The Ireland Historic Collections

Ireland Historic

Collections

Edited By

dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

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Introduction

 UNITED KINGDOM OF ENGLAND

England (‘United Kingdom of England’)The process of creating a single, unified kingdom of England could be said to have been achieved by Æthelstan of Wessex, while the initial groundwork had been laid down by Alfred nearly a century before. The coming of the Danish in the ninth century forced the surviving free Anglo-Saxons to unite to face the common enemy and, from the moment of Alfred’s ascendancy over them in 878, the process of integrating their conquered lands under Anglo-Saxon rule began. Æthelstan may not have directly ruled all of England, but he was the recognised overlord of almost all of England, Scotland and Wales.This ascendancy remained with subsequent kings, although the Scandinavian kingdom of York proved to be a continual distraction until it fell to King Eadred in 954, who now ruled a definitively united kingdom. The early Anglo-Saxon kings still had their powerbase in Wessex, and still spent much of their time there.
     
Anglo-Saxon Kings
AD 954 – 1016The Wessex-based Anglo-Saxon kings of this period were at the height of their power, ruling the ‘Anglo-Saxon Empire’ of a united England, with the Scots and Welsh also under their command. While Eadred was the first universally recognised king of a united England, it was not until the reign of Edgar the Peaceful that the integration of all the English regions under a single administration was completed, making it highly unlikely that the slip back into regional rule that happened during the lifetime of Edwy could be repeated.

(Additional information by Mick Baker.)

954 – 955

Eadred First (recognised) king of a united England.

955 – 959

Edwy / Eadwig the Fair Son of Edmund (939-946), brother to Eadred. Ruled the south.

957 – 959

A successional rift flares up between Eadred’s two nephews, Edwy and Edgar. Following a battle at Gloucester in which Edwy is defeated, the two agree to divide and rule to save the country from a costly civil war. Edgar takes control of Mercia and Northumbria, while Edwy rules in the south until his death in 959. Edgar then reunites the country, becoming the third king of a fully united England. This is the Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon England, when the court rivals, and even exceeds, all of those on the Continent, and receives tribute from all other kingdoms in the British Isles and Ireland.

 
A silver penny issued during the reign of Eadred
 

959 – 975

Edgar the Peaceful Brother. Ruled the north in 957-959.

963

Upon the death of Oswulf, high reeve of Bamburgh and earl of York, the governance of the powerful and important province is divided, with York going to a new earl who is possibly not related to Oswulf.

973

At Easter, Edgar is ritually anointed as the head of the ‘Anglo-Saxon Empire’ at Bath. His reign sees a major change as local government is reorganised on the basis of shires. The church is also reorganised and coinage is reformed.

975

Edgar’s unexpected death at the age of thirty-two throws the kingdom into turmoil. A period of instability and in-fighting follows. Edward is a teenager when he gains the throne, and soon proves himself to be violent, unstable and quick-tempered.

975 – 978/9

Edward the Martyr Son. Murdered.

978/9

Retainers of Queen Ælfthryth murder Edward (although this is never conclusively proven, and no one is ever brought to justice). Ælfthryth secures the throne for her ten year-old son, Æthelred. The queen and her son are strongly supported by Ælfhere, earl of Mercia.

978/9 – 1013

Æthelred / Ethelred II Unraed (Ill-Advised) Half-brother. Popularly known as Ethelred the Unready.

991

The Battle of Maldon on the Essex coast is lost when the Norwegian Viking forces of Olaf Tryggvason defeat those of the ealdorman of Essex, Byrhtnoth. The event is viewed as a national tragedy, and weakens Æthelred’s already shaky authority. The Vikings begin to demand heavy tribute from the Saxon lands.

1002

On St Brice’s Day, Æthelred massacres Danes in the country who are not of the Danelaw. In Oxford, Danes fleeing for sanctuary break into the church of St Frideswide, but the citizenry burn it down about their heads. The number of dead across the country apparently includes the sister of King Sweyn Forkbeard. This prompts an increasing number of raids on the country by Danish forces (although Viking raids have already resumed with a vengeance since the 990s).

1013

Viking raiders kill Alphege, archbishop of Canterbury, before being bought off with a huge bribe. Allied to King Olaf of Norway, Æthelred fights the Danes in the same year, but his reign is a relative disaster, as he fails to prevent these Danish incursions into the kingdom. A Danish occupation by King Sweyn Forkbeard takes place as Æthelred seeks refuge in Normandy.

1013 – 1014

Sweyn Forkbeard King of Norway and Denmark. Died unexpectedly.

1014

Canute (Cnut) the Great Son. Expelled.

1014

The occupation of England ends with Sweyn Forkbeard’s death on 2 February 1014. Æthelred is summoned back where he fights with limited success to expel Sweyn’s son, Canute. But, with rumours of betrayal in the air, and his son Edmund deciding to fight the war his own way, Æthelred retires to London and dies there on 23 April 1016. Edmund is proclaimed king.

1014 – 1016

Æthelred II Unraed (Ill-Advised) Restored.

1016

Edmund II Ironsides Ruled from April to November.

1017

Eadric Atheling Brother. Claimant to the throne. Murdered by Canute in 1017.

1016

With the help of Uchtred, high reeve of Bamburh, Edmund fights strongly to prevent the Danish control of England. After a series of successes, one disastrous defeat achieved through the treachery of his Mercianally is enough to end his resistance. A treaty is agreed with Canute, after which he dies suddenly – or is murdered. His successor, Eadric, is murdered by Canute, and another claimant, Alfred, is murdered in 1036.Edmund’s son, the rightful atheling (a noble of royal descent), is forced to flee the country, and by 1056 is to be found living in Hungary. In 1056 he is persuaded to return, along with his two sons, but dies on the way, in the hall of a Saxon thegn in 1057.
     
     
Danish Kings
AD 1016 – 1042Canute’s accession to the English throne brought England into his vast Baltic-Scandinavian empire as its southernmost province. Immediately he set about removing his competitors for control of the country, including Eadric, brother of King Edmund II, and the earls of Mercia and East Anglia, whose domains were given to the Danish nobles, Eric and Thorkell the Tall. In the north, the high reeves of Bamburgh lost their established position as the powerful earls of York. Finally, Canute married Emma of Normandy, the widow of Æthelred II, increasing the strength of his claim to the throne. However, having inherited the most intensely administered and best organised government in medieval Europe, Canute ruled the country the English way.

1017 – 1035

Canute (Cnut) the Great King of Norway and Denmark.

1023

Canute decides to have the body of Alphege, former archbishop of Canterbury, sent from its resting place in St Paul’s to his home town for interment there. The cortege lands at Seasalter, on the East Kent coast, before progressing to Canterbury.

1035

Canute’s death sees his great Scandinavian empire begin to break up. By the late 1020s he had been able to claim kingship over England, Denmark, Norway, and part of Sweden. Scotlandhad also submitted to his overlordship, and Viking raids against the British Isles had been ended. Now his brother Harold gains England, his son Hardicanute gains Denmark, and another son, Sweyn, gains Norway.

 
Canute is popular in folklore for teaching his fawning courtiers that even he was not powerful enough to stop the tide’s progress up the beach
 

1035 – 1040

Harold I Harefoot Brother.

1036

Alfred Son of Æthelred II. Claimant to the throne. Killed by Harold.

1036

Alfred, son of Æthelred II, makes the mistake of trusting the powerful Earl Godwine when he arrives in England to test the waters regarding his own claim to the throne. He is handed over to Harold and mutilated, with his eyes also being torn out, and is dragged off to Ely where he dies of his wounds.

1040 – 1042

Hardicanute Half-brother, by Emma of Normandy. King of Denmark.

1041

The earl of York, Siward, manages to add Bamburgh to his territory, thereby governing the whole of Northumbria.

1042

Hardicanute dies unexpectedly, and his half-brother, Edward, son of Æthelred II, is perfectly positioned to ascend the throne, ending the dynasty of Danish kings and replacing it with a restored Anglo-Saxon dynasty.
     
     
Anglo-Saxon Kings
AD 1042 – 1066Not all of the Wessex royal family was killed during the years of Danish rule in England. Two of the sons of Æthelred II and Emma survived in the queen’s homeland of Normandy where they had been sent for their own protection. When Canute died in 1035, both Alfred and Edward had entered England to test their claims to the throne, but Edward, landing at Southampton, soon withdrew. Alfred made the mistake of trusting the powerful Earl Godwine of Wessex, and was murdered for his pains. Edward was invited back by Hardicanute in 1041, and was fortunate to be in the right place when the Danish king unexpectedly died at a wedding feast. Unfortunately, he soon discovered that Earl Godwine wielded more power than he, and devoted more of his energies towards ecclesiastic matters.

1042 – 1066

Edward the Confessor Son of Æthelred II. Last of the West Saxon Cerdicingas to rule.

1051 – 1052

In an attempt to reign in the Viking powerbase in England, Edward has Earl Godwine removed from office. Supported by his Norman followers, Edward’s power is at its height, and it is from this period that William of Normandy later bases his own claim to the throne. However, Edward’s apparent favouritism of his Norman allies alienates many Anglo-Saxon nobles, most notably the powerful earls of Northumbria and Mercia. Invited to return, Earl Godwine sails into London and is not opposed by the royal fleet. Edward’s position is irretrievably weakened.

1057

Edward the Exile Son of Edmund Ironsides. Potential successor to the throne.

1056 – 1057

The son of Saxon king, Edmund Ironsides, an atheling (a noble of royal descent) with the best claim to the throne after Edward, has been living in Hungary. The childless Edward the Confessor sees him as a possible heir to the throne, so in 1056 he is persuaded to return, along with his two sons, but dies on the way, in the hall of a Saxon thegn in 1057. One of those sons, Edgar, presses his own claim in 1066.

1066

Harold II Godwinson Nominated successor. January to October. Died at Senlac Hill.

1066

Harold’s army defeats an attempted invasion of England by the Norwegian king, Harald Hadrada, who has sided with Harold’s rebellious younger brother, Earl Tostig of Northumbria. Almost immediately afterwards, Harold has to march his tired army south to face a second invasion by William, duke of Normandy. Harold is narrowly defeated at Selnac Hill near Hastings on 14 October (commonly known as the Battle of Hastings), and the Anglo-Saxon line of kings comes to an end.However, Harold’s daughter, Gytha, had already married Vladimir II, grand prince of Kiev. Her descendants lead to Margaret of Oldenburg, who marries James III of Scotland. For this reason, all British monarchs from James I of England are descended from Harold II. Queen Isabella, consort of Edward II, is also a direct descendant of Gytha, introducing an Anglo-Saxon bloodline into the Plantagenetkings.

 
The Battle of Hastings section of the Bayeux Tapestry shows King Harold being struck in the eye by an arrow (centre). For some time many thought this to be one of his bodyguard but it is now generally accepted to be the king himself
 

1066

Edgar the Atheling (the Prince) Son of Edward the Exile. King in name only, Oct-Dec. Uncrowned.

1066

The young Edgar, grandson of Edmund Ironsides, contests William’s claim, but is ultimately unsuccessful. Instead, he submits to William, and then spends the following decade joining many rebellions against the Norman kings and living in exile in Scotland, until finally accepting William’s position as king in about 1075. During this period of constant unrest, there is evidence for the widespread emigration of Englishman in the dark days of the late 1060s and early 1070s, as many leave for Scotland, Denmark, and even Byzantine Constantinople.
     
     
Norman Kings
AD 1066 – 1154Despite having a shaky claim to the throne (as a second cousin, once removed), in October 1066, the duke of Normandy led a force which narrowly defeated Harold’s Saxon army in battle at Senlach (to the Saxons), near Hastings, which the Normans corrupted to ‘sang-lac’, lake of blood. For three months, William of Normandy faced the remaining Saxon forces under the leadership of Edgar the Atheling, until the boy prince’s support weakened as the nobles sought to secure their own shaky positions in the new world order. Edgar knelt in submission to William after the latter crossed the Thames, and William was crowned in Westminster Abbey in December. Revolts continued in the north, the most memorable being that of Hereward the Wake. The last of the revolts ended in 1075-1076, when the execution of Waltheof of Northumberlandfinished the ‘Revolt of the Earls’.(Additional information by Mick Baker.)

1066 – 1087

William I the Conqueror Crowned in London in December. Died 9 Sep.

1066

The last native British earl of Corniu (Cornwall) is deposed by William.

1086 – 1087

In the most memorable event of his reign after the Conquest itself, William orders the creation of the Domesday Book, a catalogue of all holdings in the country, so that he can judge accurately what he has won during his years of putting down constant rebellions and securing complete control of England.

1087 – 1100

William II Rufas Son. Died in a ‘hunting accident’.

1090

Norman forces under Robert Fitzhamon, lord of Gloucester, conquer the Welsh kingdoms of Gwent and Morgannwg, giving them control of all of south-east Wales.

1093

Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr of Deheubarth has been successful in fighting off several attempts to dethrone him, but now he dies in mysterious circumstances while resisting the expansion of Norman power in neighbouring Brycheiniog. Deheubarth has apparently been conquered, and is carved up between rival Norman lords into cantrefs or lordships.

1100 – 1135

Henry I Beauclerke Died 1 Dec of food poisoning from eating ‘a surfeit of lampreys’.

1113 – 1114

Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth returns from Ireland intent on reclaiming the throne of South Wales. Henry II sends orders to have him arrested but he finds refuge with Gruffydd ap Cynan in Gwynedd. Henry destroys the impending Welsh alliance by offering Gruffydd ap Cynan gifts of tribute-free lands, and the brothers flee Ystrad Towy, from where they begin to attack Norman strongholds in Ceredigion and North Pembroke (the heartland of former Dyfed). Several castles are destroyed or severely damaged while England suffers from a plague and is unable to respond. Flemish mercenaries are offered lands in Wales, particularly in Pembroke, in return for stemming the advance, and Gruffydd is only able to restore a reduced Deheubarth, with the rest still being held by Norman lords.

1120

William Adelin Son. Died on the White Ship in 1120.

1119

Henry I defeats an invasion of his Norman lands by Louis VI of France at the Battle of Brémule.

c.1126

Dividing control of his treasury from the other main duties in his court, Henry creates the position of Lord High Treasurer in the early English Parliament. He also hands Rochester Castle to the new archbishop of Canterbury, William de Corbeil.

1135

Upon the death of Henry I, Matilda, the Lady of England, Henry’s only living legitimate child, becomes de jure monarch, as stipulated in his will. In 1114 she had been married to Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, but when he died in 1125 she had been recalled to England. In 1127 she married Prince Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou and Maine in order to secure an heir. Unfortunately, she is in Anjou when her father dies, and her quick-moving cousin secures the throne for himself with the support of the barons, who do not relish having an Anjou baron as their king. So begins a long civil war known as the Anarchy.

1135

Matilda Daughter of Henry I and heir, but usurped by Stephen.

1135 – 1141

Stephen Nephew of Henry I. Captured at the Battle of Lincoln.

1139

The title of earl of Northumberland falls vacant until Stephen is pressured into appointing a new earl by David of Scotland.

1141

Matilda Declared queen at Winchester, but uncrowned.

1141

Stephen is captured at the Battle of Lincoln in February 1141 and Matilda is declared queen, or the Lady of England, at Winchester, with the support of Nigel, the deposed First LordHigh Treasurer. However, she alienates the citizens of London with her arrogant manner. She fails to secure her coronation and the Londoners join a renewed push from Stephen’s queen and lay siege to the empress at Winchester.

