Glencoe Plaque Found in Edinburgh Antique Shop

The Glencoe Massacre Site Plaque - Image courtesy Deadline News

The Glencoe Massacre Site Plaque – Image courtesy Deadline News

A plaque commemorating the victims of the Glencoe Massacre has been discovered in an Edinburgh antique shop, 40 years after it went missing. The cast-iron sign once marked the site where 38 Clan MacDonald members were murdered in 1692. The plaque is set to be returned to its original home near the Pap of Glencoe this week to commemorate the 320th anniversary of the massacre.

Said to be at least 100 years old, the plaque went missing sometime in the 1970s. In September last year, Edinburgh antique dealer George Pirie stumbled upon the sign and placed it in his shop window. He said the plaque was sold to him by someone who had it their possession for “several years”.

Its ­significance was only recognised when a woman – also a MacDonald – asked if it was the original which she had seen in Glencoe in the 1960s. Mr Pirie said: “She had a picture of her with the sign taken years before, but it had been a different colour at the time. We started chipping away at the paint and right enough, it was the same underneath.”

Morag McDonald said she recognised the plaque immediately from an old family photo which sits upon her desk at home. She said: “I remember my dad was always enraged that it had disappeared and never been replaced with anything to commemorate the scene of the massacre. He went on quite a bit about it over the years.”

Mr Pirrie said: “With this industry these exciting finds happen from time to time but this one is really quite significant.” He was then contacted by the head of the MacDonald clan and the Glencoe National Trust who were keen to restore the sign, but not before first being approached by numerous private buyers.

The antique dealer will travel to a special private ceremony in Glencoe this Thursday where he will gift the sign back to the clan members. The plaque’s discoverer Ms McDonald said she looked forward to seeing the sign once again in its rightful spot.

The Glencoe Massacre is commonly referred to as the ‘most appalling abuse of Highland hospitality’, in which 38 MacDonald of Glencoe clansmen were murdered on direct orders from the crown. The death warrant signed by King William III provided flames to fuel the Jacobite’s cause and subsequent rebellions, and contributed to generations of unease between the MacDonald and Campbell Clans.

The Glencoe Heritage Trust was set up by local crofter Alistair MacDonald, a descendant of the MacDonalds of Glencoe in order that this most scenic area of Glencoe remains in local hands. The acquisition of the land was a rare opportunity for the local community to ensure the preservation of this unique landscape, and to raise awareness of the historical importance of their land both locally and worldwide.


About Nadine Lee

Originally from New Zealand, Nadine is a documentary researcher now based in the north east of Scotland.

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