Bloody Retribution in Kennington
Long after Bonnie Prince Charlie had made his way to safety those who supported him in the 1745 rebellion were still suffering retribution. At the end of July 1746 a very public display was made on Kennington Common (now the Park there) of English supporters who had fought for the Jacobite cause.
Englishmen who joined the Jacobite army, which reached Derby then turned back and fled north, were grouped into the Manchester Regiment, Lancashire furnishing a good part of the few recruits to the cause. Among them was Francis Towneley of Towneley Hall in Lancashire, who had previously served in the French army. Towneley commanded the regiment, left in the retreat to defend Carlisle with 100 or so English soldiers and twice that number of Scots. Under the command of Colonel John Hamilton he and they were to buy time for the fleeing prince and his remaining force. They held out until December 30.
Towneley and eight fellow officers were made an example of on Kennington Common, his creative defence that he should be treated as a French prisoner of war ignored by the jury at his trial. The nine were hanged, drawn and quartered. Towneley’s head was rescued from a pike at Temple Bar, and is still kept at the ancestral home in Burnley.
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