Highland Folk Museum - An attraction for all ages
History Tour

Jacobites And The Break Up Of The Old Society
From Raitts, as from most spots in the vicinity of Kingussie, there's a good view to be got of the still substantial walls of Ruthven Barracks. 

Erected around 1720 on the site once occupied by the Comyn family's medieval castle, the barracks - built to house about a hundred dragoons - were intended by the then newly-formed United Kingdom (constituted by the Anglo-Scottish union of 1707) to keep Highlanders in check. Other such barracks were constructed at the same time. 

So was the network of Highland roads which General George Wade, the early-eighteenth-century United Kingdom's military commander in the region, put in place with a view to facilitating the movement of his troops.

The presence in the Highlands of military garrisons of the Ruthven sort had all sorts of impacts on the lives of people living in their vicinity. The numerous fragments of mass-produced pottery which archaeologists have found at Raitts, and which date from the mid-eighteenth or later eighteenth century, can almost certainly be attributed to greater contact with the south in the wake of the British military's arrival in the area.

Neither barracks like Ruthven nor Wade's new roads, as events proved, were to prevent a number of Highland clans - including some of those whose lands lay in the Strathspey area - from joining Prince Charles Edward Stuart. 

In 1745, the prince launched the last of his family's several attempts to regain the Scottish and English thrones from which the Stuart dynasty had been removed in the 1680s.

Although Prince Charles's mainly Highland army quickly conquered Scotland and advanced deep into England, this army - having been in retreat, by this point, for some four months - was finally defeated at Culloden, near Inverness, in April 1746.

The Highlands were altered fundamentally and for ever in the decades following the Battle of Culloden. Partly this was because British governments of the time were determined to eliminate the possibility of further Highland uprisings by destroying the clans to which Charles Edward Stuart had looked for support. But also at work were all sorts of other pressures for change - pressures mostly originating in the developing industrial economies of Lowland Scotland and England. 

Those economies urgently needed raw materials. The Highlands were well place to supply many of these. This led the leading men of the Highlands, with lots of encouragement from United Kingdom politicians, to adopt new roles. Previously they had been the chiefs of their clans. Now they became landlords.


Ruthven Barracks
Ruthven Barracks

The Barracks from the air
The Barracks from the air

Plan of the Barracks
Plan of the Barracks