In the early morning of 21st September 1745, the Jacobite Army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart swept to victory across the stubble fields to the east of Prestonpans. Their success was swift and complete, and for the victors it now seemed that nothing was impossible. The Battle of Prestonpans was the first battle of the last Jacobite uprising, and the most comprehensive victory the cause of the exiled Stuarts had ever achieved. It was all the more astonishing for its unlikelihood.
So shocking was the outcome that British society had an instant fascination with the events at Prestonpans, a need to understand what had happened and to commemorate it. The names of those who faced each other that day would be forever remembered – Bonnie Prince Charlie and Gentle Lochiel, Johnnie Cope and gallant Colonel Gardiner to name but a few. In English, Scots and in Gaelic, in novel song and poem, through brushstroke and needlework, the Battle of Prestonpans has left a unique and continuous cultural legacy like no other battle in our history.
Since 2006 the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust has worked to protect, promote and continue that legacy. Through interpretation, education, events and exhibitions, the Trust has carried the story of the battle to hundreds of thousands of people, whilst supporting ongoing research and evaluation of the battlefield and campaigning for its protection. In 2010 it launched the Prestonpans Tapestry, triggering a renaissance of narrative embroidery in Scotland and beyond.
This website presents the Trust’s ambition for the future: the creation of a unique visitor attraction at Prestonpans Battlefield, building on the momentum of our past to secure an exciting and sustainable future. It is the result of a comprehensive re-evaluation of our long-term goals and considered reflection across our activities so far. This process has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Informed by expert insights and reports, comparative studies of similar projects, our new vision will provide the Battle of Prestonpans with a future which is worthy of its past. If you prefer, a pdf version of the vision is available for download on the consultation page.