A truly Northumbrian uprising

The new exhibition at Balifgate Museum commemorating the anniversay of the 1715 uprising
The new exhibition at Balifgate Museum commemorating the anniversay of the 1715 uprising

An exhibition remembering one of the most important periods of history for Alnwick is closing in just over two weeks’ time.

Bailiffgate Museum has been commemorating the Northumbrian Jacobites and the 300th anniversary of an ill-fated attempt to restore the Stuart monarchy.

The exhibition has a number of items on loan and from private collections that have never been displayed in public before.

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Jacobite rising of 1715 led by James Francis Edward Stuart.

Less well documented is the history of a local land-owning family and two brothers, who, following their participation in the rebellion, also became martyrs because of their refusal to renounce their Catholic faith.

The exhibition looks at the Radcliffe and Forster families, both prominent landowners in north Northumberland.

In the run-up to the uprising two Northumbrians, James Radcliffe and Thomas Forster, were suspected as Jacobite sympathisers, and a warrant for their arrests was issued.

The collection features a number of items from various places including Bamburgh Castle, which Thomas Forster owned during the time.

He went on to become a general of the Jacobite army during the 1715 uprising.

Roy Bearpark, operations manager at Bailiffgate Museum, said: “The vast majority of exhibitions and events and anything we do for the public is volunteer-led.

“I think one of our primary purposes is to preserve and celebrate the history of Alnwick and district, so this falls very much in our remit.

“When we’re talking about the significant anniversaries this year, the signing of the Magna Carta and the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, this is a very significant event in the region, so it’s something we’ve almost got a duty to present to the people of Alnwick but also to visitors to the region as well.

“It’s only here for the next couple of weeks, but a lot of the research will bolster our collections and, of course we’ve had the opportunity to work with different partners and develop it.

“We’ve had loans from Bamburgh Castle, the Northumbrian Jacobites Society and Newcastle University, so there’s been a lot of opportunity to develop relationships with other cultural organisations as well.

“This will hopefully allow them to develop their knowledge of the collections too, so I guess the legacy is to improve regional heritage in the cultural section as well as the public.”

The exhibition runs until Sunday, July 5. tickets are £4 for adults, £3 for concessions and £1 for children aged five to 16.