Planning the '45
In the early 1740s many Britons were becoming resentful over the emphasis placed on Hanover in British foreign policy. This coincided with Loius XV's desire to stop Britain meddling in Continental affairs. After a gap of twenty years, it began to look as if there might be a renewed hope for the Jacobite Cause.
Once again, gentry in Northumberland and Durham began to toast the 'King Over the Water' and actively engage in Jacobite plotting. So did a number of MPs at Westminster.
In 1741 James was told that the Northumbrians could put five or six thousand men into the field on his behalf. In letters to the King and the Prince of Wales, Charles Edward Stuart ('Bonnie Prince Charlie'), the names of Radcliffe, Widdrington, Swinburne, Fenwick and Blackett appear once again. Fenwick and Blackett were two of the local MPs. In the Spring of 1744 a serious plan for a new rising began to be prepared in France. The English Jacobites were to form three corps, one in the South-west, one in Wales and one in Northumberland and Durham. While they engaged the Government forces, a French force would land in Essex and march on London. This plan is remarkably similar to that devised by Ormonde for the '15. It is clear from this plan that Charles and his court believed everything that their more extravagant Northumbrian supporters promised.
On the Government side, however, assurances were also being given. Lancelot Allgood wrote to the Lord Lieutenant assuring him that the Northumbrian gentry were fully aware of the likely consequences for them of being involved in a rising and would not participate. Many local gentry signed a declaration of loyalty to King George. In the end, the invasion plans were abandoned when storms wrecked the French transport ships. Louis XV got cold feet over the scheme and in the end Prince Charles Edward decided to act alone. In July he hired a French ship and sailed to Scotland. The full story of the '45 Jacobite Rising will not be told here, and to do it justice would require much more. Most of the action took place in Scotland and in the North-west of England. This acount will confine itself to the role Northumberland and Durham played in the Rising.