Sunday, August 15, 2010

Derby: The Jacobite Connection

Charles Edward Stuart reached Derby in the first week of December, 1745. Only 126 miles now separated him from London. He held a council of war where his officers, led by Lord George Murray, advised a retreat back to Scotland to gather French support. The Duke of Cumberland was said to be at Lichfield and two other armies were reportedly nearby. The Prince stayed two days - then took his 9,000 soldiers back to Carlisle. Four months later they were slaughtered at Culloden. He died embittered in Rome, in 1788, in the same palace he'd been born in 68 years earlier. "It was a noble attempt," Samuel Johnson later said.

There's a statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie behind Derby Cathedral, a few dozen metres from the site of the world's first ever factory. He sits on a galloping horse, a hand on the hilt of his sword. "In future I shall summon no more councils," he wrote after Derby. It was as close as his family ever came to regaining their crown.

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