6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Remembering the Battle of Preston, 300 years on

PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 November 2015

This is a shot of government forces re-enacting the Battle of Preston at Hoghton Tower. Picture courtesy of Huckleberry Films

This is a shot of government forces re-enacting the Battle of Preston at Hoghton Tower. Picture courtesy of Huckleberry Films

not Archant

As the nation remembers the sacrificies made in World War One, Preston recalls a battle that took place 300 years earlier. Mairead Mahon reports

The Battle of Preston re-enactment at Hoghton Tower but, this time, Jacobites. Picture courtesy of Huckleberry Films The Battle of Preston re-enactment at Hoghton Tower but, this time, Jacobites. Picture courtesy of Huckleberry Films

Three hundred years ago, in November 1715, the streets of Preston were alive to a bloody and brutal battle that raged through its centre. The battlecries of the Jacobites and the government forces echoed through the town, as did the crackle of the fires which destroyed buildings belonging to ordinary Prestonians.

The Jacobities wanted to place James III on the throne while the government forces wanted to keep George I comfortably on it. The Battle of Preston – which ended in bitter defeat for the Jacobites – has been called the last ever battle to take place on English soil and it was a battle that could have changed the face of British history for ever.

And Preston is determined to mark the anniversary. With the help of a grant of almost £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it is ready to put the Battle of Preston firmly on the map. It’s been a real group effort, as thirty organisations have been involved in the two year planning from local history and community group to the city’s cultural services and university.

‘Funnily enough, the battle of Preston seems to have slipped under the radar of many Lancashire people and sometimes people connect it to the Civil War but it is quite different,’ said Sue Latimer of Preston’s Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

This is a shot, again at Hoghton Tower, showing government forces re-enacting the Battle of Preston. Picture courtesy of Huckleberry Films This is a shot, again at Hoghton Tower, showing government forces re-enacting the Battle of Preston. Picture courtesy of Huckleberry Films

‘What we want to do now is to make everyone aware of it. It didn’t end particularly well for Preston but it is an incredibly important part of Lancashire’s history and after three hundred years, the time has come to re-visit it. There will be re-enactments, displays, songs, lectures and even ale and cakes.’

The battle began when the Jacobites entered the market square on November 10th and declared James III to be king and celebrated by drinking with some local people.

‘We’re going to re-enact this event on the actual day on the Flag Market and, as ale featured in it, we thought it might be fun to have a special unfiltered ale brewed and a local brewery, Harts, has come up with a commemorative beer called 1715. Of course, beer doesn’t suit everybody and we’re hoping to have King James gingerbread made to an original recipe. It doesn’t have any eggs or raising agent in it, which sounds a bit odd but I have tasted it – in the line of duty – and it is delicious, especially if you like treacle,’ said Sue.

For those who might like to walk it off the effects of cake and ale there is also a battle trail.

A street sign named after one of the leaders of the Jacobites, The Earl of Derwentwater. Picture courtesy of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery A street sign named after one of the leaders of the Jacobites, The Earl of Derwentwater. Picture courtesy of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery

‘It’s true that the city may have changed greatly over three hundred years but, as the streetscape remains similar, people will be able to follow in the footsteps of the battle, either by using a specially devised app or by taking part in a guided tour. Today, the area around Church Street, Friargate and Fishergate is more used to shoppers carrying bags than men carrying pikes but this is where the fiercest fighting took place.

‘To give you an idea of just how fierce, it took ‘some days’ to bury the dead of both sides. 1500 Jacobite prisoners were held in the parish church, where the Minister stands today and Gallows Lane was where several of them were hanged: one having the added indignity of having his head fixed to a pole at the town hall. If you look carefully you can see that some of our streets are named after people who took part in the battle, such as the leader of the Jacobites: the Earl of Derwentwater,’ Sue added.

Documents from the Lancashire Archives will show what it was like for the ordinary people of Preston. Many of them, naturally enough, weren’t very happy at having to provide carts and food for the government forces and wrote in optimistically asking for compensation. Others had property destroyed by fire: one Joseph Tomlinson was particularly put out; as he suffered the extra inconvenience of having his malt kiln burnt down by soldiers and his letter shows that he was determined to be recompensed.

