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Scotland’s Battlefields Inventory completed

20 December 2012

The initial stage and development of Scotland’s Inventory of Historic Battlefields has been completed.

A total of 39 sites have now been officially recognised since the Scottish Historic Environment Policy was amended to include battlefields in 2009 to help in their protection and management for the future.

The battlefields added to the Inventory in the most recent batch are: Blar-na-Leine (1544); Dunbar I (1296); Dunkeld (1689); Glen Livet (1594); Inverlochy I (1431); Langside (1568); Loudoun Hill (1307); Roslin (1303); Sauchieburn (1488); Skirmish Hill (1526) and Tippermuir (1644).

Battlefield sites which do not meet the criteria on the basis of current knowledge or which have not yet been considered, could be added in future if new evidence comes to light.

Research was carried out to determine the significance and location of the country’s most famous battles and these were considered in three batches over the last three years.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“It is a real achievement that we have managed to research so many of Scotland’s most famous battles to the extent that we can provide a level of protection to 39 battlefield sites. This will ensure that their history and significance is considered in any planning application within an Inventory site.

“The interest in protecting battlefield sites from across the country has been immense and continues. The consultation in 2008 generated more responses from the public than any other Historic Scotland policy at that time.

“Introducing this first Inventory of Historic Battlefields acknowledged this high level of public interest and support for giving lasting recognition to places where lives have been lost, even where no other commemoration has existed.

“Our historic battlefields draw tourists from all over the world and also represent a huge educational resource. Through them we can understand the evolution of Scotland and learn about key historical figures and their role in shaping our culture.”

Inclusion in the Inventory means that local authorities must take the site’s significance into consideration when making planning decisions that might affect the battlefield.

A total of 50 sites have been researched and consulted on for inclusion in the Inventory. Historic Scotland commissioned the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology to carry out the work.

Dr Iain Banks and Dr Tony Pollard at the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology carried out the research and are in contact with some groups who had hoped their local site would be included but could not.

Dr Iain Banks said:

“The Inventory of Scottish Battlefields is the first time that Scotland’s iconic battlefields have been given any protection, and it has been a privilege to be involved in the creation of the Inventory.  These sites preserve the last traces of historical events that shaped the nation of Scotland through history, and there is no substitute for visiting the battlefields for understanding what happened in each battle.  

“The battles of Scottish History have been preserved in legends, poems and songs, and they are a unique resource to get visitors to explore the Scottish landscape.  

“What we have found when researching the battlefields is that there is never any difficulty in persuading people of the importance of a particular site; the most difficult job has been explaining why individual battlefields have not made it onto the Inventory.  We have been really astonished at the high levels of enthusiasm for the preservation of battlefields at the local level – people are fascinated by them and want to see them preserved.”

The Cabinet Secretary added:

“As the Inventory has legal weight the criteria for inclusion are very strict and there are some famous battles could not be included.

“The new research carried out by the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology and Historic Scotland means that there is now a better understanding of all the battles considered, even if they did not ultimately make it into the Inventory.”

The Inventory was officially launched at Killiecrankie Battlefield in Perth on July 27th, 2009 following public consultation in 2008.

This identified potential sites for research which were considered in three phases. The first 17 to be put on the Inventory were announced in December 2010 and launched as the Inventory in March 2011; 11 more were added in December 2011 and the final 11 announced today.

For more information about the Battlefields Inventory visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/battlefields or view a full list of battlefields on Inventory

Phase One:
Alford (1645)Ancrum Moor (1545)Auldearn (1645)              Bannockburn (1314)
Bothwell Bridge (1679)Culloden (1746)Dunbar II (1650)Dupplin Moor (1332)
Falkirk II (1746)Glenshiel (1719)Harlaw (1411)Killiecrankie (1689)          
Kilsyth (1645)Philiphaugh (1645)         Pinkie (1547)Prestonpans (1745)
Sheriffmuir (1715)               

Phase Two:
Barra (1308)                     Carbisdale (1650)           Cromdale (1690)            Drumclog (1679)
Fyvie (1645)Inverkeithing II (1651)Inverlochy II (1645)Linlithgow Bridge (1526)
Mulroy (1688)Rullion Green (1666)Stirling Bridge (1297) 

Phase Three:
Blar-na-Leine (1544)        Dunbar I (1296)                Dunkeld (1689)               Glen Livet (1594)               
Inverlochy I (1431)Langside (1568)Loudoun Hill (1307)Roslin (1303)
Sauchieburn (1488)Skirmish Hill (1526)Tippermuir (1644) 

Notes for editors:

  • Research was carried out on 50 sites, 11 of those considered did not make it onto the Inventory because they failed to meet one of more criteria for inclusion. The sites were: Aberdeen II (1644), Athelstaneford (832), Bordie (1038), Carberry Hill (1567), Carrieblair (date unknown), Dun Nechtain (685), Glen Trool (1307), Largs (1263), Methven (1306), Mons Graupius (83) and Solway Moss (1542).

  • Each inventory report describes the battlefield and the reasons for its inclusion. These include a summary of the battle and its historical context, and a brief indication of its importance in relation to historical association, physical remains, and archaeological potential. The inventory map indicates the extent of the battlefield, defining the overall area of interest. It includes the area where the main elements of the battle are believed to have taken place, where associated physical remains and archaeological evidence occur or may be expected, and where additional landscape components such as strategic viewpoints may lie.

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. Follow us on Twitter @welovehistory and Facebook  www.facebook.com/visithistoricscotland


  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at: www.visitscotland.com/creative

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at  www.visitscotland.org/yearofcreativescotland-toolkit

                                                    Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information


John MacNeil
Media Relations Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8714 or 07854 366 827
john.macneil@scotland.gsi.gov.uk