Rupert's March North - Part Three, Yorkshire

Part three of the Prince Rupert travelogue sees him enter the land of strange dialects, decent beer, and the unholy use of offal in cooking; before he triumphantly enters York, and foolishly rides out to Marston Moor.

For ease of writing east of the Pennine watershed* is Yorkshire, west is Lancashire.

Black Tom's tomb, Bilbrough Rupert's first port of call was the Royalist stronghold of Skipton. Rupert's forces relieving the siege of Skipton Castle which had been on and off since 1642. After Marston Moor the siege started again, the garrison eventually surrendering honourably in December 1645. Rupert's forces spent two days here resting and preparing for battle. (A more in-depth post about Skipton Castle will appear on this blog soon.) Skipton Castle
Rupert made a statement by routing his march via Denton Hall, the home of the Fairfaxes. The current hall is a much newer building (dating from the late eighteenth century) and is used as a wedding/corporate events venue (in …

Rupert's March North - Part Two, Lancashire

Part two of the Prince Rupert travelogue sees him venture through Lancashire towards York, and ultimately the battle of Marston Moor.

For ease of writing south of the Mersey is 'Cheshire', north of the Mersey is 'Lancashire'.

After crossing the Mersey, Rupert bypassed Manchester as it was too well defended, instead storming Bolton.

Rupert attacked Bolton on the 28th of May three days after taking Stockport. The loss of Stockport led to the Parliamentarian forces besieging Lathom House to retreat to Bolton. The attack started in pouring rain, the 4000 defenders repulsing the Royalist attacks. A fresh attack led by the Earl of Derby broke the defensive line.

James Stanley, Earl of Derby
Two of the Royalist regiments of foot had returned from fighting in Ireland, and during the initial attack a number of their men were captured. An Irishman was hung by the defenders as they saw the presence of Irish men (and whole regiments of Catholic Irishmen, so they believed) as a Papis…

Rupert's March North - Part One, Cheshire

Regular readers (hello both of you) will realise that my mini-series of battlefield visits is on a bit of a break, due to my battlefield 'hit-list' being not so local anymore. However there were a number of skirmishes and sieges locally. Each of these actions probably doesn't warrant an article by itself, however many of these incidents were related to Rupert's march to York. So I have decided to retrace Rupert's route through Cheshire and Lancashire, adding in any other events/locations as asides. For ease of writing south of the Mersey is 'Cheshire', north of the Mersey is 'Lancashire'.

1644, the Marquis of Newcastle is under siege in York, a last stronghold of Royalist power in the north. The Parliamentarian army of the Eastern Association has been joined by the Scots army of the Solemn League and Covenant. A beleaguered Newcastle has requested help from the King in his stronghold at Oxford.

Charles dispatches Prince Rupert north with an army, a…

Hopton Heath

After visiting Adwalton Moor and Rowton Heath battlefield sites, I've started to get the bit between my teeth for visiting and documenting local Civil War battlefields.

The latest instalment saw me visit Hopton Heath in Staffordshire, where Sir John Gell (Parliament's Derbyshire commander) possibly took a marginal victory*. This is the same John Gell whose infantry standard is proudly exhibited at the National Army Museum and whose buff coat is on display at the Royal Armouries in Leeds

Sir John Gell
Early 1643, the war was at a hiatus, the Royalists were under siege at Lichfield, and Parliament wanted to take control of the Midlands (and thereby disrupt the King's supply route north from Oxford).

Gell took Lichfield in early March, the Earl of Northampton was tasked to retake Lichfield, but had to respond to Gell's march on Stafford. They met on the heathland outside the village of Hopton.

Gell had been joined by a force from Cheshire led by Sir William Brereton, their…

Rowton Heath and the Siege of Chester

On the 373rd anniversary of the battle, it's only right and proper to visit, isn't it? Well that's my argument for going, and I'm sticking to it.

Civil War window, St Chad's
1645 the war is going badly for the King, Rupert has just surrendered Bristol to Parliament and is now in disgrace. Charles has pinned his hope on Scots and Irish troops bolstering his army. Unfortunately he only has one port left under his control - Chester, and Chester is under siege.

Charles marched into Chester with 600 soldiers, whilst the remains of the northern horse, under the command of Sir Marmaduke Langdale, were ordered to camp outside the city. Charles believed that he had outwitted his pursuer Poyntz, and had out run him to Chester. Big mistake.

Poyntz met Langdale in the early hours of 24th September. Langdale originally repulsed Poyntz, but Parliamentarian reinforcements from the besieging army arrived and Langdale retreated to Rowton Heath to await his own reinforcements. They w…

Parliamentarian Cavalry: Part Two - a WIP

Another four regiments of horse for Parliament. Well that's the plan. If I publish this, then I have to follow through with it!

Variations on a theme of brown. Realised that I used fourteen different browns painting these (if you include the horse tones). When based, with the earth base added I was really disappointed with how they looked, only after the greenery was added did I start thinking "yes, they're alright those".

Flags from Maverick Models - not currently listed as available. Thank you Stuart for your patience with my continued requests to produce specific standards.

Half way through painting these four regiments I became a convert to headswapping, and I do confess to having become slightly evangelical about the subject. So, yes there are a few headswaps amongst their ranks (I particularly like the lobster pot with raised face guard).

Col Francis Russell's Regiment of Horse

Colonel George Dodding's Regiment of Horse

Fleetwood's Regiment of Horse s…

Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey Hall is located near Altrincham, to the south of Manchester city centre. The Hall, as you'd expect is situated in a deer park, with beautiful formal gardens, obligatory coffee shop, gift shop and restaurant. As this isn't Trip Advisor, what has this got to do with the British Civil Wars I hear you ask? The Hall was the home of the Earls' of Stamford, who also held the title of Lord Grey of Groby.

Building work at Dunham Massey began in the early seventeenth century, it was put on hold during the wars, and only finished during the Interregnum. It was extensively remodelled during the 1720s, so little of its Carolean character remains.

As with all National Trust properties, the Hall is presented to represent its appearance throughout it's life - from the Stamford family home to Great War Hospital.

The stable block, which is most likely part of the original build (despite the clock bearing the date 1721)
Despite the Hall's more recent history and remodelli…

Adwalton Moor

Where I hear you ask? Adwalton Moor fought on 30th June 1643,  was a battle which was thought to be  of little importance, on the moors outside Bradford. Recent reappraisals by historians have led English Heritage to describe it thus: "with the exception of Marston Moor... Adwalton Moor was the most important battle fought north of the Trent during the First Civil War".*

Lobster pot on display at Bolling Hall
Adwalton Moor is a reasonably well-documented battle.  Accounts of the fighting survive from both the Parliamentarian and Royalist viewpoints.  The course of events is easy to reconstruct and, with the help of the original Ordnance Survey map of the area, can be matched to features of the terrain mentioned by participants.

Information board at the library
Lord Ferdinando Fairfax decided to meet The Earl of Newcastle in open battle rather than be besieged in Bradford, which he deemed undefensible. They met by chance at Adwalton. Both sides seemed to be stuck in a stalemate,…