Monday, 2 March 2009

Incidents at Frome 1685

Growing up in Frome I have always been interested in the events there at the time of the Monmouth Rebellion.

Frome (Froome), a bustling cloth town, had already independently declared for Monmouth on the 24th June when Monmouth's proclamation was brought in by troopers which was duly posted by the town constable Robert Smith. However arriving quickly on the scene the next day was 160 horsemen of the Wiltshire Militia Horse with 60 musketeers mounted behind them led by the Earl of Pembroke.

The Wiltshire Militia Horse had originally been led by Tom Thynne of Longleat, a place where Monmouth had visited in his triumphal tour of the West in 1680. However Thynne had been a firm supporter of Monmouth which had caused him to be removed from his command and mysteriously murdered in 1682.

At the gates of the Frome the Militia were met by the sound of drums and one who fired at them and commanded the others to do the same on his command but instead the townspeople threw down their weapons and ran off. Smith was arrested and forced to post a new declaration stating Monmouth to be a traitor before being taken off to Trowbridge with a significant number of 'new invented murtherous weapons like sithes and the like' and was hanged.

Because of these events when Monmouth's army entered the town on the 28th they found enthusiasm but few of the hoped-for recruits due to lack of arms.

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