BB1135 : The Princess, the King and the Tower

Wednesday 23rd November 2011

The Kendal area has several associations with Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie.

For example, itís rumoured that he visited the Ring of Bells inn when he passed through Kendal in 1745.  

Was he stopping for a pint before moving onto his lodgings at what is now known as Prince Charlie's House in Stricklandgate?

According to the Kendal Civic Society plaque, the house (currently incorporating Charlie's Cafe Bar) was owned during the Stuart rebellion of 1745 by Justice Thomas Shepherd,

It was slept in by Bonnie Prince Charlie during his advance on London and again during his retreat.  His pursuer, the Duke of Cumberland, slept in the same bed on the following night.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Duke of Cumberland

The Duke of Cumberland public house is named after the so called Butcher Bill who chased Charles Edward Stuart and his army back across the border in 1745. It is alleged that the Duke called here for refreshment in the course of his pursuit of the Prince, although itís more likely that it was renamed in honour of his achievements.

Further north, as reported in BB1125, is Clifton where the last pitched battle on English soil took place. When I wrote that report I commented on the six highlanders buried beneath a tree and presumed they were on the losing side. My assumption now seems incorrect and Visit Cumbria states that Charlie's army was victorious on that occasion and that ten Dragoons lie buried in St Cuthbert's churchyard.  For more, see Afternote.

However, there is another, less publicised connection to the Young Pretender which concerns the Cumbrian Princess.  But, in this story, the King and the Tower come first.

Had I known the weather forecast for the area west of Windermere would deteriorate we might have gone east where the prospects were better.  But that information came too late and by that time I had already written two thirds of this report!  So (a word that apparently is now considered a cliché and ought to be shunned) we had already opted for a low level wooded walk starting from Newby Bridge where John, Tony and I met with Pete.  In fact the weather was overcast but fortunately not raining.

Newby Bridge to weir

The view of the River Leven from bridge to weir is interesting as was the fact that for some unknown reason, people had taken to throwing coins into the water as if it were the Trevi fountain.

Not the Trevi Fountain!

Click to see to what Tony is chatting

Glimpse of Lake Windermere

I had been planning to take the direct route to Finsthwaite then I remembered that the last time we were in this area (BB1042), I was taken to task by Guy W for not having visited Finsthwaite Tower.  So we put that right this time, climbing up Water Side Knott to find it.

When built, in 1799 by James King of Finsthwaite (note the subtle way I worked the King into the story!), the tower would have had a magnificent view of the lake but not no more, thanks to the trees that now obscure it. Also, in those days it had three storeys but only two remain.  

Finsthwaite Tower three storeys

Finsthwaite Tower two stories

According to its plaque, the tower was:

Erected to Honor
the Officers, Seamen and Marines
whose matchless Conduct
and irresistible Valour
decisively defeated the Fleets
of France, Spain and Holland
and preserved and protected

The plaque

For more information on the history of the tower and James King see the website:
AFTER THE CONFLICT- Cumbrian War Memorials.

Once we had examined the tower, we made a bit of a meal of finding our way out of the wood, in which we spotted a logfull of funghi.  These were subsequently referred to our fungus expert, Suzy, but she was unable to identify them without examining its underside and other features.  No rude comments, please.

The logfull of funghi

We eventually dropped down to the path leading to the hamlet of Finsthwaite with its rather grand mid-Victorian St Peter's Church designed by Paley and Austin, Lancaster based architects who specialised in the ecclesiastical.

St Peter's Church

Clementina Walkinshaw

It is here that we return to the Young Pretender. In the churchyard lies the "Cumbrian Princess", Clementina Johannes Sobieski Douglas of Waterside.  

Legend has it that she was an illegitimate daughter of Bonnie Prince Charlie by his mistress, Clementina Walkinshaw.

Sobieski was the surname of Prince Charles' mother.

Douglas was a surname sometimes used by the Prince on his clandestine visits to London after the failed 1745 uprising.

Clementina is thought to have been sent to Finsthwaite as a child to live a secluded life. She died at the age of 24 and was buried at the southern side of St. Peter's churchyard on 16th May, 1771.

