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that have survived among the old families in the district, the most
important fact to them being that in many cases the horses were never
seen again ; in still more numerous cases men had their boots begged,
borrowed, or stolen, for the petticoat men had come barefoot from the
Highlands, and were getting footsore. The shoes of the lowland Scotch
were being worn out, and yet they did not like shoon made from treen
as they described the wooden clogs of Lancashire. On the whole the
plunder was very little, and in some cases valuables were left behind, for,
years afterwards, a bag of money was found buried near this bridge that
was supposed to have been hidden temporarily by someone who was
engaged in its construction. Not many years since a bayonet belonging
to this time was found in the case of an old-fashioned cottage clock, and
the short sword of a Highlander was long preserved at a farmhouse. I
lately tried to get this sword, but all my informant could learn was that
it had been used for chopping turnips, and was now lost. Chopping
turnips instead of the heads of hereticks, "to what vile uses do we come?"
The owner of this sword had been shot from behind a hedge in Ringway.
He was probably one of the two hundred who had gone towards
Altringham, by Stretford, then turning to the left for Wilmslow, and
was murdered by someone who flayed him and kept his skin, in a similar
spirit to that of the Duke of Cumberland, who regarded a Highlander
as ^ wolf.

Dim memories and legends of the building of the bridge, and the
passage of the Highlanders, have been handed down from sire to son in
many an old farmhouse in the district. Of all occupations farming is


the one that changes least, and where men are born and bred on the
same spot for generations, and till the same fields that their fathers
tilled, their hereditary occupation and their training causes them to
notice, and have in remembrance, what their fathers have told them
as to anything remarkable in the seasons that are past the floods, the
frost, or the drought, and their effect upon the crops, or any eventful
deed that has been done in the district.

But let not everyone imagine that he can soon get to know from a
farmer all that the farmer knows, or some little bird may chance to hear
a dialogue something like the following :

" Oh, Mr. Chawbacon, I hear your great grandfather was on this
farm when the rebels came ; can you tell me anything of the old times ?"

Mr. Chawbacon thinks to himself: "Here's another o' them Man-
chester cotton devils coming to moyther me and teach me farmin an get
what he can out o' me. Noa, I dunna know much ; times was a vast
deal betteren than they are now for farmers. Why, my grandfayther
sold his wheat at a ginny a bushel, an we canna get moren a ginny a
looud now, an ten strike to th' acre beside. Them was times, them wos."

" But about the rebels and the Highlanders, what do you know of
them ?"

" I know nowt about em 'ceptin we lost th' horses ; whether they
was rebels or King's men, we lost, that's aw as I knows. I ne'er bothers
my head about rebels; it tayes one aw one's time to scrattle th' rent

" It seems to me you farmers are not energetic enough, if you'll
excuse me saying so. You want more stock, and more poultry, and


better butter. Now a knowledge of chemistry would teach you what
manures to use. Geology, also, is neglected, and entomology and
botany; very few farmers can tell even the names of all the insects and
grasses on their farms. And bookkeeping ; do you keep books
at all?"

"Oh, aye; ween a big family bible, with pictures, and a Pilgrim's
Progress, and Harvey's Meditations in the Tombs. Th' women folk reads
em on Sunday nights, but I goes to sleep. Ween no time to read
gradely, things is too bad."

" But you should exert yourself, my good friend."

" Xert be damned ; you fine town folk would talk a toad to death
wi your jaw-breaking words and your book larnin, and yet you couldner
grope a hen nor skin a rabbit, nor tell grass from seeds nor stirks from
steers. If my head could ache you'd make it; but I wunner jow my
breens wi such. You towns folk are as ignorant as dirt," and, uncon-
sciously quoting Shakespeare as Shakespeare probably quoted some
farmer of his day, the old man hobbles off with a rheumatic hip
as he gazes towards the far fields where he goes to "look the

The citizen thanks God he is not like the old fossil of a farmer, and
looks forward to the time when, having made enough money (an uncer-
tain and receding time), he can buy land of his own and show the poor
farmers how to farm. The dialogue is ended, however, though the
desired information has not been obtained, and it is probable the farmer
goes to his home, after his meditations in the fields at eventide, to a
sound sleep and healthy rest, justified rather than the other.


