When Jacobite armies seized Manchester in 1745, Elizabeth Byrom was there to record the event.
Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of the deposed King James II, and Jacobite pretender to the throne, raised his standard at Glenfinnan, took Edinburgh, and on 21 September 1745 defeated a government army at the Battle of Prestonpans.
Moving south at the head of 6,000 men, he arrived a week later in Manchester, where his stay was recorded by Elizabeth Byrom (1722-1801), a Jacobite sympathiser and the daughter of poet and diarist John Byrom.
From Manchester, the Jacobites headed on to Derby. But having failed to gather English support, Stuart’s advisers forced him to turn back to Scotland. They were pursued, caught and heavily defeated at the Battle of Culloden on 17 April, 1746, ending any chance of a Stuart restoration.
Extracts from the diary of Elizabeth Byrom.
Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) seizes Manchester, 28-29 November 1745
28 (Thursday). About three o’clock today came into town two men in Highland dress, and a woman behind one of them with a drum on her knee, and for all the loyal work that our Presbyterians have made, they took possession of the town as one may say, for immediately after they were ‘light they beat up for volunteers for Prince Charles: “All gentlemen that have a mind to serve His Royal Highness Price Charles with a willing mind, etc., five guineas advance,” and nobody offered to meddle with them. They were directly joined by Mr J.Bradshaw, Tom Lydall, Mr Tom Deacon, Mr Fletcher, Tom Chaddock, and several others have listed, above eighty men by eight o’clock, when my papa came down to tell us there was a party of horse come in; he took care of me to the Cross, where I saw them all; it is a very fine moonlight night; Mr Walley, Mr Foden and Deputy billeted them. They are my Lord Pitsligo’s Horse, and Hugh Sterling, that was ‘prentice at Mr Hibbert’s, is with them, and the streets are exceeding quiet, there is not one person to be seen nor heard. One of the Highlanders that came today is a Yorkshireman, and is gone tonight to see his sister that lives at Sleat Hall; he took his drawn sword in his hand and went by himself. My papa and my uncle are gone to consult with Mr Croxton, Mr Feilden and others, how to keep themselves out of any scrape, and yet behave civilly. All the justices fled and lawyers too but Coz Clowes.
29 (Friday). They are beating up for the Prince; eleven o’clock we went up to the Cross to see the rest come in; there came small parties of them till about three o’clock, when the Prince and the main body of them came, I cannot guess how many. The Prince went straight up to Mr Dickenson’s, where he lodges, the Duke of Athol at Mr Marsden’s, the Due of Perth at Gardside’s. There came an officer up to us at Cross and gave use the manifests and declarations; the bells they rung, and P.Cotterel made a bonfire, and all the town was illuminated, every house except Mr Dickenson’s, my papa mamma and sister, and my uncle and I walked up and down to see it; about four o’clock the King was proclaimed, the mob shouted very cleverly, and then we went up to see my aunt Brearcliffe and stayed till eleven o’clock making St Andrew’s crosses for them; we sat up making till two o’clock.