Keys to the Past


1745 rebellion

This was a Jacobite rebellion. It was launched by James, 'the Old Pretender's son, Charles (1720-1788). Charles was therefore called 'the Young Pretender'. The plan was to land in Scotland, gathering an army there and in northern England, before marching towards London, whilst a French army was to invade from the south. Charles was to be in charge before James landed to be crowned King.

Charles landed in Scotland in July 1745, but received only reluctant support. He gathered an army around him - though more had been expected. Some towns, such as Edinburgh, were taken even though the rebels lacked any siege capacity. The army forces in Scotland held out in several castles, but were ignored or bypassed before Prestonpans. At Prestonpans, east of Edinburgh, some of the army under General Sir John Cope was defeated on the 21st September 1745. The Jacobites then paused on how to invade England.

Meanwhile the towns of northeast England prepared to resist siege. Reputedly Berwick was the first in England to hear of Prestonpans from Cope himself. Berwick and Newcastle prepared their town walls using cannon, the gates were watched and closed at night, garrisons were brought in or increased, and food brought in as a reserve. Strangers to the town were reported to the mayors - a spy was captured at Newcastle's Pandon Gate. Elsewhere raised militias, (part-time county soldiers), took up position to block advances. The Northumberland units on Killingworth Moor. Durham units on Gateshead and Ravensworth Fells. John Wesley noted that the Newcastle church attendance shot up after Prestonpans.

Though Charles advocated attacking the northeast this was rejected. (It was thought that roads between Wooler and Whittingham would be impassable in bad weather, and advancing to Newcastle would leave the Jacobites open to attack from the Berwick garrison behind). An advance was made through the Borders - but turned 'parallel' to the Border, crossing near Longtown, Cumbria. Here Carlisle fell to the Jacobites, who had captured a few cannon at Prestonpans, before advancing to Derby, via Manchester and stealing past another part of the army. London militias were now raised.
Here the Jacobites lost their nerve. They had received little English support (despite promises), exhausted funds and soldiers, and still not received French support. It was decided, against Charles's wishes, to return to Scotland in December 1745. A minor skirmish was fought at Clifton Moor, near Penrith, Cumbria, on the 18th December 1745 in the retreat. In Scotland there was even less support when the Jacobites returned. Many Jacobites deserted. Though the Jacobites won a further battle at Falkirk, Scotland, it was forced to retreat further north. There the army under the Duke of Cumberland caught up with the Jacobites at Culloden Moor on the 16th April 1746. The standing army fought in a different style to the Jacobites using cannon and musket fire that could kill at distance when compared to sword and shield. Charles was forced to flee. His army was defeated. Charles then spent some months on the run before escaping to France. He remained an exile - though at odds with father James and brother Henry.

As such the region saw little actual action. During the Jacobite advance Lords Kilmarnknock and Murray raided Wooler, (Northumberland), for extra horses. Elsewhere little support was given to the Jacobites, if any at all. Marshal Wade attempted to cut the rebels off with troops from Newcastle - though only Hexham, (Northumberland), was reached through bad weather and impassable roads. (It was said that this led to the building of The Military Road). Following the Derby decision the region saw the army pass through under Cumberland's command - food and stores were given to his army. A skeleton found in the 1920s wearing tartan, near Stanhope, has been argued to be a Jacobite casualty of the Clifton Moor skirmish - though this is uncertain.

As a footnote to the 1715 rebellion Charles Radcliffe was captured on board a French ship loaded with arms trying to reach the Jacobites. He was brought to trial, identified as someone that had escaped from London after the 1715 rebellion and executed by beheading on Tower hill, London in December 1746. The earlier general pardon didn't apply to escapees sentenced to death or of high rank. (His son escaped any punishment as a French citizen). Lancelot Errington, of the 1715 rebellion, is said to have died grief-stricken after hearing the news of Culloden Moor.

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