Thirty or forty years since any old native of Didsbury, speaking of
the open space in front of the inns where the large gas lamp and the
cab stand now are, would have called it the Duke's Hillock. If asked
where the Duke's Hillock was, he would have replied on the High
Street, or the high road, where the last bit of the green was, near to the
alehouses. If a youth of inquiring mind had asked for more particulars
as to who was the Duke and what had become of the hillock, all he
could learn was that the old native could not just bethink him of the
name of the Duke, though he had heard it, and as to the hillock it
must have been " wore down." Hillock, of course, means a little hill or
mound of earth. When I first heard the tale I always associated it
with the hill in the Stenner; but that was only irritating to the old men,
who said one was Stenner Broo, the other was Duke's Hillock on the
green. So the old name was fast dying out, as the old natives died out
and others arose who were strangers in the land ; they altered the
names, and cared nothing for history or old associations. It is difficult
to know why they altered them, for the old names were as cheap as the
new ones. Parts of the green were enclosed, and the footpaths were
stopped, for the land was becoming more valuable, and recreation
grounds would add to the rates ; but respect for old names is an
innocent amusement that costs nothing, and is disregarded only by the
very ignorant. No history that I could find mentions the Duke's
Hillock, though Didsbury is mentioned in connection with the '45.
There were several dukes in both armies who may have been at Dids-
bury about that time. On the whole I think it most probable that the
legend relates to the Duke of Perth, who, as a general in the Prince's


army, would most probably halt at Didsbury while the bridge was
being completed. And tradition, again, says that officers of the army
addressed the people both here and at Cheadle. The day being Sunday,
some of these addresses were from the pulpits of the churches ; and as
the greater part of the army had to wait some hours for the bridge to
be completed, it is almost certain they would wait or halt on the large
open space of the green, which was then twenty times larger than it is
now (extending over the shooting butts field and the bowling green),
and there their commander's standard would be raised on some hillock,
and the general, perhaps the Duke of Perth, addressed the army and
the people.

It was towards three o'clock before the bridge was ready for the
passage of the artillery and baggage waggons. The route from Didis-
burye green to the Cheadle boat, where the bridge was made, would be
by the path that went in a south-easterly direction from the church to
the ferry boat, and by Dark Lane, that is the old lane that went from
Milngate to the road near to the bridge (this lane has been stolen from
the public by the landowners, and so far I have not been able to get
anyone to help me to prevent the theft). The cavalry crossed the river
by the fords, for Miss Byrom mentions Lord Elcho's division as passing
Baguley Old Hall, so he probably crossed by Northen ford or Barlow
ford. There were other troops under Lord Balmerino, Lord Kilmarnock,
and Lord Pitsligo. The Prince himself crossed on foot higher up the
river nearer to Stockport, wading through the water, which reached to
his middle, he being a tall man. Awaiting his crossing of the Mersey
were some of the Cheshire gentry, and here took place the following


incident as given by Lord Mahon in his history, his informant being
Lord Keith: "Amongst those welcoming the Prince was Mrs. Skyring,
a lady in extreme old age. As a child she had been lifted up in her
mother's arms to view the happy landing, at Dover, of Charles the
Second (1660). Her father, an old cavalier, had afterwards to undergo,
not merely neglect, but oppression, from that thankless monarch; still,
however, he and his wife continued devoted to the Royal cause, and
their daughter grew up as devoted as they. After the expulsion of the
Stuarts, all her thoughts, her hopes, her prayers, were directed to another
Restoration. Ever afterwards she had with rigid punctuality laid aside
one-half of her yearly income to remit for the exiled family abroad,
concealing only the name of the giver, which she said was of no impor-
tance to them, and might give them pain if they remembered the unkind
treatment she had formerly received. She had now parted with her jewels,
her plate, and every little article of value she possessed ; the price of
which, in a purse, she laid at the feet of Prince Charles, while, straining
her dim eyes to gaze on his features, and pressing his hand to her
shrivelled lips, she exclaimed, with affectionate rapture, in the words
of Simeon, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace!'
It is added that she did not survive the shock, when, a few
days afterwards, she was told of the retreat. Such was the old spirit of
loyalty in England. Such were the characters which history is proud to
record, and fiction loves to imitate." Lord Mahon quotes some more
instances of self-devotion to the Stewarts by English men and women,
and adds: "But in that year the most common feeling throughout
England was indifference. As Charles advanced from Manchester he


