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, 5 December 2020

Decision at Derby

275 years ago in 1745 the Jacobite army Council of War at Derby voted to return north to Scotland. This was, of course, against the policy and wishes of its leader Prince Charles Edward. The decision was a turning point in Jacobite fortunes, and the consequences immense.

Lost Portrait of Charles Edward Stuart.jpg

Prince Charles Edward 
Portrait by Allan Ramsay, painted at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, late autumn 1745; found in the collection of the Earl of WemyssGosford House, now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Image Wikipedia

In the Museum and Art Gallery in Derby is the panelling from Exeter House, demolished in 1854, which is where the Prince stayed and where the Council of War met. There are articles about the building and its surviving remains at Exeter House and at Lost Houses – Exeter House, Derby

The Special Correspondent drew my attention to the fact that in what was then All Saints church and is now the cathedral - then a new building rebuilt in 1723-5  - is a plaque commemorating the fact that for a couple of days in December 1745 the services of the Book of Common Prayer there had intercessions for King James III, Charles Prince of Wales and Regent and Henry Duke of York.

The 1745 Association marked the day with an online talk by its Chairman, Michael Nevin, introducing his new book Reminiscences of a Jacobite. This uses newly discovered sources and offers reinterpretations of the Jacobite cause, arguing that it still had real vitality after Culloden, and only lost that dynamic after the failure of the Elibank Plot in 1752. He stressed the commitment of the Prince to secure funding from France and to return, and after the 1748 that he continued hisIt is a book I look forward to reading.

The Association recently circulated the link to a recent lecture for Gresham’s College by the distinguished historian of Jacobitism, Professor Murray Pittock of Glasgow University. This is very well worth watching and  sharing, and outlines both the general picture and illuminating insights. As with other recent historians and commentators on the Rising of 1745 it introduces important questions as to the strength of Jacobitism before and after 1745-6,  and as to its wider implications in terms of British, British Imperial and European history. It also touches on a key point explored by Michael Nevin in his book, as by Christopher Duffy in his detailed history of the Rising, which is the sense that Prince Charles Edward has not been appreciated for his real abilities. He showed himself to be far more than a roi faineant in waiting in the years before and after the Rising as well as during it.

Prof. Pittock’s lecture can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch? Lm v=0YhbjxGA7N4 

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