In 1685, on this day the Duke of Monmouth James Scott (pictured) landed with three ships at Lyme Regis in Dorset to take the throne from his uncle, King James II who had ascended to the throne in February after the suspicious death of his father Charles II.
Monmouth Takes Royalists by SurpriseBorn in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, to Lucy Walter, and her lover, Prince Charles (who was living in continental exile following his father's execution), he demonstrated his pedigree as an absentee monarch by serving in the Second Anglo-Dutch War and commanding British troops taking part in the Third Anglo-Dutch War before commanding the Anglo-Dutch brigade fighting in the Franco-Dutch War. He might even have ruled with the backing of Parliament, but his father had refused to legitimize him. Although popular with the masses, he was identified as a conspirator in the so-called Rye House Plot and obliged to go into exile in the Dutch United Provinces in September 1679.
He published a "Declaration for the defence and vindication of the protestant religion and of the laws, rights and priviledges of England from the invasion made upon them, and for delivering the Kingdom from the usurpation and tyranny of us by the name of James Duke of York". This document was well received by a number of influential people most notably William of Orange who welcomed the idea of inviting a new regime into the League of Augsburg (the Stadtholder of Holland was deeply concerned by James II's pro-papist policies, fearing that he would lose a strategic ally in the war against Catholic France).
But the King responded by issuing an order for the publishers and distributers of the paper to be arrested. Nevertheless, Monmouth declared himself King at various places along the route including Axminster, Chard, Ilminster and Taunton. Of course Monthmouth was fully aware that his makeshift force was no match for the regular army. And so he sprung a surprise attack at the Battle of Sedgemoor and marched on to seize London to be crowned as James III. He would later prove that his father had been poisoned by a royal doctor hours before he planned to sign the necessary papers that would finally legitimize his b*stard son.