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Bloody Assizes

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Was the name given to the mass trials of Monmouth's rebels in 1685, presided over by Jeffreys and four other judges. The judges indicated that pleas of not guilty would invariably mean death sentences and ordered execution on the day of conviction. These examples produced pleas of guilty which enabled courts to sentence 500 in two days at Taunton, 540 at Wells in one. The executions of some 250 were dispersed in towns over the area of the rebellion, and pickled heads and quartered bodies were publicly displayed throughout the western region.

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