The '45 in Northumberland and Durham.
The claims of a few enthusiastic Jacobites that Northumberland would rise for Charles were soon seen to be nonsense. Although the Government were concerned that the area might send troops to help the Pretender, the response to the first major Jacobite victory at Prestonpans was a resounding vote of confidence in the Hanoverians.
A thousand men in Berwick volunteered to defend the town, two regiments were garrisoned in Newcastle, 800 country men rode in with arms, cannon were placed on the gates, the walls were repaired, spies were sent out across the county, the Durham and Northumberland militias deployed, and a defence fund was organised with three thousand subscribers.
Within a month of Prestonpans, there were over eleven thousand armed men available to the Government in Northumberland. In contrast, the only known Jacobite activity was the appearance of one spy in Newcastle, who was immediately captured. He bore letters suggesting that the Jacobites intended to march on the city, which threw the citizens into a panic. Many fled south, but others were determined to stand and fight. A few of the Catholic gentry objected to their treatment during this period and at the harsh use of the penal laws against them, but while this may suggest a quiet sympathy with the Jacobite Cause, none of them came anywhere near taking up arms or riding into Scotland.
They need not have worried. Originally, Prince Charles Edward had intended to come down the East Coast, seize Newcastle as a useful port and cut off the coal supply to London. But in the end his generals had persuaded him otherwise and he went down the West Coast instead, bypassing the massed Government forces in Tyneside, the most well defended area in the country. It is perhaps a mark of the Government's fear of a widespread Jacobite rising in the area that they reacted so efficiently to defend the North-east. Yet it seems quite clear that both the Pretender's hopes and Government fears were out of all proportion to the true strength of Jacobite feeling in the region.