Patten, Robert (DNB00)


PATTEN, ROBERT (fl. 1715), historian of the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, was at one time curate at Penrith, Cumberland, but when the rising of 1715 took place was in a similar capacity at Allendale in Northumberland. He led thence a party of keelmen to join the insurgents, and in crossing Rothbury Common met a number of Scotsmen on their way home to enlist for ‘King James,’ i.e. the Old Pretender [see James Francis Edward Stuart]. He persuaded them to accompany him. On his arrival at Wooler he was warmly welcomed by General Thomas Forster [q. v.] and James Ratcliffe, third earl of Derwentwater [q. v.], and was forthwith appointed the general's own chaplain. Marching with the expedition to Kelso, where the main body of the Jacobites joined them, he preached to the whole army a sermon, specially intended to inspirit them for their enterprise, from Deut. xxi. 17: ‘The right of the first-born is his.’

Besides officiating as chaplain to the Jacobite forces, he took an active part in military service. When the expedition reached Penrith, he was, on account of his local knowledge, engaged in an attempt to intercept William Nicolson [q. v.], bishop of Carlisle, at his residence, Rose Castle. He also acted at times as a spy. At Preston in Lancashire, where on 13 Nov. 1715 the insurgents were defeated, Patten had his horse shot under him. He was there made prisoner, and carried under a close guard to London. In the leisure of his confinement he made up his mind to turn king's evidence, and his offer was accepted (cf. Doran, Jacobite London, i. 118). It was in gratitude for his preservation that in the interests of King George he wrote his history. It was published in two editions in the same year (1717), the second being enlarged. It is entitled ‘A History of the late Rebellion, with Original Papers and the Characters of the principal Noblemen and Gentlemen concerned in it; by the Rev. Mr. Robert Patten, formerly Chaplain to Mr. Forster.’ Two subsequent editions, the third and fourth, were published in 1745. Patten figures as ‘Creeping Bob’ in Sir Walter Besant's ‘Dorothy Forster,’ an historical novel of the Northumbrian share in the rising.

[Patten's History as above; Lancashire Memorials, Chetham Soc.]

H. P.