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Battlefield: Sedgemoor

The defeat of the Duke of Monmouth’s rebel army at Sedgemoor in Somerset was the last major battle on English soil. Julian Humphrys tells more

Night attack

There was no moon and the fields of Sedgemoor were shrouded with fog, but had you been there that night you would have soon realised that something was afoot. From time to time, the moor echoed with the sound of hoofbeats as small groups of horsemen rode urgently to and fro, while those with sharp eyes might have just caught a glimpse through the mist of the packed ranks of thousands of men shu ing quietly along. An army was on the move and, although nobody knew it at the time, the ensuing clash of arms would be the last major battle to be fought on English soil.

UNPLEASANT SURPRISE Although Monmouth’s daring night attack caught his enemies by surprise, the royalists reacted quickly and won the ensuing battle
RUSTY ALDWINCKLE/SEALED KNOT X2, ALAMY X1

82 The number of supporters who landed with Monmouth at Lyme Regis

BATTLE CONTEXT

Where

Sedgemoor, Somerset

When

5-6 July 1685

Why

Duke of Monmouth’s bid to replace James II as king

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

Follow the rise and fall of France's most infamous dictator, Napoleon, all the way from emperor to exile. Also inside, celebrate 200 years of Jane Austen and discover what life was really like for Ancient Greeks living in Sparta, the civilisation's most brutal city-state. We've also lined up ten of the greatest partnerships in history, from Marks and Spencer to Rolls and Royce, plus meet the man who inspired 007 – Elizabeth I's forgotten spy, John Dee.