Monmouth Rebels 1685

Provided by Jean E. Harris, Toronto, Canada


The Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries Vol 6 1910/11 (Karl Cherry - pgs 12-16) and Vol 42 (J.B.R. - pgs 63-64) have articles about the Devon men who were tried and executed for taking part in this rebellion. All of the following names and details of the 1685 broadside are taken from Vol 6.

On 5th October 1685 the Justices of Peace in Devon issued an order that the Bishop of Exeter requested the clergy to publish. Author Karl Cherry writes that a copy of this broadside "may be seen in the Exeter Reference Library" and in the same library ". . . an interesting contemporary volume Western Martyrology, or Bloody Assize". Information he gave relating to their sentences, etc., are from the Gaol Book of the Western Circuit for the Autumnal Assizes 1685, and the Vernal and Autumnal Assizes, 1686.

Cherry's conclusions at the end of his article:

"A careful consideration of these documents will show that the "Black Assize" so far as Devon was concerned, was not so black as had been painted by Macaulay, who borrowed almost verbatim from the ultra-Protestant Western Martyology, already quoted. The result of that Assize, as far as Devonians were concerned, was as follows:
     Indicted at Exeter, 41; executed, 2
     Indicted at Dorchester, 13; executed, 12."


of the
against the
at an ASSIZE holden at

On the 14th of this Instant September 1685, where in the Number of
     26 Persons were tryed for High Treason and found Guilty.

As also an Account of the several Persons Names that were appointed
     to be Executed, and the places they are to be Executed at.

I Having already given an Account of the Proceedings at Dorchester;
I shall now proceed to that at Exeter; where of the 14th of
this instant, were Arraigned for High Treason the Persons whose
names follow,

John OliverThomas Broughton
Henry KnightPeter Bird
Abraham HuntJohn Kamplin
Christopher CooperJohn Gosling
Edmond BovetJohn Sprake
Samuel PotsWilliam Clegg
William Siller, junWalter Teape
John KnowlesJames Cox
John FolletTimothy Dunkin
Elias HolmanJohn Ross
William ParsonsThomas Connet
Thomas Quintin 

     The Persons above-named, being in Number, Twenty Three, were
Indicted for High Treason, and upon their Arraignment of Death,
pleaded Guilty, and have since received Judgment.
     John Foweracres and Robert Drower putting themselves upon
Tryal were found Guilty, and received Judgment as the former.
     Thomas Hobbs, Tryed for proclaiming Monmouth King at Crediton
in the County of Devon, was found Guilty, and received Judgment.
     These are all the persons that were Tryed at Exeter and received
Judgment, in Number Twenty Six, out of which Number, Fourteen are
ordered to be Executed at the several places following, viz:-

John Foweracres, Executed at Exeter
Thomas Hobbs, at Crediton
William PARSONS   )   at Ottery St Mary
Thomas Quintin) 
John Sprake)at Collyton
William Clegg) 
John Oliver) 
Henry Knight) 
Samuel Pots)at Honiton
John Knowles) 
Thomas Broughton) 
John Gosling) 
Timothy Dunkin)at Axminster
John Ross) 

     The Heads and Quarters of these Persons are to be fixed where
the King shall appoint.
                               Your Servant, T.S.
                              September 15 15th, 1685
    This may be printed. R.L.S.
    September the 25th 1685

    LONDON; Printed by E.Mallet in Black-Horse-Alley near
                         Fleet-Bridge, 1685


         *from 1685 broadside and in the Gaol Book of the Western Circuit for the
Autumnal Assizes, 1685, and Vernal & Autumnal Assizes, 1686
         **from the contemporary volume Western Martyrology, or Bloody Assize
         ***   from a MS in the Bodleian Library (Oxford) [as Cherry's article]
of Axminster
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
of Axminster
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
of Sidmouth
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
of Colyton
executed @ Colyton **
of Uplyme
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
of Kilmington
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
convicted & sentenced to death
but afterwards reprieved
         EVANSMr (a minister)   executed @ Honiton **
of Colyton
executed @ Sheborne, Dorset**
convicted with Lewis JAMES for
high treason in proclaiming
Monmouth king, HOBBS alone being
left for execution.
his name does NOT appear on the
broadside BUT is recorded in the
Gaol Book with the others. Convicted
of high treason in proclaiming
Monmouth king
of Buckerell
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
of Axmouth
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
         POTTS*Samuelexecuted @ Honiton**
of Shute
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
(or ROSE)
executed @ Axminster**
(not a local man, but a gunner who
landed with Monmouth)
of Combpyne
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
of Colyton
executed @ Sherborne, Dorset**
         SILLER*William Jun 
of Axmouth
executed @ Bridport, Dorset***
of Colyton
executed @ Colyton**
         Two others unnamed executed @ Honiton**
         TWELVE OTHERS, whose names do not appear on the broadsheet,
were convicted of speaking seditious words. Except for Henry
ABBOTT, who was fined five pounds, their sentences do not appear
(in the Gaol Book of Dorchester):
         CRANERobert (sic) 
         Two others were charged with "wilfully suffering George Legg to escape":
         GAMMONDaniel"was acquitted"
         BREWERJohn"sentence on Brewer not recorded"