Meeting Bonnie Prince Charlie in Lancaster (27.6.2010)

I was in Lancaster engaged in historical research in 2010 and came across this interesting landmark. Bonnie Prince Charlie had previously landed in Scotland on the 23.7.1745 – raised an army and marched on London! His intention was to oust the ruling Hanoverian royal family and re-instate the Scottish Stewart Dynasty. The British Parliament had expelled King James II because he was a Catholic (in 1688) and invited in ‘foreign’ Protestant Kings. It is a strange situation as Oliver Cromwell put an end to absolute monarchy – with subsequent kings and queens being ‘Constitutional’ in nature. That is, being figure-heads with no real power. Cromwell abolished the monarchy completely – but Parliament brought-back a very limited monarchy later on. If the current Queen ever tried to use her royal power – Parliament would abolish the monarchy entirely. If Bonnie Prince Charlie had reached London (his force turned-back at Derby due to a lack of direct English support), no one is sure what would have happened. Would he had conformed to a Constitutional monarchy, or had his father – James III of England and James VIII of Scotland – declared as an absolute monarch? Whatever the case, his dream came to an end on Culloden (Drumossie) Moor on the 16.4.1746 – where an English Army defeated his Jacobite Army and committed various atrocities against the wounded, the Scottish prisoners, and the civilian population of Inverness. It has to be said that this sad end came after many remarkable military successes achieved by the Jacobite Forces – which included some Naval elements (I read about this at a seaside museum in Findhorn, Moray, Scotland). Jacobite ships shelled English positions and even managed to land what might be termed ‘Jacobite Marines’ on at least one occasion. Although I have read widely upon this subject as a hobby over the years (and visited the Culloden Battlefield to pay my respects to the Jacobite dead), one of the best books on the subject is that of Prof. Murray Pittock (of Glasgow University) entitled ‘Culloden (Great Battles)’ – which offers a no nonsense appraisal of ALL the historical data available, disentangled from misleading romantic, mythic and superimposed pollitical narratives. My personal feeling is that the dialectical contradictions in the situation would have led to a great outpouring of progression in the UK – had Bonnie Prince Charlie successfully marched on London and defeated the small English force waiting for him on Finchley Common!

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