30th December 1745. Britain’s Last Civil War.

Bonnie Prince Charlie was described, by the [Derby] Mercury, as being ‘tall straight slender and handsome, in a green bonnet laced with gold, white bobwig, a highland plaid and with a broadsword’.(1)

There were many in the land, as he moved south, who welcomed and joined Prince Charles Edward Stuart, who they saw as the rightful, pretender for the throne of England, but they were no match for the now established Hanoverian ‘Redcoats’ of George II.

Today in 1745 William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (‘Butcher’) received the surrender of Carlisle from the Jacobites’ French commanding officer. A year later he finally routed the Jacobite forces at Cullodon, leaving only a romantic memory.

Guards marching on Finchley by Hogarth.

Guards marching on Finchley by Hogarth.

He thus achieved what the Roman XX Valeria Vitrix legion had never done: conquer Scotland. Thus ended the British Wars of Religion, which started in 1536 with the Pilgrimage of Grace and ended with the ’45’.

Britain’s last Civil War saw ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ receive the keys to Carlisle at Brampton on 16th November 1745. Next came Manchester where Lord Derby having abandoned the defence of the town, saw the Jacobite arrival, which was noted by Elizabeth Byrom, Jacobite sympathizer and daughter of the poet.(2)

She recorded in her diary that on Thursday 28th November how at ‘3 o’clock today came into town two men in highland dress and a woman with a drum on her knee’. She noted [bizarrely] that ‘one was a Yorkshire man who went on to see his sister at Sleat Hall’.

Manchester managed to recruit followers by being offered 5 guineas advance and she describes that the town was illuminated with bonfires. Prince Charles she noted ‘took quarters at the ‘Palace’ Inn’. He then advanced on Leek, but failed to get followers.

On 3rd December in 1745 Charles was at Ashbourne, Derbyshire where he stayed at the Hall.(3) He then declared his father James Edward, King of England, Scotland and Ireland.(4)

Next he marched for Derby, arriving on 4th December ( where he would return four days later to plunder the town on the retreat northwards).  ‘The Duke of Devonshire would have liked the inhabitants stir and defend their town’, wrote Earl of Malmesbury to Horace Walpole. ‘The only stir they made was to get away as fast as their torch-lights would take them’.

An advance party got as far as Swarkestone Bridge, the only nearby route to London, but seeing no promised reinforcements from the south, they retreated to Derby and then north, only to be defeated on 16th April 1646 at Culloden, the last pitched battle in Britain.

Little had they known that talk of ‘redcoats’ marching north was false, and that the French were on the brink of supplying reinforcements. London was in panic and there was a run on the Bank of England. Ladies of the Court had packed bags for a return to Hanover and the Crown Jewels were sent to a ship on the Thames.

One outcome of the insurrection was the ‘Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act 1746, which abolished judicial rights to clan chiefs and Highland dress was outlawed. Scottish persecution had begun.

(1) ‘Gay in his silk tartan and blue feathered bonnet’ as ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie was described in Thackaray’s ‘Esmond’.

(2) John Byrom wrote the words to the Christmas song: ‘Christians awake salute this happy morn’.

(3) The Hall was then the home of the Catholic sympathiser, Brooke Boothby.

(4) The words on a plaque in Ashbourne, Derbys., Market Square still commemorate this declaration.

Ref: mytimemachine.co.org/1745.diary-of elizabeth-byrom.

Ref: wik/encyclopaedia-britannica 2008.

Ref: wikipedia.org/jacobite_rising_of_1745. Pic Ref.

Ref: gutenberg.org/files. Manchester Rebels of fatal ’45. William Harrison Ainsworth. 1880 Geo.Routledge.Sons.

Ref: Panorama of manchester.google books.

Ref: Independent.co.uk/historical_diarists.




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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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