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Border Skirmishes @ Paxton House complement Tapestry Exhibition

Alan Brecks & many Friends took the Battle to Paxton House ... and this time it was a draw!

Paxton House, which stands so near to the English Border as to make it difficult to know which side you are on, has the Tapestry on display for a month over Easter. This is its second visit to the Borders and it still attracts the crowds. Last weekend, March 31st/ April 1st, the panoply available of the full 104 metres of embroidery, Gordon Veitch's BattleGame and the new animated DVD was complemented [even at times overshadowed] by the largest non-September re-enactment the Alan Brecks and Friends have staged yet.

Quiet Retreat the House was not ...

Visitors might have been expecting to find Paxton House a tranquil country retreat. If they were, they were in for quite a surprise: for two days the House found itself on the front line in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s campaign to secure the British throne! The event was fictitiously designed but realistically organised by the Alan Breck’s Prestonpans Volunteer Regiment. Hard-fought battles and fascinating displays took place across the weekend.



Early in the day a small party of Jacobite soldiers arrived at Paxton and demanded the House hand over any supplies it may contain for the use of the Prince’s army, currently planning its advance into England.



Their Captain was somewhat surprised to discover that a British garrison had taken up residence, forcing him to withdraw hastily and make camp in the grounds.



Aggressive patrolling from both sides led to several unexpected skirmishes, with the fortunes of war swinging in both directions. When a column of reinforcements approached from the British garrison in Berwick, the Jacobites launched an ambush from the woods beside the road and overwhelmed the Government's forces. Retaliation was swift, and that same afternoon the British garrison launched a surprise attack on the Jacobite camp.



Shattering their centre, the British forces recovered all their captured supplies before returning to barracks. The Jacobite defeat encouraged them to seek negotiations, but even as the rival officers agreed terms for a ceasefire a gunshot split the air. The truce broken, a rolling battle ensued as each side fought their way back to camp.



Hostilities continued similarly throughout Sunday, until a final parley secured an agreement that both sides could abandon the estate without harassment. Thus did peace at last descend on Paxton House after a weekend of furious activity and dramatic action.

The Alan Breck’s Regiment would very much wish to thank its long-standing friends from other societies for their help and support during this event: Glenbucket’s Highland Regiment, Veritas Vincit, and the Charles Edward Stuart Society.

N.B. The Exhibition at Paxton House continues for a further 2 weeks in the Picture Galley until April 18th ..... when it's off to Pornichet/ St Nazaire in France ...


Published Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The Prestonpans Tapestry created by Prestoungrange Arts Festival and the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust in support of the campaign for a Living History Centre in Prestonpans.
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