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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 18:11 GMT
Bonnie Prince Charlie chair sold
PM Ramsay MacDonald was painted sitting in the chair
A chair from the bedroom in which Bonnie Prince Charlie slept before his defeat at the Battle of Culloden has sold at auction for 7,600.

It was bought on Thursday by the owner of a house in Lancaster where the Young Pretender spent the night of November 24, 1745, on his triumphal route south.

Martin Higginson hopes to have the chair installed in its new home in time to commemorate the anniversary of the Prince's visit.

The item, which was sold by Bonhams in Edinburgh, had been catalogued at between 6,000 and 8,000.

Bonnie Prince Charlie's chair
The chair is made of unusual 'Padouk' wood
Thought originally to have been a commode, it became the favourite seat of Britain's first Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, after it was presented to him as a gift.

MacDonald was pictured in the chair in a 1932 portrait by Scottish painter Sir John Lavery which hangs at the Palace of Westminster.

It bears a small silver plate with the words: "From the President's Room, Culloden House, Where Prince Charlie Slept for the Three Nights Previous to The Battle."

Culloden Castle was taken by force three days before the bloody battle and he slept alongside the chair in a four poster bed in the castle's principal bedroom.

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Lancaster celebrates the Prince's visit annually
On April 16, 1746, the Prince led his Jacobite forces to a nearby moor where they were heavily defeated by British forces under the command of the Duke of Cumberland.

But in the previous year on 24 November, the people of Lancaster pronounced Prince Charles Edward Stuart the heir apparent to the throne.

The event has been commemorated ever since by an annual pageant in the town.

The chair's new home is a Georgian townhouse on Church Street, a stone's throw from Lancaster Castle.

Previously the city's Conservative Club, the house was bought by Martin Higginson in Spring 2000.

He refurbished it to its former glory before converting it into offices for his mobile phone company.

People will be allowed to sit on it - after all, it's lasted this long without falling apart

Martin Higginson
Mr Higginson bid for the chair by telephone on Thursday, after a friend spotted it in a catalogue the previous evening.

"He came round for dinner last night and told me about the sale," said Mr Higginson.

"I knew the chair existed but had no idea it was coming up for auction."

Mr Higginson said he expected a lot of interest from tourists.

"There's a commemorative plaque outside this house. Every guided tour around Lancaster stops here.

"I'll probably let visitors in to look at it about once a year.

"People will be allowed to sit on it - after all, it's lasted this long without falling apart."

Click here to go to Lancashire
See also:

24 Feb 01 | Scotland
Culloden letters stay in Scotland
23 Sep 00 | Scotland
Rob Roy letter sells for 14,000
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