The Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust has received £8,000 National Lottery support to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on heritage

The Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust has received £8,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to allow the planned programme marking the 275th anniversary of the battle to be reworked as a digital event, as well as allowing the organisation to carry forward fund raising for a living history centre.

The Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust had been working to create a series of events to mark the 275th anniversary of one of the most momentous battles in Scottish history. Since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began, the trust has had to reorganise these to ensure they meet social distancing guidelines.  This has included reformulating the planned Beneath the Thorntree concert to a digital format. 

Beneath the Thorntree is an evening of music and storytelling that has now, thanks to the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, been specially filmed across three days in the historic Presongrange Church and around the battlefield. With over 40 participants to choreograph in readings, costumed drama, musical recitals and song, all in keeping with social distancing guidelines, the filming was a complex affair.  Based on writings of the time, the performance will reveal how the lives of ordinary local people were affected by the battle. The concert will now be streamed online as a watch-party event on 19th September on Facebook and YouTube

The grant from the The National Lottery Heritage Fund will also support the trust’s preparation to launch a major fundraising campaign to support the creation of a living history centre to mark the unique history, cultural legacy and landscape of the Battle of Prestonpans. The centre, which is likely to be placed at the heart of the new East Lothian town currently referenced as Blindwells, will act as a centre for Jacobite studies, provide a programme of activities through its planned events space and will provide a home for assets including the celebrated Prestonpans Tapestry.

Gordon Prestoungrange, the original Founding Chairman of The Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust, said:

“Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can bring the programme of events to mark this crucial period of history to an even wider audience through our digital programming. The grant has also allowed us to prepare the launch of a fund raising campaign that will bring together the unique battlefield landscape with the physical and digital assets that have been prepared over the years into a world class living history centre. We’re grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million was made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis. 

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as The Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust during this uncertain time.”

Like The Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust, other charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This money is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.

Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, including heritage of local and national importance. By playing The National Lottery, people up and down the country are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund is now closed for applications. To find out more about how The National Heritage Emergency Fund is supporting the sector at this time please visit:

To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes , visit:


Notes to editors

For further information about The Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust, further images and interview opportunities, please contact: Martha Bryce – / 07905761525.

About The Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust

The Trust is a Scottish charity committed to promoting, protecting and interpreting the Battle of Prestonpans. Its members include battlefield historians and professionals from the heritage, education and business sector. In recent years the Trust has installed new monuments to the fallen, opened a micro-museum, and developed on-site and digital interpretation for the battlefield, whilst touring its exhibitions around the world.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive change for people and communities, now and in the future. #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

The Heritage Emergency Fund is now closed for applications. Extra advice and support and longer-term skills and capacity building initiatives has also been made available for the heritage sector. Read more about The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s response to the Covid-19 emergency.

About the National Lottery

●      Since The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.

●      National Lottery players contribute around £30 million to good causes every week. 

●      The National Lottery has made more than 5,500 millionaires but its primary purpose is giving to good causes – over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK, that’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district.