General Wade – Jacobites, walls and Yorkshire.

Fleece Inn Image sml.jpgI first heard of General George Wade as the man who built the Military Road from Newcastle to Carlisle by using some conveniently placed worked stone – Hadrian’s Wall.  It didn’t endear him to me.  Across on the Continent he’d served in the Nine Years War and the Wars of the Spanish Succession. In 1724 Wade was sent off to inspect Scotland having done a stint as an MP for Bath and having foiled various Jacobite plots in the SouthWest in 1719.  It was he who orchestrated barracks, bridges, roads and fortifications by which the north and Scotland could be controlled – he was made a field marshall for his pains. But it wasn’t until 1746 that he vandalised Hadrian’s Wall. His Military Road is the B6318.  It used masonry from the wall and near Brampton simply ploughs along its path.

Marshall Wade was in Newcastle in October 1745. Essentially he hung around in Newcastle in case his Princeliness and his Jacobites followed after Sir John Cope to Berwick and then down the east coast.  Meanwhile the east coast all the way down to Norfolk prepared to repel invading French-persons – unfortunately Louis XV hadn’t got his act together at that point.  There was supposed to have been a Jacobite uprising with shiploads of French the previous year – and it hadn’t happened due to a February storm that had scattered the French invasion fleet- in addition to which it wasn’t because Louis felt strongly about supporting the house of Stuart it was more to do with the War of Austrian Succession that saw Britain and France squaring off without actually declaring war.  The Jacobites were a handy method of disrupting the English.  Anyway, in 1745 Louis waited to see what would happen and left concrete support far too late but hindsight is a wonderful thing and in the autumn of 1745 everyone on the east coast was feeling decidedly nervous.

Meanwhile the inhabitants of the Cumbria and Lancashire were remembering that in 1715 the Jacobites had headed in their direction.  Letters were exchanged. Wade waited to see what the Jacobites would do.  George Murray was a canny lad and kept Wade guessing about which direction the Jacobites would choose. When it was finally clear which direction Charlie-boy and his cohorts were heading in it was too late for Wade’s forces to deploy in time. Wade discovered that bad weather and bad roads would prevent him from heading the Jacobites off before they made too much progress into England.

He and his men headed south after the Jacobites – using what we know as the A1 and what they thought of as the Great North Road. Meanwhile the duke of Cumberland was summoned from playing soldiers in Europe.  He and his men were based in Lichfield. A third army was hurriedly assembled to defend London although there were rumours that the Scottish contingent of the London based army would defect to the Jacobites if they got within twenty miles.  Realistically, Lord George Murray had every reason to be concerned about being out manoeuvred when Prince Charles held his meeting in Exeter House in Derby on the 5th December.

Wade and his troops had arrived in Ferrybridge on the 8th December. They made it to Wakefield by the 10th December.  Cumberland had sent a letter demanding that Wade’s men cut off the prince’s retreat. Wade realising that his men weren’t going to get to Preston or Manchester in time to cut off the Jacobites sent his cavalry commanded by Olgethorpe, on the 11th, to do what they could.  They hurried from Wakefield to Elland via Westgate where they stopped so that Lady Oglethorpe could admire the view. According to the tenant of the Fleece Inn, George Readyhough, provided ale for three thousand troops.


Wade, meanwhile turned his men around and head back to Newcastle. Oglethorpe arrived in Preston more or less at the same time as Cumberland – the 13th December.


One thought on “General Wade – Jacobites, walls and Yorkshire.

  1. Man who would not have been King. If Charlie had spoken English none of this would have happened. Charlie was only the researcher for his fathers claim to the British throne. In their sad wake millions died by torture and murders set on the Scots by our German king.
    One thing that I could not easy check, and has been on my mind for years, is the gold that vanished. In 1745 a ship laden with arms and golden coins to bribe many nobles to fight against their King in power set sail from France in secret. She was sung as she tried to claw the rock wall as she hide in one loch.
    She had been holed just above plimsole line on port side. So Claw lines must have been set on starboard side.That implies that she sunk after trying to push herself off into shipping lane into Kyle of Tongue as she had made it past rabbit island in rough seas. If right her manifest is with her. My guess is the no name vessel sighted and holed by British ship in the line had it in records that she sank in deep water in the Kyle itself. Witness told of her Club hauling off the rock walls and vanishing. If France did really back Charlie of the red bottle then he was sunk when this ship sank with aide. Maybe we will never know as only the two others ships recorded tow weeks later seem to confuse the matter somewhat.
    If she had gold in her cargo I stand amazed that no one yet as tried to board her down there to see. I was told that the Kyle is deep trenched at base with valleys of rock to make life more difficult. Standing looking over that inland ocean of a sea on a cold January day after a big party near by I suddenly had no hope of ever hearing of this gold or the ship that came to assist a rebellion that never came to be. I read someplace that records do exits of ships of the line who sink the enemy but this would have been seen as act of war as France had a big hand in taking down our most unloved King. Maybe all was hidden from search but no smoke without fire is there? Hope that thrills you as it has done me for more years than one can mention.

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