Thursday, 15 July 2010

Execution of the Duke of Monmouth

Took place today in 1685. A sad end but not as sad as the end that most of his supporters were to suffer. Judge Jeffries and the Bloody Assizes

1 comment:

little keithy said...

I grew up not far from Sedgemoor, just outside Glastonbury, and as a young lad my parents would scare me to sleep by saying Judge Jeffries would get me If I didn't close my eyes. I was told tales of brutality from troops and assizes; also of miraculous escapes such as Jan Swain who leapt to his freedom through a forest.
Mark Twain's story "The Double Barrelled Detective Story" starts the story by saying that the cad was from a family of rebels sold into slavery.
Bridgwater, where the rebels ended up, was actually the first borough to vote against slavery in England, and was visited by Frederick Douglass. Article here about it
One aspect that is often misunderstood is that it wasn't a peasant rebellion, which is based upon a prejudice about the rural West Country today rather than a historical investigation into the past. The people rebelling were connected to trade and capitalist agriculture or skilled workmen and miners. I have read that Wade's red regiment, which I believe was the best in Monmouth's army, was heavily republican influenced.
There is a new history out on the Glorious Revolution (past 12 months) that argues that it should be understood as a struggle on a par with the American and French Revolutions rather than how it is usually taught that it was a minor coda to the civil war. So Monmouth's rebellion was a failed precursor to that struggle.