MHG14723 - Enclosure and boundary bank - Leanach, Culloden Battlefield


A dyke forming an enclosure on the site of the Battle of Culloden is known from contemporary documentary and cartographic sources. Although the original structure had been removed, its line was recreated by the NTS in 1995.

Type and Period (2)

  • BOUNDARY BANK (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1560 AD to 2100 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

A desk-based assessment, including a map regression exercise, was carried out by K Aitchision for the NTS in 1994 in an attempt to locate the position of several turf dykes which were known to have beeen important during the battle of Culloden. Unfortunately the exact location of the dykes and other structures could not be pinpointed owing to the inaccuracy of the C18 mapping. <1>

The NTS have worked steadily on the restoration of Culloden battlefield towards how it would have looked at the time of the battle. After an analysis of contemporary plans of the battlefield, an attempt was made to locate a small polygonal enclosure in which the English dead are said to have been buried, and to assess whether any of surviving enclosures could date from time of the battle. All of the current drystone enclosures seem to date from around 1845, but to some extent follow the approximate lines of the larger enclosure shown on plans of 1746. As anticipated, no trace of the turf dyke could be found. However, a geophysical survey of the field is now planned, in the hope of locating the English graves and from there surmising the position of the turf dyke: the polygonal parish boundary, which seems to mimic the dyke, should provide supporting evidence if the geophysical survey is successful. <2>

NH 745 450 and NH 740 448 Resistance and gradiometer surveys were conducted on two discrete areas of the battlefield at Culloden by CFA (Edinburgh) in 1995: the area around Old Leanach and an area in the extreme west of land owned by NTS. The project had three main aims: to establish the presence of remains of other structures around the extant building at Old Leanach; to locate the remains, if any, of a pentangular turf-built enclosure at the west of the battlefield; and to identify the position of the reputed 'grave of the English dead'. The survey around Old Leanach successfully identified two regions of high resistance of similar surface area to the extant building which probably reflect the footings of associated buildings. The larger survey to the west identified nothing of any great antiquity, save for a very faint anomaly noted on the gradiometer survey. This anomaly had a magnitude little greater than the background, and would be very difficult to view as significant, if it were not aligned on a similar orientation to the cartographic evidence for the turf dyke. <3> DES summary <4>

Reconstruction of turf dyke formerly existing in 18th c., by National Trust in 1995. <5> <6>

Sources/Archives (18)



Grid reference Centred NH 74196 44761 (175m by 175m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NH74SW
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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