 
The Battle of Lincoln in 1141 was a defeat for King Stephen
 
  Matilda manages to escape to the west, but while commanding her rearguard, her brother is captured by the enemy. Matilda is obliged to swap Stephen for Robert on 1 November 1141. Stephen re-imposes his authority. In 1148, after the death of her half-brother, Matilda finally returns to Normandy, leaving her son, Henry Plantagenet, to fight on in England.

1141 – 1154

Stephen Restored.

1153

The death of his eldest son, Eustace, knocks the fight out of Stephen, and he agrees to adopt Henry Plantagenet as his heir. The barons are very supportive of this scheme, as it ends two decades of civil war. Stephen, suddenly feeling the full weight of his approximately fifty-eight years in age, dies the following year. He is buried in Faversham Abbey, which he founded in 1147, alongside the bodies of his wife and son.
     
     
House of Plantagenet / Angevin
AD 1154 – 1399Empress Matilda had married Prince Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou in 1127, uniting the French house with the very powerful Norman one. Their son, Henry Anjou, inherited the crown of England from his uncle, having already married Eleanor of Aquitainein 1152. Following the reaching of an agreement with Stephen that Henry would succeed him, Henry came to the throne not only as the ruler of England, Anjou, and Normandy, but also of most of the rest of France through his wife. Always more interested in the continental territories than England, it was his sons who lost most of it, so that Henry III had little more than Gascony in the south-west of France. However, all kings down to and including Edward III could claim the title duke of Aquitaine.It was during the fourteenth century that St George, a former Roman army officer, became the patron saint of England in place of the Saxon king, Edward the Confessor. By that time, the Angevin kings had become English kings, with Edward I even bearing an Anglo-Saxon name and concentrating primarily on creating an Anglo-Norman ’empire’ in the British Isles (although this was so that he could subsequently go to war against France, a plan that never came to fruition for him).

1154 – 1189

Henry II Plantagenet Son of Matilda. Duke of Aquitaine. Lord of Ireland (1175).

1170 – 1183

  Henry the Young King Son. Co-reigned with his father 14 June-11 June. Died.

1166 – 1175

Dermot Mac Murrough, king of Leinster, is forcibly ejected. He flees to Bristol and then Normandy where he gains the support of Henry II, and Norman allies with which to return to Ireland. The main invasion takes place in 1169, with Leinster quickly being regained. The Norman commander, Richard de Clare (Strongbow), earl of Pembroke, marries Dermot’s daughter and is named his heir. This development concerns Henry II so much that he arrives in 1171 to take personal control of the invasion.

1170 – 1173

Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket is murdered by four of the king’s knights in Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December following a long-running dispute between him and the king over the jurisdiction of the church. The king is generally blamed for the atrocity and, accepting that he is at fault, pays public penance at Becket’s tomb. It takes Henry another two years before he decides to fill the vacant position of archbishop, and he eventually selects Richard of Dover, the monk who took charge of Becket’s body and arranged for its immediate burial in Canterbury Cathedral.

1175

With the High Kings of Ireland defeated, Henry II styles himself ‘Lord of Ireland’, although the title is handed to his son, John, as the governor of Ireland. When John becomes king of England in 1199 the control of Ireland is held directly by the crown.

1189 – 1199

Richard I Coeur de Lion (the Lionheart) Son.

1189 – 1192

Richard leads the Third Crusade in Palestine, seizing Cyprus from the Byzantine empire along the way and gifting it to the king of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, his archbishop of Canterbury, Baldwin of Exeter, dies while in the Holy Land in 1190.

1199 – 1216

John Lackland Brother. Daughter Joan m Llywelyn Fawr, Prince of Wales.

1202 – 1214

John becomes involved in the ‘War’ of Bouvines. Defeat at the Battle of Bouvines on 27 July 1214 loses John the duchy of Normandy and his other French possessions to the French crown. His return to England sees him forced to sign Magna Carta by the disaffected barons and the archbishop of Canterbury on 15 June 1215.

1216 – 1217

On his deathbed, John persuades William Marshal to act as regent of England for his young son. With enemies all around, William takes Henry III into his care and ensures his coronation. The following year, Philip II of France sends his son, Louis, and the count de Perche to invade England via Dover (with the royal port of Sandwich being severely damaged in the process). The Battle of Lincoln sees William lead the charge, and he personally kills de Perche (accidentally, as he wants him as a prisoner for the ransom he would raise). The defeated French noblemen are led to a ship bound for France.

1216 – 1272

Henry III Son.

1216 – 1219

  William Marshal Regent. Greatest melee tournament knight of his day.

1236

The Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth is subjugated by the Plantagenets, giving them mastery of all of South Wales. North Powys is also taken.

1272 – 1307

Edward I Longshanks Defeated last independent Welsh. Hammer of the Scots.

1302

In his attempts to keep down William Wallace and Robert the Bruce during the Scottish Wars of Independence, Edward I builds a fortress at Linlithgow.

1307 – 1327

Edward II First English Prince of Wales. Weak king. Died mysteriously.

1314

Edward II’s defeat at Bannockburn by the Scottish under Robert the Bruce sees the start of a period in which the certainty of Scottish independence from England become more and more established. The drawing up of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 involves the Pope, John XXII, in negotiations. The defeat at Bannockburn, in which the lord of Glamorgan is killed, also sparks a minor revolt in Wales.

 
The Battle of Bannockburn by William Hole, part of a mural in three sections, from the Scottish National Portrait Museum in Edinburgh showing Robert the Bruce in the foreground
 

1327 – 1330

Isabella Strong wife of Edward II. May have ‘removed’ her husband.

1327 – 1330

  Mortimer The queen’s lover.

1328

The Treaty of Northampton, in which England renounces its claim to Scotland, is signed.

1330 – 1377

Edward III Overthrew Isabella and Mortimer.

1330 – 1376

  Edward Son. Prince of Wales. Duke of Cornwall: ‘The Black Prince’.

1330 – 1376

Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, later becomes popularly known as the Black Prince (a term first used well after his time). He is the eldest son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, and father of Richard II. Edward is an effective military leader, and is very popular during his lifetime.He is the first Englishman to be created a duke (of Cornwall in 1337), and he serves as a symbolic regent for periods in 1339, 1340, and 1342 while Edward III is on campaign. His early life sees a rise in fashion sense, with Edward taking a fancy to red and purple velvet cloaks and hats, and an early love for tournaments at the expense of learning, like his father. He also develops a recklessness with money and leads successful campaigns against the Frenchin the Hundred Years War, perfecting the use of English and Welsh longbowmen.In his later years, campaigning on behalf of Pedro the Cruel of Castile ruins Edward’s health and finances, and a lingering illness causes his death one year before that of his father, and so he never rules (the first English Prince of Wales to suffer that fate). The throne passes instead to his son, a minor.

1337 – 1453

The Hundred Years War between England and France begins when France confiscates Gascony from Edward III. Edward invades France to press his own claim to the throne. In 1346, Edward crushes the army of Philip VI of France at the Battle of Crecy.

1348 – 1350

The Black Death reaches Britain from the Continent. In less than two years approximately a third of the country’s population is killed. In some regions, entire villages are laid waste or are abandoned. The plague causes great social changes as the reduced workforce is now in a position of negotiating power.

1377 – 1399

Richard II Son of the Black Prince. Deposed. Died 1400.

1377 – 1386

  John of Gaunt Uncle and regent. Duke of Aquitaine.

1384 – 1386

England supplies 600 battle-hardened men to John of Portugal to help him secure his throne against the French-allied John of Castile. As a result of this, two years later England and Portugal sign the Treaty of Windsor on 9 May, the oldest alliance in Europe still in force.
     
     
House of Lancaster
AD 1399 – 1461In 1399, the exiled Henry Bolingbroke, heir to the duchies of Lancaster and Aquitaine, returned to reclaim his lands, raising an army and marching meet the king. Despite having military intentions, Henry and his ally, archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Arundel, actually met the king to discuss the restitution of Henry’s lands, but at the meeting Richard was arrested and deposed, so snatching the throne away from him in a coup. Richard’s former First Lord High Treasurer was also executed as the new regime took control.

1399 – 1413

Henry IV Cousin. Formerly the exiled duke of Lancaster.

1400

Henry and archbishop of CanterburyThomas Arundel conspire to kill Richard II. Chaucer, author of the Canterbury Tales, is a close friend of Richard’s. He is married to Henry IV’s sister and had been court poet under Richard.During the reign of Richard II there had been a flowering of English literature (despite Shakespeare’s later dramatic claims to the contrary), but Henry’s reign witnesses a heavy level of censorship. People who cross Arundel could find themselves burnt as a heretic. Chaucer, outspoken in his mockery of powerful prelates who covet worldly possessions (including Arundel), could well be a victim of this oppressive new order. He disappears just two months after Richard’s death. None of his original works survive him, and all mention of him ceases for seven years after his probable death.

1403

While dealing with many rebellions throughout the kingdom, in one of his few notable victories in relation to the widespread Welsh rebellion, Henry IV defeats Henry Percy (‘Harry Hotspur’), a rebel and ally of Owain Glyndwr, Prince of Wales, at the Battle of Shrewsbury.

1413 – 1422

Henry V Son. Lord of Aquitaine.

1415 – 1420

Henry’s much smaller army wins a startling victory at Agincourt in 1415, despite being outnumbered by the ‘flower of French chivalry’. In 1420, Charles VI cedes Franceto Henry in the Treaty of Troyes, and following Charles’ death in 1422, much of France becomes an English possession, although Henry V doesn’t live to see it.

 
The victory of Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt destroyed the flower of French chivalry
 

1422 – 1461

Henry VI Son. Aged 1 at accession as king of England & France. Deposed.

1422 – 1429

England effectively rules France through Henry’s brother, John of Lancaster. Elements of the French nobility refuse to accept an English king, however, and support a fight with Charles VI’s son as their figurehead. The French victory at Orleans in 1429 turns the tide of the war. John, and his younger brother Humphrey, remain Henry VI’s regents in England as most of the French territory is subsequently lost.

1422 – 1435

  John of Lancaster, duke of Bedford Uncle and regent, mostly in France (1422-1429).

1422 – 1447

  Humphrey, duke of Gloucester Brother and lord protector in England. Died disgraced.

1455 – 1485

The Wars of the Roses begin with Richard, duke of York‘s victory at the Battle of St Albans. Lancastrians are pitched against Yorkists in England for the next thirty years. Richard’s son, Edward, gains the throne in 1461.
     
     
House of York
AD 1461 – 1470With the support of his cousin Richard Neville, earl of Warwick (the ‘Kingmaker’), Edward IV pressed his claim to the throne through a series of battles between 1460-1461, and managed to secure London while Henry VI and his militaristic queen were campaigning in the north. The House of York owned land predominantly in the south of England, while the rival House of Lancaster owned much of the north, including Lancashire and Yorkshire, making the civil war a north-south conflict. It would take until 1485, and several changes of ruler, before the war was concluded.New evidence points to Edward IV’s mother, Cecily, daughter of the first earl of Westmorland, having had a liaison with a tall, well-built archer at the Rouen garrison while her royal husband was campaigning against the French. Edward was conceived at a time in 1441 when his father, Richard, duke of York, great-grandson of Richard II, was nowhere near his mother. Edward was born in April 1442. His brother, George, later the duke of Clarence, was certainly legitimate. The third child, Richard III was also legitimate, and fully resembled his slightly-built, thin-faced father in stature and appearance.

1461 – 1470

Edward IV Third cousin of Henry VI. Deposed.

1469 – 1470

Warwick is upset by Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of a Lancastrian sympathiser, and rebels against him. The Battle of Edgecote Moor in 1469 is a victory for Warwick, especially when the king is captured soon after. Elements of the nobility stage a counter-revolt which frees the king and subdues Warwick temporarily, but he and George, duke of Clarence, rebel again in 1470 and Edward flees the country.

 
An imaginative scene from Henry VI Part 1 in which the participants in the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) select white and red roses to mark their allegiances
 
     
     
House of Lancaster (Restored)
AD 1470 – 1471Queen Margaret, wife of Henry VI, came to an alliance with two of Edward VI’s main supporters, Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, and George, duke of Clarence, urged on by Louis XI of France. Warwick married his daughter to Henry’s son and returned to England to defeated the Yorkists in battle. Henry VI was restored to the throne on 30 October 1470, but by now, the years of hiding and captivity had taken their toll, and Warwick and Clarence held all the power.

1470 – 1471

Henry VI Restored. Murdered in prayer at the Tower of London.
  Edward Son. Prince of Wales. Executed in 1471.

1471

Yorkist forces defeat the Lancastrians at the Battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471. Warwick is killed. A further defeat at the Battle of Tewksbury on 4 May sees Henry’s son, Edward, Prince of Wales, captured and executed, while the remainder of the royal family is captured. Edward IV is restored to the throne, and Henry VI is murdered while a captive in the Tower of London.
     
     
House of York (Restored)
AD 1471 – 1485Yorkist forces defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Barnet in 1471, restoring Edward IV to the throne. While the nobility of this period were busy hacking down their peers, the common population was suffering from repeated waves of plague. Although these were less severe that the Black Death of 1348, they still killed many. A bonus to the survivors was that they were often in a stronger position to be able to climb the social ladder, and even sometimes to become a class of gentry between that of the nobility and peasants. The country gentleman was born in the form of the squire.

1471 – 1483

Edward IV Restored.

1478

George, duke of Clarence, although forgiven for his change of allegiance in 1470, leads an attempted coup against Edward. He is captured and is executed by Edward for treason (by being hung upside down in a barrel of Madeira). George is survived by two grown-up children who outlive the House of York.They are the last of the (official) Plantagenets, and the younger of the two is later executed by Henry VIII on trumped-up charges, in order to be certain that she cannot apply her legal claim to the throne. But her own sons survive, and a modern-day descendant lives happily in Australia after emigrating in the 1960s. He is Michael, earl of Louden, and is a potential claimant to the throne. The claim has effectively been lost by right of conquest (in 1485) and later inter-dynastic marriages.

1483

Edward V Son. Ruled in name as a child for three months. Deposed.

1483

Richard, younger brother of Edward IV, knows that the child king has no legitimate claim to the throne, and immediately captures and imprisons the boy and his younger brother, the new Richard, duke of York. Richard III claims the throne as the only surviving legitimate son of the previous duke of York. The princes are held in the Tower of London until their eventual disappearance.

1483 – 1485

Richard III Brother of Edward IV. Killed at Bosworth Field.

1485

Henry Tudor leads a slightly underwhelming invasion of England, via Milford Haven, from his exile in France and is fortunate to kill Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field.
     
     
House of Tudor
AD 1485 – 1603The Tudors were descended from a Welsh noble family which originated in Gwynedd. They played an important role in transforming England from the comparatively weak European backwater that it had become following the collapse of the ‘Anglo-Saxon Empire’ and the Norman invasion into a powerful state that in the coming centuries would dominate much of the world. The Tudor monarchs also raised the conquered Ireland from a lordship to a kingdom (in 1541), giving them two kingdoms, plus the principality of Wales and the old French lands to claim amongst their titles.

1485 – 1509

Henry VII Member of the House of Lancaster on his mother’s side.

1485

Henry VII is the only major remaining claimant to the throne. He marries Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and heiress of the House of Plantagenet, to legitimise his somewhat shaky claim, without knowing the question mark over Elizabeth’s own royal legitimacy. Henry himself is descended from Ednyfed Fychan, chief minister to Llywelyn the Great of Gwynedd, and Owain ap Meredith ap Tewdur, a Welsh squire in Henry V’s court. More practically, his marriage unites the Houses of York and Lancaster, ensuring an end to the Wars of the Roses.

