Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sedgemoor - battlefield trip report..

Unlike the Langport trip, the Sedgemoor trip had significantly different weather. For the Brits among my readers we're all too well aware of the weather in the last week or so, but for the international audience I heard on the BBC this morning that in some places yesterday we had a sixth of the annual rainfall in one day, and I think the poor weather rolled in about the Thursday of last week - the dvery same day I went to Sedgemoor... J

Just to make life a little easier for this report I've included a map to show where the photo's were taken, and in what direction - should make it a little easier to orientate yourself to the battle field.. it may appear that I started taking pictures from a strange position, but basically I had parked by the Church in the village and then walked through to the site of the modern day Bussex Farm - this is where the battlefield official walk starts - and then treked westward along the footpath to the end, turned left (south) and started my "tour" from the west end of the battle, working back to the farm..

Anyway - without further ado let me share some of the pictures I took on the day - as stated, the weather wasn't brilliant (wind driven rain), but the walk was good nonetheless, and was also quite rewarding as you could see the major terrain effects that shaped the battle, and the result..

1: This first picture (and be aware I've made all of these small for loading speed & display purposes - but clicking on them will give you a bigger better view) shows the area of the Royalist artillery park - Feversham (the C-in-C) had positioned the artillery so as to cover the Bridgewater approach (I had come down this road on the way to Westonzoyland) as this was the direction he expected the Rebels from. In the middle distance you can see the church tower to help orientate the picture further..


2: This picture is taken to give a view of the likely position of the "lower plungeon" or crossing - it's looking south, so the artillery would have been in the distance on the left, the crossing would have been about half way down the field..
3: I've just crossed the Bussex and am standing right in front of what would have been the Royalist deployment line - 6 regiments of Foot would have been standing ready to move forard and confront the rebel infantry...
4: Swivelling 180' this is the direction they would have moved.. the battlefield monuments are in the middle distance behind the tall tree.. the monument marks the point where the infantry battle was fiercest..







5: First of the two battle information boards either side of the entrance to the monument enclosure







6: The second one...











7: The monument itself, and a close-up of the inscription (8:)











9: Although the Bussex Rhine is no more (replaced by more modern & efficient drainage ditches) I think the current wet weather, and the tendancy for damp to always seek the lowest/natural feature means that it is unlikely to completely disapear, and this feature consisting of much rougher ground, hedge/tree lined, follows the line of the Bussex (runs east west) just to the north of the monument - difficult to believe it isn't on the same line as the original rhine...

10 (almost finished! J): I took this as it gives a good view of where the Royal infantry encampments were - and why... the fence line is the key indicator, look how it rises. At the time of the battle the moor would have been considerably "wetter" than it is now (modern more efficient drainage has changed the lie of the land considerably) - Westonzoyland is/was built on an 'island' and the fence nicely shows you where the island starts, and where the Royalist infantry would have been camped..

11: Probably the most important picture of the lot and unfortunately not as focussed as I would have liked - the clump of trees in the middle marks (roughly) the likely site of the "upper plongeon", that the Rebel Cavalry were unable to find in the dark, but was the key to the Rebel strategy.. having missed it they galloped to the left of the picture, along the line of the Bussex, looking for the crossing but taking casualties from the musketry of the Royal infantry before eventually being driven off in rout..

Westonzoyland Church - start and end of the walk - a large number of the Rebels were held as prisoners in the church for a number of weeks after the battle - unfortunately it was closed and I wasn't able to see inside..





..and that's it - it was a most enjoyable three days, I won't even go into detail on the excellent ales I had while I was away (Bath is a hotbed for micro-breweries), but in summary the best were:

  • RCH "Pitchfork" - which is absolutely delicious and always my first pint when staying in Bath - and usually at this little back street gem- the Old Green Tree - which has a wood panelled front bar, with lovely comfortable seats, and a very gentle and relaxing atmosphere. Pitchfork is also a nice strength in that it's not rocket fuel being only 4.3%. Either way it's a lovely golden ale, with a lovely bitter aftertaste, and is dangerously drinkable - and it has the Sedgemoor "conneciton" as well (as you'll see if you go to the website)
  • Bath Ales "Wild Hare" - 5% this one so even more dangerous! It's organic though so it's good for you, right??!

2 comments:

  1. Excellent work Steve. Sedgemeoor is one of the forgotten battles and yet is a signifcant event because it marks the end of the English attempts to wreat the crown back but the beginning of the Scottish.

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  2. Wonderful pics, and the refreshments sound tasty as well...


    Greg

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