How was the Monmouth Rebellion reported in the News?
Even in 1685, the people read newspapers, and as a result many followed the progress of the Monmouth Rebellion in the news. The following extracts are taken from the reports published in the London Gazettes. These give a perspective of how the Monmouth Rebellion was seen in the ‘official’ news, as read in the London Coffee shops, and of course agreed by King James II.
The London Gazette
In 1685 the official news was published in the London Gazette. This was printed as a board sheet twice a week, and contained a round up of all the political, domestic and foreign news. With reports from Scotland taking 5 to 7 days to reach the publisher, 2 days from the West of England and from 3 to 20 days from Holland. As a result, reports of the different events that happened on the same day, sometimes got merged by the editor in ‘one’ event, or printed after an earlier account, getting published in a later edition! Each London Gazette is numbered and give a date range. It is still published today and the official record.
The Monmouth Rebellion in the News
The follow snippets from the London Gazette give the details about the progress of the Duke of Monmouth and Earl of Argyll.
Argyll Lands, the Monmouth Rebellion Begins
The rebel, the Earl of Argyll lands with his Army in Scotland and makes his declaration, the War begins, but where is Monmouth?
Argyll burns Ila, and raises the Fire Cross
Argyll swears to burn every House on Islay and everyone in the Country that would not rise with him and commands the Fire Cross to dispatched through the whole Country.
The Kings forces close in on Argyll
A considerable part of the Kings forces, consisting chiefly of Highlanders under the Marquis of Atholl are marching with all speed to suppress the Rebels.
Argyll seizes Campbeltown
Earl of Argyll lands at Campbeltown on 20 May 1685 and orders his men to muster at Tarbert on 26 May.
Argyll’s Army Grows
The Earl of Argyll marches from Campbeltown with two troops of horse and 700 foot to Tarbert, to meet more of his supporters, more expected every day.
Rebels defeated at Glendaruel
Atholl came to Glendaruel where Argyll son Charles lay, after a brisk fight, Campbell narrowly escaping capture, fled with his men and horse to his boats.
Monmouth lands at Lyme
About seven in the evening the Duke of Monmouth landed with about 150 men and entered Lyme
Monmouth’s head is worth £5000
High Treason to Spread the Traitorous Declaration Published by James Duke of Monmouth, with £5000 put on the Duke’s head.
Monmouth at Taunton & Argyll on the Run
Dumbarton with the Army under his command is marching with all diligence from Glasgow towards the rebels (who are about 12 miles distant) to attack them.
Argyll defeated and Captured
Argyll is brought from Glasgow being guarded by his majesties company in this city, having his hands bound behind him. He is now prisoner in the castle.
Battle at Keynsham near Bristol
On Thursday a party of 100 horse, commanded by Colonel Oglethorpe, fell upon the Rebels at Keynsham Bridge killing between 80 and 100 on the place.
Large Battle at Philips Norton
Feversham, General of his Majesties forces, having notice that the Rebels were at Philips Norton marched from Bath the with intention of falling their rear.
Argyll Executed in Edinburgh
Argyll was accordingly carried to the cross and was Beheaded upon a scaffold erected for that propose. His Head is ordered to be affixed upon the Tolbooth.
Monmouth Defeated near Bridgwater
Yesterday morning his Majesty received News of the entire defeat of the rebels, at the Battle of Sedgemoor, about 2000 of the rebels were killed.