The English Campaign

King William started his preparations in the month of June 1688. Meanwhile in London, James II had a weathercock erected on the roof of the Banqueting Hall - so he could see if the winds were Protestant or Popish. The first expedition was unsuccessful and ended with King William's fleet of ships being driven back to Hellevoetsluys by a westerly or "Popish" wind. This caused the loss of over one thousand of William's horses. Due to this so called "Popish" wind James II felt that God was on his side. However by November 1 1688 the winds were blowing in an easterly direction, this was the Protestant wind that King William and his armada had been waiting for. William's force again set sail for England. The Armada was some twenty miles long and it is said that as they passed the Isle of Wight on November 4th people on the shore could here music coming from the ships. After sailing down the English Channel William finally landed at Brixham on November 5th 1688(coincidently the date of the infamous gunpowder plot).

The armada of King William

Flying from the mast of William's ship was a pennant that read "The Protestant religion of England I will maintain". It is said that a chaplain travelling on the Golden Sun stood on the top deck and while holding a Bible shouted "Only the finger of God could have brought William through the storms and high seas safely to anchor here" to the people on the shore. After landing at Brixham (to this day the motto of Brixham is "I will maintain") and staying for a short while William set off for Longcoombe which is a few miles from Brixham itself where he is said to have held his first meeting or parliament, in fact the cottage where this meeting took place is still known as Parliament Cottage. It was here that King William first met the Immortal Seven (the seven influencial Englishmen who begged William to accept the English crown).

 The landing at Brixham

On November 7th King William and his 21,000 strong army set out for the city of Exeter. Among his troops were some 5,000 horses and 21 heavy cannons which were each pulled by sixteen horses. While on this six week journey copies of King Williams Declaration were distributed by the soldiers. The Declaration was read out for the first time in the market square at Newton Abbott on November 8th. William stayed at Pond House which was owned by Sir William Courtenay.

William 's entry to Exeter on November 9th

William 's entry to Exeter on November 9th was greeted by vast cheering crowds and a Te Deum was sung at St Peter's Cathedral to celebrate the arrival. William's army marched toward Salisbury Plain where he hoped to do battle with James's forces (they travelled via Honiton, Axminster and Crewkerne). The long column of William's army took some four days to clear the city of Exeter. King William spent from 25 - 28 November at Sherborne Castle which was the home of the Earl of Bristol, Sir John Digby. It was while staying here that William's Third Declaration was published. While staying at Hungerford on the 6th December the news that some 250 of William's Dutch troops had clashed with some 600 Irish Dragoons (known as the "Mounted Micks") in Reading reached William. During this clash Fifty Dragoons were killed along with five of William's Dutch soldiers. A song was composed in honour of this skirmish and the event was celebrated in Reading for many years. William's advisors met with the delegation from James at the Bear Inn in Hungerford, William had retired to Littlecote House - a few miles from Hungerford, because he did not wish to negotiate directly with James.

It was on the 11th December that the news of James's flight from London en route for France reached William (He was staying at Milton Manor close to Abingdon at this time). It is known that King William stayed overnight in Abingdon around this time and there is a plaque outside the building where he stayed to commemorate this fact.

William along with Marshal Schomberg ate and rested at the Lamb Inn, Wallingford on the 12th December. The remains of Wallingford Castle (destroyed by Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War) were visited and discussions took place about the rebuilding of the castle, although this was never done. Wallingford Borough Council actually hired boats to take William on to Windsor for the grand sum of nineteen pounds six shillings and sixpence.

For two nights, the 13th and 14th December, King William stayed at Phyllis Court. It was here that King William received a deputation from the City of London, who came to express their concerns regarding the army abandoned by James. These London Peers authorised King William to issue the following order - "to call together by beat of drum, or otherwise, the officers and soldiers at convenient rendezvous, and there to keep them in good order and discipline"

When King William arrived at Windsor on the 17th December he was greeted with the news that James dressed as a Jesuit Monk had been captured by a group of Kent fishermen while trying to flee the country. James was transported to Rochester. It is believed that James was then allowed to escape to France by the command of King William. William's famous Dutch Guards took over the guard at Whitehall at this time.

King William arrived at St James' Palace on the 18th December, this was where he had married Mary on the 4th November 1677. It was the end of what is now known as "The Glorious Revolution" and King William's reign began in earnest.

The Route from Brixham to London



Newton Abbott









Phyllis Court