Is it significant that the epitaph on the grave reads "Behold, Thy King Cometh"?

The legend continues that shortly after the Princess died, a stranger came and planted on her grave a solitary Scottish thistle. It is said that Finsthwaite Churchyard bristles with such thistles and that this particular sort does not grow elsewhere in the neighbourhood.

Of course, legend and fact are often two different things and there is a discussion on the matter to be found at the Douglas Archives website.   You decide.

The Princess' grave

The inside of the church contains a number of interesting features, particularly relics from the First World War. A plaque describes the contents of a glass fronted case:

The cross and communion vessels

The Cross and Communion Vessels were made on active service by the 1037 GHQ Reserve MT Company for their use at Treviso, Italy, on Christmas Day 1918.

The vessels were originally shells, the Chalice the cap of an 18 pounder.

The Cross is made from a plank of the Pontoon Bridge built to carry the troops across the River Piave for the final attack on the Italian front which led to the Armistice in 1918.

There were several other features of interest, including:

Decorated altar screen

East end windows

Queen Victoria window

West end windows

High Dam was our next target.  Once the source of water power for bobbin making at Stott Park Mill, it now seems to be a fisherman's paradise.  I was sure that Tony would be able to provide plenty of information but it turned out that he had never fished it- he thought it a fly fishing place whereas he is a coarse fisherman (in more ways than one).

First strange sheep

Low Dam

Second strange sheep

Comitibus:  Low Dam

Up we climbed, past some strange (artificial) sheep and up to what I call Low Dam (although I don't know if it has a name) and then to High Dam.  For some strange reason the phrase "Damn, damn, double damn, forty hells and a beggar" or something close to that kept going round my mind.  

Who was it that used to say that?

At first I thought it was my woodwork teacher at school but then I remembered his catchphrase was "Check, check, recheck, cross check, double check, check again and when you have finished your checking, check your checking".  Sadly I can't remember his name but I did remember, or at least I think I did; that the double damn person was Mrs Nash, our Welsh landlady in our first year in Leeds.

High Dam

So (cliché), back to the walk.   

This was the slowest BOOTboys outing on record, mainly because we had spent so much time looking at the Princess, the King and the Tower.  

However, John's foot was beginning to hurt so, rather than make an uncertain way across the fell to try and find Boretree Tarn, we circumnavigated High Dam, finding another fungus.  

This time Suzy was able to identify it.

She advises that the bracket fungus (the one up the tree) is a "Birch Polypore". Its common name is "Razorstrop Fungus".

Birch Polypore

To vary the route back from Finsthwaite, we continued down the road to the rather fine Finsthwaite House then took the path over Wintering Park to emerge by the Newby Bridge Halt.  

There's the House, says Tony on a wooden seat

John Halts

Finsthwaite House

What is this plant?

The question posed under the plant on the right was subsequently answered by my brother, Alan, who advised:

Your mystery plant appears to be a succulent. Possibly Echeveria elegans. Or so it seems to fit the description in Dr.D.G.Hessayon's authoritive work "The House Plant Expert".

Back at the cars, John and Tony decided to call it a day whilst Pete and I had a brief exploration around Canny Hill before we, too, headed for home.

The darkening view from Canny Hill

A strange tractor


The bottom  end of Windermere

Fortunately and somewhat surprisingly, the weather had remained dry allowing us to make the most of the Princess, the King and the Tower.

Don, 23rd November 2011



Tony, who likes to research such matters, has discovered some interesting information about the retreat of the Pretender and The Battle of Clifton Moor..

First visit Clifton- The last battle on English soil and then follow the link to the eye witness account by Thomas Savage of Clifton End Farm, "a worthy member of the Society of Friends".


 Post Script:  Call My Bluff

There is unexpected outcome to the publication of BB1132.

I received an e-mail from Barrie W, philanthropist and BOOTboys follower, which read:

I'm currently on business in Buenos Aires and it's 12.20 a.m. but my Blackberry has been programmed to beep when the words EROTIC and BIG JOSIE appear in same sentence!

So what's going on?

