The Key to Stirling

28 January 2020

Wednesday the 15th of January 2020 saw a historic day commemorated at Bannockburn House.

A Brief Come Back

The brief return of the Ancient Key of Stirling, which had lain hidden within the House for many a year. It was proudly welcomed by the many volunteers and Trustees. The key is now held by and displayed in the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling. The key was ceremoniously presented to Penny Ellis, the Chair of Bannockburn House Trust, by Caroline Mathers – Curator and Michael McGinnes – Head of Collections of the Smith. 

The Keys History

The keys stay at the House began when it was surrendered by Commissioners of the “Toun” to the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) 174 years ago to put an end to their siege of the town.  It was left behind when the Prince and his troops departed Bannockburn to march north to Culloden and only re-discovered in the 1900’s. It was sold in 1960 when (the owner at the time) Miss Annie Mitchell was selling the House and auctioned off its contents.   It was bought by businessman Captain Charles Hepburn who donated it to the Smith in January 1961.

The Stirling, Jacobite & Bannockburn House History

The Jacobite army approached Stirling on Friday the 3rd of January 1746 surrounding the town the next day. On Monday the 6th  at 1 o’clock the Magistrates and town council received a summons to surrender and give up their arms from Charles Edward Stuart .  The town and council agreed two commissioners (William Christie and James Jaffray) petition Lord Murray at Bannockburn House to delay the 2 o’clock deadline.

Siege of the Town

After much deliberation the next day, Tuesday the 7th terms were agreed for capitulation as there was no sight of relief nearing the town. There followed a second visit to Bannockburn by the above named two commissioners with two deputies, John Jaffray and Peter Stevenson.  They returned sometime after 8 o’clock in the evening. Wednesday the 8th dawned and the arms in the town were conveyed to the castle by 9 o’clock and the safekeeping of Gen. Blakeney the commander who had withdrawn his Hanoverian troops from the town to defend the castle. Thereafter the gates of the town were thrown open at 11 o’clock and the Jacobite rebels entered about 3 in the afternoon.

Blog written by Anne M in the volunteer history group.

Photographs by Hugh McCusker.