Symonds & Sampson sell part of the Monarch’s Way

Symonds & Sampson sell part of the Monarch’s Way

The Monarch's Way is a 610-mile footpath in England used for the safe escape of King Charles II, and part of it runs through Grove Farm which is coming to auction this September.

The Monarch's Way is a 610-mile  footpath in England that approximates the escape route taken by King Charles II  after being defeated in the Battle of Worcester. It runs from Worcester via Bristol and Yeovil to Brighton. All of the footpath is waymarked. The waymark is yellow and shows a picture of the ship Surprise above the Prince of Wales three-point feathered crown which is superimposed on a Royal Oak tree.

Charles had lost to Cromwell's New Model Army at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, and was a wanted man. A reward of £1,000 was offered for the capture of the King. It is likely that the King and anyone helping him would have been executed for treason if caught. The King had a distinctive appearance: very swarthy and 6' 2" tall. Furthermore, there were cavalry patrols whose specific task was to find the King. Fortunately for Charles, the Catholics had an organisation with 90 years of experience in keeping secrets and hiding people. However, it was also illegal for Catholics to travel more than five miles away from their homes without a pass from the sheriff of the county, increasing the hazards faced by those who helped him.

The escape with near misses, mistaken identity and heart stopping moments was as thrilling as it was dangerous and although most of the route has been radically changed in the intervening centuries by enclosure, mining, urbanisation and the building of roads, canals and railways it runs through Grove Farm North Cheriton, a 130 acre farm that Symonds & Sampson will auction on 21 September.

Lester Williams, a partner at Symonds & Sampson says “I live in the village so I have been walking along the Monarch Way without knowing very much about the history but when Peter Judd instructed us to sell the farm I looked into the history in a bit more detail.

“The King crossed through some of our most stunning scenery and in the immediate area the King was sheltered by Colonel Wyndham at Trent Manor House. The next part of the journey leads down to the Dorset coast where a ship had been found to take the King to France he stayed overnight on 22 September 1651 at the Queen's Arms Charmouth before taking passage. Unfortunately the plan fell through and the King beat a hasty retreat inland returning to Trent.

“From Charmouth the Monarch's Way follows the South West Coast Path east along the Jurassic Coast of Dorset past St Gabriel's Mouth, over Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast, through Seatown, over Thorncombe Beacon and past Eype's Mouth to West Bay. From here it heads north up the River Brit to Bridport, swinging west and north to Pilsdon Pen, briefly joining the Wessex Ridgeway eastwards before reaching Broadwindsor. The King hid overnight in the George Inn on 23 September 1651.

He then continued eastwards to the north of Beaminster, before zig-zagging north and east to Winyard's Gap near Chedington, where it meets the head of the River Parrett Trail. Continuing north the path enters Somerset and passes Hardington Marsh, swinging east from Hardington Mandeville to East Coker and then north through Yeovil and Mudford.

Crossing the River Yeo and back into Dorset, the path returns like the King to Trent. The King stayed here before setting out for the south coast and exile in France.

Skirting north of Sherborne to Sandford Orcas then re-entering Somerset the path passes to the south of Corton Denham to Charlton Horethorne and South Cheriton, then north to pass under the A303 to Wincanton. From here it continues north-east to Penselwood.

Lester continues “I spend a lot of time at the coast and have walked part of the coast path but I intend to strike inland and follow the Monarch Way. It will be a lovely journey and, hopefully, less nerve wracking than it was in 1651!

Grove Farm North Cheriton will be auctioned on 21 September 2018 please contact Lester Williams or Bradley Towell for more details 01935 814488

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