Second level Jacobite Edinburgh tour itinerary
Take your learning into the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. Your class will use archive images and maps as they explore Jacobite and Hanoverian Edinburgh on this teacher-designed and led tour
Your Second Level Bonnie Prince Charlie in Edinburgh tour
We've included a list of the places and stories we can look at on this tour. This list can be adapted for the needs of your own class. We may also 'chop and change' given the time available for your tour. If there are things you absolutely wish to look at with your class, please let us know and we will prioritise these.
1 – The Museum of Scotland – Just what could you use a big dress for?
Our tour starts at the Museum of Scotland. Robert, your Edinburgh tour guide, will introduce himself and then take the class into the Museum for a look at some of the typical fashions of the mid-18th century. We’ll look at two dresses and work out what these tell us about life during these times. We’ll also mention one of our favourite stories, the tale of Isabella Lumsden and her dress.
When we get outside of the Museum, Robert will give out a sheet to each pair of pupils. We’ll have a quick look at some quotes which describe the role of women in 1745. We’ll then have a look at a map of Edinburgh as it would have looked at this time, and then we’re off on our tour of Edinburgh!
2 – Potterrow Port.
We’ll use our maps to work out what our next area looked like in 1745. Prince Charles Edward Stewart had to figure out how he was going to take the city of Edinburgh. We’ll look at the options available to him and some possible consequences. Charlie’s Jacobite army did consider attacking Edinburgh at the Potterrow Port. Your class will get time to mull over the options as we walk along to the next stop.
3 – The Flodden Wall at the Pleasance.
The big problem Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobites faced was the fact that Edinburgh was a walled city. This stop gives your class a chance to look at a brilliant historical artefact – a section of the Flodden Wall itself. We’ll look at some of its strengths and its weaknesses. Next, we’ll discuss the different options and vote on which we would have done if we’d been in charge of an attacking army. Robert will then reveal what happened. We’ll pass the rest of this well-preserved section of the Flodden Wall as we head down the Pleasance and on to our next activity location.
4 – St Mary’s Wynd.
The class will follow their journey on the map and compare our location with what they see on the map. We’ll make a quick comparison between St Mary’s today and an archive image we will show them and then we’re across the road and onto possibly the most significant street on our entire Edinburgh walking tour!
5 – St Mary’s Wynd – The Netherbow Port.
Your class will look at three archive images of the Netherbow Port. The Flodden Wall had several gated entryways and each of these were called ‘Ports’. The prettiest of these gates was the Netherbow Port. It was also the city’s primary defence against an attack from the east. The Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie took this gate and gained control of the town. We’ll walk in Charlie’s footsteps as we pass the original site of the gate. The attack on Edinburgh is quite a surprising part of Edinburgh’s Jacobite history.
6 – Tweeddale Court and the Battle of Prestonpans.
St Mary’s Street is a bustling area, and we’ll move into Tweeddale Court next. Tweeddale Court is a lovely wee secluded area, and there’s scope for the class to have a quiet break time. Once that’s over, we’ll look at the medical issues faced by the Jacobite doctors a few days after the city was taken. The Jacobite Army and the Hanoverian Army fought at the Battle of Prestonpans. We’ll take a close look at replica musket balls and a strange little tool. Looking at these pieces of ammunition will help us understand the different types of casualties and how they would be treated.
7 – Fleshmarket Close and Old Stamp Office Close.
We walk up the High Street and stop just outside (or possibly inside) Fleshmarket Close. An important meeting took place here between some bankers and some staff officers in the Jacobite Army. We’ll find out what happened here. We’ll also look for clues about Flora MacDonald in Old Stamp Office Close. This period in Edinburgh’s history has lots of stories about the role of women, and it’s a fascinating topic. We can look at the story of Flora MacDonald here and, if there’s time, the story of Suzannah, Countess of Eglinton. She was an ardent Jacobite.
8 – The Mercat Cross.
Our second last ‘stop’ happens at the site of Edinburgh’s old Mercat Cross. This was HUGELY important to the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Your pupils will use two eyewitness accounts to work out what happened when King James VIII (the ‘Old Pretender’) was proclaimed King here. We’ll ‘huzzah’ the proclamation and find out what happened to a young girl who was watching the proclamation announcement.
9 – Your Edinburgh tour finishes at the David Hume statue.
We’ve focused on the Jacobite Army and Bonnie Prince Charlie, but our last stop looks at the Hanoverian side and what they did to try and keep Charles and his Jacobites from taking Edinburgh. We’ll learn that there was fighting here and we’ll find out what happened at the very end of the Jacobite rebellion. We won’t walk back to the Mercat Cross, but we’ll discover what happened there to bring the rebellion to a close symbolically.
Your Jacobite themed Edinburgh tour finishes at the corner of George IV Bridge and the High Street. Everything about this tour is customisable. We appreciate you may have pupils with SEN and also some with mobility issues. Where possible, Robert will offer route alternatives – sometimes for individual pupils and their support worker. If you have stories you want us to cover, let us know. If you wish to reduce the tour and miss a few of our suggested stops from the list above, we can. With enough notice, most things are possible.
On this tour of Edinburgh and the areas relating to the Jacobite occupation of 1745, your class will use the following artefacts as pieces of historical evidence;
Replica musket balls and a real musket ball mould
Court Mantua dress in the Museum of Scotland
Flodden Wall section at the Pleasance/Drummond Street
Mercat Cross (original location)
We also use these sources from the Historic Edinburgh Tours archive;
Map of Edinburgh in 1742
Eyewitness accounts of the proclamation of King James VIII
Primary and secondary source comments on the role of women in the rebellion
Death rates list showing casualties who died in Edinburgh Castle between 1740 and 1748 (approx.)
Some of the skills used;
Comparing photographs and archive images of the same location
Comparing a location today with three archive images from different angles and artists
Looking for evidence on the buildings around us
Reading a yearly set of statistics and drawing conclusions from it
Using eyewitness accounts to imagine a special event
Looking at bias within eyewitness accounts, and realising that each eyewitness comes with their own ‘baggage.’
We know that travel costs can be considerable. Most of our Edinburgh tours can be made to ‘fit’ around other experiences you may have booked up. This would give you two ‘trips’ but only one set of travel costs. If you’re looking for some ideas, then please check out Riddle’s Court, Edinburgh Castle, the Museum on the Mound and the Museum of Scotland. The Museum of Scotland often has availability for their lunchroom, and you can take a self-led tour there with no cost. They also have some of the cleanest and safest toilets in the city. We will try to book you in for the lunchroom on this trip as we will be hoping to visit the Museum at the start of your tour.
Your tour starts in Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Using gravestones as historic artefacts.
Your class will use laminated evidence sheets throughout the tour.
We can compare the rear of Greyfriars Kirk today, with how it once looked.
We use partner discussions throughout the tour.
We have to do this differently now, but this lets us look at the effects of tourism in the Kirkyard.
A laminated sheet from one of our tours (in this case our Victorian Edinburgh tour).