Sunday, 31 October 2010
Somerset Freedom Fighters, part 3
The youngest member of ‘A’ company is Charlie ‘Boy’ Wilmot. One of his earliest memories is of the church bailiffs coming to his families farm. His father could not pay the tithes and so the church sent men to take it. When Charlie’s father tried to stop the bailiffs he was beaten up, as two policemen looked on. It was the arrival of a lorry load of Somerset Freedom Fighters which saved Charlie’s father and the farm. Charlie is one of the lucky ones. Many of the men he is fighting with have had little or no work after being blacklisted. The church bailiffs would do anything to stop organised resistance to their work collecting the Queen Ann’s Bounty. Even years later some men are called ’bad sorts’ and ’not to be trusted‘.
When the Anglican League started to collect the tithes again Charlie joined the SFF as soon as he could. Charlie’s story is a common one all across Somerset and this has lead to a lot of support for the SFF.
The company started the civil war quite small but had a large network of informers, runners and road watchers. At the start of the civil war it has regular run-ins with the auxiliary police and the estate militia of Lord Winterfield, for control of the Mendips.