The Legacy of the Civil War


Monarchy was restored in 1660 as Charles II returned from exile, but the repercussions of the Civil War were to be felt for many years to come. Another civil war was only averted in 1688 when Charles's Roman Catholic brother, James II, was driven from his throne. He was accused of attacking the liberties of England and bestowing favours upon the Catholic Church as a prelude to enforcing his religion on the nation. The "abdication' of James was followed by the election through Parliament of a new King and Queen. The crowning of James's daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, met with general approval, but a substantial minority of Jacobites continued to give their allegiance to the deposed James II. When he died in 1702, they transferred this allegiance to his son, James Edward, the "Old Pretender'. Twice, in 1715 and 1745, Jacobite rebellions began in Scotlandand spread south of the border in abortive attempts to restore the Crown to the "Old Pretender'.

Understandably, the Government was nervous during these periods of unrest and took action against any person suspected of sympathising with the Stuart dynasty. In 1715 customs officers at Cardiff were ordered to watch for visitors from the continent, who "secretly carry on seditious and treacherous designs against His Majesty's government'.

As so often in times of tension there is evidence of over-reaction, and Glamorgan was no exception. John Thomas was presented at the Great Sessions in 1714 for drinking "Health to the Prince of Wales'. The jury decided there was no case to answer, presumably because of some uncertainty about which Prince of Wales was being toasted. Two years later, four men from Cardiffand Roath were charged with causing a riotous assembly in the town. They were wearing oak leaves, the symbol of the Stuarts, allegedly "to incite sedition and insurrection among the King's subjects'. The outcome is not recorded but almost certainly there were other people who made their views known, especially after partaking of too much ale. Sympathisers, who had no wish to be arrested, adopted the common practice of drinking to the "King across the water' by surreptitiously passing a hand over their glass.

In 1745 the Port Authorities were again instructed to be vigilant against Jacobite infiltration. The patriotic reply was sent, that there were no Papists or Non-jurors among the gentry of Glamorgan, except for a few "of the meanest sort'. As Bonnie Prince Charlie advanced into England, unguarded comments were once more enough to attract the attention of the law. David Jones was accused of shouting forth in a public place at Llanedeyrn, "Make room for King James's man' and "God save King James'. He pleaded guilty but the sentence of the court is not revealed.

The case of David Morgan of Penygraig, the son of Thomas Morgan of Coed-y-Goras, was far more serious. He refused command of a regiment from Prince Charles but became one of his counsellors. It was a decision which was to cost David his life, as he was later tried for treason at Southwark and beheaded on Kennington Common. If Bonnie Prince Charlie had advanced beyond Derby, it is possible that many more Welshmen would have served in the Stuart cause but, after the Battle of Culloden, that cause perished for ever.