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The Battle of Sedgemore

The Battle of Sedgemoor

The Battle of Sedgemoor was the last decisive engagement between the Kingdom of England and rebels led by the Duke of Monmouth during the Monmouth rebellion, fought on July 6 1685, and took place near Bridgwater in Somerset, resulting in a victory for the English army.

The Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of Charles II, had taken advantage of the popularity of his Protestantism to attempt to wrest the throne from his Roman Catholic uncle, James II. Landing at Lyme Regis in Dorset on June 11, he was proclaimed king at Taunton but failed to take Bristol and fell back on Bridgwater. His path was then blocked by the royal army encamped on Sedgemoor.

The Duke eventually led his untrained and ill-equipped troops out of Bridgwater at around 10:00 pm to undertake a night-time attack on the King's army. With their limited cavalry in the vanguard, they turned south and came to the open moor with its deep and dangerous rhynes.

Following a slight delay, the first men across startled a royalist patrol. A shot was fired, and a horseman from the patrol galloped off to raise the alarm. During the ensuing battle, the superior training of the regular army and their horses enabled them to rout the rebel forces by outflanking them.

The Battle of Sedgemoor

Monmouth was captured soon afterwards and executed. Many of his followers were condemned to death or transportation in the Bloody Assizes, a series of trials conducted by Lord Chief Justice George Jeffreys in the ensuing months.

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