Newark played an important role in the Civil War and has a number of places of interest for the Civil War enthusiast.

First off is the National Civil War Centre, housed in the old Newark museum the buildings have been tastefully renovated. The main gallery is devoted to the Civil Wars, mostly interpretative panels and interactive stuff (and dressing up) for the kids. They have recently acquired 25 pieces of armour which they hope to display in the coming years. This should pad out the collection nicely.

The museum has a new exhibition called 'Cutting Edge' - which has a number of Sir Thomas Fairfax's military items (complimenting his wheelchair which takes pride of place in the medical gallery). There are also a number of other military items on display. This new exhibition now makes the museum somewhere to go out of your way to visit, rather than visiting if you happen to be in the area.

If you get the chance, and have a willing assistant, might I suggest that you try the grey waistcoat on (in the corner of the new exhibition). 3lb bags of sand are added to the pockets placed all over the waistcoat. Ten bags equals a buff coat, back and breastplate, and helmet. Twenty three a full cuirassier suit. You'll very quickly realise why the cuirassier was doomed to extinction on the battlefield.

The Centre has developed an app guide to the Newark Civil War trail. Download before you go as mobile data coverage is very patchy in the town (and the app is pretty large). The trail is short enough for small people not to get too bored, plus you can play spot the cannonball hole in the spire of St Mary's Church opposite the NCWC.

As you follow the trail from the NCWC to St Mary's, take a detour to the garden on your right. In the centre of the gardens you will find a memorial to many of Newark's great and good who died during the siege, and who were originally interred inside the church.

St Mary's was garrisoned during the siege, but other than the supposed cannon ball hole, the garrison left little evidence that they were there.

Worth a visit though as there are three interesting memorials: the first to Thomas Atkinson, who petitioned the Parliamentary Commissioners for damage sustained during the siege to his property. He claimed that he had kept the Olde White Hart (in the market place, now a building society) in good repair until "Newark was besieged by the Parliaments forces and through a bumball or granado shott which came from the besiegers a great part of the said howse was blowne upp and some were there slaine and others mortally wounded".

The second to Robert Ramsey, servant to his majesty (Charles I).

The third is to John Johnson, twice mayor of Newark.

There is an interesting story attached to the drive and the mayor of Newark at the time, one Hercules Clay. Hercules had a dream on three consecutive nights that his house would be destroyed by cannon fire, so he moved his family out. Not long after his house was burnt to the ground as a consequence of artillery fire. Grateful for his escape, Clay left an endowment for an annual service of thanksgiving to be held at St Mary Magdalene Church, which continues to this day. Hercules Clay Day is celebrated in the town, and there's often some re-enactors firing their muskets and drilling. (Closest Sunday to March 11th, occasionally moves by a week if it clashes with Mothering Sunday.)

For the benefit of all the new visitors to the site: the man illustrated is a portrayal of a man called John Americanus, who fought for the King at the Siege of Newark. John's role in the defence of Newark is well documented. And yes, John was of African descent.

The Mill Gate board (easily missed) is located in a small park directly opposite an Aesthetics and Beauty parlour.

Not on the trail are a number of interesting buildings.

The Prince Rupert public house

The Governor's House, where Rupert lodged, is now Greggs

Tucked away down Eggleston's Yard (running by the side of Gregg's) is a slightly more interesting plaque.

Charles's lodgings are now a bed shop and gallery

The Queen's Sconce is pretty well preserved and gives a good idea of defensive earthworks. The park it is located in often plays host to the Sealed Knot. If you are travelling any distance I'd recommend timing your visit with one of these events. Or of course one of the Partizan shows.

Postcodes for SatNavs
Sconce (Devon Park) NG24 4AU
National Civil War Centre NG24 1JY (parking for the centre is a few hundred metres further down the one way road on the left hand side, just after the junction with the two way road NG24 1JR)

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