The "Battle" of Penrith 1715
A Jacobite army passed through Cumbria in 1715 - and the local militia ran away rather than fight them!
On Wednesday 2 November, a posse comitatus, a ‘citizen army’ of men from Cumberland and Westmorland, commanded by the Sheriff, with Lord Lonsdale and the Bishop of Carlisle, assembled on a moor immediately to the north of Penrith ready to face the oncoming rebel Jacobite army, a combined force of fewer than 2000 Scots and English who were determined to replace the Hanoverian King George I with the Stuart King James III. Estimates vary as to how many men had responded to the muster call to oppose the rebels, but the militia men almost certainly outnumbered the Jacobites, although perhaps less well armed. As the Jacobites advanced towards the militia, the Cumbrians ran for their lives. “I never beheld such an incidence of the cowardice of the Rabbles” wrote a newspaper, while a Lowlander wrote “they fled like sheep before us” (see Jonathan Oates, The Last Battle on English Soil, Preston 1715, Ashgate, 2015, p.74). Robert Patten, who was there, and wrote in his book the following year that the posse ‘broke up their Camp in the utmost Confusion, shifting everyone for themselves as well as they could, as is generally the Case of an arm’d but indisciplined Multitude‘ (Robert Patten, The History of the Late Rebellion, (London 1717),p.83
The rebels carried on though Penrith, Appleby and Kendal, unopposed until they reached Preston, where after a battle/siege lasting several days, they surrendered to the Hanoverian forces on 13 November 1715.
Posted by Bill Shannon