known. It describes the key people and events of the 1715 rising. And in the north of Scotland, those people were the Earl of Sutherland and the Earl of Seaforth. Sutherland was a Hanoverian supporter. And Seaforth was a Jacobite. So on here, the Earl of Sutherland is described as the victorious person in the battle between him and Seaforth. This is actually an ongoing campaign where Seaforth and Sutherland competed for control of Inverness. From the north of Scotland, the action then moved on to England to the Battle of Preston.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 seconds And this is also commemorated on the inscription. It talks about how the Jacobite army was laid siege to by the Hanoverians. And it mentions again the generals who were involved in that who were General Carpenter and General Wills. The most convincing line on this inscription, which shows that it truly is a Hanoverian object is towards the end where it describes the Jacobites as running away. This is in reference to their retreat to Perth in the face of the onslaught of the Hanoverian army. Arguably, the Jacobites did run away.

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 seconds They threw all of their baggage and their artillery in the Tay and disappeared while James VIII and III escaped to France in the night, along with the rising leader, the Earl of Mar.

Skip to 3 minutes and 9 seconds We don’t know who owned this powder horn. It covers the entire campaign, which is very interesting for us. But not one person could have been present at all of the events. It’s particularly significant for us because it shows us the Hanoverian perspective of a rising that we have a lot of objects in the collection relating to the Jacobite side, but not necessarily the Hanoverians. It’s also very victorious, triumphant. And it would have been really obvious to whoever owned this, the inscription would have been really clear. It’s quite abbreviated now, and sometimes a little bit difficult to understand. But it’s very different from the Jacobite objects where secrecy was important in conveying political sentiment.

Hanoverian powder flask

What is it?

This is an 18th century powder flask that would have contained gunpowder for ‘priming’ flintlock guns and pistols.

Who owned it?

We don’t know the individual who owned this object, but we can surmise he was a Hanoverian supporter, someone opposed to the Jacobites and the Stuart dynasty.

Why is it important?

The inscription around the rim of the horn talks about the battle of Sheriffmuir, but also mentions skirmishes in the north of Scotland and at Preston, in the north-west of England.

Its pro-Hanoverian text includes the boldly triumphant: ‘Ye Pretender ye Erl of Mar & ye rest of ye Party run away to Perth’.

‘Ye Pretender’ is a reference to James VIII & III who was known as the Old Pretender; Bonnie Prince Charlie, as his son and heir was often known as the ‘Young Pretender’.

Here is the full text inscription on the horn:

“Dumblain fight Nov 13 1715 / Kings Gen: D.Argile. Pretenders &: Mar / Invs: Atk: Defd by Erl: of Surlnd: Prsin: Takn: by Gen: Cartr: & Wills / Ye Pretender ye Erl: of Mar & ye rest of ye Party run away to Perth. M r?. Cadogan ye Kings General: Gen: 30: Jan: 1715/6”

The inscription describes the events of the Jacobite Rising in 15-16 including the Battle of Sherrifmuir [Dumblain] between the Jacobites led by the Earl of Mar and the Hanoverian army led by the Duke of Argyll [D.Argile]. It also refers to the struggle in the north of Scotland at Inverness lead by the Earl of Sutherland [Erl: of Surlnd], the taking of Jacobite prisoners at the Battle of Preston by General George Carpenter and General Charles Wills [Gen: Cartr: & Wills] and the retreat of Jacobite forces from Perth in 1716 in the face of the approaching government forces led by Lieutenant - General Cadogan.

Watch this short video as Assistant Curator, Adrienne Hynes, pieces together the story of the 1715 rising from this rare ‘Hanoverian’ object in the National Museums Scotland collections.

We will discuss the powder flask and other objects linked to the 1715 uprising later in this activity.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

The University of Edinburgh