On the Trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie - The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745

Ref: C3669302

Prince Charles Edward Stuart sailed from France and raised his flag at Glenfinnan, in the West Highlands, hoping to raise an army and overthrow King George II. He nearly succeeded. 1745 was the year that made him a tragic-romantic hero.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion as a turning point in British history and to explore the reality of the ’45 and the way it continues to be obscured by legend and fiction.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

In June 1745, Charles Edward Stuart aimed to regain the thrones his grandfather, the Roman Catholic convert James VII of Scotland and II of England and Ireland, had lost in 1688–90 to his nephew and son-in-law William of Orange (who reigned as William III). We will look briefly at the background to the rebellion and the way in which religion, the North-South divide and sentiment coloured perceptions of the rebellion now and then. We will follow in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie considering how his audacious plan ground to a halt at Derby and ended in failure at Culloden. We will explore what happened to the prince and to the men and women who followed him. We will also consider why this period of history continues to have such romantic appeal.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

To summarise the course of events that led to the deposition of James II and the accession of the Hanoverians. To list in chronological order some of the key events of Charles Edward Stuart's year in the British Isles. To discuss, with evidence, three reasons for his ultimate failure to retake the crown. To discuss, with examples, the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 in popular culture. To identify three ways in which the demise of the Jacobites could be described as the birth of the Modern British Isles.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Through discussion, question and answer, self-assessment and individual learning goals set at the end of the day for further research and reading.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Handouts will be provided on the day. There is only a short lunch break so you may wish to bring sandwiches and a drink.

Reading and information sources

Handouts will be provided on the day. However, http://www.historyextra.com/article/feature/10-facts-jacobites-bonnie-prince-charlie-culloden offers a useful starting point as is http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/history/union_and_jacobites/the_1745_rising/ There is a range of books available about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite rising of 1745 including the kindle book Walking with Charlie In the footsteps of the Forty-Five which is a straight forward introduction and tour guide for the Prince's journey.

What could the course lead to?

Further History courses with the WEA. The Halifax and Upper Calder Valley branch offers a selection of longer courses and day schools.

Download full course outline

On the Trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie - The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 Course Outline


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  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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