Charles II, King of England, was the nominal head of the Protestant’s. Charles II had an illegitimate son James, whom he appointed as a Duke. Monmouth opposed Catholic James Duke of York. Charles died in February 1685, and Monmouth was in Holland at the time. He had no real desire for the crown. However, was persuaded by his Protestant advisors, particularly the Earl of Argyll to initiate an invasion in the west country while Argyll arrived in Scotland. . King James II was James of Scotland and England and was a Catholic. He is also the person who had the King James version of the bible written. The Protestant people did not wish to acknowledge him as King and Proclaimed Monmouth King of England for the first time.
Quite a number of Monmouth’s supporters deserted the cause when they received news that Argyll was captured and executed in Scotland. Monmouth invaded England from Holland arriving at Lyme Regis on June 11, 1685 and was then declared king by the Protestants on June 20, 1685 at Tauton. He brought with him some Dutch artillery of about 83 men who were experienced soldiers; these were the only trained soldiers in his army. His army, expanded to over 5000 ill-equipped men, mostly farmers and peasants. They readily volunteered in support of his cause. Monmouth received minute backing from the upper class or aristocrats, and his untrained army failed to capture Bristol or Bath.
On July 5, 1685, the rebel armies of about 3500 men under the command of James Duke of Monmouth were trapped in Bridgwater (Somerset) having been chased to Bridgwater by the royal army led by Lord Feversham and John Churchill who was second in command, the forthcoming duke of Marlborough. By the royal army let by Lord Feversham, a much smaller camp, of highly experienced and trained forces.
In order to escape Monmouth led his men in absolute silence past the rural community of Cedzoy. He wanted to surprise the royal army with a surprise attack concealed by the dark of the night and night fog. Within a mile of their destination of the boggy swampland of Sedgemoor, an alarm was sounded. Their strategy was revealed prior to reaching the opposing camp, resulting in the royal Calvary Of James II having the upper hand. As the morning arrived, Feversham’s men attacked from three sides destroying the rebel soldiers. Monmouth’s army was defeated.
Monmouth was found two days later hiding on Cranborne Chase in a watery ditch, transported to London where he was held in the Tower of London until he was beheaded on July 15. His followers suffered a similar fate. They were brought before Judge Jeffries whose court became branded as the “Bloody Assizes,” they were either imprisoned under atrocious conditions or hanged.