Battle of Preston (1715)
- See Battle of Preston (1648)Battle of Preston (1648)The Battle of Preston , fought largely at Walton-le-Dale near Preston in Lancashire, resulted in a victory by the troops of Oliver Cromwell over the Royalists and Scots commanded by the Duke of Hamilton...
for the battle of the Second English Civil WarSecond English Civil WarThe Second English Civil War was the second of three wars known as the English Civil War which refers to the series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1652 and also include the First English Civil War and the...
The Battle of Preston (9–14 November 1715), also referred to as the Preston Fight, was fought during the Jacobite Rising of 1715
Jacobite Rising of 1715
The Jacobite rising of 1715, often referred to as The 'Fifteen, was the attempt by James Francis Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart.-Background:...
(often referred to as the First Jacobite Rising, or Rebellion by supporters of the Hanoverian
House of Hanover
The House of Hanover is a deposed German royal dynasty which has ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , the Kingdom of Hanover, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...
moved south into England with little opposition, and by the time they reached Preston in Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...
had grown to about 4,000 in number. Their horse troops entered Preston on the night of 9 November 1715, and as they approached two troops of dragoons and part of a militia regiment retreated to Wigan
Wigan is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It stands on the River Douglas, south-west of Bolton, north of Warrington and west-northwest of Manchester. Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and is its administrative centre. The town of Wigan had a total...
General Charles Wills
Sir Charles Wills KB was a British general in the 18th century.He won the Battle of Preston against the Jacobites. He was later appointed to the Privy Council and was member of parliament for Totnes.-References:...
was ordered to halt their advance, and left Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...
on the 11th November with six regiments, arriving on the 12th. The Jacobite leader Thomas Forster
Thomas Forster was a Northumbrian politician and landowner, who served as general of the Jacobite army in the 1715 Uprising.-Life:...
, a Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...
squire, had intended to move on that day, but learning of Wills' approach decided to stay and unfortunately withdrew troops from a strong defensive position at Ribble
The River Ribble is a river that runs through North Yorkshire and Lancashire, in northern England. The river's drainage basin also includes parts of Greater Manchester around Wigan.-Geography:...
bridge, half a mile (1 km) outside Preston.
The Jacobites had barricaded the principal streets and Wills ordered an immediate attack which met with fire from the barricades and houses, resulting in the government attack being repulsed with heavy losses. Wills had houses set on fire with the aim of fires spreading along to the Jacobite positions, and the Jacobites tried to do the same to houses taken as government positions. At night Wills's order to light government held positions for identification helped Jacobite snipers, then overnight many Jacobites left the town. The legend of these actions is recounted in a well-known Lancashire ballad, Lo! The Bird is Fallen.
On the morning of Sunday 13 November more government forces arrived and, finding that the town was insufficiently invested, Wills stationed troops to prevent the besieged Jacobite army from escaping. The Jacobites had also suffered losses in the fighting as well as losing defectors overnight, and though the Highlanders' full intention was to fight on and take the attack to the enemy, Forster agreed to his Colonel Oxburgh's offer to open negotiations with Wills for capitulation on favourable terms. This was done without informing the Highlanders, but Wills refused to treat with rebels. When the Highlanders learned of this that night they were infuriated and paraded the streets threatening any Jacobites who might even allude to a surrender, and killing or wounding several people.
At 07:00 on Monday 14 November Forster offered unconditional surrender which was turned down unless it applied to the Highlanders, then returned with confirmation that the Scots noblemen would surrender on the same terms. When the government forces entered the town the Highlanders were drawn up under arms in the market-place ready to surrender.
1,468 Jacobites were taken prisoner, 463 of them English. George Seton, 5th Earl of Winton
George Seton, 5th Earl of Winton
George Seton, 5th Earl of Winton was a Scottish nobleman who took part in the 1715 Jacobite Rising supporting "The Old Pretender" James Stuart, was captured by the English, tried and sentenced to death, but who escaped and lived the rest of his in exile.-Early life:Seton was originally brought up...
, William Gordon, 6th Viscount of Kenmure
William Gordon, 6th Viscount of Kenmure
William Gordon, 6th Viscount of Kenmure and Lord Lochinvar was a Scottish Jacobite.William Gordon was the only son of Alexander Gordon, 5th Viscount of Kenmure and succeeded his father on his death in 1698, but was not able to inherit his family's property until 1700, because of a protracted law...
, William Maxwell, 5th Earl of Nithsdale
William Maxwell, 5th Earl of Nithsdale
William Maxwell, 5th Earl of Nithsdale was a Catholic nobleman, who took part in the Jacobite Rising of 1715.He was the eldest son of Robert, fourth Earl of Nithsdale , and Lady Lucie Douglas , daughter of William, eleventh earl of Angus and first Marquess of Douglas. He was probably born at...
and James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater
James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater
James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater was an English Jacobite, executed for treason. His death is remembered in an English traditional ballad, "Lord Allenwater", collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1904 from the singing of Emily Stears.-Life:He was the son of Edward Radclyffe, 2nd Earl of...
were among those captured and sentenced to be executed for treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...
under an act of attainder. Winton and Nithsdale escaped from the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...
Another source states: "They were defeated at the Battle of Preston and many clansmen were transported to the Americas".
17 Jacobites were killed and 25 wounded. Government casualties were close to 300 killed and wounded (the best discussion of this is by the historian and military expert J.Baynes in his The Jacobite Rising of 1715 , pp. 126–127).
The battle of Preston is often claimed to have been the last fought on English soil, but this depends on the definition of battle for which there are different interpretations. Preston was a siege rather than a pitched battle
A pitched battle is a battle where both sides choose to fight at a chosen location and time and where either side has the option to disengage either before the battle starts, or shortly after the first armed exchanges....
, so the Battle of Sedgemoor
Battle of Sedgemoor
The Battle of Sedgemoor was fought on 6 July 1685 and took place at Westonzoyland near Bridgwater in Somerset, England.It was the final battle of the Monmouth Rebellion and followed a series of skirmishes around south west England between the forces of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth and the...
fought in 1685 is also a contender for the title of the last battle, as is the skirmish at Clifton Moor
Clifton Moor Skirmish
The Clifton Moor Skirmish took place between forces of the British Hanoverian government and Jacobite rebels on 19 December 1745. Since the commander of the British forces, the Duke of Cumberland, was aware of the Jacobite presence in Derby, the Jacobite leader Prince Charles Edward Stuart decided...
near Penrith in Cumbria
Cumbria , is a non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local authority, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's largest settlement and county town is Carlisle. It consists of six districts, and in...
on 18 December 1745 during the 'Forty-Five' Jacobite Rebellion. The fact is, however, that there was a great deal of savage fighting in streets all over the town during the Battle of Preston, far more than in most sieges. It was as much of a battle as, for example, the Battle of St Albans (1455) in the Wars of the Roses, which was also fought in the streets of the town but which is universally regarded as a battle not a siege.