|Radcliffe 3rd Earl of Derwentwater|
In October 1715 an attempt was made James Stuart to to regain the throne of England, Ireland and Scotland, from Hanoverian George I, for the House of Stuart.
James Stuart had his greatest support in Scotland and by early October his army had virtual control of this country. The Jacobites marched south but were eventually defeated at Preston on 12-14 November by Government forces.
Meanwhile, a diversionary rising was also occurring in Northumberland with the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater being at the forefront of the rebels. Derwentwater had his main landed estate at Dilston near Corbridge, but also held the estate of Blyth. This was forfeited and sold to the Ridley family in 1723 when the Earl was executed for treason following the collapse of the rebellion. This was the beginnings of the modern industrial development of the town.
Richardson's Table Book describes the events in Northumberland during 1715 and the crafty capture of Holy Island castle.
“THIS year is rendered memorable by the sudden rise, the subsequently ill-concerted measures, and the speedy end of the rash rebellion for the purpose of placing the pretender on the throne of England, in opposition to the lawful prince, George I, who succeeded to the royal dignity, by the protestant succession, on the death of queen Anne. The first proceedings of the rebels in this part of the country took place on the 16th of October this year, when Thomas Forster, esq., M. P. for Northumberland, with several gentlemen of the same county, favourable to the pretender, met at a place called Greenrig. They made no stay there, but rode immediately to the top of a hill called the Waterfalls, from whence they might discover any that came either to join or oppose them.
They had not been long there, before they discovered the earl of Derwentwater, who came that morning from his own seat at Dilston, with some friends, and all his servants mounted, some upon his coach horses, and all very well armed. In coming from Dilston, they drew their swords on the bridge at Corbridge, and in that state marched through that town. They halted at Beaufront, the seat of Mr. Errington, where there were several other gentlemen appointed to meet, who joined the earl of Derwentwater, from whence they proceeded in a body to join Mr. Forster. On the arrival of the earl of Derwentwater and his party, a short council was held, and it was concluded to march to a place called Plainfield, near the river Coquet, where they were joined by others who came straggling in, and having made some stay there, they marched to Rothbury, where they staid all night, and on the 7th their number still increasing, they marched to Warkworth, where they remained till Monday the 10th.
On the Sunday Mr. Forster, who now styled himself general, sent Mr. Buxton, their chaplain, to Mr. Ion, the parson of the parish, with orders for him to pray for the pretender as king, and in the Litany, for Mary, the queen mother, and all the dutiful branches of the royal family, and to omit the usual names of king George, the prince, and princess, which Mr. Ion wisely declining, Mr. Buxton took possession of the church, read prayers, and preached. Meanwhile, the parson, consulting his own safety, went to Newcastle, and made the magistrates there acquainted with what had happened.
At Warkworth, the rebels openly proclaimed the pretender as king of Great Britain, &c. It was done by Mr. Forster in disguise and by the sound of trumpets and all the formality that the circumstances and place would admit. It may be observed that Warkworth was the first place in England where the pretender was prayed for and proclaimed as king of these realms.
October 10, the Northumberland rebels marched to Morpeth, where several joined them. At Felton, they were augmented by 70 Scots horse, or rather gentlemen from the borders, which increased this party to about 300 strong, all horse. During the time the rebels were at Morpeth, Mr. Forster received intelligence that Holy Island castle was seized for the pretender.
The rebels were now in a body at Morpeth, promising themselves a fine harvest at Newcastle. Mr. Buxton taking upon himself the office of herald as well as priest, proclaimed the pretender. A party was sent who seized the post at Felton bridge, and one Thomas Gibson, a smith of Newcastle, whom they apprehended and detained as a spy. Having by this time learned the defensible state of Newcastle, they marched to Hexham, where they were joined by some more Scots horse. From this place they all marched to a heath or moor adjoining Dilston, the seat of the earl of Derwentwater, where they halted a while to consider whether it would be advisable to proceed to Newcastle, but they returned again to Hexham, having had certain intelligence from some of their friends in Newcastle, that even before any regular troops entered that town the magistrates and deputy-lieutenants, having first had some suspicion and afterwards positive intelligence of the design of the rebels, had effectually prevented it, by walling up the gates with stone and lime, and raising what men they could, securing and imprisoning all papists and suspected persons, arming and encouraging the inhabitants for its defence, exhibiting a very commendable zeal in the interest of the king, and the service of the town, and no less courage in their application to the defence of the place. They got the militia and train bands, who were ordered to muster on Killingworth-moor, near the town to be taken into it for its better defence.
