Battle of Sedgemoor Then & Now
Battle of Sedgemoor Today
6 July 1685 to 6 July 2023
The landscape that surrounds the battle of Sedgemoor as then in 1685 has changed to how it is seen now. To understand the battle you need to see it in the original landscape.
Where was the Battle of Sedgemoor?
The Battle of Sedgemoor took place on the northern edge of the Kings Great Sedgemoor in north Somerset between the villages of Westonzoyland and Chadzoy. This was low-lying land, flooded in winter and cattle grazing moor in the Summer. The moor was surrounded by raised ground locally called Zoy’s; Chedzoy to the north and Westenzoyland to the south. Today the landscape is dominated by the King Sedgemoor Drain cut in the 1780s and later widened. This is when the Chedzoy Cut was added to further drain the land.
The Sedgemoor Battlefield Today
Today the Battlefield of Sedgemoor has Electricity Pylon that cut across the moor, while the drains have dried out the moor except after heavy rain. The battlefield is oriented around the Monument and car park at Bussex Farm.
The monument to the Battle of Sedgemoor in November 2019 looks across the Fowlers Plot.
The Battlefield Landscape with Historical Features
When historical features are added to the landscape old trackways and watercourses appear in the landscape.
The Battlefield today with the missing historical features
The key features of the battlefield are the Bussex Rhyne, Longmoor Stones, and Upper & Lower Plungeons. On the Chedzoy side of the moor, the raised ground had cornfields, while the Windmill at Sutton Mill was another distinctive landmark. On many maps of the battlefield, the Kings Sedgemoor Drain is incorrectly placed on the battlefield and renamed as the Black Ditch, however, this feature still remains in the landscape today.
Today the whole Battlefield can be seen from the foundations of Sutton Mill. The same spot from where eyewitnesses watched the battle in 1685.
The Sedgemoor Landscape in 1685
With the modern features removed the moor takes on a more open perspective. The Peasey Pond acted as feed to the ditches that helped the water flow to the River Parrett to the west.
The Sedgemoor Battlefield in 1685
In 1685 the track-way from the Longmoor Stone forked to the Upper Plungeon and the Lower Plungeon. At the Upper Plungeon, the track joined another path that cut across the moor from Westonzoyland to the village of Sutton, cutting across the Halsom Rhyne.
In the Winter of 2019, heavy rain revealed the Bussex Rhyne. This is the view across the Bussex from the Whig’s firing line towards Westonzoyland.
This account is based on a more detailed description of the Earl of Argyll’s & the Duke of Monmouth’s campaign of 1685 available from Helion & Company in my Book Fighting For Liberty.