The Penruddock uprising was one of a series of coordinated uprisings planned by the Sealed Knot for a Royalist insurrection to start in March 1655 during the Protectorate of the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
There were plans to seize Salisbury, Newcastle, York and Winchester and instigate smaller uprisings in Nottinghamshire and Cheshire. The New Model Army garrison in Winchester was reinforced shortly before the uprising so plans to attack it were abandoned. No men answered the call in Cheshire, but risings did take place in the other places. However, at all of the locations except Salisbury, the Royalists disbanded without a fight due to lack of support.
The York uprising, the rendezvous point for which was on Marston Moor, was notable for the presence of the Earl of Rochester who had travelled from the exiled court of Charles II to take part. The rising was put down by Colonel Robert Lilburne, Governor of York, and on its failure Rochester fled the country.
Colonel John Penruddock along with Sir Joseph Wagstaffe organised and led the Royalist uprising in the West. On 11 March Penruddock, with between 300 and 400 other Cavaliers, took Salisbury and raised the Royal standard. The next morning he led his followers out of Salisbury, heading west through Blandford, Sherborne and Yeovil in the hope of picking up more supporters, but a single troop of horse of the New Model Army under Captain Unton Crook defeated them after a three-hour street fight in South Molton in Devon on 14 March. Most of the Royalists either fled or were killed but Crook captured Penruddock and the other ringleaders.
Oliver Cromwell appointed the judge Sir Hugh Wyndham to the commission of oyer and terminer charged with dealing with the Penruddock uprising, and for his part in the rebellion Penruddock was beheaded in May 1655; a number of other Royalists who had taken part were also executed, and 70 were shipped to the West Indies and sold as indentured labour (slaves).
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2012)|
- Original letters and other communications[dead link] between Oliver Cromwell and Major General of the West John Disbrowe They are all dated 1654 which conflicts with the other sources.
- Plant, David (21 August 2008), Penruddock's Uprising, 1655, British Civil Wars and Commonwealth website
- Biography[dead link] of Henry Wansey who was in Salisbury at the time of the uprising
- timeline: 12 March 1655 Penruddock's Rising, Channel 4, 2002, archived from the original on 23 July 2011
|Wikisource has the text of the 1885–1900 Dictionary of National Biography's article about Penruddock, John.|
Durston, Christopher (2009). "Penruddock, John (1619–1655)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21893. (subscription or UK public library membership required)