Siege of Carlisle (November 1745)

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Siege of Carlisle
Part of the Jacobite rising of 1745
Carlisle Castle
Date13–15 November 1745
Location Carlisle, England
Result Jacobite victory
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg British Government Jacobite Standard (1745).svg Jacobites
Commanders and leaders
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg Colonel DurandJacobite Standard (1745).svg Charles Edward Stuart

The siege and capture of Carlisle was an important event of the 1745–1746 Jacobite rising. Jacobite forces loyal to Prince Charles Edward Stuart captured the city of Carlisle and Carlisle Castle on 14–15 November 1745.

Jacobite rising of 1745 attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart

The Jacobite rising of 1745, also known as the Forty-five Rebellion or simply the '45, was an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart. It took place during the War of the Austrian Succession, when the bulk of the British Army was fighting in mainland Europe, and proved to be the last in a series of revolts that began in 1689, with major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719.

Charles Edward Stuart Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France

Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart was the elder son of James Francis Edward Stuart, grandson of James II and VII and after 1766 the Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain. During his lifetime, he was also known as "The Young Pretender" or "The Young Chevalier" and in popular memory as "Bonnie Prince Charlie". He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 rising; his defeat at Culloden in April 1746 effectively ended the Stuart cause, and subsequent attempts failed to materialise. His escape from Scotland after the uprising led him to be portrayed as a romantic figure of heroic failure in later representations.


Jacobite leader Charles Edward Stuart had received intelligence that the British commander General George Wade was advancing with British forces from Newcastle to relieve Carlisle and that he had already arrived in Hexham. Charles Stuart had decided to meet and attack him on hilly grounds between Newcastle and Carlisle. Leaving a sufficient force to blockade Carlisle he departed with the remainder of his army on the morning of 11 November 1745.

George Wade British Field Marshal

Field Marshal George Wade was a British Army officer who served in the Nine Years' War, War of the Spanish Succession, Jacobite rising of 1715 and War of the Quadruple Alliance before leading the construction of barracks, bridges and proper roads in Scotland. He went on to be a military commander during the War of the Austrian Succession and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces during the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, commonly known as Newcastle, is a city in Tyne and Wear, North East England, 103 miles (166 km) south of Edinburgh and 277 miles (446 km) north of London on the northern bank of the River Tyne, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, and forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the English Core Cities Group and is a member of the Eurocities network of European cities.

Hexham market town and civil parish in Northumberland, England

Hexham is a market town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, south of the River Tyne, and was the administrative centre for the Tynedale district from 1974 to 2009. In 2011, it had a population of 11,829.

Stuart reached Brampton at about ten o'clock and despatched a party of horse led by a Colonel in the direction of Hexham to reconnoitre and order his men to take up quarters for the night. The Colonel returned with news that General George Wade's march to Hexham had been false. Charles waited at Brampton for two days without hearing anything of Wade. A council of war was then held at which several opinions were offered. One opinion was that Charles should march to Newcastle and give battle to Wade. Some of the council thought that this would be a dangerous move, because even if they were to defeat Wade his army might take refuge in Newcastle which it was vain for them to think of taking. Other opinions included returning to Scotland until they were joined by a greater body of Jacobite allies.

Brampton, Carlisle market town, civil parish and electoral ward within the City of Carlisle district of Cumbria, England

Brampton is a small market town, civil parish and electoral ward within the City of Carlisle district of Cumbria, England, about 9 miles (14 km) east of Carlisle and 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Hadrian's Wall. Historically part of Cumberland, it is situated off the A69 road which bypasses it. Brampton railway station, on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, is about a mile outside the town, near the hamlet of Milton.

Lord George Murray was a respected Jacobite commander whose father, the Duke of Atholl (chief of Clan Murray) in fact supported the British Government. Lord George opposed all of these views and proposed that half of their force should stay at Brampton while the other half besieged Carlisle. James Drummond, 3rd Duke of Perth supported Murray's opinion and offered to take charge of the force to attack Carlisle if Murray took command of the blockade. The attacking party left the main body of the Jacobite army in Brampton, cutting down wood in Corby and Warwick parks to make scaling ladders and carriages.

Lord George Murray (general) Scottish Jacobite general

Lord George Murray was a Scottish Jacobite general, most noted for his 1745 campaign under Charles Edward Stuart into England. Lord George was the sixth son of John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl, who was the chief of Clan Murray, by his first wife, Catherine, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Hamilton.

