The Jacobites were an army of soldiers who supported the restoration of the Stuarts to the British throne. The Jacobite title came from ‘Jacobus’ which means James in Latin and was named after those who supported James II in the previous risings in 1689 and 1715 and, in 1745, his exiled son “The Young Pretender.”

Jacobite supporters had many different causes for joining rebellions. It is a myth to see the Jacobites as purely Roman Catholic Scottish Highlanders, yet many Jacobites aimed to see the restoration of a Roman Catholic monarch.  Many Jacobites had been from families that supported the Stuarts during the Civil War of the 1640s. The Jacobites found support in the Scottish Highlands, confederate Ireland and the Northern English counties of Cumberland, Northumberland and Lancashire.  Large numbers of Scottish Episcopalians and English Anglicans were also Jacobites. Jacobites were also Scottish nationalists who were unhappy at the act of union of 1707 others were simply adventurers.  

In 1745 the ‘Young Pretender’ Charles Edward Stuart sailed from European exile and landed in Scotland. After eventually gaining support from Highland chiefs, the rising began. The prince took the capital Edinburgh, routed government forces at Prestonpans and headed into England with 8,000 men.

The leaders of the rebel army avoided General Wade’s army at Newcastle. Instead the army opted to take the western part of England and hoped to pick up support in Cumberland and Lancashire. Carlisle was the border fortress and gateway to England on this chosen route, the city was of strategic importance to the campaign and had to be taken. After staying in Moorhouse, Blackhall Farm and Brampton, the Prince and his army surrounded Carlisle on 13th November.  Two days later, the somewhat elderly garrison and exhausted militia which manned Carlisle Castle surrendered. Limited firing and artillery fire had occurred during the siege, and the one death of a defender was accidental.  On 18th November, Charles Edward Stuart rode into Carlisle. The victory provided the Jacobite Prince with prestige, guns, ammunition, 200 horses and a base in England. The king stayed at Highmoor House in Carlisle, before leaving to march south on 22nd September.

A garrison of 100 Jacobites were left in Carlisle and the rest of the army marched on the capital. Limited support was gained in Cumberland and Lancashire, and 300 men joined from Manchester where the Jacobite army marched on to Derby. The capital was beset by panic and there was a run on the Bank of England.  Yet the Jacobite army retreated. The Jacobite leaders’ main fear was being cut off from supplies and attacked by superior government forces which were both in front and behind their position. During the retreat north, a force of Jacobites badly mauled a Hanoverian regiment at Clifton Moor near Penrith. On 19th November the Jacobite army had retreated back to Carlisle. Two days later the Prince left for Scotland and 380 men were left to garrison the city. The Duke of Cumberland’s army laid siege with huge gun batteries on 21st December. The Jacobite garrison was forced to surrender, when news of relief from the north failed to arrive. Many prisoners were executed at Harraby Hill and at Brampton's Capon Tree.  The Jacobite army was defeated and massacred at Culloden field in April 1746, the prince fled to European exile and the cause was lost.

After the defeat of the Jacobites Carlisle could then develop and prosper in peace time.