Later in the month, historians will be giving a series of lectures on all aspects of the battle but the central event of the commemorations will take place over the weekend of November 14th and 15th. The venue will be the Minster and the first day will be a day of living history.

A re-enactment took place in the summer at Hoghton Tower and many of those who took part will be in the Minster in full costume to answer questions. There will also be weaponry and maps from the time on show, as well as a traditional printing press which will reproduce documents of the period.

War game tables will also be available but for those who prefer something a little less martial, local singers will perform Jacobite songs.

‘I think some people will recognise some of the tunes even if they don’t know all the words. Having said that, I’ve been surprised at the amount of people who do know the words to ‘Lo! The Bird is Fallen’ although as it’s become a traditional Lancashire ballad maybe it’s not so surprising after all,’ said Sue.

The following day will see an event entitled ‘Light on the Battle’ take place. This will be a performance event centring around the Minster and as dusk falls, lights will be placed all around the area in order to mark the fact that at the close of battle, Prestonians put lit candles in their windows.

‘We are expecting it to be quite an emotional ending and one that will probably bring a tear or two to the eye, no matter what side spectators might root for,’ said Sue

The commemoration is already attracting attention from all around the world: one American gentleman whose ancestors hailed from Lancashire has even sent some documents relating to the battle, so they can be displayed. Thanks to social media though, there is no need for anyone to miss out, whether they’re in Penwortham or Pennsylvania.

‘We have had so much interest from all corners of the globe that we opened a Twitter account, where we will give exciting ‘real time’ updates of everything just as it happened 300 years ago: the account already has over 50,000 followers,’ Sue said.

Might that technology have changed the outcome if it had been available in 1715? Who knows, but one thing that is known without a doubt is that the Battle of Preston will never be overlooked again. w

To explore further, go online to prestonguildcity.co.uk and you could also visit other Lancashire places with Jacobite connections.

Browsholme Hall, near Clitheroe

Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston

Kings Own Royal Regiment Museum, Lancaster

Lancaster Castle

Samlesbury Hall, Samlesbury

Stonyhurst College, near Clitheroe

Townley Hall, Burnley

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Wed, 00:00

Hearty breakfasts and delicious dinners are just two reasons for walking in this stunning area, as John Lenehan discovers

Read more
Bowland Walks
Wed, 00:00

There are few finer thing than exploring the countryside surrounding the many rivers situated across the county.

Read more
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Victoria Smith always loved horses but her high pressure job meant she had little time to ride – until she met a deer in the Forest of Bowland

Read more
Equestrian
Monday, May 14, 2018

Developments underway and planned around the city are celebrating its proud heritage and building for the future

Read more
Preston
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

For almost 25 years, outdoor writers and photographers Dennis and Jan Kelsall have produced guides and articles covering many of the country’s popular walking destinations. Here, Dennis picks five of his favourites.

Read more
Lancaster
Friday, May 4, 2018

Ramsbottom is well known for its food and drink scene, but Rebekka O’Grady meets some arty residents that will inspire your creative side.

Read more
Ramsbottom
Thursday, May 3, 2018

A devastating riding accident may have saved Katherine Beaumont from a life of anxiety and stress. Now she is sharing her experience.

Read more
Equestrian

A unique community musical in Wigan is taking one of George Orwell’s most famous works from the page to the stage and making a song and dance about social inequality.

Read more
Wigan

When photographer Emma Campbell fell in love with Lakeland’s fell ponies she decided to raise their profile with a special project.

Read more
Equestrian photography
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Our walking guide John Lenehan takes us on a towpath where you can see one of Lancashire’s great engineering feats.

Read more
Canals Chorley
Monday, April 9, 2018

A selection of walks in and around Bowland for outdoor types who like to end their hike on a high note – with some great food and drink.

Read more
Monday, April 9, 2018

From specialist soap to awarding winning ale, Staveley is proving to be a magnet for small businesses and visitors

Read more
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The joy of spotting owls is described by The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright who tells us where to find them and how to identify these elusive creatures.

Read more
Monday, April 2, 2018

It stretches the length of the Liverpool suburb, and over the years has hosted many shops and businesses. Rebekka O’Grady chats to those who currently call it home

Read more
Liverpool
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search