Wednesday 22 December 2010

The Anglican League in Cornwall

The betrayal and collapse of the Anglican League in Devon also meant the collapse of the Anglican League in Cornwall. With no outside support they had no choice but to fall back to an area they could defend and one in which they could be supported and supplied. They choose Bude on the North Cornwall coast.
The town had been a holiday resort before the civil war started, so it had several large hotels and a lot of guest houses. These were taken over the Anglican League and their families. They set up their headquarters in the fort, next to the harbour.
The town itself has a rail line running east and a harbour capable of taking ships up to 300 tons. This sea link was vital to the survival of the Cornish Anglican League.
The countryside around Bude lent itself to a defensive battle, the bank hedges making excellent fighting positions.
With the fighting in Devon in the south of the county the Cornish Anglican League pushed east as the Devon Anglican League pushed west until they met up at Monkleigh. The capture of Bideford gave the Anglican League three harbours along the coast and a large number of boats and small ships. These were used to move troops up and down the coast which was quicker than the roads.
With no deep water port to the west of Bristol, the government had great difficulty in controlling smuggling and gun running along the North Somerset, Devon and Cornish coasts.
Coast watching became a major operation for all sides. Many locals hoped to make money from any craft driven ashore by bad weather or by enemy action. Wrecking has become a major money maker along the coast.
Even the Anglican League have taken to piracy, and have a squadron of fast boats always ready for action. Their biggest ‘catch’ was the Italian cargo ship the MV Augusta…

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