Located along the quaint Ringwood High Street stands a residence that once held a key position in a poignant but sorrowful chapter of British royal history, leaving an indelible mark despite its fleeting involvement.

The house is named Monmouth House in honour of James, Duke of Monmouth, who was confined within its walls after his unsuccessful uprising in 1685.

In this location, the unacknowledged offspring of the deceased King Charles II wrote a heartfelt message to his relative, the current ruler King James II.

(Image: Echo)

In a despondent admission of remorse, he penned a letter acknowledging his wrongdoing against the King.

There were people, wrote Monmouth, who “made me believe such things of your majesty and gave me so many false arguments that I was fully led away to believe that it was a shame and a sin before God not to do it.”

In an unwavering stance, he declared that facing a multitude of deaths would be preferable to offering excuses for his actions. He fervently beseeched God to soften the heart of King James, filling it with mercy and compassion. His only request was the opportunity to directly address the monarch with a single word.

Upon receiving his final appeal, only the last of Monmouth's requests was fulfilled.

Transported from Ringwood, he was escorted to the presence of the King, prostrating himself on the floor in a desperate plea.

Despite his heartfelt display, the King remained resolute in his decision not to spare the life of his nephew and challenger to the crown. Within days, Monmouth met his end at the hands of the executioner, Ketch, on Tower Hill.

“Do not hack me as you did my Lord Russell,” was the Duke’s last request. But even this was in vain – clumsy Ketch needed seven blows to complete the dreadful task.

The Duke of MonmouthThe Duke of Monmouth (Image: Echo)

The unfortunate tale came to a close, a story that originated partially from Monmouth’s strong Protestant beliefs and his status as the firstborn of King Charles II’s illegitimate offspring.

Being a Catholic, James II faced disapproval from certain factions right from the start. Amid the clamour for a saviour, the Whigs turned to Monmouth, aged 36, as the most suitable candidate for the task and implored him to come to the aid of the country.

Originating in Holland, the invasion strategy was orchestrated by Monmouth's supporter, the Duke of Argyll, who departed for Scotland but fell into enemy hands and met his demise.

He landed at Lyme Regis at dusk on June 11, 1685, with 80 armed supporters.

In the region, there was a reputation for a prevalent anti-Catholic sentiment, leading to the gathering of his ad hoc troop which swelled to 3,000 members, encompassing a significant portion of Lyme's male population.

During the clash at Sedgemoor in Somerset on July 6, the Duke's army, comprised of fierce pitchfork warriors, suffered a crushing defeat against the forces of the King.

Upon his return to Dorset, the wanted Monmouth carried a hefty £5,000 bounty on his head, aiming to reach Poole as a stepping stone for his journey to Holland.

The execution of Monmouth.The execution of Monmouth. (Image: Echo)

In the area of Woodyates, positioned between Blandford and Salisbury, he adopted the guise of a shepherd.

However, near Horton Heath, a mere five miles from Ringwood, his attempt at concealment was foiled when an elderly woman caught sight of him and a fellow traveller scaling a hedge. Driven by the promise of a reward, she promptly alerted the authorities.

Several weeks following the execution of Monmouth, James II appointed the infamous Judge George Jeffreys to address the numerous individuals facing accusations of participating in the rebellion.

Upon arriving at Winchester, the future Lord Chief Justice wasted no time in revealing his plans. The future Lord Chief Justice quickly made his intentions clear.

In Winchester he tried 70-year-old Dame Alice Lisle, of Moyle’s Court, near Ringwood, for harbouring two of the rebels. His directions to the jury were outrageous, both in terms of law and fact.

In a twist of fate, her destiny took a different turn as she faced her sentence. The initial ruling to burn her at the stake was instead replaced with a beheading, a decision made after a heartfelt plea was presented to the king.

The Bloody Assizes.The Bloody Assizes. (Image: Echo)

It was the prelude to his famous Bloody Assizes, which began in earnest at Dorchester on September 5.

In a few days Judge Jeffreys sent more than 300 to the gallows, some demonstrably innocent men.

Numerous others found themselves being shipped to the colonies as slaves or enduring various forms of punishment. Jeffreys solidified his place as the most infamous judge in the annals of British history.