SF22 -Window glass
SF38 - Iron lock
SF6 -Manganese mottled ware
I 5cm 1
SF8 - Trailed slipware by the snows over the Devil’s Staircase. According to John Prebble (see ‘Further reading’), the cottages at Achtriachtan were then burnt, and an old man was shot as he ran from the ruins towards the river. Within a few days of the Massacre, some of the MacDonalds of Glencoe returned to bury the dead – MacIain was laid to rest on Eilean Munde in Loch Leven, and presumably the other victims were interred there too. When the sons of MacIain were accepted back into the peace of King William, the families eventually returned to the glen and presumably rebuilt burnt and destroyed houses and other buildings at Achtriachtan and the other townships.
ACHTRIACHTAN’S AFTERLIFE In the 18th century, the Glencoe MacDonalds returned to their old allegiances, coming out in support of the Jacobite cause both in 1715 and 1745, and fighting at Sheriffmuir and Culloden. The 1745 Muster Roll for the Jacobite army lists 120 men from Glencoe who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie, and this includes 12 men from Achtriachtan: 11 MacDonalds and a MacStalker. What is also interesting about this list is that it gives the occupations of three people. One Alexander MacDonald is listed as a change keeper, suggesting there was a change house or small inn at Achtriachtan. Another Alexander MacDonald is listed as a drover, while Archibald MacDonald is described as a merchant. It is also recorded that the second-in-command of the Glencoe men was Angus MacDonald of Achtriachtan, who must have been around 70 when he was killed at the Battle of Prestonpans. Being the tacksman of Achtriachtan was obviously a hazardous position!
Following the crushing defeat at Culloden in 1746, British government troops were stationed around the Highlands, posted not only in the large well-known forts at Inverness, Fort William, and Fort Augustus, and the other smaller barracks, but also out in the community they were ordered to suppress. These Cantonments and Posts of the British Army in Scotland during 1745-1753 are listed on the Stennis Historical Society website, and the database notes that at Achtriachtan, Glencoe (named ‘Auchtrischtan’ in the Cantonment Register), on 8 June 1751, there was
LEFT So e of the artefacts reco ered fro Structure a uernstone, an iron lock, and frag ents of potter and window glass a post manned by one Corporal and five Privates. So, almost 60 years after the Massacre, the township of Achtriachtan was once again compelled to billet red-coated soldiers.
In the 19th century, the townships fell into decline, and settlement tended to focus on the village of Invercoe at the mouth of the glen, by Loch Leven. By the 1870s, when the Ordnance Survey were mapping Glencoe, the sheep farms that replaced the township at Achtriachtan were already marked as unroofed and ruined. The archaeological survey and excavation work undertaken by the National Trust for Scotland has only just started to uncover the detailed history of settlement in the glen, and more work will undoubtedly be undertaken. As part of the project to improve the interpretation for visitors, the Trust is building a replica house at the Glencoe Visitor Centre using the evidence recovered from the excavations at Achtriachtan. This project was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we hope will go ahead this year – watch this space for further news.
Further reading opkins Glencoe and the End of the Highland War, John onald u lishers td, S i ingstone, C ik an, and
S art No Quarter Given: the Muster Roll of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s Army, 1745-46, eil ilson u lishing, S ac onald Glencoe 1692:
Slaughter Under Trust, o ert ale S acdonald Glencoe and
Beyond: the sheep-farming years 1780-1830, John onald u lishers td, S J re le Glencoe, enguin ooks,
Source erek lexander is ead of rchaeolog at the ational rust for Scotland