3rd October 1691. The Old Chevalier.

Today in 1691 the Treaty of Limerick was signed, which effectively ended the wars between the Protestant, William of Orange and the Catholic Jacobites, followers of James II. 

James who had fled abroad was later declared a criminal and traitor by the new rulers, his half sister and brother in law, Mary II and William III.

After the deposition by Parliament of James II in February 1689, his Jacobite followers continued to create peerages and baronetages, which they considered their right, after William III had assumed the throne in the ‘Glorious Revolution’.(1)

The problem was that the titles, though acknowledged by Catholic Europe, were not recognised by later de facto British rulers or law.

One anomaly was that having abdicated the English and Scottish thrones in December 1688, the governance of Ireland was carried out solely in James’ name until July 1689.

Following James II abroad with his Queen, was his son born in 1688 at St James’ Palace. Baptized a Catholic, with suspicions of his legitimacy, on the death in 1701 of the ex-king in France Prince James Edward was recognised by the Jacobites as James VIII of Scotland and III of England: known to history as the ‘Old Pretender’ or ‘The ‘Old Chevalier’.

The effect of the abdication and departure of James II and the contention for the throne by his descendants brought the wars of 1715 and the ’45 (under the ‘Young Pretender’, upheaval and the effective fall of the Stuart ruling dynasty: and the Battle of Culloden.

Old Pretender (1688-1766) entering Dundee. Getty Images.

Old Pretender (1688-1766) entering Dundee. Getty Images.

Another family, which lost out from supporting the Old Pretender, was the Shafto Family as their Northumberland family home was acquired by the Crown as a punishment, with Bavington Hall being acquired by Admiral George Delaval in 1716 for £5,000.(2)

(1) One such was the 3rd creation of the barony of Tyrconnell in the peerage of Ireland.

(2) One descendant was Robert Shafto MP for County Durham, who died in 1797, and better known for unrequited love involving the daughter of a neighbour Sir Henry Belayse of Brancepeth Castle. Robert (Bobby) is remembered in the folk song: ‘Bobby Shaftoe went to sea…’



telegraph.co.uk/Royals in Exile/Pic of Old Pretender.


Cassell’s Illustrated History of England Vol. IV/Pic of James entering Dundee.




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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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