The Jacobites and Britain 2: The Extent of English Jacobitism


Sir John Hynde Cotton tartan suit, from National Museums Scotland

Sir John Hynde Cotton was a Tory MP for 44 years from 1708 to 1752, representing at various times Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, and Marlborough. He has been called "one of the most zealous Jacobites in England". This is a photograph of his splendid tartan suit from National Museums Scotland.

The first article in this Series written by John Provan demonstrated how divided Scotland was by the Jacobite cause. We dismantled the myth that the Jacobite Risings could be crudely labelled as Scottish v English conflicts.

Our second article looks at the much-neglected, yet fascinating world of English Jacobitism; an intricate web of parliamentary factions, secret societies and a popular movement which would result in English regiments being raised for Prince Charlie in the '45, and ultimately lead some English Jacobites to take part in the fateful Highland charge at Culloden.

The roots of Jacobitism in England were deep and it commanded sympathy amongst some very high figures. The Archbishop of Canterbury William Sancroft was absent at the crowning of William and Mary on 11 April 1689, and the ceremony had to be performed by the Bishop of London in his stead.[1]

Some four hundred clerics and college fellows, including Sancroft and nine bishops, refused to take the new oath to William and Mary, and non-Juring Anglicans – those who refused to swear an oath of allegiance – would prove to be a consistent pool of support for Jacobitism.[2]

This was at a time when Westminster was divided along Whig and Tory lines, and some Tories remained loyal to the exiled pretenders. This was especially so after the Protestant Stuart line died out with Anne. Traditional Anglican Tories balked at the accession of the Lutheran German Electors of Hanover to the throne in 1714.[3] These Tories gave the Stuart pretenders a direct say in Parliament by taking instru