Sedgemoor

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Sedgemoor, battle of, 1685. Sedgemoor was that most desperate of ventures, a surprise night attack. Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis on 11 June 1685 and was proclaimed king at Taunton on the 20th. But he gained little support from the gentry or nobility and his scratch army failed to take Bristol or Bath. He was pursued to Bridgwater by a royal army under Lord Feversham, with John Churchill, the future duke of Marlborough, as second in command. Monmouth's men outnumbered their opponents, but Feversham's were trained soldiers. The royal army drew up east of Bridgwater, behind the line of the Bussex rhine, a waterlogged ditch. On the night of 5 July, Monmouth led out his men in total silence, past the village of Chedzoy, hidden by darkness and night mist. But with still a mile to go, the alarm was given. Once the element of surprise had been lost, Monmouth's fate was sealed. His cavalry was soon dispersed and the infantry, firing wildly, ran short of ammunition. As dawn broke, Feversham's men advanced and the fight was over. Monmouth was found hiding in a ditch on Cranborne Chase two days later, taken to London, and beheaded on Tower Hill on 15 July. His supporters were cut down, the rest rounded up in Weston Zoyland church, transported, or hanged by Judge Jeffreys.

J. A. Cannon

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Sedgemoor, Battle of (July 16, 1685) Defeat of an English rebellion led by the Duke of Monmouth against James II. An attempt to launch a surprise night attack by the untrained rebel forces ended in disaster.

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Sedgemoor, Battle of a battle fought in 1685 on the plain of Sedgemoor in Somerset, in which the forces of the rebel Duke of Monmouth, who had landed in Dorset as champion of the Protestant cause and pretender to the throne, were decisively defeated by James II's troops.

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Sedgemoor, marshy tract in Somerset, SW England. The forces of James II defeated the duke of Monmouth at Sedgemoor in 1685.

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