1486

Henry VII’s heir, Arthur, Prince of Wales, is born. His sudden death in 1502 would upset the succession.

1486 – 1487

Lambert Simnel Pretender. Nine year-old caught up in attempt to gain throne.

1487

Henry VII defeats Lambert Simnel’s forces at Stoke, in the final battle of the Wars of the Roses. The boy himself, an unwitting pawn who had been selected merely on the basis of his resemblance to the Yorkist prince, is given a lifelong job in the Royal household.

1490 – 1499

Perkin Warbeck Pretender. Hanged as a traitor at Tyburn.

1490 – 1499

Warbeck is an impostor, pretending to be Richard of Shrewsbury, First duke of York, the younger son of King Edward IV, but is in fact a Fleming born in Tournai in around 1474. He is first noted as claiming the English throne at the court of Burgundy in 1490 and in 1499 he leaves the scene of his most recent failure in Cornwall for London, where he mounts a feeble military challenge to Henry before fleeing. He is captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London alongside a genuine claimant; Edward, Earl of Warwick, with whom he tries and fails to escape in 1499.

1491

Henry VII’s wife, Elizabeth of York, gives birth to a son, Henry.

1502

Prince Arthur dies at the young age of fifteen, from uncertain medical circumstances. His wife, Catherine of Aragon, is sick as well, but survives. Henry VII gains a dispensation to marry her to Arthur’s younger brother, Henry.

1509 – 1547

Henry VIII King of Ireland (1541). Broke away from Roman Church.

1509 – 1533

From ascending the throne at the age of seventeen, Henry VIII turns out to be one of England’s most colourful and pivotal rulers. He marries six times in search of a male heir (and a spare), but only fathers three surviving children, two of them girls. He first marries his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, and gains a daughter in Mary. After five children which don’t survive and a long period without any further progeny Henry secures an annulment (Catherine dies in 1536).

1513

Henry campaigns in France, capturing two towns and beating off the French in the Battle of the Spurs, named for the sight of the spurs of the French cavalry, as they flee at great speed. Catherine of Aragon manages England in Henry’s stead. James IV of Scotland takes full advantage by invading England, but Isabella sends an army north. The two forces meet at Flodden and the Scots are annihilated, with around 10,000 casualties, including James himself.

1521

PopeLeo X grants Henry the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ for a tract defending Catholicism. It is a title he retains, even after his split from the Catholic church.

 
Henry VIII, Defender of the Faith, in an oil portrait on wood from about 1526
 

1533 – 1536

Henry marries the ambitious Anne Boleyn. She immediately gives him another daughter, the red-haired Elizabeth. After three more children, none of whom survive, Henry has trumped-up charges of adultery levelled against Anne. She is beheaded on 19 May 1536.

1534

The English Reformation had gained political support when Henry VIII wanted his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled. Under pressure from Catherine’s nephew, Emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, the annulment is refused by Pope Clement VII, the latest point in an ongoing conflict of authority between England and Rome. Henry, although theologically a Catholic, decides to become Supreme Head of the Church of England to ensure the annulment of his marriage. Even so, he maintains a strong preference for traditional Catholic practices.

1535 – 1536

The first English translation of the entire Bible is printed, with translations by Tyndale and Coverdale. In 1536, the dissolution of the monasteries begins, and Catholic decorations in churches are removed or whitewashed over. With the death of Anne Boleyn, a rebellion is sparked in the north, which marches under the banner of the Five Wounds of Christ, and which demands the restoration of the old ways. By December 1536, its followers number as many as 40,000, but it is defeated when the king appears to accedes to its demands, and then has the leaders dealt with in the customary fashion.

1536 – 1537

Henry marries his beloved Jane Seymour. Within a year she gives birth to Edward, but dies from an infection caused by unclean birthing instruments.

1540

The Catholic powers of France and Spain seem certain to establish an alliance with the intention of attacking England. Henry allows his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, to arrange a marriage for him with Anne of Kleve Anglicised as Anne of Cleves), whose brother, Duke William, is the leader of the Protestant states in western Germany. Anne proves to be a huge disappointment in Henry’s eyes. The marriage is never consummated, and an annulment follows within six months (Anne lives out her life in England as a private person, never remarries, and dies in 1557 at the age of forty-two, seemingly content with her lot).

1540 – 1542

Already having a poorly-kept secret affair with her while still married to Anne, Henry’s fifth wife is the lady-in-waiting, Catherine Howard. She is executed soon after.

1543 – 1547

Henry’s sixth wife is the twice-married Catherine Parr. She outlives him by a year, remarrying and dying in childbirth.

1547 – 1553

Edward VI Son. Crowned 20 Feb, aged nine. Died at the age of fifteen.

1547 – 1553

Protestantism is established for the first time in England (more as a simplified form of Catholicism than the Protestantism practised in Northern Europe), and in the last battle between English and Scottish royal armies, the Scots are routed at Pinkie, Edinburgh on 10 September 1547 as Edward’s uncle and Protector, Edward Seymour attempts to impose Anglican reform north of the border and force the infant Mary, Queen of Scots to marry Edward. In England, Thomas Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury, implements the Book of Common Prayer. Unfortunately, Edward’s reign is marked by increasingly harsh Protestant reforms, the loss of control of Scotland, and an economic downturn.

 
During his relatively short reign, Edward VI showed a strong drive towards harsh Protestant reforms in England and Wales
 
  When it becomes clear that Edward’s life is to be a short one, his advisors persuade him to attempt to exclude his two half sisters from the line of succession in order to make Lady Jane Grey, the solidly Protestant daughter-in-law of the chief regent, next in line to succeed the king. Following Edward’s death a disputed succession re-opens the religious conflicts. Lady Jane is queen for nine days, and reigns in name only before being deposed by Mary. Mary then seeks to undo many of Edward’s Protestant reforms, issuing legislation through her Parliamentary sessions.

1553

Lady Jane Grey Henry’s grandniece. Reigned 6-15 July. Deposed, beheaded.

1553 – 1558

Mary I (Bloody Mary) Dau. of Henry VIII. m Philip II of Spain. Childless.

1553 – 1554

Continually turning to her maternal cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, for advice and support, Mary Tudor accepts his suggestion of marriage to his son, Philip of Spain. However, she makes it clear that she will be queen regnant, and following the wedding in 1554, Philip is given no lands in England, nor is he allowed to make any appointments for fear of upsetting the populace. It is stipulated that if there are no children, Philip’s interest in the realm will cease with Mary’s death.

1555 – 1558

Following her phantom pregnancy and a period of depression, Mary earns her nickname by having almost three hundred religious dissenters executed in her later years, including archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer. However, her brief attempt at the re-establishment of Roman Catholicism in England is reversed by her successor and half-sister, Elizabeth.

1558 – 1603

Elizabeth I Dau. of Henry VIII. Childless.

1569

Elizabeth puts down the Catholic-led Northern Rebellion, before finding a new enemy in her former brother-in-law, Philip II, King of Spain.

1571

The duke of Norfolk is executed following the failed Ridolfi Plot.

1572

Elizabeth makes an alliance with France and begins tentative marriage negotiations which go nowhere and decisively end when the younger duke of Anjou dies in 1584.

1579 – 1583

The Second Desmond Rebellion in Ireland is put down. In the same year, 1583, the first English colony in North America is founded. This later period of Elizabeth Tudor’s reign sows the seeds of the British empire, and is termed ‘Gloriana’.

1585 – 1598

The Anglo-Spanish War erupts as relations with Philip of Spain worsen. Mary, Queen of Scots is executed in 1587, while Francis Drake ‘singes the king of Spain’s beard’ by attacking his fleet in the Spanish port of Cadiz. The great 130-ship Spanish Armada is destroyed at the Battle of Gravelines in 1588 while attempting to bring about an invasion of England. In 1595, forces under Francis Drake and the earl of Cumberland attack and seize Puerto Rico, holding it for several months until dysentery forces a withdrawal. The war stalls in 1598 and is only officially ended by the Treaty of London in 1604.

1594 – 1603

The Nine Years’ War between England and Irish rebel Hugh O’Neill ends with the surrender of the Irish.
     
     
House of Stuart
AD 1603 – 1649As the result of an agreement with Elizabeth Tudor in 1586, the Treaty of Berwick, the Scottish king James VI succeeded her on the English throne as James I. A descendant of Henry VII, James I was the first ruler of the three kingdoms of ‘Great’ Britain (a term he coined in 1604): England, Scotland, and Ireland. It was a union that would not be made official until 1707 when the crowns were united as one.During James’ reign, and that of his son, piracy in the Caribbean became fully established, especially targeting wealthy Spanish colonies such as Hispaniola. The first true British Colonies in North America also became established, beginning with the settlement of St John in Newfoundland in 1604.

1603 – 1625

James I VI of Scotland (1567-1625). First king of Great Britain.

1605

Catholic plotters, unhappy with James’ unsympathetic attitude towards their faith (which he also shares) decide to try and blow up Parliamentat the state opening, thereby leaving the way open for a Catholic takeover of Britain. The plot is foiled.

 
James was crowned on the feast of St James in 1603, but the queen, a devout Catholic, refused to take Communion
 

1616 – 1617

Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, chief of the Powhatan Confederacy of native tribes which live around the Jamestown British Colony, visits England. The visit is partly to promote the New World English colony, and Pocahontas is greeted at court by James I and attends various functions. Embarking for the return journey in March 1617, she falls ill on board ship and is taken off at Gravesend where she dies of an unspecified illness.

1620

On 21 November, the Pilgrim Fathers arrive at Cape Cod in New England on the Mayflower (formerly the Plymouth Company territory). They are leaving behind them the confused religious situation in England, hoping to found a new and better community in the New World.

1625 – 1649

Charles I Son. King of England & Scotland. Deposed and executed.

1638

The kingdom of Mosquitia is officially recognised by England, probably during a state visit by the son of the king to the court of Charles I.

1642 – 1651

Charles raises his standard, declaring war on a Parliament which is determined to force a confrontation. In 1645 the Royalists are routed at the Battle of Philiphaugh, defeating Charles I’s cause in Scotland. The archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, is beheaded at Tower Hill in the same year for his High Church stance against the radical Puritanism which is starting to take hold in the country.
     
     
Protectorate
Commonwealth of Britain
AD 1649 – 1659Parliament‘s cause against Charles I simmered for years while it continually blocked the king’s attempts to rule absolutely as he believed was his divine right. When a crowd of apprentices rioted at Westminster in 1641 (organised by Parliament), they were dispersed by troops who called them Roundheads thanks to their close-cropped hair. After the commencement of the civil war in the following year, the term came to be applied to the Parliamentary forces, in opposition to the king’s cavalier-styled gentlemen-led forces. When Parliament finally won the war, it realised it didn’t know what kind of rule to offer the country, even going so far as to offer Oliver Cromwell the crown, as the Puritan (extreme Protestant) forces turned Britain into a kind of police state.

1649 – 1653

Oliver Cromwell supports the execution of the king in January 1649, and leads an army to crush the Irish in August of the same year. In 1650, he also crushes Scotland with his highly efficient New Model Army. In 1653, he dissolves Parliament and by the end of the year has assumed the role of Lord Protector.

1653 – 1658

Oliver Cromwell Effectively in control of Parliament (1649). First Lord Protector.

1655

English troops take Jamaica from the Spanish colonial viceroyalty of New Spain, making it a hub for rum production and slave trading. It also allows renewed contact with the Mosquito Coast.

1657

Parliament offers Oliver Cromwell the title of king in the ‘Humble Petition and Advice’. He rejects it.

1658 – 1659

Richard Cromwell Son. Second Lord Protector. Abdicated, and died 1712.

1659

Richard Cromwell, entirely unsuited to his role, abdicates in 1659. Negotiations with Charles II are opened, and the restored king returns to Britain.
     
     
House of Stuart Restored
AD 1660 – 1714Charles II returned from the Netherlands on his birthday to reclaim the throne, along with his Portuguese wife, Catherine of Braganza. Parliament proclaimed him king of England on 8 May 1660. Charles received popular support as he re-opened the theatres, and introduced a relaxed, tolerant rule to a country battered by a decade of extremist Puritan rule.

1660 – 1685

Charles II Son of Charles I. King in exile (1649-1660).

1664 – 1667

Under the leadership of the duke of York, the English attack and capture the province of New Netherland in 1664. The act leads to the Second Anglo-Dutch War the following year, which ends with the Netherlandsagreeing to the English ownership of the colony in exchange for Suriname.

 
The Four Days Battle in June 1666 was part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, as depicted by Willem van de Velde the Younger
 

1665 – 1666

The last Great Plague sweeps through London killing 65,000 (according to official figures), although the real figure is probably closer to as much as 100,000. The following year an accidental fire which starts at a Pudding Lane bakery engulfs almost all the old Medieval city, with only a few exceptions, one of which is the Tower of London.

1670 – 1671

In a period in which adventurers seem to rule, the privateer Henry Morgan captures the port of Chagres from the Spanish viceroyalty of Peru in 1670 and goes on to destroy the city of Panama in New Granada. On 9 May 1671, the crown jewels are briefly stolen from the Tower of London by Irish adventurer Colonel Thomas Blood.

1673 – 1674

The territory of former Dutch New Amsterdam is seized by during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, but is returned to England as part of the Treaty of Westminster in 1674.

1685 – 1688

James II Deposed. Catholic revivalist. Died in 1701 in exile.

1688

Feeling against the blatantly anti-Protestant James flares up when his second wife, Mary of Modena, gives birth to a Catholic heir (commonly believed to be a changeling). His brother-in-law, William of Orange, lands in Britain with a Dutch army. The disaffected British army goes over to him, and a bloodless takeover is effected with the support of the British people, named the Glorious Revolution. James flees London for France on 11 December, and by this act is deemed to have abdicated. He and his supporters continue to hold a claim on the thrones of England, Scotland (where the full details of his successors are shown), and Ireland for decades to come.

1689

There is an interregnum while events are unfolding. William of Orange and his wife, Mary II, come to the throne with the Declaration of Rights being read before Parliament on 13 February, with Mary declining to be queen regnant, instead preferring to give way to her husband in all matters of state. Nevertheless, she proves to be a worthy regent in his absences.

1689 – 1694

Mary II Dau. Ruled jointly with husband, William III.

1689 – 1702

  William III Prince of (the House of) Orange.

1690

James II has gained Irish and French support for his cause and he invades Ireland from France. However, his attempts are stopped dead at the Battle of the Boyne on 1 July (there can be some confusion over pre-1752 dating, and these days it seems to be the case to refer to historical events keeping the old day and month but updating the year. The dates used here are the accepted ones). The archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft, refuses to take the oath with William and Mary, and is removed from office.

1701 – 1766

James Francis Stuart ‘Old Pretender’ Son of James II. Prince of Wales. Involved in 1716 rebellion.

1701

The Act of Settlement on 12 June confirms that it is illegal for a Roman Catholic, or anyone married to a Roman Catholic, to inherit the throne (as set out in the 1689 Bill of Rights). This disqualifies the Catholic Stuart Pretenders from gaining the throne after Anne’s death. It also disqualifies the Catholic heirs of Charles I and his sister, Elizabeth of the Palatinate, ‘Queen of Bohemia‘, leaving just Sophie, widow of Ernst August of Brunswig-Lüneberg, elector of Hanover, and her son, George Ludwig.

1702 – 1714

Anne Sister of Mary II. Had 17-18 children, but all predeceased her.

