LIST OF LOCALS EXCUTED FOR THEIR PART
IN THE MONMOUTH REBELLION
1685
HISTORY OF
THE MONMOUTH
REBELLION
 
         
  ADAMS, GEORGE - PENSFORD
ADAMS, NICHOLAS - CREWKERNEALLEN,
ROBERT - SOMERTON
ANSLEY, ABRAHAM - TAUNTON
ASH, RICHARD - CASTLE CARY
ASHLEY, HUGH - STOGURSEY
ASHWOOD, JOHN - SHEPTON MALLET
BADOL, GEORGE - KEYNSHAM
BAKER, WALTER - BATH
BARRET, OSMOND - ILCHESTER
BARTLETT, FRANCIS - MINEHEAD
BASELY, JOHN - DULVERTON
BATISCOMBE, A. - LYME REGIS
BEAMANT, ROBERT - FROME
BEERE, EDWARD - NORTON ST.PHILIP
BELLAMY, JOSHUA - BRIDGWATER
BEVIS, PRESTON - PENSFORD
BLACKMORE, THOMAS - COTHELSTONE
BODY, HENRY - BATH
BOLE, RICHARD - BRUTON
BOND, ABRAHAM - WELLS
BOVET, PHILIP - WELLINGTON
BOVET, RICHARD - COTHELSTONE
BOWDEN, RICHARD - KEYNSHAM
BOWDEN, THOMAS - WINCANTON
BOYSS, DAVID - WRINGTON
BRADEN, HUMPHREY - BRUTON
BRAMBLE, GILES - SHEPTON MALLET
BROOME, JOHN - GLASTONBURY
BRYANT, GERRARD - BATH
BRYANT, ISRAEL - GLASTONBURY
BURFORD, EDWARD - ILCHESTER
BURGEN, JOHN - ILMINSTER
BURNARD, THOMAS - ILMINSTER
BURNELL, THOMAS - AXBRIDGE
BURNOLL, ROGER - CREWKERNE
BUSHEL, JOHN - CREWKERNE
BUTCHER, JOHN - AXBRIDGE
CADE, THOMAS - WELLS
CANTICK, GEORGE - SOMERTON
CARTER, JOHN - BATH
CASWELL, JOHN - NORTON ST.PHILIP
CHAPMAN, CHARLES - KEYNSHAM
CHICK, WILLIAM - PENSFORD
CHINN, RICHARD - SHEPTON MALLET
CLEMENT, WILLIAM - FROME
CLERK, CHRISTOPHER - BRISTOL
CLOTSWORTHY, THOMAS - BATH
COLLINS, NICHOLAS (SNR) - ILMINSTER
COLLINS, THOMAS - BATH
COMBE, JOHN - SHEPTON MALLET
COMBE, ROBERT - WIVELISCOMBE
COOK, ROBERT - NORTON ST.PHILIP
CORNELIUS, ROGER - PENSFORD
COX, SAMUEL - ILCHESTER
COX, WILLIAM - LYME REGIS
CREAVES, EDWARD - NORTON ST PHILIP
CROSS, MATTHEW - ILMINSTER
CROSS, SIMON - CHARD
CRUISE,WILLIAM - SHEPTON MALLET
CULLVERELL, RICHARD - NETHER STOWEY
CUMBRIDGE, PHILIP - BRISTOL
DAVIS, ISIAH - BRIDGWATER
DAVIS, THOMAS - SOUTH PETHERTON
DAVY, WILLIAM - CHARD
DENNETT, JAMES - CHARD
DEVERSON, WILLIAM - TAUNTON
DOLEMAN, ROBERT - WELLS
DORCHESTER, JOHN (SNR) - SHEPTON MALLET
DRYER, JOHN - TAUNTON
DURSTON, THOMAS - WELLS
DURSTON, WILLIAM - WELLS
EASTERBROOK, HENRY - CHARD
EDNY, HENRY - PORLOCK
EDWARDS, HUMPHREY - PENSFORD
ENGLAND, JONATHAN - TAUNTON
ENGRAM, RICHARD - BRIDGWATER
ESHER, PHILIP - FROME
EVANS, RICHARD - BRISTOL
EVANS & JONES, JOHN - MINEHEAD
EVENS, RICHARD - KEYNSHAM
EVORY, JAMES - CREWKERNE
FAWNE, ROBERT - ILMINSTER
FEILDSON, JAMES - BRUTON
FINIER, RICHARD - PENSFORD
FOOTE, EDWARD - CHARD
FOXWELL, FRANCIS - YEOVIL
FRAUNCES, ROBERT - BRIDGWATER
FREAKE, JOHN - TAUNTON
FRENCH, JOSHUA - WRINGTON
FURFURD, CORNELIUS - SOUTH PETHERTON
