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Reinvading England: Beyond Derby to Swarkestone Bridge

South to Derby and South Again to Swarkestone Bridge - with Prince Charles Edward

The Trustees had vowed to make the journey to Derby to relive the Derby Moment 261 years after Bonnie Prince Charlie was there. The invitations were graciously extended by the Charles Edward Stuart Society in the City of Derby - and by the City's Mayor, Councillor John Ahern.

The first destination was Swarkestone Bridge, the furthest south that The Prince went on his famous campaign in 1745. This bridge was at the time the main route across the River Trent. Beyond the bridge itself pictured below in splendid sunshine a causeway runs for over half a mile across the associated flood plains. If the Prince was to make his way south the Trent had to be conveniently crossed and wisely he had sent an advanced party ahead to take command there. It is in such circumstances that the re-enactment begins.

click on all images to enlarge

Realising its significance somewhat late in the day the Hanoverians send redcoat soldiers to retake it, and at first they are successful. However, after this reverse the main army of The Prince approaches in the company of Lord Elcho and the spectacular World Champion 'Drambuie Pipes and Drums'. The bridge is retaken. That done, the troops retire to the Crew and Harpur hostelry for refreshment.

The pictures below one modestly hopes can come somewhere near to recapturing the drama and excitement of the day enjoyed by a large crowd in winter sunshine. The sheer dedication and skill of the re-enactors was a delight to observe and all who had not seen the like before, including the Trustees and indeed The City of Derby's Mayor, were immeasurably impressed.

[The Mayor of Derby (centre) is pictured with the Chairman of South Derbyshire Council, Councillor Mike Lauro, and the Baron of Prestoungrange for the Trustees who watched all these events unfold. They later laid wreaths at the cairn built by the Charles Edward Stuart Society to commemorate the action on the 250th Anniversary in 1995.]

Published Date: December 4th 2006

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