1702 – 1715

While Portugal initially supports France during the War of Spanish Succession, Britain alters the situation with the signing of the Methuen Treaty with Portugal on 16 May 1703, which grants mutually beneficial commercial rights for wine and textiles from the two countries. In December 1703 a military alliance between Austria, Britain, and Portugal sees them invade Spain. British forces attack Spanish interests in the Americas, including an attack on Puerto Rico in 1702. The allied forces capture Madrid in 1706, although the campaign ends in a defeat at the Battle of Almansa.

1707 – 1708

The Union of the crowns of England and Scotland is enacted. The idea had been recommended by William III and is now approved by Anne as a method of preventing the possibility of Scotland going its own way, as the Scottish Parliament refuses to endorse the Hanoverian succession. The joint kingdoms are governed from a single Parliament at Westminster in London. The following year, an attempted invasion of Scotland by James Francis Stuart at the Firth of Forth is defeated at sea.
     
     
House of Hanover
AD 1714 – 1839The Protestant elector of Hanover was invited to take the throne after the death of his distant cousin, Queen Anne, under the Act of Settlement of 1701. The initial beneficiary was to be his mother, Sophia, but she died just days before Anne. George I was the son of the duke of Brunswick-Lüneberg, and inherited this title, along with that of the duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg. Hanoverian rule witnessed the emergence of modern Britain, and the build-up towards the British empire. It was also during the reign of George I that the position of prime minister became cemented within Parliamentand a recognisably modern government began to emerge.Rival claimants to the throne still existed, in the form of the Jacobite descendants of James II, and these are shown with a shaded background. The full list of successive claimants is shown under Scotland.

1714 – 1727

George I Elector of Hanover. Great-grandson of James I through Sophia.

1716

The Whigs win an overwhelming victory in the Parliamentary general election, but several of the defeated Tories side with a new Jacobite rebellion known as ‘The Fifteen’. The Jacobite pretender to the throne is James Francis Stuart, who is supported by Lord Mar in Scotland. However, with poor planning, the rebellion is a total failure. The main protagonists flee to France in February 1716.

1717

The Moghul emperor allows the British East India Company to purchase duty-free trading rights in Bengal, although so weak is his authority that the governor of Bengal ignores him and continues to collect duty tax.

1727 – 1760

George II Son.

1727

George II is the last British monarch to have been born outside the confines of the kingdom, and his early years see him effecting little control over policy, as he is dominated by Sir Robert Walpole’s Whig Parliament.One notable snippet regarding the king is that he is great-grandfather of Duchess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. She marries the future Duke Frederick III of Württemberg in 1780, and in 1805 their son, Paul, fathers Karolina von Rothenburg, the great-great-great-grandmother of Boris Johnson, mayor of London (2008-2012).

1766 – 1788

Charles Edward Stuart ‘Young Pretender’ Son of James Francis Stuart. Also ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’.

1739

Dick Turpin, probably the famous most English highwayman, is hanged for horse theft at York Knavesmire. At around the same time, a formalised system of mail coaches is being brought onto existence, while Europe is plunged into the War of Jenkins’ Ear against Spain. That descends into the War of the Austrian Succession, and in 1743 George II enthusiastically leads his troops into battle at Dettingen, the last British monarch to do so.

1745 – 1746

In 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie lands at Eriskay in the Hebrides, Scotland, to lay claim to the British throne. Fighting in his still-living father’s name, he raises his standard at Glenfinnan, Scotland on 19 August, igniting the Second Jacobite Rebellion. On 21 September, his Jacobite forces defeat English forces at the Battle of Prestonpans. The following year, in the last battle fought on British soil, the Jacobites are routed by the duke of Cumberland at Culloden. The Jacobite cause effective dies, but Charles Edward’s claim is passed on, first through his brother, Henry, in 1788, and then the kings of Sardiniafrom 1807.

 
The Battle of Culloden saw the destruction of the clans in Scotland at the hands of Britain’s modern army
 
     
  Frederick Louis Son of George II. Prince of Wales. Died 1751.

1752

Britain switches from the outdated Julian calendar to the Gregorian one, ‘losing’ twelve days in the process and moving the start of the year from 25 March to 1 January (except for the tax office, which refuses to budge, up to and including the present day).

1756 – 1763

The Seven Years’ War – the first truly ‘global’ conflict – erupts as Britain declares war on France. In 1759, General James Wolfe claims the Canadian territories for Britain with a victory over the French near Quebec. In 1762 the Spanish colony of Cuba is captured by Britain and held for a year before being handed back as part of the peace settlement, in exchange for Florida. Britain also formally gains New France from the French, renaming it the province of Quebec as part of their colonies in the Americas.

1757

The British East India Company is victorious over the nawab of Bengal, an ally of the French, which signals the end of any serious French ambitions in what was Moghul India. Instead, the Company’s Bombay presidency begins to assume more and more authority.

1760 – 1820

George III Son of Frederick. The ‘Mad’ King.

1765

John III, the final ‘King of the Isles of Man‘ is pressured by the Crown into relinquishing the title in return for a substantial payment. Direct authority passes to the Crown, and the rampant smuggler trade which has made the most of the island’s independence is suppressed by governors.

1770

British navigator and explorer Captain James Cook becomes the first European to discover Australia. In the same year, the Boston Massacre takes place in the American colonies.

1775 – 1783

Revolutionaries in the American colonies begin a war with the intention of driving out English rule. It takes the revolutionaries over seven years to force Britain to declare that it will cease hostilities and withdrawn its troops and Hessian allied units. The United States of America are formed from the liberated thirteen colonies, but the British Colonies continue to be formed of territories to the north.

1787

The ‘First Fleet’ carrying convicts sets sail for Australia, where it will set up the first penal colony.

1788 – 1807

Henry Benedict Cardinal Stuart Son of James Francis Stuart. Last Jacobite claimant to throne.

1789

Fletcher Christian leads a successful mutiny aboard the HMS Bounty against the captain, William Bligh.

1793 – 1797

Following the French Revolution, Britain is at war with France almost continuously until 1815. As part of the First Coalition, Great Britain, Naples, the Netherlands, and Spain join Austria and Prussia in attacking France, but the coalition is peppered with self-interests. Prussia withdraws in 1795, along with Spain, and the coalition is ended in 1797, although Austria has already benefited from the partitions of Poland-Lithuania. In that same year a British attempt to capture Puerto Rico is defeated.

1798

The British East India signs a treaty with the sultans of Oman & Zanzibar. In the same year, the United Irishmen rebel against British rule in Ireland, but despite French help they are defeated.

1801

The Act of Union with Ireland is passed by Parliament, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Irish Parliament is dissolved (1801-1923).

1804 – 1805

Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned emperor of France in 1804 and king of Italy in 1805. In that same year, the naval Battle of Trafalgar proves once and for all Britain’s supremacy at sea, pounding the French and their Spanish allies in a crushing defeat.

1807 – 1811

France defeats the Austrians and Russians at Freidland in 1807, and goes on to occupy Portugal. The following year, Spain falls. An Anglo-Portuguese army is formed in Lisbon, eventually under the command of General Wellesley, and by 1811 Portugal has been liberated.

1814 – 1816

The Anglo-Nepalese War culminates in a treaty which establishes Nepal‘s modern boundaries in 1816. In the middle of all this, on 18 June 1815, Arthur Wellesley, the duke of Wellington, leads an Anglo-Dutch-German army to victory over Napoleon’s French army at the Battle of Waterloo in co-operation with the Prussian army, ending twenty-five years of war in Europe.

1820 – 1830

George IV Son of George III. Prince Regent (1810-1820).

1830 – 1837

William IV Brother. Childless.

1831

Russia puts down the First (November) Insurrection in partitioned Poland and many Polish soldiers involved in the uprising chose to seek protection in Prussia, where they are disarmed and not particularly welcome. Eventually the surviving 212 Poles are placed on board a ship at Gdansk and deported. The ship is bound for the USA, but a storm forces it to seek shelter in Portsmouth in Britain. The Poles settle, mainly in London where they form the country’s first Polish community (Lennard Goodman, a judge on the BBC tv show, Strictly Come Dancing, is descended from one of their number).

1833

Britain assumes control of the Falkland Islands from the Argentine confederation, and they remain part of the country’s overseas possessions from this point onwards.

1835

London is excluded from the 1835 Municipal Corporations Act, and various attempts are made thereafter to create a unitary entity.
     
     
House of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha
AD 1839 – 1917Victoria was the daughter of Edward, duke of Kent, a younger brother of George IV and William IV who had died within a couple of years of her birth. Her mother was Victoire, the sister of Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (who had been married to Charlotte, daughter of George IV until she died in childbirth). Victoria was to be named after her mother but the name, which was otherwise unknown in Britain, had to be Anglicised first. Victoria acceded to the throne a few weeks after her eighteenth birthday; her uncle, William IV, held onto life just long enough for that, so her controlling mother would not be regent. However, as a woman, Victoria was prevented by Salic Law from also inheriting Hanover, so that passed to the next in line; her uncle, Ernest Augustus, duke of Cumberland. Leopold became the first king of the Belgians in 1831.

1837 – 1901

Victoria Queen-Empress of India (1876).

1839 – 1840

Although born of the House of Hanover herself, her proposal of marriage to Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gothaforms a new alignment. The ceremony takes place on 10 February 1840.

 
The moment when young Victoria discovered she was queen, as Lord Conyngham (left) and William Howley, archbishop of Canterbury, kneel before her
 
  Also in 1839, Britain invades Afghanistan, intent on creating a buffer state between India and the threat posed by Persian and Russian intrigues.

1840 – 1849

In 1840, Britain unites with Ottoman Turkey to overthrow the amir of Lebanon, while the protectorate of Basutoland is recognised by Britain in 1843. In the same year, Britain and France are forced to go to war against Argentina for blocking their access to Paraguay during the Great War in South America. While that war progresses, in 1845 the USA triggers the Mexican-American War, hoping to annexe all of Texas. Britain, which still holds much of the disputed territory of Oregon, is persuaded not to intervene by an agreement which divides the territory along the 48th parallel. Britain keeps Vancouver to the north of the line (British Columbia), while the US gains Seattle to the south (Washington and Oregon). In 1849, a peace deal is agreed between Argentina and Britain.

1852 – 1856

Britain annexes lower Burma, including Rangoon, following the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852-1853. Between 1854-1856, Britain and France join the Ottoman empire in the Crimean War to halt Russian expansion. The war ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, a severe setback to Russian ambitions, although the Prime Minister is blamed for British failings in the war.

1857 – 1858

The Indian Mutiny over British rule erupts, but after some hard fighting in places it is suppressed. The last Moghul emperor is deposed and India is placed under direct control of the British empire’s viceroys, whilst subject or allied princes govern various small states.

1859 – 1860

The British begin the building of the Suez Canal in Egypt. In 1860, British troops occupy Beijing, effectively ending the Second Opium War and humiliating the Chinese Ch-ing dynasty. In the same year Britain also cedes the Bay Islands to Honduras.

1867 – 1868

Upper and Lower Canada are united with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on 1 July under the Britain North America Act. By enacting this, the British Parliament creates the dominion of Canada. The following year, Basutoland becomes one of Britain’s High Commission Territories.

1878 – 1882

In 1878, Britain leases Cyprus from the Ottoman empire as a result of the Cyprus Convention, which grants control of the island to Britain in return for its support in the Russo-Turkish War. The following year, the war against the Zulu Nation ends in British victory. Zululand is annexed in 1887. In North Africa, the British occupation of Egypt begins in 1882.

1888 – 1899

Kuwait is taken from the Ottoman empire and a protectorate is created.

1890 – 1893

A British Protectorate is created for Zanzibar in 1890. Between then and 1893 Britain also conquers the Bornu empire of Chad.
  Alfred Son. Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1893-1900).

1897 – 1898

Direct colonial rule of the former Benin empire begins and lasts until 1960. The following year Sudan is gained under joint Anglo-Egyptian governance.

1900

The Zobier Dynasty in Chad is defeated and Britain gains Borno while Chad goes to France. British troops under Robert Baden-Powell relieve Mafeking in South Africa, after a Boer siege of 215 days. In 1902 The Second Boer War ends with the Treaty of Vereeniging, which gives Britain sovereignty in South Africa.

1901 – 1910

Edward VII the Peacemaker Son.

1910

The Union of South Africa is formed, ending British control of South Africa and Zululand.

1910 – 1917

George V Son. Changed family name to Windsor (1917).

1913

Britain and the Ottoman government sign a treaty recognising the independence of Bahrain, but the country remains under British administration. Britain also annexes Cyprus, removing it from the Ottoman empire.

1914

Having jointly guaranteed in 1839 to support the neutrality of Belgium, when the country is invaded by Germany, Britain and all its territories and colonies (including Canada), France and Russia are forced to declare war at midnight on 4 August. The First World War (variously called World War I, or the Great War), has begun.

1916 – 1918

The Arab Revolt liberates much of the Middle East from Ottoman control, with Britain and the Hashemite Arabs taking control in Iraq, Kuwait, Palestine, and Syria.

1917

With the First World War against Germany seemingly in stalemate, George takes the politically astute decision to sever all familial links with his Teutonic cousins (his cousin in Belgium soon follows suit). The Royal Family’s name is changed to Windsor.
     
     
House of Windsor
AD 1917 – Present DayIn 1917 the First World War was still raging, and the armies on the Western Front seemed to have fought each other to a standstill. Back in Britain, anti-German sentiment was strong, with shops and people bearing German names being attacked, even though many of the targets were born-and-bred Englishman. The king, himself bearing the German family name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was advised that the time had come to sever all links with his European enemy. On 17 July 1917, George V made the proclamation that the name would change to Windsor, one of the monarch’s main residences to the west of London, and all German titles throughout the family would be exchanged for British peerages.EXTERNAL LINKS:
The Royal Wedding between Prince William & Kate Middleton in 2011
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – 2012 News

1917 – 1936

George V First monarch of the House of Windsor.

1918

A ceasefire is agreed with the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian empire by British, French, and Italian forces on 3 November. Germany, now alone, sees its emperor abdicate on 9 November, and an armistice is agreed to come into effect on the eleventh hour of 11 November, signalling the end of the war, although many less widespread wars continue as a result of the upheavals caused by it. In the Middle East, a British Mandate governs the Hashemite Transjordan and Palestine areas of the Middle East, which Britain had played a large part in liberating from the Ottomanempire, and this lasts until 1946.

 
George V steered Britain through the First World War and also ensured that the House of Windsor would survive at a time when most of Europe’s grand monarchies were falling
 

1920 – 1932

Under the British Mandate, the kingdom of Greater Syria is created, and then destroyed by France. Then the Hashemite kingdom of Iraq is created to administer that region. In 1932 the kingdom achieves full independence from Britain.

1923

Southern and central Ireland are given independence. The north, predominantly Protestant in faith, remains within the Union.

1931

Canada becomes a separate kingdom from Britain under the terms of the Statute of Westminster.

1936

Edward VIII Son. Abdicated 11 December.

1936 – 1952

George VI Brother.

1937

Britain separates Burma from India and makes it a crown colony.

1939

The Nazi German invasion of Poland on 1 September is the trigger for the Second World War. With both France and Britain, under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, pledged to support Poland, both countries have no option but to declare war on 3 September.

1942

Britain takes temporary control of the French Madagascar Colony.

1946 – 1947

Between 1946-1947, Britain pulls out of Palestine, while India is handed independence on 15 August 1947. Also, on 20 November 1947, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, heir to the throne, marries Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh, earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, born Prince of Greece and Denmark in Corfu in 1921, and paternal grandson of King George I of Greece. When Philip becomes a naturalised British subject in 1947, he renounces his Greek royal title.

