By consensus, this was the last pitched battle (one fought at an agreed location) fought on English soil; for that reason alone I include Sedgemoor (6 July 1685) among my ten pivotal British dust-ups.

James II, younger brother of Charles II, hadn’t been king long, just four months, when his illegitimate nephew, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, ended his Dutch exile, landing at Lyme Regis (Dorset) on 11 June 1685. Catholic-leaning James was suspected of wanting to subvert the Church of England, sending the West Country into rebellion with Protestant Monmouth the figurehead. For a few heady summer days he led a ragtag band of untrained partisans around Dorset and Somerset; it’s been dubbed the ‘Pitchfork Rebellion’. A complementary uprising in Scotland under the Earl of Argyll was crushed but Monmouth was still in the field, reaching Bridgwater on 3 July. A modest, but professionally trained and equipped government army, commanded by Lord Feversham, made unentrenched camp at Westonzoyland, three miles away across Sedgemoor and behind the obstacle of the Bussex Rhine ditch.