The Manchester Regiment

One of the often overlooked facts when considering the 1745 rising is that the Jacobite forces were not only composed of Scots but also men from England and other countries too. There were a large number English Jacobites throughout the whole of the country, and a regiment of men was raised for Bonnie Prince Charlie as he marched south through the nortwest of England on his way to London. Recruited in rural Lancashire and Manchester, the regiment became known as The Manchester Regiment.


The command of the regiment and title of colonel was given to a local gentleman called Francis Towneley who was a veteran of the French service. The regiment had important symbolic value as the only English formed unit of Bonnie Prince Charlie and was remarkable for having been recruited from volunteers and in a matter of a few days.


The Manchester regiment was inspected by the prince in Manchester on 30th of November in 1745 and consisted of about 300 men of all ranks.


From Manchester the regiment joined the rest of the Jacobite army and marched with them reaching as far south as Derby. After reaching Derby the army started a retreat to Carlisle on December 6th.  At Carlisle the decision was made to garrison 400 of all ranks to hold Carlisle while the rest of the Jacobite army retreated to Scotland. The garrison comprised of 9 officers and 93 men of the Manchester regiment, the Lancashire Lads, together with 256 Scots drafted from other regiments. However, Carlisle was recaptured on December 30th by William the Duke of Cumberland and his forces when, against Colonel Towneley´s wishes, the governor of Carlisle surrendered. The only terms the Duke would grant the Jacobite rebels was that they should not be put to the sword but be reserved for the king´s pleasure.


At his trial in London on 13th July 1746, Francis Towneley´s plea that as a French officer he should be treated as a prisoner of war was disallowed. He was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Of the rest of the captured men most of the officers and sergeants were executed and the rank and file transported. A small detachment of the Manchester regiment is known to have left Carlisle with the main forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie with the task to man the Jacobite artillery.