GALE, JAMES - PORLOCK
GARNISH, SAMUEL - CASTLE CARY
GEANES, JOHN - DUNSTER
GILHAM, JOHN (JNR) - SHEPTON MALLET
GILL, JOHN (SNR) - AXBRIDGE
GILLARD, EDWARD - YEOVIL
GILLET, WILLIAM - SOMERTON
GLOVER OR TUCKER, JOHN - BRISTOL
GODFREY, WILLIAM - CHARD
GOODENOUGH, HUGH - ILCHESTER
GROVES, JOHN - SHEPTON MALLET
GUPPEY, ROGER - BRIDGWATER
HALFWELL, ROBERT - CREWKERNE
HARRIS, LEWIS - KEYNSHAM
HARRIS, RICHARD - BRIDGWATER
HARVEY, RICHARD - WINCANTON
HASTY, GEORGE - FROME
HASWELL, EDWARD - KEYNSHAM
HAWKINS, SAMUEL - MINEHEAD
HAYWARD, THOMAS - NORTON ST PHILIP
HELLIER, JOHN - NORTON ST PHILIP
HERRING, JOHN - STOGURSEY
HEWLING, BENJAMIN - TAUNTON
HEWLING, WILLIAM - LYME REGIS
HICKS, JOHN - GLASTONBURY
HILDWORTH, JOHN - SHEPTON MALLET
HILL, ROBERT - CREWKERNE
HILLARD, GEORGE - STOGUMBER
HILLARY, THOMAS - AXBRIDGE
HILLARY, WESTERN - ILMINSTER
HINDE, ROBERT - CASTLE CARY
HITCHCOCK, HUMPHREY - CHARD
HOLLAND, HUGH - WINCANTON
HOLLAND, WILLIAM - WINCANTON
HOLMES, (COLONEL) - LYME REGIS
HORE, ROGER - BRIDGWATER
HOWEL, JOHN - WINCANTON
HOWEL, THOMAS - HEYNSHAM
HUCKER, JOHN - TAUNTON
HUMPHREY, JOHN - FROME
HURFORD, THOMAS - YEOVIL
HURMAN, JOHN - BRIDGWATER
JENKYNS, WILLIAM - TAUNTON
JERVIS, JOHN - CHARD
JOHNSON, ARCHIBALD - MILBORNE PORT
JOHNSON, WILLIAM - YEOVIL
JONES & EVANS, JOHN - MINEHEAD
KELLOWAY, JOSEPH - SOMERTON
KEY, ALEXANDER - WRINGTON
KITCH, WILLIAM - ILMINSTER
KNIGHT, GEORGE - PENSFORD
KNIGHT, JOHN - CHARD
LUCKWELL, HENRY - DUNSTER
LANGWELL, DAVID - ILCHESTER
LARK, SAMPSON - LYME REGIS
LASHLY, WILLIAM -- CREWKERNE
LISLE, HENRY - TAUNTON
LISSANT, THOMAS - SOMERTON
LLOYD, JOHN - DULVERTON
LOCKSTONE, JOHN - STOGUMBER
LOTT, LAURENCE - FROME
LOTT, THOMAS - FROME
LUCKIS, ROBERT - ILMINSTER
MADDERS, (CAPTAIN) - LYME REGIS
MALLET, STEPHEN - SHEPTON MALLET
MAN, ROBERT - FROME
MASTERS, JOHN - ILCHESTER
MATTHEWS, (CAPTAIN) - LYME REGIS
MATTHEWS, ABRAHAM - TAUNTON
MAXWELL, JAMES - MILBORNE PORT
MEAD, WILLIAM - WELLS
MEAD, WILLIAM - GLASTONBURY
MERRICK, THOMAS - NETHER STOWEY
MITCHEL, HUMPHREY - NETHER STOWEY
MOGGERIDGE, WILLIAM - BRIDGWATER
MONDAY, THOMAS - AXBRIDGE
MORTIMER, JOHN - ILCHESTER
MURREN, PIERCE - TAUNTON
NEWMAN, STEPHEN - ILMINSTER
PARSONS, JOHN - ILMINSTER
PARSONS, JOHN - SOUTH PETHERTON
PATRUM, JOHN - TAUNTON
PAVIER, GEORGE - SHEPTON MALLET
PEARCE, RICHARD - GLASTONBURY
PEARL, THOMAS - FROME
PEIRCE, HUMPHREY - LANGPORT
PEIRCE, THOMAS - NORTON ST PHILIP
PEIRCE, WILLIAM - PENSFORD
PERROT, ROBERT - TAUNTON
PETHER, GEORGE - NORTON ST PHILIP
PETHER, WILLIAM - CREWKERNE
PHILLELREY, JOHN - KEYNSHAM