1948

Britain grants Burma independence. This is the beginning of a period in which most of the various territories of the British empire either gain a level of independence or are handed back entirely, although many of them opt to retain the British monarch as their own head of state. The Commonwealth of Nations is born.

1950 – 1953

North Korea‘s forces attack South Korea on 25 June 1950. A multinational force made up primarily of troops from the USA, and Britain and the Commonwealth nations (including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and India), goes in to support the south. The Korean War lasts until a ceasefire is agreed in July 1953.

1952 – Present

Elizabeth II Daughter. Christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.

1953 – 1971

Britain’s imperial territories gain independence, beginning with Egypt (1954), and then Sudan (1956), Ghana, formed from Gold Coast and British Togoland (1957), the former Benin empire (Nigeria) and Cyprus (1960), Kuwait (1961), Zanzibar (10 December 1963), Basutoland (granted autonomy in 1965, with full independence following in 1966), Oman (where the British Protectorate comes to an end in 1967), and Bahrain(which declares independence on 15 August 1971 and signs a new treaty of friendship with Britain).

 
Elizabeth II and Philip, duke of Edinburgh, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the queen’s coronation on 2 June 1953
 

1982

Canada‘s last constitutional ties with the United Kingdom, apart from sharing the same monarch, are severed under Parliament‘s Constitution Act.

2003

An Anglo-American-led action leads to the collapse of Iraq‘s dictatorial regime after just twenty-one days of fighting.

2008

On 10 December 2008 voting gets underway on the Channel Island of Sark, with the outcome bringing to an end the western world’s last remaining feudal society.

2011

At a summit in Perth in Australia, the heads of the sixteen Commonwealth countries of which Queen Elizabeth II is head of state unanimously approve changes to the royal succession. Sons and daughters of any future monarch of the United Kingdom will have equal right to the throne, bringing to an end the use of three hundred year-old succession laws. Perhaps equally momentous, the ban on the monarch being married to a Roman Catholic is also lifted. The succession changes require a raft of historic legislation to be amended, including the 1701 Act of Settlement, the 1689 Bill of Rights, and the Royal Marriages Act 1772. The change to the Royal Marriages Act will end a position in which every descendant of George II is legally required to seek the consent of the monarch before marrying. In future, the requirement is expected to be limited to a small number of the sovereign’s close relatives.
  Charles III / George VII
 
Son. Christened Prince Charles Philip Arthur George. Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne.
  William V Son. Born 21 June 1982.
     
     
     
 
   

 

 

 

 

 the events of the Siege of Derry using the timeline. Divided into four sections, this illustrated timeline gives a detailed account of the key events of this important period in Irish history.

CIVIL Unrest 1603-1685

The events in Ireland before siege,

 

 

                

House of Stuart
AD 1603 – 1649

As the result of an agreement with Elizabeth Tudor in 1586, the Treaty of Berwick, the Scottish king James VI succeeded her on the English throne as James I. A descendant of Henry VII, James I was the first ruler of the three kingdoms of ‘Great’ Britain (a term he coined in 1604): England, Scotland, and Ireland. It was a union that would not be made official until 1707 when the crowns were united as one.

During James’ reign, and that of his son,

piracy in the Caribbean became fully established,

especially targeting wealthy Spanish colonies such as Hispaniola.

The first true British Colonies in North America also became

established,

beginning with the settlement of St John

in Newfoundland in 1604.

James I

 

Catholic plotters, unhappy with James’ unsympathetic attitude towards their faith (which he also shares) decide to try and blow up Parliament at the state opening,

thereby leaving the way open for a Catholic takeover of Britain.

 The plot is foiled.

 

James was crowned on the feast of St James in 1603, but the queen, a devout Catholic, refused to take Communion

 
 

Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, chief of the Powhatan Confederacy of native tribes which live around the Jamestown British Colony, visits England. The visit is partly to promote the New World English colony, and Pocahontas is greeted at court by James I and attends various functions. Embarking for the return journey in March 1617, she falls ill on board ship and is taken off at Gravesend where she dies of an unspecified illness.

 

On 21 November, the Pilgrim Fathers arrive at Cape Cod in New England on the Mayflower (formerly the Plymouth Company territory). They are leaving behind them the confused religious situation in England, hoping to found a new and better community in the New World.

 

Charles I

 

The kingdom of Mosquitia is officially recognised by England, probably during a state visit by the son of the king to the court of Charles I.

 

Charles raises his standard, declaring war on a Parliament which is determined to force a confrontation.

 In 1645

 the Royalists are routed at the Battle of Philiphaugh, defeating Charles I’s cause in Scotland. The archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, is beheaded at Tower Hill in the same year for his High Church stance against the radical Puritanism which is starting to take hold in the country.

 
   

Placing the Siege in Historical Contex

 
     

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24th March 1603

James I becomes king

Elizabeth I dies and James VI of Scotland accedes to the English throne becoming James I. James is the first Stuart ruler of England,

 uniting the three separate kingdoms of

England, Scotland and Ireland

under a single monarch.

 

  • 10th June 1688
    • Birth of James II’s son alarms Protestant subjects
    • James II’s religious views are tolerated, while he fails to produce a male heir and

 

 

  • Mary Stuart,

 

  •  
  • James’ Protestant elder daughter,
  • continues to be next in line to the throne.
  • The birth of James’ son, a Catholic heir to the throne, greatly alarms many of James’ subjects.

 

 

  • A number of Protestant noblemen ask William of Orange, Mary’s Husband, for help

 

William III (1650-1702) was joint monarch of England with his wife Queen Mary II (1689-1702).

He was born in The Hague, the son of the Prince of Orange and Mary, the daughter of Charles I of England. William married Mary, daughter and heir of the Catholic James II in 1677.

In 1688, to prevent King James from re-Catholicising England, seven English peers invited William to invade England. James fled to France. Parliament considered that he had abdicated, but MPs were worried that if his daughter Mary became reigning queen, she could have been considered a usurper. William for his part, had no intention of becoming a King Consort. He had his own uses for England and its resources, as financial aid in his fight to keep Louis XIV of France from invading Holland. William therefore insisted on becoming king and in 1689, he was offered the throne jointly with Mary. The became England’s only dual monarchy as William III and Mary II.

Parliament, however, imposed restrictions on their powers through the introduction of constitutional monarchy. The exiled James was still regarded as king in Ireland, but his attempt to win back his crown was stifled by his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The Scots were also curbed by William’s forces, though this involved a tragedy.

 

 

1689 ADVANCE THE JACOBITES
Charles II, reinstated as the monarch, was approved of by the English because he supported the English Church, but during his rule he tried to introduce increasingly liberal religious tolerance, including towards Catholicism.
Because there was still plenty of time for Charles to have an heir, there was not too much concern in England when the King’s brother converted to Catholicism around 1668.
As time progressed Charles II failed to produce a legitimate heir although it is known that he had many bastard children with mistresses. Concern continued to grow that the throne could pass to Catholic James. In 1685 Charles II died, converting to Catholicism on his death bed and ushering in Britain’s last Catholic monarch, James VII of Scotland and II of England and Ireland.
There was a great deal of concern over James VII’s religious persuasion and there had already been plots to assassinate both him and his brother. However, when the Protestants took a more careful look at the situation it was thought that it might not be as bad as it had seemed at first glance.
Although Catholic himself, James had converted after the birth of his two daughters, Mary and Anne, so when he eventually died his Protestant daughter Mary would be able to take the throne which would assuage the Protestant anxieties.
In addition, James was not a well man and was in his mid-fifties, equivalent to almost seventy years in today’s terms.
Even better news for the Protestants was the fact that his daughter Mary had married the staunch Protestant William of Orange from Holland and so a Protestant succession seemed assured. But James was not as near death as the English had hoped.

 

 

 

 


The increasing concern over the King’s Catholic activities came to a head when his new young Catholic bride produced a son and heir. The English parliamentarians were horrified as, under the British laws of succession, the son took precedence over the older daughters [1].
Suddenly the English were facing a Catholic dynasty and that could not be tolerated under any circumstances.

 


English nobles wrote to Mary along the lines of, “Hope you are well, it is fine over here. By the way, would you and your charming husband please invade!”


And that is exactly what they did. Mary had insisted that William should not just be her consort, but should also reign alongside her in his own right and so the joint monarchs William and Mary marched into Britain. James escaped with his young son down the River Thames to France. It was this escape which truly polarised the British Isles and led to all the violence which followed.
I can only recount this in very general terms as there are Protestants and Catholics in all parts of the British Isles today, but at that time the English and Northern Irish were mainly Protestant and supported William and Mary. The Southern Irish, Catholic, supported James.
The Scottish situation was rather more complex as although the majority of Scots were Protestant, the Scots have always had a great loyalty towards their monarch. There was also a very vociferous Catholic minority in the north so the Scots, at least the Northern Scots supported James.

 


While James VI ushered in the Jacobean era, it was to be his grandson, James VII for whom the name Jacobite was coined. Both derive from the Latin for James, Jacobus.
The Jacobites rose up against the illegal regime of William and Mary.
Jacobite Major “Bonnie” Dundee won a great victory at Killiecrankie, but James was thoroughly defeated at the battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1689 and that really saw the end of what became known as “The First Jacobite Uprising”.

 


In the north of Scotland, the third largest of all the Scottish castles, Urquhart, was destroyed by government forces in 1689 to prevent it being taken and used by the Jacobites who had earlier put the castle under siege. Today Urquhart is a spectacular ruin on the shores of Loch Ness, which it dominated for over four hundred years.


Incidentally, if you are visiting this castle check out the upward spiral staircase in the Grant tower. Most spiral staircases in medieval castles rose clockwise to prevent a right-handed swordsman fighting his way up, but the Grant family were mainly left-handed so they built their staircase with an anti-clockwise spiral. The spiral from the lower storage room rises clockwise as the Grants themselves would never have had to defend that stairwell. Check out them both and imagine you are carrying a three foot [2] long sword and the benefits of the design quickly become clear. This also helps explain why it was not a good idea to be a left-handed person … you would be the first to be sent up the staircase with the obvious reduced odds of surviving!
The total number of Jacobite uprisings [3] is sometimes given as three and at other times as up to five. Just to be different I intend to deal only with four of them, 1689, 1715, 1717 and 1745/6.
After the first uprising we were left with James VII living in exile in France and Mary and William reigning jointly until Mary died in 1694, meaning that William then reigned in his own right, despite the fact that he had no right!
James VII & II died in 1701, but his nemesis only outlived him for one year. While out riding one day William’s horse stumbled in a mole hill and he was thrown, breaking his collar bone.

 

 


The injury resulted in his death in 1702 and ever since, Jacobites have enjoyed a new toast, “To the small gentleman in the black furry waistcoat!”.
William never visited Scotland, but the effect of his rule will never be forgotten and included the massacre of Glen Coe when almost the entire MacDonald clan was wiped out by the Redcoats. The Campbell family were very much implicated in the treachery and this has created bad feeling ever since.
William, having left no issue with Mary, was succeeded by Queen Anne who had had thirteen miscarriages and five children who had already died. The succession was in trouble again.
In order to avoid James VII’s son becoming King a law was cobbled together meaning that the throne must remain Protestant. This meant that when Anne died, her second cousin, George, sometimes called the “wee German Lairdie” would inherit the crown.
When that day arrived in 1714, the Jacobites were infuriated. James Stewart, or James the Old Pretender (meaning old claimant) or James the Unnumbered as some like to call him, was alive and waiting in France for the call to the throne. It was now unlikely to happen and the scene was set for the second uprising.
The Earl of Mar and other supporters such as Rob Roy MacGregor raised an army and awaited James’ arrival in Scotland. They waited and waited and waited.
James turned up some three months late for his own war and during that period the incompetent Earl of Mar had lost most of the Jacobite force. James eventually arrived, took one look at how badly things were progressing, stayed ten days and disappeared back to France, never to set foot in Britain again.
The second uprising had failed, Rob Roy MacGregor walked off with his head in his hands in disgust and the clan chiefs mourned yet another entire generation of young Highlanders lost in the name of Jacobitism.
Another more minor uprising occurred in the west a while later, centred on the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle which was occupied by Spanish forces supporting the Jacobite cause.
To the east a battle was fought in Glen Shiel, but government forces were able to overpower the Highlanders and government ships also made their way in from the Sound of Sleat to destroy Eilean Donan Castle with mortar fire. The castle which goes by that name today was almost entirely rebuilt in the nineteen-thirties.
Was this the end of the Jacobite period or would there be a more decisive uprising in the future?

________________________________________
[1] This system is still in place and there are moves afoot to have it changed before William marries and causes a constitutional crisis by perhaps having a daughter prior to a son! Can you imagine the furore if a daughter should be passed over in decades to come in order to make way for a younger brother?
[2] Approximately one metre.
[3] I have chosen the word “uprising” because that is what these events were. They were not, as often described, “rebellions”. When I was scripting the Fort Augustus Abbey Heritage Centre in 1994, I remember being called into Abbot Mark Dilworth’s office and he announced to me that he was about to begin my education. He asked to what I referred with the word “rebellion” and when I said “the Jacobites” he raised his voice and said, “they were not rebellions, they were uprisings!”.
I meekly pointed out that the dictionary definitions were almost identical and he said, “A rebellion is when you are rebelling against something legal, but an uprising is when you are rising up against something illegal. James was the legitimate king and therefore it was an uprising!”. I found the logic of this undeniable and have since made every effort to get websites all over the world to change any use of Jacobite rebellions to Jacobite uprisings.

 

The recalcitrant Scots Highlanders

 were given until 1st January 1792 to swear allegiance to King William, but

 

Alexander McIan MacDonald of Glencoe

 was inadvertently late in doing so.

 The result was a fearful massacre at Glencoe in which forty members of the clan were killed, including MacDonald.

Queen Mary suffered a succession of miscarriages and stillbirths and she and her husband remained childless.

Clan Macdonald of Sleat

Clan Macdonald of Sleat
Clann Ùisdein

Crest badge

 

Profile

Region

Highland and Islands

District

Inverness-shire

Plant badge

Common heath[1]

Chief

 

Sir Ian Godfrey Bosville Macdonald of Sleat[2]

17th Baronet of Sleat, 25th Chief of Macdonald of Sleat[2]

Gaelic title

Mac Ùisdein[3]

Seat

Thorpe Hall, Rudston, East Yorkshire, England[4]

Historic seat

Dunscaith Castle;[5] Duntulm Castle;[6] Armadale Castle[7]

 

Clan Macdonald of Sleat,

sometimes known as Clan Donald North and in Gaelic Clann Ùisdein [ˈkʰl̪ˠan̪ˠ ˈuːʃtʲɛɲ], is a Scottish clan and a branch of Clan Donald

one of the largest Scottish clans.

The founder of the Macdonalds of Sleat is Ùisdean, 6th great-grandson of Somhairle, a 12th century Rì Innse Gall. The clan is also known in Gaelic as Clann Ùisdein (“children of Ùisdein”), and its chief’s Gaelic designation is Mac Ùisdein (“son of Ùisdean”), in reference to the clan’s founder. Both the clan and its clan chief are recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, who is the heraldic authority in Scotland.

The Macdonalds of Sleat participated in several feuds with neighbouring clans, most notably the Macleods of Harris & Dunvegan and the Macleans of Duart.

The clan also suffered from infighting in the early 16th century, as the leading members of the clan fought and murdered each other.

The clan seems to have grudgingly supported the Royalist cause in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and suffered grievously in military defeats against Parliamentarian forces.

