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A Murderous Midsummer and other activities!
An event celebrating the 475th Battle of Fenny Bridges and the Prayer Book Rebellion
27th July 2024

@ Feniton Village Hall and Church

Past Participate are proud sponsors of this event.

It is being managed by a local community group in Feniton, East Devon. Any profit made will be donated to the Friends of St Andrews Church Tower Appeal

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film still photo of JC charging -enhanced (2) and further clarified by me June 2020.jpg
St Andrew's Church, Feniton.

Please join us for a day of activities that will include:

A Murderous Midsummer: The Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549 - a lecture by Professor Mark Stoyle). 

The Unveiling of a New Interpretation Board by Richard Foord MP 

A showing of The Reformation, a film made by EWTN and includes local cast members

Raffle with prizes donated from Otter Nurseries, Dilly's flowers and more

Dave Retter, Honiton Town Crier will also be in attendance

Exact timings will be published soon

Refreshments will be available

A Murderious Midsummer, by Mark Stoyle:  Book Cover

To Book

Tickets cost £7.50. Please use the eventbrite link below, call Hayley on 07955084661, or knock on the door of 2 Bridge Cottages, Green Lane.  It is helpful if you book in advance. 

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/battle-of-fenny-bridges-and-the-prayer-book-rebellion-anniversary-event-tickets-872488796477

The Battle of Fenny Bridges

In the fields south of Feniton, around the bridge over the river Otter at Fenny Bridges, a battle was fought which has come to be known as ‘the Prayer Book Rebellion’. The revolt was triggered by King Edward VI’s command that the country accept the new Protestant Prayer Book. Westcountry men were staunchly Catholic and resented interference from London, while the Cornish refused to use English instead of Cornish in their services.

Why was a battle fought at Fenny Bridges?

The royalist army, stationed in Honiton under the command of Lord Russell, heard on 27th July that some of the many thousands of Devonshire men laying siege to Exeter had set up camp by  in Fenny Bridges in order to block the road to Exeter. On hearing of the arrival of the rebels Russell decided to attack the next day.

 

Arriving at Fenny Bridges, Russell ordered his cavalry to charge through the rebels defending the bridges, and sweep them aside. Once on the field, he instructed his men forward to fight at close quarters with bills, pikes and hand-guns. Engrossed in stripping and plundering the corpses, the royalists failed to notice that 250 Cornish reinforcements, armed with their famous longbows, had arrived from Exeter until a rain of arrows fell on them. The royalists  fled across the Otter, leaving the rebels in charge of the field.

The victory was short lived, however, as more royalist reinforcements arrived.                               

The second round of fighting, says the contemporary chronicler Hooker was ‘very sharp and cruel’ and   soon the royal standard was hoisted beside the bridge.

The Westcountry men were, concluded Hooker in obvious admiration, ‘men of great courage, who in a better cause might have done better service’.

After further victories at Cary’s Windmill, Clyst St Mary, and Clyst Heath, Russell relieved Exeter on August 6th. The rebels, though, re-grouped at Sampford Courtenay and it was not until their defeat there on 18th August that the uprising was finally quashed. The ringleaders were executed in London in 1550 while gallows were set up around the South West for all who took part. 

Aftermath of the rebellion

Their defeat left Devon and Cornwall completely crushed and impoverished while up to 50% of the Cornish men of fighting age were killed. The Manor of Feniton was burnt to the ground and the innkeeper of the Greyhound Inn executed as a punishment for helping injured rebels. For Cornwall there was one additional punishment: all evidence of her semi autonomy was wiped from the map and the Reformation marked the demise of the Cornish language. The rebellion had had the potential to reverse the Reformation but its defeat enabled Protestantism to be established throughout the kingdom.

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