PIERCE, THOMAS - WIVELISCOMBE
PILL, ABRAHAM - CHARD
PITCHER, GEORGE - YEOVIL
PLUMLEY, WILLIAM - WELLS
POCOCK, WILLIAM - SOMERTON
PORTRIDGE, HENRY - NORTON ST PHILIP
POWEL, OLIVER - YEOVIL
PRANCE, PETER - CHEWTON MENDIP
PRIEST, FRANCIS - WELLINGTON
PYES, JAMES - GLASTONBURY
REED, ROBERT - WELLINGTON
RICHARDS, JOHN - NORTON ST PHILIP
ROPER, ROBERT - BRIDGWATER
ROWNSDEN, ANDREW - KEYNSHAM
RUSCOMBE, WILLIAM - WIVELISCOMBE
RUSSEL, HENRY - PENSFORD
SATCHEL, WILLIAM - TAUNTON
SAVAGE, JOHN - TAUNTON
SHARPE, JOHN - TAUNTON
SHELLWOOD, JOHN - LANGPORT
SHEPERD, JOHN - WELLS
SMITH, FRANCIS - FROME
SMITH, JOHN - NORTON ST PHILIP
SMITH, JOSEPH - SHEPTON MALLET
SMITH, THOMAS - SHEPTON MALLET
SPEAKE, CHARLES - ILMINSTER
SPORE, JOHN - CREWKERNE
STAPLE, JOHN - NORTON ST PHILIP
STAR, THOMAS - FROME
STARKE, HUGH - MINEHEAD

STARR, JOHN - PENSFORD
STEPHENS, CHRISTOPHER - SOMERTON
STEPHENS, RICHARD - CREWKERNE
STEVENS, JOHN - ILCHESTER
STODGELL, NICHOLAS - BRIDGWATER
SULLWAY, ARTHUR - PENSFORD
SULLY, WILLIAM - DUNSTER
SUMERTON, WILLIAM - ILCHESTER
SWEET, RICHARD - MINEHEAD
TEMPLE, (DR.) - LYME REGIS
THATCHER, BERNARD - YEOVIL
THOMAS, HENRY - DULVERTON
TINCKWELL, JOHN - BRISTOL
TIPPOT, EDWARD - BRISTOL
TOWNSEND, ROBERT - ILCHESTER
TRICKEY, JOHN - TAUNTON
TRIPP, ISAAC - AXBRIDGE
TROCK, THOMAS - KEYNSHAM
TROOKE, THOMAS - ILMINSTER
TROTT, JOHN - BRIDGWATER
TUCKER, JOHN - WINCANTON
TUCKER OR GLOVER, JOHN - BRISTOL
TYLER, JOSEPH - LYME REGIS
VENTON, NICHOLAS - LANGPORT
VILE, SAMUEL - FROME
WALRAND, JOHN - ILCHESTER
WARREN, EDWARD - CHARD
WARREN, PETER - MINEHEAD
WATKINS, WILLIAM - CHEWTON MENDIP
WELLEN, WILLIAM - ILMINSTER
WHITTOM, HAMES - TAUNTON
WILLIAMS, ARTHUR - STOGUMBER
WILLIAMS, JOHN - TAUNTON

