Monday, 16 April 2012

Anniversary of the Battle of Culloden

On 16th April 1745 Jacobite forces hostile to the Hanoverian monarchy were defeated at Culloden Moor.  The outcome of the Battle would determine the future of the British monarchy, and continue to influence the politics of the United Kingdom to this day.  It is little wonder that the events were marked by the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral.

Culloden was the culmination of decades of unrest following the Catholic James II’s removal from power in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.  The Jacobites took their name from the Latin for James, ‘Iacob’, and their main intention was to restore the House of Stuart which they believed had been unjustly usurped.  However, many other social and political issues became appended to the cause, particularly in Scotland where clan rivalries were fierce.  As a result, Jacobitism attracted a range of supporters from across religious and national divides.  After the death of Queen Anne, the last of James II’s children to sit on the throne, in 1714, the British crown passed by law to George I of the house of Hanover.  This was because the 1702 Act of Settlement excluded Catholics from the succession, dashing Jacobite hopes that Anne’s half-brother, James Stuart, would become king.  It led to the first major Jacobite uprising (‘The Fifteen’).  But James Stuart failed to garner the necessary support and he eventually retired to Rome.  The Jacobites’ hope now lay with James’s son, Charles Edward Stuart (known as ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’).  Charles mustered an army for the second major rebellion (‘The Forty-Five’) but was defeated at Culloden by the Duke of Cumberland, George II’s son.

Treasurer's Accounts, 1745
© The Dean and Chapter

An entry in the Treasurer’s accounts for the Dean and Chapter in 1745 reveals how these events were greeted at Worcester.  As George II was head of the Church of England, the Cathedral adopted a staunchly anti-Jacobite position.  In December 1744, the sum of £20 was paid to ‘John Garway, Esq.’  This represented ‘the tenth part of the money subscribed by the Dean and Chapter on an association for Defense of the King and Government against the present detestable rebellion’.  On 15th April 10 shillings were paid to the bell-ringers to mark the Duke of Cumberland’s birthday.  When news of his victory reached Worcester on 26th April, ten days after it had happened, a further 10 shillings were paid for the bells to be rung again.  The accounts also reveal that October 9th was set aside as a ‘Thanksgiving-Day for the Suppression of the Late Execrable Rebellion’.

1 comment:

  1. War is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.