The Royal Deployment

The royal army had approach Bridgwater on the 5th July along the major road from the east, making their headquarters at Westonzoyland and that night the professional regiments were quartered in and about the village. The Wiltshire Militia were at Middlezoy and Othery, 2 miles to the south east, and would only arrive on the battlefield in time to participate in the killing which accompanied the rout of the rebel army.

At Westonzoyland the six royal infantry regiments were camped in regularly laid out lines of tents. These were organised in six groups, one for each regiment, along the moor edge immediately outside the hedged fields which enclosed the small ‘island’ of Bussex on the northern edge Westonzoyland. On the north and west sides their camp was protected by the wide but shallow drainage dyke known as the Bussex Rhyne, leaving space between the tents and the rhyne to be able to draw up in battle formation. The train of artillery also lay within the protection of the Bussex Rhyne but to the south west of Bussex island and next to the fields of Westonzoyland.

The artillery pieces were lined up just inside the line of the rhyne facing westward against the most direct line of rebel attack. Lined up behind them and then in lines between the rows of wagons of the baggage train were the tents of the gunners, waggoners and others who kept the army equipped and moving. Here they were half way between the two routes across the moor from Bridgewater where they entered Westonzoland. From this position the guns could cover any rebel approach along the main road to the south or via the more circuitous route of the lane which crossed the rhyne by the lower plungeon or ford intended mainly as a cattle drove. The majority of the cavalry were quartered in the village itself, although the horses were kept together and saddled ready for action.

To forewarn the army of any threat of a rebel attack, or in case the rebels tried to escape the town under cover of darkness, detachments of cavalry and infantry were deployed at various locations across Sedgemoor.

One was at Chedzoy, which could be easily reached from Bridgwater and from where a local road across the moor approached Westonzoyland via the lower plungeon from the north west. The main road and the other lane across the moor from Bridgwater, which also entered at the lower plungeon was covered by commanded musketeers deployed in Pitzoy Pound, a stone walled stock enclosure on the small ‘island’ of Pitzoy immediately to the west of the Westonzoyland lying between these two routes. Another detachment was positioned on the hill to the north of Chedzoy covering the major road from Bridgwater towards Bristol and London. A scout was also left to watch the crossing of the Langmoor Rhyne where the other approach from the north, the much longer route across the moor to the east of Chedzoy, which entered Westonzoyland by the upper plungeon. In addition patrols were also sent out along each of the routes to seek out any evidence of enemy troop movements. Any approach fro the south or west would be far too long and anyway the Wiltshire militia was deployed in the villages to the rear. The royal army was thus apparently well prepared for any rebel approach.


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