The Consequences

At Sedgemoor the Duke of Monmouth’s army was completely destroyed and the rebellion crushed. Although he escaped the field, the Duke was soon captured and a few days later executed in London. This and the summary execution of a small number of rebels in the hours and days after the battle may have been considered a reasonable response to such a rebellion. It was however the cold and calculated course followed by the judicial system in the subsequent months that was considered completely disproportionate.

The retribution that James II visited on the people of the South West in the months that followed Sedgemoor has never been forgotten. The name of Judge Jeffreys and the Bloody Assizes are infamous in English history. Of those accused many were sentenced to death and many more were punished with transportation to the West Indies. The harshness of the sentences caused national revulsion and contributed, if only in a small way, to the overthrow of James II and his replacement by William and Mary in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.


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