George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem
The sound of running feet and horses’ hooves is regularly heard at Westzoyland. Supposedly, a farm lad with a reputation as a runner was made to race a horse for his life from a standing start. The boy is said to have won the race over a short distance but was hanged anyway. This sounds rather mythical and might be a much older story modernized at the time. A Celtic goddess is supposed to have raced a horse and won.
At Moyles Court at Ellingham in Hampshire, a 70 year old dowager was accused of hiding two fugitives from Sedgemoor, and Jeffreys condemned her despite her age. Her sentence was to be burned to death, suggesting that Jeffreys took her to be a witch. In fact, the sentence was commuted to beheading and she is now one of the many headless ghosts of Britain.
Frome was associated with the Orange Rebellion because the Duke of Monmouth is said to have stayed at a house in Cork Street now called Monmouth House. And locals found guilty by Jeffreys passing through Frome for his “bloody assizes” were supposed to have been hung, drawn and quartered at Gore Hedge, just past the top of what is now Bath Street, but then was Rook Lane. There might be some doubt about this name, however, since a “gore” is an ancient name for a triangular field.
James carried on with his plans to turn Britain back to Catholicism, but the rich Whigs still had William of Orange waiting in Holland. With much more money and provisions, William succeeded where Monmouth had earlier failed, landing on 5 November 1688 AD at Torbay. John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough and ancestor of Winston, deserted to the rebels and this time it was James who fled. William and Mary were made rulers in February 1689, but the Whigs made sure that Parliament, not the king had control of the army and the judges, and that the king had no right to suspend or dispense with Parliament’s laws. Furthermore, Parliament controlled the exchequer. The Whigs became monarchists when the monarch had to be a Whig.
MAIN PAGE LINKS