Walking Through History

England's Last Battle - West Country

Series 4 - Episode 6 England's Last Battle - West Country

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Review

If you watched Channel 4’s costume drama New Worlds (and sadly, not many did) you’ll retain a few vivid mental images of the era of history through which Tony Robinson strolls tonight. The Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s illegitimate son, was a minor character in that drama, but the centre of the story here.

In 1685 he landed in Dorset hoping to lead a rebellion against his uncle, the newly crowned James II, starting in the West Country. Following the trail of Monmouth’s progress, Robinson walks from Lyme Regis on Dorset's Jurassic Coast to the Somerset Levels where, at the last pitched battle fought on English soil, Monmouth was defeated at Sedgemoor.

Summary

Tony Robinson hikes up from Lyme Regis on Dorset's Jurassic Coast to the Somerset Levels in the footsteps of a ragtag rebel army led by the young Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of Charles II. He sailed in from Holland around Lyme's famous Cobb with a handful of soldiers, believing the people would support him in overthrowing the newly crowned James II, who was also Monmouth's uncle, but, more importantly, Roman Catholic. The year was 1685 and the country was riven by anti-Catholic feeling mixed up with revolutionary zeal. Monmouth marched through the fiercely independent towns of Devon, gathering support from artisans and farmworkers. Meeting up with Billy Bragg in Colyton, Tony learns about the kind of people prepared to risk their lives for the Monmouth Rebellion.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Tony Robinson
Contributor Billy Bragg
Director Owen Rodd
Executive Producer Philip Clarke
Producer Owen Rodd
Education