The Wells Assize

The Wells Assize, 22-24 September 1685

When the Assize court arrived in Wells it found 539 men awaiting sentencing. Only one man, William Mangell, pleaded not guilty. The charges were:

514 for waging war on the King

9 for aiding and assisting the late Duke of Monmouth

6 for speaking seditious words

10 called on the Kings general Pardon

Poor Mangell was convicted of High Treason in moments and was sentenced to hang later that day. The rest were all found guilty and left in prison awaiting the King sentence. It took several weeks for the sentences to be returned from Whitehall. The King had selected 142 to die, by being hung, drawn and quartered. Of the rest 321 men were given to the King’s friends for sale as slaves into the sugar plantations in the Americas. With this the Bloody Assize had ended. The final tally was to be 315 men executed and 897 were to be transported, however some died before shipping and 30 men escaped.