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Penruddock's rising

Penruddock's rising, 1655. Soon after Charles II's flight into exile after the defeat at Worcester in 1651, his supporters began to plan a general rising in England. The schemes, taken up by the royalist conspiracy of the Sealed Knot, were soon known to Cromwell's government, which took vigorous counter-measures. On 8 March 1655 only 100 supporters turned up to a rendezvous at Marston Moor which was to have seized York, and even fewer near Morpeth for an attack on Newcastle upon Tyne. A small Wiltshire rising under John Penruddock, a local gentleman, got off the ground four days late, but never numbered more than a few hundred. The rebels held Salisbury for some hours, marched to Blandford, and then retreated into Devon, pursued by Commonwealth troops. At South Molton they were rounded up by a small cavalry force. Penruddock was executed at Exeter in May 1655. Cromwell's response to the disorders was to introduce the rule of the major-generals.

J. A. Cannon

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