WILLIAMS, WILLIAM - CHARD
WINE, ROBERT - PENSFORD
WINTER, JOHN - KEYNSHAM
 
         
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The Monmouth Rebellion
   
         
  On July 15th 1685 James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth, was executed for treason against the King. He was a noble man who met his heath with calmness and dignity. He died a sad figure who believed, perhaps too much, in the advice of his friends and his own popularity. If he had timed his attempt to claim the throne better he might well have been welcomed without bloodshed but Monmouth mistimed everything, it seems, and suffered cruelly for his mistake.

Monmouth was the illegitimate son of King Charles II, born to Lucy Walters in 1649 during Charles II's exile at the Hague. Monmouth was much loved and favoured by his father and despite his illegitimate status was given a place of great authority within English society. In 1674 Monmouth was made 'Commander in Chief' of the army; gaining great respect as a soldier among the English people.

Shaftesbury urged King Charles II to recognise his son by the legitimisation of his marriage to Lucy Walters. Charles refused declaring he had only ever been married to the Queen. Monmouth later confessed that his father had told him in private that he would have no legal right to the throne. Rumours abounded about a black box being discovered in which the marriage papers of Charles and Lucy Walters were hidden but these were never produced as evidence.

James, the Duke of York, had recently been 'outed' as a Roman Catholic and then had married his second wife, 15 year old Princess Mary of Modena, who was herself a very devout Catholic. The fears of the people that they might have another Papist Monarch increased. They were terrified that the persecution of Protestants that was witnessed under 'Bloody Mary' might be repeated. This almost irrational fear led to various plots to ensure that James never came to the throne. All of these plots were doomed to fail with many high officials, including the Duke of Monmouth, being exiled.

Monmouth was a popular figure among the common people. He was good company and his army days had stood him in good stead for mixing with common people. The aristocracy, however disliked him; he was too impulsive and frivolous for them, and his mixing with common people was certainly frowned upon. It was to be the common people and not the aristocracy who were to stand behind him when it he was finally persuaded by 'friends' to make a claim on the throne of England.

In May 1685 Monmouth set sail from exile for the West of England to stake his claim to the crown, he was assured by his 'friends' that he could not fail. The West of England was the one place he could be assured of support. Just five years before, Monmouth has been on tour of the West Country in an attempt to make himself popular among the people. After an initial coolness towards him the people had come to like and trust him and he soon gained a great deal of support. He had chosen his area well. The country between Salisbury, Bristol and Exeter was of particular strategic importance in the seventeenth century, it was an area of marked prosperity and stability. This thickly populated area had a very strong woolen industry.

The South West was also an area of dissent. They were strong in the protestant religion and held firmly to their beliefs. Under Charles II they had suffered almost unbearable persecution for their support of Cromwell during the war against Charles' father. The persecution of dissenters had been heightened by the passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662. As a result some 2000 Nonconformist ministers had been ejected from their living. Ministers were harried and religious meetings were broken up. At times it must have seemed that harassing Dissenters had become a national sport with many taking great delight in destroying meeting houses. The Dissenters disliked the Anglicans but they hated the Roman Catholics. Dissenters has suffered in two areas of the country in particular; London and the South West. Monmouth looked for support from both areas.

When Monmouth had set sail for the English Coast he had been assured of very strong support. He was given the impression by his 'friends' that on landing in England he would be greeted by a mighty army and would march to London unopposed being cheered along the way by the people. He believed that his friends would leave James' army and join him when he arrived, they never did. A strong ally of his the Duke of Argyle had set off to stir up rebellion in Scotland and by the time Monmouth was to land Argyle was supposed to have rallied Scotland to the cause and pushed out the Kings forces. However Argyle was defeated in Battle and executed even before Monmouth could gather his forces.

