Tag Archive | William III

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.




6th July 1685. Rise of Whigs and Tories.

The Battle of Sedgemoor, Dorset, the last pitched battle on English soil, took place Today in 1685.(1)

The Battle marked the end of the attempt by the Protestant, Duke of Monmouth to take the throne from Catholic James II.

Monmouth as pretender, was the supposed illegitimate son of Charles II with a claim based on the supposed marriage of Charles with his mother, Lucy Walter when exiled in Holland.

However Charles II declared in Council on March 3 1679, that he had never been married to Lucy Walter and refused to desert his brother James who he believed to be the rightful heir.

The nation divided in The Exclusion Crisis 1679-81 which sought to exclude Catholic, James, Duke of York. Tories were opposed to Exclusion, whilst the Country Party-soon to be Whigs-supported it.

However Monmouth had by now come under the influence of the Whig, Lord Shaftesbury who he thought could be useful to his cause and refused to accept the King’s decision.

When Charles  II died, Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis, but even the Whigs, now Shaftesbury had gone, refused to back Monmouth as monarch owing to his illegitimacy.

He now attempted to seize the throne, but Monmouth’s hastily assembled force of peasantry armed with pitchforks, was routed by the King’s army and later discovered three days later by Richard Lumley, Earl of Scarborough, hiding in a ditch.

Since Monmouth had proclaimed himself king he could expect no mercy. An Act of Attainder was passed which in effect sentenced Monmouth to death without judicial proceedings. He was sent to the Tower and executed on Tower Hill, the last Royal to be executed in Britain.

The prospect of James becoming king caused a polarisation in opinion giving rise to the birth of political parties: Tories for James, and Whigs which included the 4th Earl of Devonshire, against.

The outcome was that James II reigned from 1685-1688, after when on his flight, the Whigs and others met at Whittington Moor, Derbyshire to arrange to bring William of Orange to the throne as William III.


A statue of James II, one time Lord High Admiral and wearing Roman armour is sited outside the National Gallery as King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland.

(1) Culloden was the last battle on British soil.

Ref: wikipedia.org/lucy_walter.

Ref: waymarking.com/Pic.

Ref: wikipedia.org/sedgemore.


30th June 1690. The Scapegoat of the Battle of Beachy Head, or Beveziers if you’re French.

The Families of the ennobled Torrington titles seemed blighted, as apart from The Hon. Admiral John Byng, being shot on his own quarter-deck for losing Minorca in 1757: as Voltaire said, ‘as a warning to his colleagues’ (pour encourager les autres), a previous holder of the Torrington title, was the scapegoat for our naval defeat in 1690. The Royal Navy was a hard task-master.

It was Today  on the 30th June 1690 (Old Style Julian Dating) (1)  in the Nine Years’ War, against France, that Admiral Arthur Herbert, 1st Earl Torrington, Commander of the English and Dutch Fleets was defeated at Beachy Head.

The result internment in the Tower of London, court-martial and dismissal from the Service. This despite being acquitted of any charges relating to the defeat and the fact that he had commanded William’s invasion Fleet to England.

Torrington, credited with the notion of ‘The Fleet in Being'(2), had advised against battle against the French superior naval force, but was opposed by Queen Mary; King William was in Ireland fighting the supporters of Catholic James II, which concluded at the July Battle of the Boyne.

Mary and her Council of Nine, which included the Lords Carmarthen and Nottingham along with Admiral Russell were unconvinced of the French strength and ordered Torrington to fight, who after consultation with his Flag-Officers decided they couldn’t disobey orders.(3)

The inevitable defeat was the greatest tactical victory by the French over the English and the Dutch, when we lost 11 ships to the French none. The control over the Channel thus fell to the French under Admiral Tourville, who also fell foul of the his superiors by his failure to capitalise on victory by not pursuing the defeated Fleet resulting in his being dismissed the Service.

The command of the Channel, causing panic in London, invasion was feared and the French could now in effect stop William III’s later return from Ireland.


SAM_1928 (2)

Battle of Beachy Head (1690). The Dutch under Cornelis Evertson were in the van under their commander of the White Squadron.  Torrington commanded the Red in the centre, and Ralph Delaval (junior member of the of Seaton Delaval Family), and created vice-Admiral on the accession of William, led the rear Blue Squadron.

This naval defeat was a catalyst for rebuilding the Navy and our global power. However the shortage of funds caused the new Bank of England to support the King by raising £1.2 million in 12 days, half of which went to the Navy.

The consequent new money and a four-fold rise in sailors along with demand for iron, nails, timber and other materials, resulted in economic prosperity for the now enlarged Kingdom, after the Scottish Union in 1707.

Britain from now on was to ‘Rule the Waves’ for the 18th and early 19th century, whilst France maintained her strength on land especially later under Napoleon.

The later execution of Byng resulted from a severe reading of the 1749 amended Articles of War after our defeat at the Battle of Toulon. By 1779 these were made less severe.

In the British Fleet, however there was a sense of injustice and Captain Augustus Hervey, later Earl of Bristol supported Byng through his trial, believing more famous men were protecting themselves. Here again it appears to have been a case of someone being made a scapegoat to protect higher echelons.

(1) Regarding dating Old Style refers to that before we lost 11 days in 1752, after which we get New Style.

      Search my Blog for 31st May 2014, for information on Dating.

(2) Baron Herbert of Torbay and Earl of Torrington (1648-1716) of the Second Creation (of 1689), which became extinct on his death. Torrington was the first to use the phrase ‘Fleet in Being’ where battle would only take place under favourable conditions and by the reserved presence of ships for potential use, which can cause an enemy problems, always wary of the threat of its deployment.

A ‘Fleet in Being’ is also part of ‘sea-denial’ in that ships would avoid straying into an area where the tactic was being used, as happened in WWII Battle of the Atlantic with German U-boats and the Tirpitz.

The First and unrelated Creation of the Earl of Torrington was between 1660-1688 becoming extinct.

(3) Admiral Russell, 1st Earl Orford (1653-26th Nov 1727) was Admiral of the Fleet in 1690 and First Lord of the Admiralty 1694.

First Post for July looks at Trouble in the Docks in 1949.