Piece of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s tartan on auction

A PRESTIGIOUS Jacobite ring and fragment of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s tartan is set to go under the hammer at an Edinburgh auction next week - expected to fetch up to £3,000.

Tartan, along with Jacobite ring, expected to fetch £3,000 when it goes under the hammer. Picture: TSPL
Tartan, along with Jacobite ring, expected to fetch £3,000 when it goes under the hammer. Picture: TSPL

The gold ring which belonged to Colonel MacPherson of MacCoul, Laggan, is engraved with indistinct initials and comes with a small piece of tartan pinned to an envelope - said to come from the plaid the Young Pretender sheltered under with a member of the MacPherson clan while hiding from the murderous Redcoats.

One member of the clan, Ewen MacPherson - known as Cluny MacPherson - who was also chief of Clan Chattan, joined the Stewart army with about six hundred men. However, they missed the Battle of Culloden as they had been sent to guard the passes in the Badenoch.

After the failed ‘45 rebellion, the British Redcoats searched the Highlands for leaders and members of the Jacobite army.

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    Cluny’s house was burnt to the ground and all his possessions looted so it became necessary for him to scatter his men and seek refuge. Cluny, with a small party of men, headed towards Loch Ericht. On the sides of Creag Dubh he took refuge in a small cave. The cave wasn’t much more than a hole in the ground with a fallen tree forming the roof but it was large enough to accommodate two men reasonably comfortably and has become known as ‘Cluny’s Cage’.

    Cluny MacPherson was joined by Bonnie Prince Charlie, who remained there in hiding for about five months.

    It is said that the Prince asked for Cluny’s plaid because it was thicker than his however Cluny refused to give it up but offered to share and the pair slept under the same plaid.

    Cluny remained in hiding in the cave for nine years. Many people knew of his whereabouts, but despite enormous rewards no one betrayed him.

    Now, the historic fragment of tartan and ring will be auctioned at Lyon and Turnbull’s Scottish Silver Sale on August 13 in Edinburgh.

    Along with these items, is a two-page double-sided hand-written letter detailing provenance and family descent of the items, dated 1927.

    They is expected to fetch between £2,000 - £3,000 when it goes under the hammer.

    Colin Fraser, Head of Silver and Jewellery at Lyon and Turnbull said today: “These items are always very fun to have an in auction.

    “Because they are so different, there isn’t much to compare them to and they are very unique.

    “We have had various Jacobite items go up for auction in the past but in general they aren’t very common. It is very rare for a ring and plaid such as these to be up for sale, so it’ll be interesting to see how much they sell for.”

    Mr Fraser added: “It’s likely the person that will buy the ring and the plaid will be a Scottish patriotic buyer, but then again you never know.

    “Just because they are a Scottish patriot however, does not mean they are necessarily from this country. We have seen buyers purchasing Scottish items from Australia, America and many other countries.”

    The items came by descent from Colonel MacPherson of MacCoul, Laggan to his sister Miss MacPherson. They were then gifted to the mother of the person who wrote the letter.

    Although the mother’s name is not known, she came from Dulnain Bridge, Strathspey.

    The ring and plaid were then inherited by Edinburgh woman Jessie Cronie in 1927 and she bequeathed them to a private family collection.