found the people very little inclined to assist him, and displaying no
fellow feeling with the 'wild petticoat men,' as they called the High-
landers. On the other hand, they showed an equal unconcern to the
interests of the reigning family, and looked coolly on the struggle as they
might upon a game, forgetting that they themselves formed the stakes
of the players." He admits that a Protestant government was prefer-
able, and yet laments " How greatly have we now improved upon
those unphilosophical times! How far more judicious to value kings
and governments, like other articles, only according to their cheapness
or convenience ! How much safer always to acknowledge the reigning
sovereign as the rightful one !"

Everyone has heard of Flora Macdonald, yet few have heard of
poor old Mrs. Skyring, though her faith and devotion were as strong
and sublime as any recorded in history. When we read of such sacrifices
in our own land and lineage, in our own parish and 'mid our own
people, they are, indeed, brought nearer home to us. Among other
instances of devotion may be mentioned the local one of Mrs. Townley,
who was aunt to Ormerod, the historian. He saw her " grasping as an
amulet or holy thing a crown piece of James the Second which she
never loosed, and she died grasping it. The impression was worn from
the coin, and a hardened furrow in the palm of her hand was cut deeply
into by the nails of the curved fingers."

What a scene there must have been on this eventful Sunday in the
old church of Didisburye. Women had flocked for safety with their
children to the church as to a place of sanctuary; the regular service
was suspended; war's wild alarms were ringing and echoing outside.


Roman Catholic priests with the Prince's army have been accused of
prematurely claiming their churches again, and in the midst of the
throng there may have reappeared the tall figure of Barlowe, the Jesuit,
calling upon officers and men to come to the church and ask a blessing
on their work. To the people he would say: "These are good soldiers
of the Church who will never harm you, who will help and befriend you,
and who merely wish to set the rightful king upon the throne again. I
would that all of you were such as they, for it is written, ' Let him that
hath no sword sell his garment and buy one.' Heed not the idle
clamour of those who seek to frighten you by old wives' fables from the
straight path of right and justice. 'Whatsoever thou findest for thy
hand to do, do it with thy might.' Emulate the deeds of the blessed
warrior and martyr, King Oswald, your patron saint, who fell near here
when in warfare against the heathen. You, also, may fall in warfare, if
not against the heathen, against a foreign usurper who has unjustly
seized upon the sacred office of King of England, and who now calls
himself the Anointed of the Lord. If you do fall, you fall as soldiers
of the church militant upon earth and as martyrs in the cause of justice.
We know that some of the proudest families of England bow the knee to
the German usurper. They are apostates from the faith of their fathers
they are traitors, alike to their country and to their God. We are united
in striving for the King to have his own again. In that we are agreed,
and though my faith is not the faith of the legalised schism of the
present day, yet these old walls were consecrated by us. Here your
forefathers and my forefathers sleep their last long sleep here, in this
church, which in their life they loved, and where in their death they lie.


Here they were brought for their baptism ; here they knelt in prayer ;
here they were wed; and here they lie. By these consecrated walls
around us and by the sacred dust below us, by all that men hold most
holy upon earth, I charge you, Captain Fletcher, and you, men of
Didisburye, who are soldiers in his company, I exhort you, I plead with
you, that you rest not, slacken not, falter not, until, until ' thou hast the
victory won, or won the martyr's crown.'"




