Friday, 24 April 2009

Monmouth coffee house, Frome

As my contribution to the local photos theme, this building in Frome Somerset was the headquarters of the Duke of Monmouth when he was there on the way to Sedgemoor. The Rebels arrived early in the morning and covered in mud - the locals received them warmly but there were no arms since the intervention of the Wiltshire militia previously. It was here at a Council of War in the aftermath of the battle of Philips Norton that Monmouth considered abandoning his army and fleeing to a port - Lord Grey to his credit spoke against it. Monmouth had expected Loyalist troops to come over to his side and when they didn't at Philips Norton he considered the cause lost. Many of the Rebels heard of the pardon offered while in Frome and many of the army slipped away abandoning their horses. Discipline was breaking down among the Rebels with tales of robbery and murder accompanying their stay in Frome. Several key Rebels did leave the army at Frome but their disappearance was explained to the troops that they were going to get more arms. The option of heading east through Wiltshire was considered too risky and so a rumour of thousands of Somerset clubmen (a Civil war home defence movement) gathering on the levels meant that Monmouth and his dwindling forces trudged south to Shepton Mallet and Wells and their date with defeat on Sedgemoor.
The building has recently been restored and is now a coffee shop in Cork Street. For wargames purposes this brown stone is the sort of thing most buildings of that era in Somerset are made of.

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