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Culloden House as it appeared during the Jacobite rising of 1745. The House was partially destroyed by fire during the Battle of Culloden and rebuilt between 1772 and 1778.

Act of Parliament granting Duncan Forbes, third Laird of Culloden, an exemption in perpetuity to allow him to distill whisky on the Ferintosh estate.

Culloden House

Now a premiere hotel and restaurant, the stately Culloden House stands on the site of a 16th century castle and has been the focus of blood and destruction which nearly obliterated the highland way of life.

Culloden is derived from the Scottish Gaelic “Cùl Lodain” meaning “back of the small pond." The modern Gaelic spelling is Cùil Lodair.

 

The Culloden estate was recorded in a charter around 1232.  Robert the Bruce’s son Robert II (1316 – 1390) first claimed Culloden as his home. Alexander Stewart, the “Wolf of Badenoch” and younger son of Robert II, acquired the estate by the end of the 14th century.

 

The estate was passed to the Edmundson family to the Strachan family who probably built the first Culloden Castle. Parts of the house date back to that time. The land changed hands again to the MacIntoshes in 1576. In 1626, they sold it to “Grey Duncan” Forbes (1572–1654), Provost of Inverness, nephew of William Forbes who built Tolquhon Castle.

Members of the Culloden Forbes family were Presbyterians and loyal to the House of Hanover monarchy under William III and Mary II. As a result, the Culloden estate was the target for the “Jacobites” who were determined to restore the Stuart monarchy under the deposed James II and VII (Jacobus in Latin.) As a result, the Culloden Estate was plundered by Jacobite troops in 1688. As compensation, the Scottish Government granted Duncan Forbes, third Laird of Culloden, an exemption in perpetuity to allow him to distill whisky on the Ferintosh estate free from payment of excise duty, other than an annual fee of 400 Scots merks (about £43 now). The Ferintosh distillery was rebuilt and, in 1690, became the first legal distillery in Scotland .

Again in 1745, Culloden was attacked by 200 of the Stratherrick Frasers, who were chased off without doing serious damage. At thi stime, the estate was owned by Duncan Forbes, 5th Lord Culloden and Lord President of the Court of Sessions, the most senior representative of the British Crown in Scotland. He raised troops to suppress the Jacobites.

 

However, in 1746 Culloden was commandeered by Jacobite forces under the “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of James II and VII. The estate was pillaged by the Jacobite forces before their devastating defeat in the 1746 Battle of Culloden. After the Battle, the British Parliament passed the 1747 Act of Proscription which banned the wearing of “highland clothing” and the 1747 Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act which eliminated the feudal authority the Clan Chieftains and reverted power to the Crown.

Unfortunately, Lord Forbes was not reimbursed by the British government for the troops he raised or for Culloden House being partially destroyed by fire. As a result, Duncan Forbes faced overwhelming debt and died the year after the Battle.

Fortunately, his son John Forbes, 6th Lord of Culloden, (1710-1772) had a head for business and a taste for whisky. John Forbes greatly expanded the Ferintosh distillery, added three more distilleries, produced about two-thirds of the whisky in the country by the late 1760s, and covered the debts accumulated by his father in support of the British monarchy.

John’s son Arthur, the 7th Lord Culloden, was able to rebuild Culloden House between 1772 and 1788. The new house incorporates much of the original fortified house within its structure. The design was influenced by eminent Architect  John Adam who was involved in the design and construction of nearby Fort George at the time. Culloden House remained in the hands of the Forbes family until 1897. It was privately owned until 1975 when it was converted into a country house hotel.

Members of the Culloden Forbes family were Presbyterians and loyal to the House of Hanover monarchy under William III and Mary II. As a result, the Culloden estate was the target for the “Jacobites” who were determined to restore the Stuart monarchy under the deposed James II and VII (Jacobus in Latin.) As a result, the Culloden Estate was plundered by Jacobite troops in 1688. As compensation, the Scottish Government granted Duncan Forbes, third Laird of Culloden, an exemption in perpetuity to allow him to distill whisky on the Ferintosh estate free from payment of excise duty, other than an annual fee of 400 Scots merks (about £43 now). The Ferintosh distillery was rebuilt and, in 1690, became the first legal distillery in Scotland .


Again in 1745, Culloden was attacked by 200 of the Stratherrick Frasers, who were chased off without doing serious damage. At thi stime, the estate was owned by Duncan Forbes, 5th Lord Culloden and Lord President of the Court of Sessions, the most senior representative of the British Crown in Scotland. He raised troops to suppress the Jacobites.

 

However, in 1746 Culloden was commandeered by Jacobite forces under the “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of James II and VII. The estate was pillaged by the Jacobite forces before their devastating defeat in the 1746 Battle of Culloden. After the Battle, the British Parliament passed the 1747 Act of Proscription which banned the wearing of “highland clothing” and the 1747 Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act which eliminated the feudal authority the Clan Chieftains and reverted power to the Crown.

Unfortunately, Lord Forbes was not reimbursed by the British government for the troops he raised or for Culloden House being partially destroyed by fire. As a result, Duncan Forbes faced overwhelming debt and died the year after the Battle.