16 '


There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries. Brutus.

l* *

V* -__^,'

HE names of two spots in Didsbury convey
some reference to the events of the '45, but
the traditions respecting them are so vague
as to be scarcely worth noting, excepting for
the fact that there would undoubtedly be
some truth in the origin of the traditions.
The places are Scotchcroft and Kingston;
they adjoin one another and the old village green. There was a Duke
of Kingston in the army of the Duke of Cumberland, and a part of this
army, the regiment of Liverpool Blues, retreated from Stockport after
destroying Lancashire Bridge. According to one of my old informants,
the Duke of Cumberland marched through Sharston (that is, on the route
from Liverpool to Stockport), where he " pressed " (that is, compelled to
enlist) a big young man, called Podmore, who was ploughing in a field


at the lane end near Sharston. This man was taken, nearly naked as
he was, as was the custom in those days when working; he proved
a valuable recruit, for he fought at Culloden, was wounded twice, was
shot through the mouth in Flanders and left for dead; went through
many wars in many countries, and finally died at Styal, aged 95. He
was six feet four inches in height, and there may still be people living
who remember him. Another soldier of this regiment lies buried in
Cheadle churchyard ; but of him I cannot learn anything excepting there
is recorded in the parish registers of burials, "December 4th, 1745. W.
Livesley, a soldier in the regiment of Liverpool Blues." It is possible
this man was killed in some affray on this first of December, for it is
evident he was a soldier when he met his death, though history relates
nothing more concerning him. The vague tradition respecting Scotch-
croft and Kingston, as previously referred to, simply states that the
Scotch or Prince's army was at Scotchcroft while the English or
Hanoverian army under the Duke of Kingston was at Kingston, but the
armies separated without injuring one another. It may have been that
the vanguard of the one came up to the rearguard of the other, but if it
had been anything of greater importance some of the histories would
have recorded the fact. There were some pits called The Famous Pits,
behind the old toll bar at Parr's Wood. I never could find the origin of
the name " Famous," but I should judge it to have been from something
that occurred about this time, as the pits were exactly on the route of
the army.

The Manchester Regiment arrived at Wilmslow on the night of the
first of December, and at Congleton the night after. One division of the


army went through Macclesfield; here Ray, who wrote "a compleat
history of the Rebellion" (having a deal to say about those lousy rebels,
who he described as being like the ancient Goths, bold and daring, and
inured to hardships), had to retreat from the Angel Inn in a hurry,
leaving his "instruments of death, pistols, stock-lock and barrel of
polished steel inlaid with silver, and Andrew Ferrara sword," behind him.
The landlord of the inn was taken prisoner as a boy was stabbed in the
tumult. The Duke of Cumberland had barely time to retreat from
Congleton with his ten thousand men. At the Red Lion, Talk-o'-th'-
Hill, that is part way between Congleton and Newcastle, Lord Elcho
took prisoner Captain Vere, or Weir, of the rearguard of the Duke's
army, who was suspected of being a spy, and who narrowly escaped
hanging. The Duke of Cumberland now retreated to Stone Town-field,
leaving most of his baggage at Newcastle, while Lord George Murray,
turning more to the left, by a forced march, got to Ashbourne, where he
joined with the other division of the Prince's army that had gone
through Macclesfield, and together they marched for Derby, where they
arrived the next day, December the fifth.

By these skilful marches and manoeuvres the Prince had now got
past both the Hanoverian armies, and was within one hundred and
twenty-seven miles of London ; his outposts were at Swarkston Bridge,
six miles further on the road. The way to the capital was open,
powerful friends were there expecting him, and everything seemed as
favourable as it was possible to be. The Prince was considering whether
he should enter London on horseback or on foot, whether he should
wear the English or the Highland dress, and in the midst of his joyful


