Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 16 April 2016


Today is the 270th anniversary of the battle of Culloden, fought on April 16 1746.

There are online introductions to the battle at Battle of Culloden, at Culloden Feature Page on Undiscovered Scotland, and at Battle of Culloden - Jacobites, Enlightenment and the Clearances.
I have never visited the site of the battle but those who have often speak of its sinister brooding or mournful nature.

It was to prove a fateful day not just for the slain or those executed afterwards but for the Jacobite cause and for Scottish Highland life - the Hanoverian government subsequently legislated to destroy the authority of Clan Chiefs over their tenants and prevent such risings in the future. This was to lead towards the Highland clearances and the emigration of many Scots in succeeding generations.

The flight of Prince Charles Edward created part of the Jacobite and Scottish romantic myth that we know well. There is something about that here. For the Prince it was a matter of life and death and a replay of his great uncle's flight after the battle of Worcester in 1651. Both men received extraordinarily loyal and selfless support from their supporters. For the Prince it was also to prove in many ways the end of his public career - from his return to the continent until his death in 1788 he was, very largely, a shadow of the courageous and charming Prince who had swept through Scotland and into England in 1745-6.


 Prince Charles Edward

Portrait by Louis-Gabriel Blanchet

Image: anglophile.ru

However I do wonder if the Hanoverians were than anxious to actually capture him - that might have been embarrassing. Chasing him back to France may have suited them far better than a public trial and execution of someone whose family had produced effective Royal martyrs in mary Queen of Scots and King Charles I.

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