So when Monmouth landed his promised army did not exist. Undeterred he set about raising one himself and rallied the common people to his cause. However they were working people and not soldiers. It is unfair to characterise them as farm hands, as has sometimes happened in the past, because much of Monmouth's army was made up from professional men; his army may have lacked skill but they were very dedicated to the task. They were serious men, Dissenters in the main, who were very strict in their keeping of religion. They were in fact the very kind of men who had made up Cromwell's Model Army during the Civil War.

Monmouth did his best to pull them into shape but they had no experience of war and knew nothing of strategy. They were very poorly equipped having to make do with outdated guns and farmyard tools as weapons (hence the pitchfork rebellion). The only Cavalry they had was composed of horses that knew more of pulling a plough than charging an enemy. In all Monmouth managed to gather 1500 troops whose bravery was to far outweigh their skill. They did receive some limited training but time was not available to train them well.

Where were the promised men from London and East Anglia? The army were told that the men from London would join when they reached the Capital and that East Anglia, although promising much to begin with decided they didn't want to get involved. The local Militia in East Anglia remaining faithful to the King had managed to dissuade many from joining the army. The men from the West County had gathered around Monmouth because they still remembered the Civil War and what their fathers had died for. They felt cheated by the return of the Monarchy to England and had since suffered terrible persecution at the hands of that Monarchy. East Anglia had not suffered as the West Country had during the Civil War; the battles were not fought on their soil, their women and children had not been under threat. Perhaps their desperation was not so acute.

In the pubs of Taunton, a town that had suffered much under Charles II, people still sang of their relief from the Cavalier siege forty years earlier.

"The Cavaliers dispers'd with fear, and forced were to run,
On th'eleventh of May, by break of day, ere rising of the sun.
Let Taunton men be mindful then, in keeping of this day,
We'll give God praise, with joy always, upon th'eleventh of May."

Taunton itself was singled out as a centre of sedition during the reign of Charles II and it was ordered to dismantle its defenses in case of rebellion. Its massive, much prized Castle was dismantled and only the parts too big to remove are now left. It is no wonder that it was in Taunton that Monmouth was declared King for the first time.

After some small early victories Monmouth was chased all around the West Country until on July 5th Monmouth's beleaguered troops were cornered by Feversham and the King's army. His men now tired and depressed would have to face a far superior force on the plains of Sedgmoor. Many of Monmouth's men had lost their shoes in the desperate attempt made to evade confrontation with the Kings army. Monmouth tried a desperate night attack but his army was spotted and after a last desperate struggle his army was routed and fled over the Mendips, Monmouth being captured just a few days later.

The treatment of the rebels by the authorities was appalling. Many were cruelly tortured to death and their mangled bodies displayed for any would be rebels to see. Judge Jeffrey's, in charge of the trials, became a hated and feared man all over England. His name has become synonymous with cruelty and injustice.

After capture and in an attempt to save his own life Monmouth claimed to have converted to Roman Catholicism. The Priests sent to test him on his new found faith reported that he was only interested in saving his own skin and cared nothing for the soul. When his execution seemed inevitable Monmouth displayed his true nobility and went to the scaffold showing no signs of fear and met his end as every 'hero' should with calmness and dignity. The executioner bungled the execution and took several blows to kill the rebel leader, those who watched marveled at Monmouth's courage.

Monmouth is a sad figure in history. His marriage had failed and he was persuaded to fight a hopeless war that was doomed before it even started. He would never really have made a good King and everyone knew this; he had become a pawn in a pitiful struggle for power begin persuaded by 'friends' to claim a crown which had never ever really belonged to him. The people of the West Country who had supported him did so out of desperation rather than any belief in his legitimacy and suffered dearly for their cause. It appears that their fears may have been unfounded and James preached religious tolerance ending the legal persecution of Dissenters. A few months later James visited the South West and the people did their best to look pleased although no one was really happy he was there.

Just three years and three months after Monmouth's rebellion William of Orange was officially invited to take the English throne: invited by the very people who had faced Monmouth on the battle field! William was very warmly received by the English people and became King without opposition, he received the welcome that Monmouth had anticipated just three years before.

Although Monmouth's rebellion was a disaster for many it will always be remembered amongst West Country people as a reason for some pride. Pride that when liberty was threatened the West County at least was prepared to fight against all odds for what they believed in. 

Written by Rev C P Brown

 
   
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