The clan supported the Jacobite cause in the 1715 rebellion,

yet refused to come out for Bonnie Prince Charlie and his father a generation later in 1745. In the early 18th century, the clan’s chief was involved in a plan to sell tenants into slavery in the American Colonies. By the late 18th century, the chiefs had alienated themselves from the common clansfolk, when they seated themselves in northern England and rarely visited the old clan lands. The 18th and 19th centuries witnessed the suffering of the common clansfolk, as many were cleared off their lands at the hands of their absentee landlords. Today members and descendants of the clan live all over the world. [edit]

Sources

Much of the history of the Macdonalds of Sleat comes from traditional family histories, and it is often difficult, if not impossible, to tell fact from fiction.[8] The clan histories relevant to the Macdonalds of Sleat were composed by the shenachies (historians or story tellers) MacVuirich — the Clanranald shenachie; and Hugh Macdonald — the Sleat shenachie. Contemporary records that shed light upon the early history of the clan include charters and confirmations of charters granted by kings, and various bonds of manrent entered with other landlords and clan chiefs.

History of the Macdonalds of Sleat

 

 

R.R. McIan’s Victorian era romanticised depiction of a Macdonald, lord of the Isles.

Origins

Further information: Clan Donald and Lord of the Isles

The Macdonalds of Sleat are a branch of Clan Donald — one of the largest Scottish clans.[9][10] The eponymous ancestor of Clan Donald is Dòmhnall, son of Raghnall, son of Somhairle.[11] Traditional Clan Donald genealogies, created in the later Middle Ages, give the clan a descent from various legendary Irish figures. Modern historians, however, distrust these traditional genealogies,[12] and consider Somhairle, son of Gille Brighde to be earliest ancestor for whom there is secure historical evidence.[13] Somhairle, himself, was a 12th century leader, styled “king of the isles” and “king of Argyll”;[14] yet there is no reliable account for his rise to power.[12]

The Macdonalds of Sleat descend from Dòmhnall’s son,

Aonghas Mór; and then from his son, Aonghas Óg. Angus Óg’s son, Eoin, was the first Lord of the Isles. Eoin I’s first marriage was to Ami, heiress of Clann Ruaidhri (which was founded by Ruaidhri, elder brother to Dòmhnall, founder of Clan Donald).[15] Eoin I later divorced Ami and married Margaret, daughter of Robert II. The children from Eoin I’s first marriage were then passed over in the main succession of the chiefship of Clan Donald and later Macdonald lords of the isles, in favour of those from his second marriage.[16] Eoin I was succeeded by his son, Dòmhnall of Islay; who was in turn succeeded by his son, Alasdair of Islay. The Macdonalds of Sleat descend from Ùisdean, bastard son of Alasdair of Islay and the daughter of O’Beolan, Abbot of Applecross. From Ùisdean, the Macdonalds of Sleat are also known in Gaelic as Clann Ùisdein (“the children of Ùisdein”).[7]

15th century

 

 

Ruinous Dunscaith Castle, Skye.

The castle was once a Macleod stronghold.[17] It became the earliest seat of Clann Ùisdein in the lands of Sleat.[5]

The first record of Ùisdean

 occur in the traditional histories of the shenachie MacVurich and Hugh Macdonald. According to the Sleat shenachie, Ùisdean, along with several young gentlemen from the Western Isles went on a raiding expedition to Orkney. The tradition runs that the Western Islesmen were victorious in their conflict with the Northern Islesmen, and that the Earl of Orkney was also slain.

Ùisdean is then said to have ravaged Orkney,

and carried off much loot. According to Angus and Archibald Macdonald, Ùisdean’s expedition took place around 1460, when he did not appear to hold title to any of the lands his family who come to hold. In fact, in the year 1463, Eoin II, Lord of the Isles granted Ùisdean’s older brother, Celestine, the 28 merklands of Sleat, in addition to extensive lands in west Ross given to him in the previous year.

 In 1469, Ùisdean received from the Earl of Ross

the 30 merklands of Skeirhough in South Uist; the 12 merklands of Benbecula, and the merkland of Gergryminis also in Benbecula; the 2 merklands of Scolpig, the 4 merklands of Tallowmartin, the 6 merklands of Orinsay, the half merkland of Wanlis, all in North Uist; and also the 28 merklands of Sleat. The earliest Clann Ùisdein seat connected with the barony of Sleat was Dunscaith Castle, off the Sound of Sleat. Ùisdean played not a small part in securing the surrender of the Earl of Ross, for which he was promised by the king 20 pounds worth of land, in 1476.

The lordship of the isles was forfeited in 1493,

and Ùisdean obtained a royal confirmation for his lands granted to him by the Earl of Ross in 1469. Ùisdean died in 1498, and was buried at Sand, in North Uist.

During his life, Ùisdean had several wives

and several known children by other women.[5] Some of Ùisdean’s sons would go on to play a large part in the history of the clan in the early 16th century. His eldest son, Eoin, would go on to succeed him.[5] Other notable sons included: Dòmhnall Gallach, son of the daughter of a prominent member of Clan Gunn (Caithness is called Gallaibh in Gaelic).[18] Another son was Dòmhnall Hearach, so-called from the fact his mother was a daughter of Macleod of Harris, and where he probably spent a portion of his early life; Aonghas Collach, so-called from the fact his mother was a daughter of Maclean of Coll; Gilleasbaig Dubh was the son of a daughter of Torquil Macleod of the Lewes; and Aonghas Dubh was the son of a daughter Maurice Vicar of South Uist.[19]

 

 

 

 

Early 16th century

 

 

Duntulm Castle in Trotternish, Skye.

Trotternish was the subject of territorial feuding between the Macdonalds of Sleat and Macleods of Dunvegan in the 16th and early 17th centuries.[6][20]

On the year of his succession,

Eoin resigned the lands and superiorities to the king. In consequence, the lands of Kendess, Gergryminis, 21 merklands of Eigg, and 24 merklands of Arisaig were then granted to Ranald Bane Allanson of Clanranald (chief of the Macdonalds of Clanranald).

 In 1498, the king granted to Alasdair Crotach

(chief of Clan Macleod) two unicates of the barony of Trotternish with the office of the bailiary of the whole lands thereof. Also the same year, the king granted Torquil Macleod of Lewis (chief of Clan Macleod of Lewis) the same bailiary of Trotternish which was granted to the chief of the Clan Macleod, and also the 4 merklands of Terunga of Duntulm and 4 merklands of Airdmhiceolan. A and A Macdonald noted that during the minority of the Stewart kings in the 15 and 16th centuries many charters for the same lands were granted to several individuals.

It is no wonder that in 1498 James IV

revoked all charters given during the period prior to his coming of age. In 1505, Eoin resigned the lands of Sleat and North Uist, including Dunscaith Castle, to Ranald Allanson of Island Begrim. On his death, the chiefship of the clan passed to Dòmhnall Gallach, second son of Ùisdean.[21]

Because of the way in which his predecessor had granted away the clan lands, there is no contemporary record of Dòmhnall Gallach. The only record of Dòmhnall Gallach is from tradition. According to the Sleat shenachie, he was present at

the Battle of Bloody Bay in 1484,

and there fought on the side of Aonghas Óg against his father, Eoin, Lord of the Isles. Even though Dòmhnall Gallach’s legal right to much his father’s lands was given away by his predecessor, he and his brothers managed to physically hold on to their lands in Skye and Uist. Notwithstanding Clanranald’s charter, Dòmhnall Gallach had his seat at Dunscaith Castle. Dòmhnall Gallach did not reign long as chief as he was murdered in 1506, by his brother, Gilleasbaig Dubh. The brothers Gilleasbaig Dubh, Aonghas Dubh and Aonghas Collach also conspired together and murdered their other half-brother, Dòmhnall Hearach, on the Inch of Loch Scolpig. Not long after the murders, Ranald Bane of Moydart forced Gilleasbaig Dubh to flee Uist, whereupon he participated in piratical career in the southern Hebrides for about 3 years. Gilleasbaig Dubh earned the favour of the Government by handing over similar pirates John Mor and Alister Bernich, of Clan Allister of Kintyre. After doing so he returned to the lands of Clann Ùisdein, assumed the leadership of the clan and took possession of the bailiary of Trotternish, all with the consent of the Government.[19]

 

 

Clann Ùisdein chaos

During the time of Gilleasbaig Dubh’s piratical career, the traditional history of Clann Ùisdein is a tale of violence and lawlessness.[19] According the Sleat shenachie, Aonghas Collach travelled to North Uist with a number of his followers and spent the night the home of Dòmhnall of Balranald (who was a member of Sìol Ghorraidh: descendants of Gorraidh, youngest son of Eoin and Ami MacRauiri).[19][22] Balranald happened to be away from home at the time, and that night Aonghas Collach attempted to rape his wife (who was a Macdonald of Clanranald). After her escape to South Uist, she alerted her friends and family. The result was that a body of 60 men, led by Donald MacRanald, and large contingent of Sìol Ghorraidh men marched north and surprised Aonghas Collach at Kirkibost. There 18 of Aonghas Collach’s men were slain and he himself was taken prisoner. He was then sent to Macdonald of Clanranald, in South Uist, and tied up into a sack and cast into the sea. Another of Ùisdean’s sons, Aonghas Dubh was also made prisoner by Macdonald of Clanranald, and was long held captive. One day he was permitted to run on the Strand of Askernish in South Uist, to see if he could run as well as he could prior to his incarceration. Aonghas Dubh then attempted flee his guards, however he was then wounded in the leg by an arrow. The wound was considered incurable and Aonghas Dubh was summarily put to death.[19]

Soon after his return, Gilleasbaig Dubh’s took revenge on Sìol Ghorraidh for their treatment of Aonghas Collach, and put many of them to death. The manner of Gilleasbaig Dubh’s death is also recorded by the Sleat shenachie. This account tells how Dòmhnall Gruamach, son of Dòmhnall Gallach, and his half-brother Raghnall, son of Dòmhnall Hearach, went to North Uist to visit Gilleasbaig Dubh who had murdered their father. One day, the two half-brothers, Gilleasbaig Dubh, and their henchmen, went hunting south of Lochmaddy. While the attendants were beating up the hill the three men sat waited for the game to appear. In time, Gilleasbaig Dubh eventually fell asleep and Raghnall killed his uncle. A and A Macdonald gave the date of Gilleasbaig Dubh’s murder at probably about 1515–1520.[23]

 

 

 

 Mid to late 16th century

 

This section requires expansion with:
Dòmhnall Gorm.

 

 

This section requires expansion with:
Ranald Collach.

 

 

A 16th century engraving of a Highland galley or birlinn.

The Hebridean clans utilised such vessels in their constant warring with other.

Dòmhnall Gallach succeeded to the chiefship

 after the death of Gilleasbaig Dubh. In 1521, the chief rendered a bond of manrent to Sir John Campbell of Cawdor. A and A Macdonald stated that this bond may have led the Sleat chief to follow Cawdor, in 1523, on the Duke of Albany‘s campaign against England. The campaign did not go well for the two chiefs, as both Sleat and Cawdor’s names are recorded on a remission for leaving the field of battle during the siege of Wark Castle.

A and A Macdonald

also stated that it was likely on their return from the borders that Cawdor and his followers (including Sleat) murdered Lachlann Cattanach Maclean of Duart, in Edinburgh.

 

 

In 1524,

 Dòmhnall Gruamach entered into an alliance with the chief of Clan Mackintosh;

and later in 1527,

he entered into bonds with Mackintosh, Munro, Rose of Kilravock and Campbell of Cawdor.

 In 1528,

 Dòmhnall Gruamach received considerable support from his half-brother, Iain, son of Torquil, chief of Clan Macleod of Lewis. That year their combined forces were successful in driving out the Macleods of Harris & Dunvegan, and their vassals, from the barony of Trotternish. Dòmhnall Gruamach, in return, then aided Macleod of Lewis in obtaining effective possession of Lewis. Macleod of Harris & Dunvegan then appealed to the Privy Council, and that year a summons was issued to the chiefs of Sleat and Lewis. As conflicts in the Hebrides increased over time,

the Privy Council ordered the chieftains of the isles to appear before the king in 1530.

The following year Sleat, Macleod of Harris & Dunvegan, and Mackinnon of Strathardill were frequently cited before Parliament but failed to appear. After 1530, Dòmhnall Gallach’s chiefship seems to have been uneventful and peaceful, as there is no record of his name in state records until his death, in about 1537.[24]

The chiefship of the clan then passed to Dòmhnall Gallach’s son, Dòmhnall Gorm.

Dòmhnall Gorm was killed at Eilean Donan in 1539

 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Dòmhnall Gormeson. As Dòmhnall Gormeson was only a child at the time of his father’s death, the leadership of the clan went to his granduncle, Gilleasbaig Clèireach, son of Dòmhnall Gallach. According to the Sleat shenachie, the Privy Council made a strong attempt to apprehend the young chief during his minority. The traditional history has it that he was sent to the safety of Ruairidh Macleod of Lewis. Though afterwards, Gilleasbaig Cleireach took Dòmhnall Gormeson to England, where the young chief lived for several years.

In 1554,

with anarchy prevailing in the Highlands, the Queen Dowager took control of the Government and attempted to restore peace and order.

 Her lieutenants, Argyll and Huntly, were ordained by the Privy Council to passify the most unruly chiefs, among these was Dòmhnall Gormeson. Shortly afterwards, Dòmhnall Gormeson appears to have submitted to the Government, and for about 8 years obediently ceased to quarrel with his neighbouring chiefs. However, by 1562, he is recorded among others Macdonalds, as receiving a remission form Queen Mary for the destruction and slaughter committed in the Maclean lands of Mull, Tiree and Coll. A and A Macdonald were unsure of the nature of these raids, though proposed that they may have something to do with a quarrel of Clann Iain Mhòir and Maclean of Duart, regarding the Rinns of Islay. In 1568 he joined Somhairle Buidhe MacDhòmhnaill and his Irish campaigning. The next year he was feuding with the Mackenzies of Kintail.[25] Dòmhnall Gormeson died in 1585, and was succeeded by his oldest son, Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr.[7]

Late 16th century

 

 

Lands possessed by the clan in the late 16th century.

Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr was still a minor at the time of his father’s death. The young chief was placed under the guardianship of his granduncle, Seumas of Castle Camus.

In 1575, Seumas of Castle Camus

 agreed to pay the dues owing in the lands of North Uist, Sleat, and Trotternish, which had been owed to the Bishop of the Isles since the death of Dòmhnall Gormson. This document shows that Seumas of Castle Camus and Clann GhillEasbaig Chlèireach (“the children of Gilleasbaig Clèireach”) had divided up the lands of the Macdonalds of Sleat. A and A Macdonald stated that Clann GhillEasbaig Chlèireach possessed themselves of Trotternish (with Dòmhnall, son of Gilleasbaig as bailie of the region); while Seumas of Castle Camus held the bailiary of Sleat. For the year 1580, there is evidence that the possessors of clan estates were behind in their payments to the Bishopric of the Isles and the Iona Abbey — so much so that an Act of Council and Session was passed ordering a summons against Dòmhnall and Ùisdean, sons of Gilleasbaig Cleireach. The following year Seumas of Castle Camus and Clann GhillEasbaig Chlèireach were declared rebels, and forfeited for their failure to pay their dues, and their escheat was granted to the Bishop of the Isles.[26]

 

 

Castle Camus, known since the 17th century as Knock Castle,

 is located in Skye. It was once a Macleod castle though it was captured by the Macdonalds of Sleat in the early 15th century. The castle was finally abandoned in 1689.[27]

In 1585,

Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr and his retinue were sailing to visit Macdonald of Dunivaig & the Glens of Antrim, but were forced to take shelter in Jura, which was then divided between Maclean of Duart and the chief of Clann Iain Mhòir. Unluckily for the Macdonalds of Sleat, they landed on Maclean of Duart’s portion of the island. That night they were attacked by a large body of Macleans, at a place called Inbhir a’ Chnuic, and tradition states that 60 of them were slain and that the chief had only escaped because he had fallen asleep upon his galley.

