Cutlery Set

Dining in the 17th Century

This 17th century knife and fork set belonged to General Thomas Dalyell of the Binns.

What is so important about an old knife and fork? Well, these are some of the oldest items in our collection and they belong to one of the most controversial men of the period. They were used by General Thomas Dalyell of the Binns. A man who treated his enemies with such cruelty that they gave him the nickname, ‘Bluidy Tam’.

The 1660 Restoration brought King Charles II back from exile to the throne, but there was still great religious unrest in Scotland. A group called the Covenanters who were fiercely Presbyterian, opposed the King, who they thought wanted to impose Episcopalism as the primary religion in Scotland.

General Dalyell was a Royalist, which meant he supported the King. For his loyalty he was made Commander-in-Chief of Scotland and tasked with keeping the peace and subduing the Covenanters. In 1666, Dalyell’s army defeated the Covenanters at The Battle of Rullion Green, near the Pentland Hills which overlook Edinburgh. Despite this victory the fighting continued and, in 1681, three years after the creation of the Scots Greys, Dalyell was made the first Colonel of the Regiment. He was in his late 60s at this time but still a feared soldier and the Commander-in-Chief in Scotland until his death in 1685.

The rebellion by the Covenanters would continue for another three years.