At the same time the earl of Scarborough, lord-lieutenant of the county of Northumberland, repaired with his friends to Newcastle, and the gentry of those parts after his lordship's example, mounted their neighbours and tenants on horseback, so that the town was full of men, unanimously declaring for king George. An association was entered into by all parties, both churchmen and dissenters, for the mutual defence of their lives and estates, and a body of 700 volunteers were armed by the town for their guard ; the keelmen also offered a body of 700 more to be ready at half an hour's warning, which was accepted at the same time, the association aforesaid was signed by the whole body of the loyal inhabitants. In the midst of these loyal preparations, a battalion of foot, and a part of a regiment of dragoons arrived at Newcastle, which dispelled the fears of the inhabitants. A few days after, lieutenant-general Carpenter arrived, with Hotham's regiment of foot, and Cobham, Molesworth, and Churchill's dragoons. The general now began to prepare for attacking the rebels at Hexham. During the stay of the rebels at this place, they had not been idle, for they seized all the arms and horses they could lay their hands on, especially such as belonged to those who were well affected to the king.
Mr. Buxton went to the clergyman of the town and desired him or his curate to read prayers in the name of king James III., this he modestly declined, so Mr. Buxton officiated and performed the service. The night before they left Hexham they were all drawn round the cross in the market-place, where the pretender was proclaimed, and the proclamation fixed to the cross, which remained there several days after the rebels were gone. A part of the Scots rebels having by this time penetrated into Northumberland as far as Rothbury, the Northumberland rebels marched from Hexham on the 19th of October, and joined them ; the whole then proceeded to Wooler, and after a few days stay there, they marched to Kelso, where they continued from Saturday the 22nd to Thursday the 27th, meanwhile general Carpenter, with the regiments under his command, had marched from Newcastle, and lay at Wooler on the 27th, intending to face Kelso the next day, but the rebels being apprised of the motions of the king's troops, held a council and determined to leave Kelso the next morning, which they did and marched to Jedburgh.
The same day, general Carpenter entered Kelso, which determined the rebels to make a circuitous march through the mountains and enter England, by which means they would be three days in advance of general Carpenter. The rebels marched from Jedburgh on the 29th of October, and reached Hawick, thence to Langholm, and Longtown, which had been a long and dismal march, being only about nine miles from Carlisle. They halted all night at Longtown, and the next day entered England. Having learned that Carlisle was ready to oppose them, they marched to Brampton, where Mr. Forster opened his commission to act as general in England, which had been sent him by the earl of Mar, then at Perth. General Carpenter by his forced marches having wearied his men, but more his horses for want of good forage, gaining intelligence that the rebels were gone over the mountains, which was impracticable for his heavy horse, returned to Newcastle, where having scarcely refreshed his troops, he received an express that the rebels were marching to Lancaster, whither he immediately proceeded, and arrived at Preston, where the rebels, after defending that place for some time, surrendered to the king's troops.
As before stated, Holy Island was seized for the pretender by two men only, who planned and performed the following desperate exploit : — " One Lancelot Errington, a man of an ancient and respectable family in Northumberland, and of a bold and enterprising spirit, entered into a conspiracy for seizing this castle for the pretender, in which, it is said, he was promised assistance, not only by Mr. Forster, the rebel general, then in arms, but also by the masters of several French privateers. At this time, the garrison consisted of a sergeant, a corporal, and ten or twelve men only. In order to put this scheme into execution, being well known in that country, he went to the castle, and after some discourse with the sergeant, invited him and the rest of the men, who were not immediately on duty, to partake of a treat on board of the ship of which he was master, then lying in the harbour ; this being unsuspectedly accepted of, he so well plied his guests with brandy, that they were soon incapable of any opposition.
