05 July 2021
Plans to commemorate a largely unknown battle in Golspie, Sutherland, previously overshadowed by events at Culloden the following day, are accelerating.
The Battle of Littleferry on 15 April 1746, between government forces and supporters of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie), resulted in as many as 100 being killed and twice that number injured.
Now, this little-known piece of Jacobite history is to be marked in 2022 with the erection of a large memorial stone and garden at the site, a mile south east of Golspie, in memory of those who fell on both sides. The names of the fallen will be engraved on it.
Littleferry resident Major General Patrick Marriott, a former commandant at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, initiated the idea of the memorial and has gathered a project team together to take the idea forward, under the auspices of Golspie Heritage Society.
He is writing a full history of the Battle of Littleferry, which resulted in the defeat of the rebel Jacobites, in spite of them outnumbering the government forces by perhaps as much as 2-1.
Major General Patrick Marriott said: “This is the first time ever that a full history of the battle has been written and is being captured by the erection of a memorial stone. Very few have really been able to research the battle before and little interest has been shown in it. Increasing digitisation and access to hitherto largely unknown primary sources has made this much easier. The battle was overshadowed so much by Culloden that it disappeared; yet how many villages in the UK have a pristine battlefield around them?”
Plans for 2022
A planning application for the project has been lodged with Highland Council, with a view to dedicating the stone at a special ceremony to commemorate the 276th anniversary of the battle next year.
Plans are in motion to create a trail link to Culloden with a possible display highlighting the battle at Culloden Visitor Centre.
In the past few weeks, an appropriate local stone has been identified for the honour, and a site on the Golspie to Littleferry road made available by the local landowner, Angus McCall.
The stone which will be used for the memorial
The stone is currently located on croft land just west of Dunrobin Castle (where the rebel forces eventually surrendered). It is of old red Sutherland sandstone, believed to date back more than 400 million years and stands around 6ft high with a width of 5ft.
However, such an imposing stone also presents a logistical nightmare – how to transport it to the memorial site? Weighing about 10 tons and having to negotiate mainly single track roads is a challenge for the team!
Involvement of local schools is also being pursued, together with perceived benefits to tourism in the area. The project has been formally endorsed by Golspie Community Council. To find out more, contact the team by e-mail.