Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 11:43 UK

Waterloo flags find at Scott home

a military standard brought from the Waterloo battlefield by Sir Walter Scott, which has been found hidden in his home
The military standards were found hidden in Sir Walter Scott's home

Flags from the battlefield at Waterloo have been found in a cupboard at the home of Sir Walter Scott.

The four banners, which date from 1815, were discovered by trustees sorting through Abbotsford, Scott's home near Melrose in Roxburghshire.

The novelist brought them from the scene of the battle, which he visited after hearing of Napoleon's defeat.

The Abbotsford Trust, which runs the house, hopes the standards can be restored and put on public display.

Very fragile

Jacquie Wright, executive manager of the trust, said: "We were very excited to find the banners. They are very rare.

"As you can imagine, they have been lying in a cupboard since 1815 rolled up in bits of paper so the material is very fragile.

"He collected other things, which were on show because he put them on show but these things were actually put away in the cupboard.

"We would absolutely love to have them on display one day."

She added: "It may be that one of the family knew that the banners were there but we had no idea of their existence until just recently when we unravelled them."

Scott, author of classics such as Waverley and Ivanhoe, was interested in military history and collected many relics.

Rob Roy's gun and Montrose's sword are among the items on display at Abbotsford.

Sir Walter Scott lived at Abbottsford in the Borders
Sir Walter Scott lived at Abbottsford in the Borders

Scott was allowed on to the battlefield at Waterloo and took three French and one English banner, some of which have bullet holes through them.

Inspired by the battle, he wrote a poem The Field Of Waterloo.

Abbotsford is full of souvenirs Scott collected throughout his life and was first opened to the public in 1833, five months after his death.

It is run by the Abbotsford Trust, which must raise around 10m to fully restore the house.

The Battle of Waterloo took place in Belgium on 18 June 1815 and saw a French army of 124,000 men led by Napoleon fight the armies of six nations.

The 97,000-strong British-Dutch army was led by the Duke of Wellington and another 117,000 men were led by Field-Marshal Blucher, a Prussian.

After eight hours, the battle ended in defeat for the French.

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