These men being thus secured, he made some pretence for going on shore, and, with Mark Errington, his nephew, returning again to the castle, they knocked down the centinel, surprised and turned out an old gunner, the corporal, and two other soldiers, being the remainder of the garrison, and shutting the gates, hoisted the pretender's colours as a signal of their success, anxiously expecting the promised succour. No reinforcement coming, but, on the contrary, a party of the king's troops arriving from Berwick, they were obliged to retreat over the walls of the castle, among the rocks, hoping to conceal themselves under the sea-weeds till it was dark, and then, by swimming to the mainland, to make their escape. But the tide rising, they were obliged to swim, when the soldiers firing at Lancelot as he was climbing up a rock, wounded him in the thigh. Thus disabled, he and his nephew were taken and conveyed to Berwick gaol, where they continued till his wound was cured. During this time, he had dug a burrow quite under the foundations of the prison, depositing the earth taken out in an old oven. Through this burrow he and his nephew, with divers other prisoners, escaped ; but most of the latter were soon after taken. The two Erringtons, however, had the good fortune to make their way to the Tweedside, where they found the custom-house boat; they rowed themselves over, and afterwards turned it adrift. From thence they pursued their journey to Bamborough castle, near which they were concealed nine days in a pea-stack, a relation, who resided in the castle, supplying them with provisions. At length, travelling in the night by secret paths, they reached Gateshead-house, near Newcastle, where they were secreted till they secured a passage from anyone who would apprehend them ; notwithstanding which, Lancelot was so daring as soon after to come into England, and even to visit some of his friends in Newgate. After the suppression of the rebellion, when everything was quiet, he and his nephew took the benefit of the general pardon, and returned to Newcastle, where he died about the year 1746, as it is said, of grief, at the victory of Culloden.
* The noblemen and considerable officers were sent to London, and led through the streets pinioned and bound together. James, earl of Derwentwater, was beheaded on Tower-hill, Feb. 24, 1716. April 10th, Mr. Forster escaped from Newgate, and the next day a reward of .f1000. was offered for his apprehension, but he reached the continent in safety. Of all the victims who perished in this rash enterprise, none fell more lamented than the young and generous earl of Derwentwater. It is generally supposed that the unfortunate earl's last request, that of burial with his ancestors was refused ; and that the body was interred in the churchyard of St. Giles', Holborn. However, either a sham burial took place, or the corpse was afterwards removed, for it was certainly carried secretly by his friends, resting by day and travelling only by night, into Northumberland, and deposited with the remains of his father in the chapel at Dilston. Tradition still points out White- smocks, near the city of Durham, as one of the places where the corpse rested, thus avoiding that city. In consequence of much conjecture having arisen with respect to the earl's body being at Dilston, search was made a few years ago, and the coffin broken open, when the body was found after the lapse of a century in a complete state of preservation. It was easily recognized by the suture round the neck, by the appearance of youth, and by the regularity of the features. The teeth were all perfect, but several of them were drawn by a blacksmith, and sold for half-a-crown a -piece ; at the same time portions of the coffin were taken away by the curious. In consequence of these ravages the vault was soon after closed up. The earl of Derwentwater was an amiable youth ; brave, open, generous, and humane. His fate drew tears from the spectators, and was a great misfortune to the district in which he lived. He gave bread to mul titudes of people whom he employed on his estate ; the poor, the widow, and the orphan, rejoiced in his bounty. The earl had such assurance given him of his life by his friends, that he was under some surprise on being brought to execution. He left a paper behind him asserting the justice of the cause he died in. Charles Radcliffe, brother to the earl, who had also been in the rebellion, was arraigned at the exchequer bar at Westminster, May 8, 1716, for high treason and pleaded not guilty. On the 18th of the same month, he was, after a short trial, found guilty, and on the 11th of December, he made his escape out of Newgate. He was taken at sea returning to assist in the rebellion of 1745, and beheaded on the 8th of December, 1746.
* Mr. James Robson, stone-mason, of Thropton, near Rothbury, Northumberland was leader of the band in the pretender's army in 1715. He wrote a satire on women, and several other poetical pieces, while confined prisoner at Preston in Lancashire. It is said that he sung the satire at an iron-barred window, looking into a garden, where a lady and her maid were walking. When the song was finished, the former observed. " That young man seems very severe upon our sex, but perhaps he is singing more from oppression than pleasure ; go give him that half-crown ; " which the maid handed through the grating at a period when the captive poet was on the point of starving.
* Errington, who surprised Holy Island in 1715, kept for many years the Salutation Inn, at the head of the Flesh Market, Newcastle. His wife was a Selby and his house was frequented by Jacobite gentlemen and others, on account of the principles and family of the owners. It was also much used by a set of men usually then stiled London Riders. One of them, noticing the Selby's arms over the dining room chimney, observed to Mrs. Errington, that some property in one of the southern counties which had belonged to a person of that name lay unclaimed for want of an heir. Which put Mr. and Mrs. Errington on making enquiry, and they actually recovered something considerable, with which they purchased an annuity and retired to Benwell, where they lived for some years very much respected.”