Scotland Set to Lose Rare Blunderbuss from the Battle of Culloden

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Sale of blunderbuss to private buyer expected to end public access to one of the rare surviving artifacts from the 1746 Battle of Culloden unless private funding can be raised.

Culloden battlefield

The Culloden Battlefield site

The blunderbuss was already a valued heirloom, having been manufactured in 1670, when it accompanied a Jacobite officer to the battle on April 16th, 1746

The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA (NTSUSA) is working to raise a significant portion of the $106,000 needed to purchase the Culloden Blunderbuss from current owners. The gun is one of a very small group of objects from the famous battle that ended the Jacobite effort to restore the Stuart descendants of King James II to the throne of Great Britain. It is considered by many to to be one of a limited number of artifacts that are capable of making a powerful connection for Scots, as well as visitors from around the world, to this tragic chapter in Scotland’s past. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and it's American friends group, NTSUSA, believe the antique firearm deserves to be shown where it can best be appreciated – at Culloden Battlefield Visitors Centre, near Inverness, Scotland.

The late 17th century firearm has been on loan to the NTS for a significant period of time, but in the process of settling the estate of its recently deceased owner, the heirs are keen to offer the gun for sale. If the NTS does not suceed in purchasing the gun, it is most likely that the gun will be sold to a collector overseas. The gun is an essential part of the Trust's collection at the new Culloden Battlefield Visitors Centre, which was partially built with donations from Americans. The Culloden blunderbuss is on of the few weapons from the battlefield with an clear provenance. The National Trust for Scotland seeks to continue to display the rare gun and keep it accessible to the public in perpetuity.

The blunderbuss was already a valued heirloom, having been manufactured in 1670, when it accompanied a Jacobite officer to the battle on April 16th, 1746 - a fact that speaks volumes about the determination of the Jacobite forces on what became one of the most significant days in Scottish history. The blunderbuss is inscribed ‘Taken at the battle of CULLODEN 16 April 1746 by Captain John Goodenough with 18 balls in it’.

The Culloden blunderbuss was made by J. Finch of London, circa 1670, the gun has a flintlock mechanism and dog lock. The blunderbuss was valued at £65,000 by Lyon and Turnbull in May, 2013. The gun is a very early example of its type, and has a rarity value in that it is by a maker whose work has become exceedingly rare. It also has a distinctive lock type. The engraving is judged to be of the period, not a later addition.

Blunderbusses would certainly have been used in Scotland at the time of Culloden although this gun was already an antique at the time of battle. The blunderbuss presumably made a good battle trophy for Capt. John Goodenough, who served the Government Forces opposing the Jacobites in Blakeney's 27th Foot at Culloden. It is thought the gun was taken by Capt. Goodenough from a fallen Jacobite officer after the battle. The gun is well known among fire-arms experts and was detailed and published in Great British Gunmakers 1540-1740.

Americans who wish to assist in the fundraising effort may make 100% tax-deductible donations through the National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, which is the authorized American friends group and a certified 501(c)(3) non-profit (FEIN 04-35-11088). Donations may be made on-line via the official donation page on the NTSUSA website, or by mail by sending checks made payable to NTSUSA/Blunderbuss and mailed to the Foundation headquarters at 45 School Street, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02108.


The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA is the American friends group for the National Trust for Scotland. Since 2000, the Foundation has sent more than $6.7 million to Scotland in support of the essential work of the National Trust for Scotland.

The National Trust for Scotland is Scotland’s largest preservation charity. It protects and promotes Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy. The NTS cares for 129 properties, including: 1 World Heritage Site, 200,000 acres of countryside, 26 castles and country houses, 35 gardens, Over 100,000 artifacts, 4 birthplaces of famous Scots, 16 islands, 7 nature reserves, 4 battle sites, 72 holiday properties, 349 miles of footpaths and 46 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet in elevation).

For more information about membership and how you can help preserve the best that Scotland has to offer go to: or 617-227-7500

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James Hare

Carolyn Wahto
The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA
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