I responded:

I was tempted to reply "go to the website and all will be revealed" but perhaps that is not the best thing to say regarding the not so erotic Big Josie!

That should get a beep!

Barrie Wells

Barrie is successful entrepreneur with whom several of us worked many years ago. He has devoted part of his wealth to establishing The Wells Sports Foundation to help young and aspiring sports men and women.

This has inspired me to seek out someone of similar means wanting to sponsor a group of aging fellwalkers who beforehand need to soothe potentially aching muscles and afterwards are fond of a pie and a pint.

Perhaps the BOOTboys Liniment, Uphill & Food Foundation?
Otherwise known as BLUFF!

Any suggestions as to whom we should call??




Wednesday 23rd November

Distance in miles:

7.8 (5.8 John & Tony)

Height climbed in feet:

1,387 (1,214 John & Tony)



Other Features:

Finsthwaite Tower, Cumbrian Princess,
High Dam


Don, John S, Pete, Tonyt



BOOTboys routes ares now being put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1135.

To see which Wainwright top (excluding Outlying Fells) was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.



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2011 Outings

BB1101 :
Wasnfell Revisited
Tuseday 11th January

BB1102 :
Recuperation Scar!
Thursday 17th February

BB1103 :
A Promenade of Pensioners
Thursday 24th February

BB1104 :
The B Team
Thursday 3rd March

BB1105 :
  A Little Bit Of Wind
Thursday 10th March

BB1106 :
A Linthwaite Round
Thursday 17th March

BB1107 :
Home From The Pulpit
Thursday 24th March

BB1108 :
Taking The Brunt
Thursday 31st March

BB1109 :
Up The Spout
Wednesday 6th April

BB1110 :
Not The Royal Wedding
Friday 29th April

BB1111 :
Kentmere Parts 1 & 2
Thurs 5th, Saturday 7th May

BB1112 :
Five Unknown Tarns
Wednesday 11th May

BB1113 :
Gurnal Dubbs Revisited
Thursday 19th May

BB1114 :
A March Through The Mist
Wednesday 1st June

BB1115 :
Brief Encounter
Wednesday 8th June

BB1116 :
Extraordinary and
Lesser Mortals
Wednesday 15th June

BB1117 :
Farewell David Daw
Wednesday 29th June

BB1118 :
West Side Story
Thursday 7th July

BB1119 :
st Side Story
Wednesday 13th July

 BB1120 :
All The Way From Barrow
Wednesday 20th July

 BB1121 :
Suitable For The Guests!
Thursday 28th July

BB1122 :
Graylings In Flagrante
Wednesday 3rd August

BB1123 :
The First Indecision Outing
Wednesday 24th August

BB1124 :
The Second Indecision Outing
Thursday 25th August

BB1125 :
The Tale of Tony's Triumph
Wednesday 31st August

BB1126 :
The Gunpowder Trail
Wednesday 7th September

BB1127 :
Four Lords a-Leaping
Thursday 15th September

BB1128 :
Heversham Head and Mhor
Thursday 22nd September

BB1129 :
Training For The Himalayas
Wednesday 28th September

BB1130 :
Turn Again, Whittington
Thursday 13th October

BB1131 :
The Windermere Three Peaks
Thursday 20th October

BB1132 :
Perfect Pies
Wednesday 26th October

BB1133 :
Ol' Men Rovin' 
Wednesday 9th November

BB1134 :
Erotic, Erratic, Improbable
Or What?
Thursday 17th November

BB1135 :
The Princess, the King
and the Tower
Wednesday 23rd November

BB1136 :
The Leck Beck Trek
Wednesday 30th November

BB1137 :
The Wild Wet Show
Thursday 8th December

BB1138 :
Of Mice and Men
Thursday 15th December

BB1139 :
The Old Stink
Wednesday 21st December

BB1140 :
The Castle and The Priory
Thursday 29th December


The Way Of The Roses
12th - 14th September

 Click on the photos
for an enlargement
or related large picture.


To see which Wainwright
top was visited on which
BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?.

To download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights
have been done by which BOOT
boy in the"modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on BB Log