Bonnie Prince Charlie’s secret symbols revealed in museum’s Jacobite exhibits

TO BE a Jacobite supporter during the rebellions of 1715 and 1745 was a risky matter.

Now a new exhibition at York’s Fairfax House, sheds light on the Georgian Age and explores the secretive world of allegiance during the rebellions. It uncovers the use of coded messages, illicit symbols and treacherous objects, to convey covert messages of loyalty to the cause of the exiled Stuarts.

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Director Hannah Phillip said: “To be a Jacobite supporter was a very dangerous game. The stakes were high and if you were discovered you would be guilty of treason, and the death penalty would undoubtedly await you. Expressing allegiance therefore had to be done covertly and through a series of rituals, symbols and secret messages.”

Symbolic Jacobite objects with hidden meaning and illicit intent have been drawn together including swords, paintings, jewellery, wine glasses, fans, swatches of tartan cut from Bonnie Prince Charlie’s clothing, and even the white cockade actually found in the pocket of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s waistcoat.

In the Name of the Rose: The Jacobite Rebellions, Symbolism & Allegiance opens on Friday, August 9, and will run until Tuesday, December 31. For more information visit