anticipations the doom of his race seemed to overshadow him. So far
it had seemed as if " Heaven herself had made all opposition to fall
before him," but here at Derby his bosom friend the Duke of Perth read
in the St. James's Evening Post that the French troops were counter-
manded and that a strong English fleet was guarding the Channel, and
also that his brother, Lord Drummond, a general in the French army,
had landed with reinforcements at Montrose. A council of war was
held, and against the wishes of the Prince it was decided to retreat
Lord George Murray, the real head of the army, had been dissatisfied
with the help they had received in England, and he thought it madness
to advance still further with only six or seven thousand men and five
hundred cavalry, with Wade's army in the rear and the Duke of
Cumberland's on the right flank. There were the guards and some
other regiments at London, but the loyalty of these regiments could
not be implicitly trusted, for one of them, the celebrated Black Watch
regiment, was composed of Highlanders who were known to have three
hundred relations in the Prince's army, and symptoms of rebellion had
already appeared. It seems probable now that the Prince would have
had better fortune, though he would have had more risk, if he had
followed his luck and gone on. It was known that the Duke of Norfolk,
Sir Watkin Wynn, Lord Barrymore, and most of the Roman Catholic
nobility and gentry were anxious for the success of the Stewarts. The
head of the Government, the Duke of Newcastle, was said to be " at his
scanty wits' soon reached end," trembling and hesitating as to which
king he should serve. The sensation in London on black Friday, the
sixth of December, when the news of the Prince's arrival at Derby


became generally known, was intense. The Bank of England was
paying its customers in sixpences so as to gain time and keep its
money; business was suspended, and men generally " held their breath
for a time." The news had been first brought to an "Assembly" party of
the nobility and gentry, and they, like the company at the celebrated
ball on the eve of Waterloo, melted away. If the Prince had continued
his advance from Derby with the same rapidity that he had hitherto
marched, he would undoubtedly have surprised the great city. The
Duke of Richmond, who commanded the cavalry of the Duke of
Cumberland's army, wrote a letter from Lichfield in the early morning
of the fifth of December, saying he was then setting out for Coventry
and Northampton, but quite despairing of doing anything to check the
Prince's advance. A camp was being formed (on paper) at Finchley,
but it was also asserted that King George had ordered his most precious
effects on board his yachts, and they were to be ready to sail at a
minute's warning. The confusion and terror in London could scarce be
credited. Lord Mahon sums up the case as follows : " I believe, then,
that had Charles marched onward from Derby he would have gained
the British throne ; but I am far from thinking he would long have held
it. Bred up in arbitrary principles, and professing the Romanist religion,
he might soon have been tempted to assail a people jealous of their
freedom and a Church tenacious of her rights. . . . The English
would have expected a much better government than King George's,
and they would have a worse." There would have been " a necessity
for a new revolution."

It is little use speculating on what might have been. . The resolve


to retreat was kept secret, but it was acted upon, and for some distance
the Highlanders, who always marched in the early morning before
daylight, thought they were advancing. Their grief and indignation
was intense when they found they were retreating, and they made loud
lamentations as they marched. They had been sharpening their
weapons and taking the sacrament during their day's rest at Derby,
looking forward to and longing for the fray. Now all was changed ;
discipline was relaxed, their Prince rode dejectedly behind them, in-
stead of marching on foot at their head ; some of the country people
began to take liberties with them, and that led to acts of outrage and
reprisals. The glamour of success was gone, and the charm was broken,
as soon as steps were being retraced. The Prince never recovered his
spirits until he was over the border again, and his conduct to Lord
George Murray, who was mainly responsible for the retreat, was very
harsh. Lord George had promised to bring up the rear, the place of
danger and difficulty, and right well did he accomplish his difficult
task. Of the Prince's army that left Scotland it was computed that
all but forty men returned thither. From Edinburgh to Derby and
from Derby to Glasgow they marched five hundred and eighty-two
miles in fifty-six days (including days on which they halted), and
the Prince's major domo during that time never took off his clothes
but on the one night in Manchester. If some modern Xenophon
ever writes another Anabasis ', here is the theme for another Glorious
Retreat of the Ten Thousand, here in our own land, and perhaps
he will eulogise Lord George Murray for the great feat that he did
so well.


Lord Elcho wrote in his Memoirs that when he was leaving Derby,
being in command of the Prince's Life Guards, a Mr. Morgan, an
Englishman, came up to Mr. Vaughan, one of their officers, and, after

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