Frustrations with Historic Scotland's failure to protect Scotland's battlefields made this initiative inevitable!
It was an accident of history, so to speak, that the 4th Biennial National Battlefields Symposium took place in The Pans on October 24th. The modest record of the first three gave little hint of the seismic issues that inevitably, with Herbert Coutts in the chair, came under heated discussion at the 4th.
The preceding 12 months had seen Historic Scotland as supposed guardian of the nation's battlefields blatantly bow to economic pressures implicit in Government policies. At Culloden they turned a blind eye to property development proposals and in Prestonpans they condoned the possible construction of an offshore electricity sub-station actually on the core of the battle site. Throughout the Symposium they were endlessly dispraised.
Representatives from Athelstaneford, Bananockburn, Culloden, Dunbar, Flodden, Killiecrankie, Pinkie, Prestonpans, the 1745 Association, The Montrose Society and the UK Battlefield Trust quickly reached their decision by Acclaim. A 'new' independent, nationwide Scottish Battlefields Trust must be established. It would be pledged to do the fighting necessary to protect this aspect of the nation's heritage. Everyone realised that although we can't always win, there must never be any intention of rolling over when plans are floated that undermine the nation's heritage.
A formal Accord was unanimously agreed to this end that will see the Scottish Battlefields Trust incorporated early in the New Year. And whilst The Pans was ready to take the lead as convenors of the Biennial Symposia series, it is intended to work as a co-operative alliance of all Scottish battlefields and in the closest partnership with the UK Battlefields Trust - itself established in the aftermath of the 20th century fiasco at Naseby.
The new Trust is adamant it must swiftly achieve statutory consultee status in germane planning decisions howsoever. Lord Naseby and the Duke of Somerset, whose ancestors were victors at Edinburgh and Pinkie both also pledged their support.
Institutional & Individual Memberships
The plans are to offer Institutional Membership to battlefield groups and Individual Membership to all worldwide who wish to give their support. It proposes to convene meetings/ workshops and the Biennial Symposia series on a rotating basis around the nation so that truly effective sharing and comparing, collaborating and supporting, can develop. And very clearly, when any one battle site is 'threatened' the Trust will always stand ready to give all feasible support immediately, and help to mobilise a great deal more.