Duke of Atholl

Duke of Atholl, alternatively Duke of Athole, named after Atholl in Scotland, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland held by the head of Clan Murray. It was created by Queen Anne in 1703 for John Murray, 2nd Marquess of Atholl, with a special remainder to the heir male of his father, the 1st Marquess.

Clan Murray noble family

Clan Murray is a Highland Scottish clan. The chief of the Clan Murray holds the title of Duke of Atholl. Their ancestors who established the family in Scotland in the 12th century were the Morays of Bothwell. In the 16th century descendants of the Morays of Bothwell, the Murrays of Tullibardine, secured the chiefship of the clan and were created Earls of Tullibardine in 1606. The first Earl of Tullibardine married the heiress to the Stewart earldom of Atholl and Atholl therefore became a Murray earldom in 1626. The Murray Earl of Atholl was created Marquess of Atholl in 1676 and in 1703 it became a dukedom. The marquess of Tullibardine title has continued as a subsidiary title, being bestowed on elder sons of the chief until they succeed him as Duke of Atholl.

The siege

On 13 November at about noon, the regiments appointed for the blockade and siege of the city of Carlisle appeared before it. Lord George Murray took up his quarters at Harbery[ clarification needed ] and posted his men in the villages around the city to stop all communication with it. The besieging party broke ground during the evening within musket shot of the city walls. The city's garrison constantly fired upon the attacking force but as the Jacobites were operating under the shroud of night they received no injuries. The Jacobites soon brought up all of their cannon which consisted of thirteen pieces to attack the town with. The following morning on the 14th the defenders continued their fire with little effect and the Jacobite besiegers, instead of returning fire held up their bonnets on the end of their spades in derision.

Alarmed by the preparations of the Jacobites and the state of affairs within the city a meeting of the English inhabitants was held and it was decided to surrender the town. For seven days the inhabitants of the town were kept in constant alarm by the Jacobites' presence in Brampton followed by the siege. Many of the inhabitants refused to defend the town due to illness and many numbers of them were leaving by slipping over the walls. A white flag was exhibited from the walls and a messenger was despatched to the Duke of Perth to request terms. However, Prince Charles refused to grant any terms to the city unless Carlisle Castle was surrendered as well.

Colonel Durand, the commander of the castle, agreed to surrender the fortress along with the town. The conditions were, that the liberties and properties of the inhabitants, and all the privileges of the town, should be preserved inviolate; - that both garrisons on taking an oath not to serve against the house of Stuart for one year, should be allowed to retire, - and that all the arms and ammunition in the castle and the city, and all the horses belonging to the militia, should be delivered up to the prince. This capitulation was signed by the Duke of Perth and Colonel Durand on the night of 14 November 1745.

The next morning of the 15th, the Duke of Perth, James Drummond entered the city at the head of his regiment and was followed by other regiments at one o'clock in the afternoon. Carlisle Castle however was not given up until the next morning. The Duke of Perth shook hands with the men of the garrison, told them they were brave fellows, and offered them a large bounty to enlist in the service of the prince. The mayor and his attendants went to Brampton, and delivered the keys of the city to the prince. The Duke found 1,000 stand of arms in the castle, besides those of the militia. He also found 200 good horses in the city, and a large quantity of valuable effects in the castle, which had been lodged there by the gentry of the neighbourhood for safety.


On the day following the surrender, the Chevalier de St. George was proclaimed in the city with the usual formalities; and, to give greater éclat to the ceremony, the mayor and aldermen were compelled to attend with the sword and mace carried before them. Along with the manifestos formerly noticed, another declaration for England, dates from Rome, 23d December, 1743, was also read, or much the same tenor as the others. After the Chevalier had been proclaimed, and the different manifestos read, the corporation went out to meet the prince, who entered the city under a general salute of artillery.

To many points of view the capture of Carlisle would have been of great importance to Prince Charles Edward Stuart, if he had been strong enough to have availed himself of the state of terror which that event, and his subsequent advance into the very heart of England, had thrown the people of that kingdom; but his means were soon found quite inadequate to accomplish his end. Even if his resources had been much greater than ever they were, it seems doubtful whether the jealousies and dissensions, which, at an early period, began to distract his councils, would not have rendered all his exertions, for obtaining the great object of his ambition, unavailable.

During the retreat of Charles Edward Stuart's Jacobites in 1746 he ordered that the Manchester Regiment be left to garrison Carlisle so that he "continued to hold at least one town in England". The Hanoverian army under Cumberland then besieged and took Carlisle. Today it still houses the King's Own Royal Border Regiment.

See also

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