"the time of the assizes soon came "
Judge George Jeffreys
Public DomainJudge George Jeffreys - Credit: Johann Closterman

The Assizes refers to the trials that followed the Monmouth rebellion in 1685.  They were presided over by Judge George Jeffreys (1645–1689). Jeffreys went to the West Country to try the captured rebels. The trials began in Winchester on 26 August, and moved on to Salisbury, Dorchester, Taunton and Wells, where they concluded on 23 September.  Jeffreys issued harsh sentences to nearly all defendants. Of the more than 1,400 prisoners tried, most were sentenced to death.  About 300 were hanged, and their remains displayed around the county to ensure people understood the fate of those who rebelled against the king.  A further 800 to 900 prisoners were transported to the West Indies. For his severity, Jeffreys was nicknamed "the hanging judge."