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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Edward Sexby - Governor of Portland Castle

Tonight starts the four-part TV series The Devil's Whore on Channel 4 at 9.00pm.

The Devil's Whore tells the story of the seismic events of 17th-century England, when political disobedience turned to revolution and civil war, and English history changed forever. The story is told through the experiences of a spirited aristocratic woman, Angelica Fanshawe (Andrea Riseborough), who comes to know the key figures on both sides of this bitter conflict. It is a story not just of political and historical significance, but of love, loss, murder, courage and betrayal.

Life on Mars actor John Simm (see picture) plays Edward Sexby. Sexby was born in Suffolk in 1616. On the outbreak of the Civil War Sexby joined the Roundheads and by 1643 was a member of the regiment led by Oliver Cromwell.

A supporter of the Levellers Sexby was one of those soldiers involved in the Putney Debates. He demanded the immediate establishment of male suffrage and opposed any attempt to reach a compromise with Charles I.

Despite his radical political views Sexby became Governor of Portland Castle in 1649. The following year he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and commanded an infantry regiment in Scotland. He also raised an infantry regiment for service in Ireland.

In February 1651 Colonel Sexby took part in the siege of Tantallon Castle. A few months later he was sent as an agitator to France. He distributed a French translation of The Agreement of the People and worked closely with republicans living in Bordeaux. Sexby returned to England in August 1653.

Sexby grew disillusioned with the dictatorial policies of Oliver Cromwell and in 1655 joined John Wildman and Richard Overton in developing a plot to overthrow the government. The conspiracy was discovered and Sexby fled to Amsterdam.

In May 1657 Sexby published, under the pseudonym William Allen, Killing No Murder, a pamphlet that attempted to justify the assassination of Oliver Cromwell. The following month he arrived in England to carry out the deed, however, he was arrested on 24th July.

Edward Sexby died in the Tower of London on 13th January 1658.

(see previous blog entry about the English Civil War Commemoration at Chapelhay Gardens)


Unknown said...

That sounds awesome! I hope we get to see it here in the US sometime soon.

Dark Dorset said...

Well you maybe able to watch it online on Channel 4 catchup if in case you miss an episode


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