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Culloden Moor, King's Stable Cottage

Thatched Cottage (18th Century)

Site Name Culloden Moor, King's Stable Cottage

Classification Thatched Cottage (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Battle Of Culloden; Stable Hollow; Culloden Battlefield; King's Stables

Canmore ID 14285

Site Number NH74SW 1

NGR NH 73331 44842

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Inverness And Bona
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH74SW 1 73331 44842

For Culloden Moor, Battlefield (centred NH 742 450), see NH74NW 17.00.

(NH 7333 4484) King's Stables (NAT)

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1906)

These houses are spoken of as the 'Kings Stable'.

Name Book 1871.

On the north side of the road at the lay-by at NH 7335 4480 is a granite stone inscribed 'Kings Stables. Station of English Cavalry after the Battle of Culloden' At NH 7333 4484 is a small turf-roof building believed to have been used as a billet by the English Cavalry. This building is to be restored by the National Trust next year. It is possible that the name Stable Hollow refers to where the horses were actually held.

Visited by OS (W D J) 24 April 1962; Information from Mr N MacDonald, Warden, National Trust for Scotland, Culloden.

NH 733 448 A T-plan croft house forming part of the 1746 battlefield site, King's Stable Cottage was so named following the stabling of Hanoverian horse nearby in the aftermath of the battle. A detailed fabric analysis and measured survey in December 1998 revealed that the majority of the standing masonry fabric and most of its principal features survive from the original structure.

The structure was found to very closely resemble Old Leanach (NMRS NW74SW 21), a much-altered cruck-framed croft house that now forms part of the battlefield centre nearby. Its masonry is clay-bonded although possibly pointed in lime mortar. King's Stables Cottage appears to be the better preserved in terms of its original plan form which is of a single phase of work. The principal range was accessed from a single entrance to the SE. The jamb forming the 'stalk' of the 'T' may have contained a box bed arrangement. A narrow opening at the re-entrant of the jamb and the principal range was considered to represent a partly concealed defensive feature, providing a protected field of fire over the approach to the sole entrance - an arrangement paralleled at Old Leanach.

In conjunction with historical work the original structure was considered likely to have pre-dated the 1746 battle, perhaps having been built in the early part of the 18th century. The structure may also be that described in 1748: '12 wounded men [Jacobites] were carried out of this house and shot in a hollow...'

One early alteration, an inserted fire stack, and two subsequent restorations were in evidence. Of the latter, the first, in the 1920s by the Gaelic Society of Inverness, consisted of the alteration of the original windows, the clay-capping of the partially reconstructed wallheads and the construction of the existing turf gables. The latter probably broadly reproduced the original arrangement. The second restoration, by the National Trust for Scotland in c 1963, included a wholesale replacement of the roof structure (at a considerably lower pitch than previously), partial reconstruction of the turf gables, various masonry repairs and repointing with cement, and a new concrete floor.

Sponsor: National Trust for Scotland.

T Addyman 2000


Publication Account (1995)

Old Leanach Cottage and King's Stables Cottage are two surviving early buildings from a series of scattered settlements spread out along the eastern edge of Culloden Moor above the River Nairn, which are known to have existed in 1745 and are shown on contemporary drawings. Whether these two actual cottages were built before 1745 is less certain, but it is possible.

Old Leanach Cottage can be reached only th rough the new NTS Visitor Centre building. It is a small rectangular cottage with low stone walls, a massive buttress on one side, an extra room attached on the other, tiny windows and a heather thatched roof held down by netting weighted with srones. From outside its appearance is quite authentic, but the interior was unfortunately altered and the roof raised to provide more space when the cottage was the display centre for the Culloden Battlefield. There is one pair of what seem to be original crucks in the wall behind the hearth, showing the lower line of the old roof. A hanging lum has been reconstructed against this gable, and new, massive crucks put in to support the roof, of the sort more often found in turf-walled houses. An interesting feature of the cottage is the turf walling in the top of the east gable, technically known as a turf gablet. The cottage is now furnished somewhat as it might have been in the 19th century, with box bed and so on. In the 18th century it most probably had a central hearth, earth floor and turf gablets at each end.

A little further west along the B 9006, on the north side of the road where the woods stop, is another very similar old cottage, now called King's Stables Cottage (NH 733448). It also belongs to the NTS, and is presently closed, but the exterior can be seen at all times. It has low stone walls, tiny windows, heather thatched roof, turf gablets and a reconstructed box-framed smoke-hole in the thatch; no original features are left inside.

Culloden Battlefield, where the Duke of Cumberland defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie's Highland army in 1746, is now laid out with paths for the visitor. Information on the battle is displayed in the Visitor Centre.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands’, (1995).

Field Visit (12 July 2015)

NH 73334 44845 Mid 18th century cottage, listed in 1971 and described as being ‘largely reconstructed’. It was also listed as having a ‘heather thatched roof with centre wooden ridge stack’. The wooden ridge stack is now gone, and it would appear the heather thatch has also been removed, though closer access could not be gained on visiting. Further research into this building is required and the listing description updated accordingly.

Visited by Zoe Herbert (SPAB) 12 July 2015, survey no.086


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