This article was published previously in the Bridport Times.
In St. Mary’s Church in Bridport there is a plaque which details the story of a skirmish outside the Bull Hotel in 1685 during the so-called Monmouth Rebellion. It details the death of a man called Coker, killed by a gunshot allegedly from a window of the inn.
The Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of Charles II, landed on the beach at Lyme Regis, triggering the rebellion which ended on Sedgemoor and was followed by the bloody assizes of Judge Jeffries. One can have a cuppa in the tearoom where he held court in Dorchester.
Monmouth suffered the fate of the nobility who dared threaten the Crown. He was executed at the Tower on 15th July 1685 in a horribly botched way. Laying his neck upon the block, the first blow caused only a slight wound and he stood, looked reproachfully at his executioner and retook his place. Seven blows later he was dead.
The horror of such a brutal way to die was not lost upon the crowd. The executioner had to be escorted from the scene under heavy guard. Thank God such things don’t happen today!
Yet sadly, of course, they do. The summary execution of a number of Westerners, Syrians and others by IS in Syria, and shown in all its gory detail on the internet has horrified all right minded people.
Our country left behind such barbarity in 1747. France ceased to use the guillotine in 1977. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia however have beheaded 61 people this year so far, six of them women, but as they are our erstwhile allies we hear no condemnation of this in Parliament.
Whereas public execution after due process of law was meant to act as a deterrent, the murders committed by IS are meant to spread terror.
We are dealing with a very warped reading of the theology of Islam; remember the majority of those dying are fellow Muslims. These are minds locked in a medieval world view which Western liberalism finds impossible to comprehend.