Following the success of the Monmouth Rebellion Living History Day in 2015, our next planned event for Colyton looks to be even more exciting. It will be held on Saturday 10th June 2017 throughout the town. The theme will be ‘A Day in the Life of Colyton Townsfolk – English Civil War’.
After extensive research, we have come across references to the ‘Skirmish of Chantry Bridge’ – mainly from Pulmans Book of the Axe who quotes from a parliamentarian newspaper of the day – July 1644. There were other earlier events but all speak of Royalist and Roundhead rampages throughout the Axe Valley – victims of tit-for-tat raids which lead to the destruction and razing to the ground of both Colcombe and Stedcombe.
The Battle Cry of the Clubmen
It is interesting that townsfolk, merchants etc were strongly anti-papist and supported parliament, while the Pole family hosted the royalists at Colcombe on the edge of town. The war foisted great hardship on the townsfolk. Soldiers were billeted upon local people who were expected to house and feed them although records show that due to a severe shortage of funds between 1642-59, locals were not paid.
Opposing sides raided the town, destroying hay and grain stores, confiscating carts and wagons for transport. Stealing metal, wool and cloth, supplies of milk, cheese, corn poultry, sheep, cattle all went missing. Poaching of deer and other game was also a problem to the landed gentry. Social conditions were, therefore, quite awful. Bad housing, polluted water caused many to perish and die.
So you can see, we have loads to work on here to create yet another special day for the our rebel town.