Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

The Duke of Monmouth’s 1682 Progress and Political Division in the North West

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (2014), 163, (1), 19–35.

Abstract

In 1682 the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s senior illegitimate son, embarked on a progress through Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Lancashire. Occurring in the wake of the ‘Exclusion Crisis’ of 1679 to 1681, its precise purpose has been the subject of debate amongst contemporaries and historians. This paper provides a comprehensive narrative of the progress and considers the extent to which it was intended to lay the ground for a future insurrection. The nature of the support that Monmouth received is also evaluated. Not only did individuals from all aspects of society, including gentry and peers, turn out to greet Monmouth, but it is also argued that they were under no illusions as to how this support would be interpreted at the time. Analysis of the progress provides a useful perspective on local political divisions, the position of the Whigs, Monmouth’s chief supporters, and the position of the Duke of Monmouth himself, at a time of considerable flux. Despite the fact that the Progress ended with Monmouth’s arrest, the apparent support he received also gives some insight into why he felt so sure of success for his ultimately disastrous rebellion of 1685.

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Author details

Baker, Geoff