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Durham University

Special Collections

Palace Green Library Events

Survivors: the remarkable story of the Dunbar prisoners who lived to tell the tale

28th August 2018, 13:00 to 14:00, Palace Green Library (Learning Centre)

13:00 - 14:00

Free - booking required

Chris Gerrard, Professor in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University

What happened to the Scottish prisoners from the Battle of Dunbar who did not die in Durham in 1650?

In many ways, the survivors’ tales are the most extraordinary part of the Dunbar story. Some were put to work in industry, agricultural projects and military ventures. Others found themselves in France, Barbados and the ones we know most about were transported to New England to serve as indentured servants in colonial sawmills and ironworks. Once released from service they were free to marry and establish families on the fringes of Puritan society in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Far from Scotland, among the bears and rattlesnakes, they came to call these frontier lands home.

As far as we know, none would ever return to their native country. Instead, they stuck together and stayed to take a second chance at life in new lands. They would live through turbulent times, experience hardship, punishment, warfare with Native Americans and go in search of better opportunity. They would leave behind monuments and landscapes which they helped to shape and, through their marriages and children, bequeath an enduring legacy in their descendants today.

This is their story.

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