This conflict was only the beginning of a bloody feud between the Macdonalds of Sleat and the Macleans of Duart. It is not certain exactly what conflicts transpired, though by September 1585,

James VI had written to Ruairidh Mòr Macleod of Harris & Dunvegan, requesting him to assist Maclean of Duart against the Macdonalds who had done Maclean of Duart much injury and were threatening even more. By 1589, the feud had come to an end.

The next year,

 the Sleat chief, and his brothers Gilleasbaig and Alasdair, his granduncle Seumas of Castle Camus, and Ùisdean, son of GillEasbaig Clèireach, received a remission for all crimes committed against the Macleans of Duart. On the power of this dispensation, Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr, Sir Lachlann Mòr Maclean of Duart, and Angus Macdonald of Dunivaig and the Glens of Antrim, were all induced to go to Edinburgh to consult the king. On their arrival they were apprehended and imprisoned, and the king and council imposed heavy fines as a condition of their release. Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr was to promise to give up £4,000 and to pledge his obedience to the Scottish Government, as well as the Irish Government of Elizabeth I.[26]

In the summer of 1594,

 Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr and Ruairidh Mòr Macleod of Harris & Dunvegan each sailed for Ulster at the head of 500 men each. They force was intended to support Aodh Rua Ó Domhnaill who was besieging Enniskillen Castle.

Later in 1595

 another expedition of Hebridians was made to support the Irish rebels against the forces of Elizabeth I. Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr raised a fighting force of 4,000 men and sailed to Ulster in a fleet of 50 galleys and 70 supply ships. The fleet was however blown off cource and was attacked off Rathlin Island by 3 English frigates. 13 Macdonald galleys were sunk and another 12 or 13 were destroyed or captured off Copeland Island, at the entrance to Belfast Lough.[28]

Bitter feuding with Macleod of Harris & Dunvegan

 

 

Ruinous Teampull na Trionaid, in North Uist,

near the site of the battle fought by the 40 Macleods and 15 Uistmen, in the late 16th century.

Not long after returning from Ireland,

a feud seems to have arisen between Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr and the chief of Clan Macleod, Ruairidh Mòr. The Sleat chief had married the sister of the Macleod chief, and after some time sent her back to Macleod. Tradition has it that she was blind in an eye, and was mounted upon one-eyed horse, followed by a one-eyed dog, and accompanied by a one-eyed man.[7]

The Macleod chief was outraged and immediately had Trotternish ravaged. The Macdonalds of Sleat then retaliated by attacking Macleod possessions in Harris. This then led to Ruairidh Mòr leading a warband of 60 men on a raid in North Uist.[29]

The Macleod chief’s relative, Mac Dhòmhnaill Ghlais (“the son of Dòmhnall the grey”),[note 1] and 40 followers managed to possess themselves of the goods that the Uistfolk has hidden in Teampull na Trionaid (“trinity church”), at Carinish. However, the Macleods were attacked by a celebrated Clanranald warrior, named Dhòmhnall MacIain ‘Ic Sheumais, in command of 15 men. The Macleods were outmanoeuvred by Dhòmhnall MacIain ‘Ic Sheumais, and were slain almost to a man. Mac Dhòmhnaill Ghlais and a few of his followers fled for the island of Baleshare, but were run-down by some Uistmen and killed on the spot which ever since been known as Oitir Mhic Dhòmhnaill Ghlais (“the strand of the son of Dòmhnall the grey”).[7]

The feud then became even more viscous, with both sides constantly raiding one another’s territories, and the common clansfolk caught up in the middle of the warring were reduced to such an extent that they were even forced to eat dogs cats to sustain themselves.

The Macdonalds of Sleat later made one final strike against the Macleods. At the time, Ruairidh Mòr was away seeking assistance from Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll. Seizing upon the moment, Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr, led an all out invasion of Minginish and Bracadle, in the north of Skye. The Macdonalds took much spoil in the form of cattle and drove them to Coire na Creiche, overlooking the Cuillin hills.

 Here the Macleods mustered themselves, led by Alasdair, brother of the Macleod chief. The Battle of Coire Na Creiche lasted into the night and when the fighting subdued the Macleods were utterly defeated in what has since been the last clan battle to have ever have been fought on the Isle of Skye.[29] By now, Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr and Ruairidh Mòr’s feud had escalated to such an extent that the Privy Council interfered, and ordered the two chiefs to disband their forces.

The Macleod chief was ordered to surrender himself to the Earl of Argyll and the Sleat chief to George Gordon, 1st Marquess of Huntly. Not long afterwards the two chieftains were reconciled with each other by mutual acquaintances. Through meetings and Eilean Donan and Glasgow, it was agreed that peace should be preserved. By the end of 1601, the bloody feud, between Ruairidh Mòr and Dòmhnall Gorm Mòr, had come to an end.[7][29]

Early 17th century

In 1608

after a century of feuding which included battles against the Clan Mackenzie and Clan Maclean all of the relevant Macdonald chiefs were called to a meeting with Lord Ochiltree who was the King’s representative. Here they discussed the future Royal intentions for governing the Isles. The chiefs did not agree with the king and were all thrown into prison. Donald, the chief of the Macdonalds of Sleat, was incacerated in the Blackness Castle. His release was granted when he at last submitted to the King. Donald died in 1616 and then Sir Donald Macleod, his nephew succeeded as the chief and became the first Baronet of Sleat.

Mid-17th century: civil war

Further information: Scotland in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Sir James Macdonald, 2nd Baronet of Sleat, had just succeeded his father, in 1644, when civil war broke out in the British Isles. At the time the population of his estates was estimated to have been about 12,000, and in consequence he would have been a power to be reckoned with within the Highlands. According ot A and A Macdonald, it seems that the baronet had not been very enthusiastic for the royal cause.

In the autumn of 1644,

when Alasdair MacColla arrived on the west coast, with Irish auxiliaries supplied by the Marquess of Antrim, he offered command to Sleat, yet Sleat declined the offer. Following the battle at Inverlochly, Montrose marched northwards. Shortly before the Battle of Auldearn, Montrose wrote to the Laird of Grant, informing him that, among others, 400 of the baronet’s men had joined him. It is unknown who led the Macdonald of Sleat contingent, or what part they played in the campaign. A and A Macdonald considered it probably that the Sleat men fought under the command of the baronet’s brother, Donald Macdonald of Castleton. The Sleat men continued with the campaigning following

the defeat at the Battle of Philiphaugh.

They took part in the siege of Inverness. When the king surrendered to the Scottish Army at Newark, and ordered Montrose to disband his forces, the Sleat men returned home to Skye and Uist. The baronet then made terms with the Committee of Estates, for himself and his principal followers who had taken part in the insurrection.

The Duke of Hamilton marched down to recover the king. The Hebridean men had mustered in large numbers and were a part of the force which was defeated at the Battle of Preston in 1648. After the expedition had failed, the engagers were replaced in the Government by a new Committee of Estates, with Argyll at their head. In 1649, the baronet was cited to find caution for good behaviour. The baronet took no notice.

In the summer of 1650, Charles II arrived in Scotland

and was crowned at Scone. In expectation of Cromwell’s advance, he appealed for support to his Highland supporters. The baronet was given a commission to levy a regiment on his estates in Uist and Skye-which was completed

in January, 1651

and then marched to support the king. At the Battle of Worcester they formed a part of the Highland wing of the army. The Sleat men and the Macleods suffered severely in the battle, and only a remnant ever returned to their homes in the isles. After the defeat, the king fled to the continent, and the baronet made peace with Commonwealth of Scotland. Later the baronet refused to aid the Earl of Glencairn and others in 1653. He was hard pressed by his former allies, notablly Glengarry who was a noted loyalist.[31] The 2nd baronet died in 1678 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Donald Macdonald, 3rd Baronet of Sleat.[7]

Late 17th century

In the decade following the death of James there is little record of the Macdonalds of Sleat. The chief, the 3rd baronet, was in ill health and seems to have lived a quiet life.

 In 1685, Argyll and others landed in the Western Isles

 and the Privy Council ordered Sir Donald to raise 300 men, and have them in Lochness in June. The insurrection however came to an abrupt end when Argyll was exectuted, and the Sleat men returned home before the end of June without seeing battle.

 When Dundee appealed to the Highland chiefs

 for their support to James VII, Sleat was among the first to join at the head of 500 men. The 3rd baronet however became ill just as he reached Lochaber, and the Sleat men were led by his son, Donald. At the Battle of Killiecrankie, the Sleat battalion was posted on the extreme left wing and suffered severely during the ensuing conflict. Among the slain were five of the principal officers, all cadets of the Macdonalds of Sleat.

With the collapse of the rebellion,

after the Highland men had returned home, the Government made an effort to treat with the Macdonalds of Sleat. While the baronet’s son, who had led the clan in battle during the rising, was willing to consent under certain terms, the baronet remained stubborn and refused to communicate William II’s emissaries.

 After a while the Government took steps to force the chief into obedience,

 and two frigates were send to Skye. After fruitless efforts at negotiating the frigates began shelling two of the chief’s houses, burning them to the ground. Lowland troops then landed and fought with Sleat’s men, though were forced back to their ships, suffering 20 dead.

In time the he came to peace with the Government, though it is unknown the of the manner or the terms of the surrender. The Macdonalds of Sleat were at friendly terms with the garrison at Fort William, yet were at odds with other Macdonalds. In 1694, the chief and Macdonald of Camuscross made a complaint to the Supreme Council against, Alexander Macdonald, Younger of Glengarry; Aeneas Macdonald, his brother; and several others in Knoydart. Sleat and Camuscross claimed that the men had conceived “ane deadly hatred and evil will” against them, committing acts of violence against them and their possessions. The 3rd baronet died at Armadale in 1695 and was succeeded by his son, Donald Macdonald, 4th Baronet.[32]

18th century

 

 

Sir Donald Macdonald, 4th Baronet. He was also known as Dòmhnall a’ Chogaidh (“Donald of the war”).[33]

The 4th baronet distinguished himself as leader of the clan in his father’s lifetime. From the beginning of the 18th century to the eve of

the Jacobite rebellion in 1715,

 he lived in Glasgow, and had no contact with his clan in the Hebrides. During this period, according to A and A Macdonald, it would appear that he was in close contact with the Jacobite factions. The 4th baronet was not present at the Jacobite gathering at Braemar in September, when the standard was raised by the Earl of Mar.

 He travelled to Skye to raise his followers, which have been estimated from 700–900 men. In around the beginning of October, the baronet at the head of his men, joined the Earl of Seaforth at Brahan, and together proceeded to Alness. They put to the flight the Earl of Sutherland, with the Sutherland and Reay men, the Monros, Rosses and others. The baronet fell ill and returned to Skye, leaving command of the Sleat men to his brothers, James and William. When Government troops were sent to Skye the baronet then fled to North Uist. In April 1716, the baronet offered to surrender himself in term of the recently passed Act of Parliament, pleading that he was not healthy enough to travel to Inverlochy to surrender in person as the act required. However, when he failed to appear he was found guilty of high treason, and his estates were accordingly forfeited[33] (however his titled does not appear to have been forfeited).[34] The Commissioners of Forfeited Estates then proceeded to survey the baronet’s estates. The survey found that the clan lands were in very poor condition and the people were in extreme poverty. For example, the tenants of North Uist had lost 745 cows, 573 horses and 820 sheep by a plague. The sea, too, had overflowed in parts of the land and destroyed many houses. The Skye estates were in similar condition with the loss of 485 horses, 1,027 cows and 4,556 sheep. The 4th baronet died in 1718 and was succeeded by his only son, Donald.[33]

Immediately following his father’s death,

 the 5th baronet petitioned the Court of Session to rule that his father had indeed obeyed the Act of Parliament, by submitting his written surrender to the Government. The Court of Session ruled in favour of the baronet, and that he had not been forfeited of his estates. The Forfeited Estates Commissioners however appealed to the House of Lords, who subsequently ruled in favour of the appellants.

The baronet died young, in 1720,

and was succeeded by his uncle, James Macdonald of Oronsay.[note 2] The 6th baronet had served the clan at the Battle of Killiecrankie, and led the Sleat men at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. Despite his support to the Jacobite cause, he supported George I in 1719 during the Spanish invasion which ended at the Battle of Glen Shiel. The 5th baronet outlived his nephew by only a few months, and died in 1720.[35]

 

 

Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat, 7th Baronet

During the forfeiture of the clan’s estates, the children of Sir James petitioned Parliament, in which they were successful, to receive £10,000 out of the estate of the desceased Donald. At the same time, provisions were also made for the widow and children of Donald. In 1723, Kenneth Mackenzie, an Edinburgh advocate, purchased the three barones of Sleat, Trotternish and North Uist for £21,000. After deducting the provisions to the families of Donald and James, and the debts due to the wadsetters and others, the purchase price was nearly exhausted, and only £4,000 went to the public. In 1726. Kenneth Mackenzie and Sir Alexander Macdonald, 7th Baronet, the heir male, entered into a contract of sale, whereby the whole estate which had belonged to Sir Donald was sold to Sir Alexander.

 In 1727, Sir Alexander

 received a Crown charter for his lands, erecting the whole into a barony — called the Barony of Macdonald.

In 1739, the 7th baronet

 was involved in an infamous case of the kidnapping of men and women from the Hebrides, with the intent of selling them into slavery in North America (see relevant section below).

The 7th baronet was notable among the Macdonald chiefs to have refused to join the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.

 His voiced his reasoning to Macdonald of Clanranald, stating the such rising was inopportune, with the chance of any success remote. A and A Macdonald noted that he would have also been grateful to the reigning House of Hanover, for the restoration of the clan’s estates, which had been forfeited in the last rebellion. During the rebellion the 7th baronet raised two independent companies for the Government cause.[36] The 7th baronet died in Bernera,[37] in 1746, and was buried at Kilmore, in Sleat. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir James.[36]

 

Sir Alexander Macdonald, 9th Baronet of Sleat and 1st Baron Macdonald of Slate

The 8th baronet suffered from ill health as a child and while still comparatively young he was injured in a hunting accident. He attempted to regain his health in a warmer climate, when he left the British Isles for Italy, in 1765.

His health, however, finally failed him in 1766,

when he died in Rome, where he was buried.[7][38] He was succeeded by his brother, Alexander, who was at the time, an officer in the Coldstream Guards.[38] A and A Macdonald described the 9th baronet as being of a completely different temperament than that of his older brother. They described his tastes as “if note wholly English, at least entirely anti-Celtic”. The 9th baronet raised the rents upon his estates, and evicted many of the poorer tenants from their holdings. During his chiefship, several tacksmen in Skye and Uist gave up their leases and emigrated. When Boswell and Johnson visited Skye

in 1773,

they encountered an emigrant ship, filled with tacksmen and their tenants, about to set sail. In 1776, the 9th baronet was made Lord Macdonald in the Peerage of Ireland. In 1777, he offered to raise a regiment on his estates, which the Government accepted. The regiment was named the 76th Regiment of Foot (Macdonald’s Highlanders) and was 1,086 men strong; 750 of whom were from the baronet’s lands on Skye and North Uist.[39] The Macdonalds were well represented in the officers of the unit with men from the families of the Macdonalds of Glencoe, Morar, Boisdale and others.[40] The regiment embarked for New York,

in 1779,

and served with distinction the American Revolutionary War. It returned home, and was disbanded in 1784.

