Battlefield/Langside in Glasgow

One day last month we decided to travel to my beloved west of Scotland, all of seventy or so miles away from where we now live, but a miss is as good as a mile – as THEY say. We were aiming to visit Holmwood House, an Arts and Crafts house which is now owned by the National Trust. I’ll blog about that house sometime in the future.

On the way back from that part of Glasgow I mentioned to Jack that an ancestor of mine (great great uncle?) had designed a church and monument in Battlefield, which happened to be the area we were in, just as I said that we passed the monument which is now situated on a traffic roundabout! The Wiki link is wrong, I think that must have been his son who went to Australia.

Battlefield Monument

It’s much bigger than I had imagined. The monument commemorates the Battle of Langside in 1568 which ended with the defeat of Mary, Queen of Scots’s army on that site, or certainly nearby. Alexander Skirving designed the monument in 1887 which was the 320th anniversary of her defeat.

As ever, we in Scotland are always in a bit of a quandary, would we have supported her or been on the other side? I suppose it depends which religious leader you favour – the Pope or John Knox. What a choice!

The church is now a bar and eatery, as so many of them are nowadays, if they haven’t been turned into flats or demolished. We had already had our lunch at Holmwood, we’ll try that restaurant out another time though.


Battlefield/Langside Church

After that the only thing I wanted to seek out was the street that I knew must be fairly nearby, named after the architect and also of course my own maiden name. With a bit of help from a passerby we found it, as you can see it’s typical Victorian tenements, it’s actually quite a long street the photo below is about half of it.

Skirving Street

There are shops further up, including a bookshop which very annoyingly was closed for the day. It was a bit surreal to see my surname above a Chinese take away. They’re usually called Lucky Date, Golden Moon or some such thing, but I suppose it means that people won’t forget where it is! It’s something that Alexander Skirving could never have foretold when he designed buildings for this area.

Chinese cuisine

There aren’t that many of us about with that Skirving surname, in fact I’ve never met any that I wasn’t related to. It appears in ancient Scottish surname books, but not in ordinary ones, and is of course originally Scandinavian/Viking. Some people like to think that in Britain our ancestors have been here forever and a day, but like everywhere else we’re just a bunch of mongrels when you get right down to it.

street sign

Culloden Moor – a battlefield

Culloden battlefield

After spending a night in Inverness we (Peggy, Evee, Jack and myself) went to visit Culloden battlefield which is nearby. It was the first visit for Peggy obviously but the rest of us had been there a few times before. Jack and I visited Culloden when we were on our honeymoon which it seems amazing to think was almost 39 years ago! Back then there was no visitor centre and I think the place was more atmospheric, probably for that reason. It was just a vast battlefield with grave markers dotted all around it.

Although they’ve tried to make the visitor centre’s architecure sympathetic with the surroundings, just the fact that there’s a modern building there detracts from the experience.

This is where the Jacobite Rebellion featuring ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ came to a disastrous end. The battle was fought in 1746 and was the last battle to be fought on British soil. You can read about it here.


There are red flags and blue flags around the site, marking the various positions of the opposing soldiers.
Culloden battlefield

The whole area has lots of grave markers around it, where the various members of different clans were buried, as you can see from the photo below there are still people laying flowers at the stones, in remeberance.


The photo below is a close up of the cottage which you can see in the distance in the first photo. It has heather thatch, something you don’t see all that often nowadays and similar houses were there when the battle was being fought, which would have seen it all.

Culloden  house

I love it. I could quite happily move in there, okay it needed a good sweep out with a besom broom but I could make a home out of it. A kind chap took photos of us all perched on the seat outside the cottage and I thought that he used our camera but I don’t have the photo so it must have been on Peggy and Evee’s cameras, I’m sure he took two. No doubt I’ll see a copy of it sometime.

If you want to see more photos of Culloden have a look here.