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Saturday, 24 February, 2001, 16:45 GMT
Culloden letters stay in Scotland
The site of the Battle of Culloden
The letters chronicle the battle on Culloden Moor
Two rare letters giving eye-witness accounts of the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite rebels in the Battle of Culloden are to remain in Scotland after they were bought by an anonymous bidder.

The letters chronicling the defeat of the Young Pretender's forces by the English-led Hanoverian Army on 16 April, 1746, fetched 6,000 at an auction in Edinburgh.

The first-hand accounts of one of the most savage battles in British history, fought on flat moor land near Inverness, were found in the back cupboard of a house in Ayr.

A spokeswoman for Shapes Auctioneers which sold the letters said: "The letters in lot 136 were sold for 6,000 to an anonymous buyer over the phone.

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonnie Prince Charlie's forces were defeated at Culloden
"The good news is that they are staying in Scotland."

Both the letters were addressed to the Rev John Warden, a minister who was based at Campsie, Stirlingshire.

The first was from William Warden of Gargunnock, the clergyman's cousin, and describes the battle plan and names leading figures who were killed or taken prisoner.

An excerpt from the single-page letter, written nine days after the battle, reads: "The Horse and Dragoons who were placed in the wings, flanked the right and left and met in the centre of the Rebel Army, and then it became a universal rout.

"The King's Messenger from Inverness brings an account that 4,000 rebels lie dead on the field.

"They are daily bringing in such numbers of prisoners that the prison and churches cannot contain them."

Historical significance

The second letter was from Mungo Hope, a soldier in the King's army, and was dated 28 June, 1746.

It chronicles the speculation surrounding Bonnie Prince Charlie's whereabouts and hints at him disguising himself as a woman to protect his identity on the Isle of Skye.

The Shapes spokeswoman said the historical significance of the letters mad them of national importance and it was "good news" that they remain in the country.

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