In 1794, the baronet raised three volunteer companies in Skye

 and Uist, for the defence of the country and relief of the regular army.[39] He married Elizabeth Diana, eldest daughter of Godfrey Bosville of Gunthwaite, (in the County of York, England). He died comparatively young,

 in 1795,

and was succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander Wentworth.[7][39]

19th century to present

 

 

Armadale Castle consists of a country house built in the 1790s and the remains of a burnt-out mock castle built in the 19th century. Today the 20,000-acre estate is the site of the Clan Donald Centre and the Museum of the Isles.[41][42]

 

 

Godfrey James Macdonald, 8th Baron Macdonald bronze bust by sculptor Laurence Broderick

Alexander died in 1795

 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander Wentworth Macdonald, 2nd Baron Macdonald.

The 2nd baron lived

 for the most of his life in England and abroad, and consequently associated little with the tenants on his Hebridean estates.

In 1798,

 he received permission from George III to raise a regiment on these estates; however the islanders were unwilling to join, and very considerable pressure was brought to bear upon them before the full complement of men was finally recruited. He erected the mansion house at Armadale, in Sleat, which was the principal seat of his family.[7]

 The 2nd baron died unmarried in 1824

and was succeeded by his brother, Godfrey Bosville – Macdonald, 3rd Baron Macdonald.[43] The 3rd baron was baptised as Godfrey Macdonald, and legally changed his name to Godfrey Bosville, in 1814. After succeeding his brother in 1824, he changed his name to Godfrey Bosville – Macdonald. The 3rd baron had served in the British Army prior to his succession and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant-general, in 1830. He was also involved in a controversial dispute over the chiefship with Glengarry, which took place privately and publicly in the press.[7]

He died in 1832

and was succeeded by his second eldest son, Godfrey William Wentworth Bosville – Macdonald, 4th Baron Macdonald.[44] Under the 4th baron, vast portions of the clan inheritance were sold off, including North Uist and Kilmuir in Trotternish which included Castle Duntulm.[7] He died in 1863 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Somerled James Brudenell Bosville – Macdonald, 5th Baron Macdonald.[45] The 5th baron died in 1874, aged 25, and was succeeded by his brother, Ronald Archibald Bosville – Macdonald, 6th Baron Macdonald.[46] The 6th baron was succeeded by his grandson, Alexander Godfrey Bosville – Macdonald, 7th Baron Macdonald,[47] who was in turn succeeded by his son, Godfrey James Macdonald, 8th Baron Macdonald.[48] The 8th baron is the current chief of the name and arms of Macdonald and high chief of Clan Donald.

Illegitimacy and inheritance: modern chiefship

The current chiefs of Clan Donald and Clan Macdonald of Sleat both descend from the 3rd baron (Macdonald of Macdonald from his second son; Macdonald of Sleat from his eldest son). This reason for this is because the 3rd baron’s eldest son, Alexander William Robert Macdonald, was considered to be illegitimate under English Law.[49] In consequence, the eldest son could not inherit the title Baron Macdonald in the Peerage of Ireland. However, since the baronetcy (Baronet of Sleat) was a Scottish title,

it was later ruled in 1910,

that the eldest son could succeed to that instead.[50]

 

 

The island of Càrna on Loch Sunart

 Cara is the current chief’s slogan.

The 3rd baron had married an illegitimate daughter of William Henry, Duke of Gloucester,

 in 1803;

and the 3rd baron’s eldest son, Alexander William Robert Macdonald, was born before that, in 1800.[11] In 1832, Alexander William Robert Macdonald had his name legally changed to Alexander William Robert Bosville.

Later in 1847,

he inherited his father’s Bosville estates in Yorkshire, England.[51] In consequence, he remained in Yorkshire and his younger brother, Godfrey William Wentworth Bosville – Macdonald, 4th Baron Macdonald, inherited the Scottish estates, titles, and chiefship. In 1910, Alexander Wentworth Macdonald Bosville, grandson of Alexander William Robert Bosville, obtained a decree from the Court of Session, which declared that Alexander William Robert Bosville was the eldest lawful son of the 3rd baron, and was accordingly the rightful heir.[3][11] He then changed his name to Alexander Wentworth Macdonald Bosville – Macdonald and was recognised as the 14th Baronet of Sleat,[52] as such became the 22nd chief of Macdonald of Sleat.[3] He died in 1933 and was succeeded by his son, Godfrey Middleton Bosville – Macdonald of Sleat;[53] who was in turn succeeded by his son, Alexander Somerled Angus Bosville – Macdonald of Sleat;[54] who was succeeded by Ian Godfrey Bosville Macdonald of Sleat, 17th Baronet — the current chief of the clan. The chiefly family has been seated at Thorpe Hall, Rudston, East Yorkshire since the 3rd baron’s eldest son inherited the Bosville estates in the 18th century.[3]

Forced emigration and slavery of clansfolk

 

 

A restored black house in Trotternish, Skye.

 Such houses were the dwellings of common Hebrideans during the era of the Highland Clearances.

In 1739,

the 1st baron was involved in the infamous kidnapping of men and women from Skye and Harris, with the intention of transporting them to the American Colonies and selling them into slavery. Other prominent men involved were Norman Macleod of Dunvegan (chief of Clan MacLeod), Donald Macleod of Berneray and his son Norman Macleod. During the night, Macleod of Berneray’s son, Norman, arrived at Skye with a ship which has ever since been known as Soitheach nan Daoine (“the ship of the people”).[55][56] He then proceeded to force on board men, women, and children, from all levels of society. As the ship sailed towards North America with its human cargo, it was driven by a storm onto the northern coast of Ireland and wrecked. The passengers were however rescued, and most of them settled on the lands of the Earl of Antrim, though a few, after great difficulties managed to return to their homes in the Hebrides.[55]

The 4th baron and chief of the Macdonalds of Sleat, resided over one of the more notable forced evictions of Highlanders during the era of the Highland Clearances.[57] Those that drew particular controversy were the forced evictions of the small community of Sollas, in North Uist,

 in 1849 and 1850

.[58] During the 1849

 evictions rioting broke out in which the Uist women played a prominent role.[59] During the 1830s, tenants were cleared from his estates on Skye; and during the years 1838 and 1843, 1,300 people were removed from their homes in North Uist, to be replaced by sheep.[58] Several of the Sollas rioters were arrested and eventually found guilty, yet the jury made the following written comments afterwards:

… the jury unanimously recommend the pannels to the utmost leniency and mercy of the Court, in consideration of the cruel, though it may be legal, proceedings adopted in ejecting the whole people of Solas from their houses and crops without the prospect of shelter, or a footing in their fatherland, or even the means of expatriating them to a foreign one …[60]

 

Mary died of smallpox in 1694,

to the deep grief of her husband. However, with the agreement of Princess Anne, Mary’s sister and the next direct heir to the throne, William remained king until his death after a fall from his horse in 1702.

 

 

 

 

 

  •  recounts the key events in the 105 day siege.

 

 

19th April 1689

The city prepares for the siege

Inside the city’s walls, a council of fifteen officers is created. Colonel Henry Baker is elected as governor with the Reverend George Walker, a Church of Ireland rector, as his assistant. The new Governor sets up a defence plan, dividing the city into sectors and assigning a regiment to each sector. Two cannon are mounted on the tower of St Columb’s Cathedral, facing south towards the Jacobite lines. The remaining cannon are placed along the walls.

  • Aftermath August 89 – July 1690 looks at the end of the Jacobite campaign in Ireland.
  • Move between sections using the labelled menu buttons at the top of the page. Navigate between events using the stars in the timeline at the top of the page or the next and back buttons.

 

4th August 1689

Major-General Kirke receives a Guard of Honour

Kirke enters Londonderry and is received by the Governors of the town. The streets are lined with cheering people, as Kirke walks in procession to Governor Mitchelburne’s house.

The officers of the garrison stand at the head of their troops of half starved soldiers. Of the 7,500 men regimented inside the walls at the beginning of the siege, only 4,300 are left alive and a fourth of those are unable to serve.

The sick and dying lie in their damaged houses unable to view the ceremony. After 105 days of siege the population of the town has been severely reduced by starvation and famine and the backyards, gardens and cellars are filled with graves.

The Jacobites had lain before the city for fifteen weeks with estimated loses of between 2,000 and 8,000.

Mary died of smallpox in 1694,

to the deep grief of her husband. However, with

the agreement of Princess Anne, Mary’s sister

 

 and the next direct heir to the throne, William remained king until his death after a fall from his horse in 1702

 

 

 

 

 

Troubled Northern Ireland

 

By Chuck

We called Martin McCrossen, a tour guide recommended by Rick Steves. He was great. When I told him we had a camper and there are no campgrounds to be found, he told me we could come to the “set down point” for coaches and park all day. It’s next to the Tourist Information Center so all we had to do was program Susan and she took us right to the door. We have found that this works very well when we are entering a new city. Because there is a lack of campgrounds, we will only spend the day here, moving on about an hour south.

“The town of Derry (or Londonderry to Unionists)is the mecca of Ulster Unionism. When Ireland was being divvied up, the Foyle River was the logical border between ther North and the Republic. But, for sentimental and economic reasons, the North kept Derry, which is on the Republic’s side of the river. Consequently, this predominantly Catholic city has been much contested throughout the Troubles.” Rick Steves

We fell across Martin McCrossan’s sixty minute Derry tours in our copy of Rick Steves’ Ireland. That sounded about right to us. There is no camping convenient to the city; so we planned this as a stop along the way between Bushmills and our stop in County Donegal on the way to Galway. We called for reservations and to explain that we were concerned about parking for Homer, but Martin told us how to use the coach (bus) setdown point to secure parking for the day.

We arrived one hour early; in order to be sure we found our location before the tour began, we left a large time buffer. But, silly us, we neglected to clarify whether the tour began at the parking spot. It did not. At 10:03am, we called, frantically, to see if we were supposed to be elsewhere. We were! Racing to the present location of the tour, which had just gotten underway, we caught up with John, our guide, and the rest of his small group. He brought us quickly up to date as we walked to the next location.

Derry has had several names over the centuries, all related. The Irish called it ‘daire’ the oak grove; the oak is still the symbol of Derry. Originally called Daire Calgach, it may have been the fortress of a fierce warrior in pre-Christian times. In the 12th century, the settlement was known as Doire Cholmcille, in honor of St. Colm Cille (Columba). The prefix ‘London’ was added in 1613 to acknowledge the support of City of London Companies who invested in the city.

We walked along the formidable wall of this old city. It provided a vantage point to see the historic sites and had its own impressive history. This wall has been under siege 3 times, but has never been breached. The longest siege was 105 days, ending in 1689.

 

Siege Memorial and Mass Grave

There is a story associated with the siege that concerns the Apprentice Boys. These 13 orphaned lads from London congealed wavering thought on whether or not to admit the advancing Catholic army to the city by slamming shut the gate to Derry. This began a long history by Protestants of refusal to give in.

No Surrender. The red, white and blue marks painted on the sidewalk indicate that this is a Protestant neighborhood.

The tour largely focused on the Troubles between Unionists (Protestants) and Nationalists (Catholics). The outbreak of violence in the 1970’s followed a period of peaceful demonstrations modeled after Martin Luther King’s non-violent protests in the American South. The anti-discrimination aims in Northern Ireland were for better housing, voting rights and jobs. [Voting was tied to home ownership and poor Catholics rarely had the means to own property.

Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972, marked the culmination of escalating violence—14 persons died as a direct result of British troops firing upon the assembled crowd. The Catholics were, as usual, throwing rocks and bottles. It is disputed whether the troops fired proactively or in response to a shot from the demonstrators. There have been two commissions charged with finding out the facts. The first is generally acknowledged as a whitewash. The second, completed in June, 2010, resulted in an apology. Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons the conclusions were “shocking” and that he was “deeply sorry.” The Army’s actions were “unjustified and unjustifiable.”

At the end of the formal tour, we went on our own Bogside tour of the murals concerning the Troubles.

This mural is called The Death of Innocence. It portrays Annette McGavigan who was the 100th victim of the Troubles and one of the first children to die; she was shot by a British soldier as she went grocery shopping and was killed in the crossfire between the IRA and the Government. The butterfly was originally painted in drab hues; the painter said he would color it brightly when peace finally came; a few years ago, he brightened up the butterfly.

Peace and Equality–The Dove and the Colored Squares

 

These men wanted to wear civilian clothes as political prisoners were allowed; they refused to wear the prison garb they were assigned. Instead, they wore blankets.

Petrol Bombe

 

Bernadette Devlin

Memorial to those who were imprisoned without trial or who died fighting against oppression and for a United Ireland.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, publicly apologized in June, 2010, for what many consider the most egregious of acts during this period—the internment of prisoners. This policy permitted the British to imprison suspects indefinitely, without the need of supporting evidence or a trial. By 1980, one third of the buildings within the walls of the city had been damaged or destroyed as a result of the Troubles. Things were so bad at the time that one of the jokes from that period is about an Irish widow, Maggie, who heard a loud noise from inside her house; she rushed to the door and stuck her head out asking her neighbor, Pat, “What was that?” “Ah, Maggie, it is but another bomb.” “Oh, Thank God,” said Maggie; “I thought it was thunder.”

Some of the historically important marches and related confrontations continue to this day, in muted form. These days there is discussion between the parties regarding the timing and particulars of some of the marches, to minimize the sources of conflict. The joke around here is that there are 5 seasons: January, February and March, March, March. The bonfire to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne is due to take place next Monday, July 12. This 1690 battle was where Catholic James II was defeated by the Protestant King William of Orange. From this point forward, orange was the color of pro-English, pro-Protestant supporters.

Bonfire Preparations

I must say that I was choked up several times during the tour as John recounted the many troubles of this small part of Ireland from the 17th century to the near past. I concur, wholeheartedly, with his hope that the Troubles are forever a thing of the past. One encouraging sign in this direction is that about 10 percent of the school age children are religiously integrated now, and the number is rising.

Designed by local teacher Maurice Harron after the fall of the Iron Curtain, this metal sculpture was inspired by the growing hope for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Hands Across The Divide

City Wall–canon and flowers

An interesting footnote from WWII: The German U-boat fleet commander, at the end of the war, gave the order for all the submarines to surface and make their way to Derry to surrender. Derry had been a major port during the war and was host to Brits, Canadians and Yanks. Unfortunately, all were sunk or used for target practice. None remain for historical purposes.

One funny story told by our tour guide was about the Americans. They brought something crucially important to the war: Silk stockings. One Yank and they were off.

The Neo-Gothic Guild Hall is the ceremonial seat of city government. It was destroyed by fire in 1913, bombed by the IRA in 1972. It has impressive, expressive stained glass windows throughout the building.

Guild Hall

It is possible that the author of “Amazing Grace” received inspiration from St. Columb’s Cathedral, the first post-Reformation cathedral in the British Isles. Having narrowly escaped a shipwreck in an Atlantic storm in 1748, Captain John Newton repented his former life as a slave trader; after the ship put into Foyle for repair, a bullet accidentally went through his hair while he was with a shooting party. This second near-death experience convinced him that God was on his side. He prayed twice a day in the Cathedral until his ship was ready to sail again. [There is a movie, Amazing Grace, that tells the story of the man who worked to end slavery in Britain.]

Derry today, a nice city to visit

A city fit for war and merchandise…for ever a free, entire and perfect city and county of itself, to be called the City and County of Derrie. ~ Charter from James I, 1604

The end @copryright Dr iwan suwandy 2012-02-02

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