Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Monmouth at Ilminster

Thought it might be interesting to see what Monmouth was up to on this day - he landed on the 11th June and the campaign lasted about six weeks.
It seems according to my as yet unpublished day by day account of the Rebellion the Rebels marched into Ilminster camping at Winterhay Green that day. Charles Speke crossed the town square to shake the Duke's hand for which he was later hanged for by Judge Jeffries. They left the next day passing through Horton, Ashill and the Neroche Forest.
James II wrote on this day to William of Orange asking for the return of the Anglo-Dutch brigade - he was evidently worried. Orders were sent to the Duke of Beaufort to occupy Bristol with the Militias of Gloucester, Hereford and Monmouthshire. In Taunton the Somerset Militia forces flee abandoning ammunition and weapons.
John Churchill reaches Axminster with 4 Troops of Horse and 4 Companies of Dragoons. Churchill wrote from his base 'Unless speedy course be taken we are likely to lose this country to the Rebels - one Captain Littleton cried out we are the soldiers immediately looked upon another and fled, leaving their officers and colours behind; half if not the greatest part is gone to the Rebels.'
This is obviously a high point of the Rebellion with Churchill and James II obviously rattled.

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