Posts

Showing posts from September, 2018

Hopton Heath, 19th March 1643

Image
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



Gell's buff coat, Leeds
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 …

Rowton Heath and the Siege of Chester

Image
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 …

Dunham Massey

Image
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, 30th June 1643

Image
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,…

Command Figures

Image
I recently documented my command stands, and expressed some thoughts about my representation of historical figures, namely Black Tom and Prince Rupert. See here and here.

Well, they have both been rebased, with added ensign and a personal standard. Rupert has a banner based upon a description of his banner captured at Marston Moor (and illustrated in the Forlorn Hope Guide to Edgehill), and Sir Thomas has one that was illustrated in an old Military Modelling series of articles available from BCW Regimental Wiki.


A rebased Black Tom and ensign.

Rupert, Boye and ensign.
There are also a number of new 'generals' who have mostly benefitted from my newly acquired evangelical zeal for headswaps. I have tried to paint their hair the correct colour: I based hair colours on portraits found in the book "Portraits of the English Civil Wars (The Face of War)", Google helping out for those I couldn't find. Helmets are a great cover-all if in doubt!


Firstly Parliament's new …