Battle of Middleton Cheney, 6th May 1643

The battlefield at Middleton Cheney has recently been surveyed and an interpretation board installed by the Battlefields' Trust. So it would seem impolite if the ECWtravelogue didn't make a visit...

A newly unveiled memorial in the churchyard

This night late came a messenger with an Expresse from Banbury to Oxford, declaring what an absolute victory it pleased God to grant the Earle of Northampton over the Rebels at Middleton Cheney, not farre from Banbury

Mercurius Aulicus, 6th May 1643 

Garrisoned at Banbury the Earl of Northampton received intelligence of  a Parliamentarian force advancing towards Banbury from Northampton. He deployed with his own Regiment of Horse and the Prince of Wales’ Regiment of Horse,  initially to monitor the advance. To avoid the well defended bridge at Banbury, the parliamentarians cross the River Cherwell at a ford close to Bodicote. As they neared the ford they saw the Royalists deployed on the opposite side of the river with a detachment moving toward them. The Parliamentarian commander ordered a retreat, and was pursued by a Royalist detachment under a Captain Trist. In the ‘Towne Field’, to the south of the village of Middleton Cheney, the Parliamentarians made their stand.

The newly installed interpretation board

Northampton brought up the rest of his force, dividing his cavalry into three divisions under the command of Major Daniel, Captain Trist and himself. They  charged the Parliamentarians who opened fire with their six pounder drake. The Parliamentarian horse were quickly routed. Rather than pursuing the Parliamentarian horse, they returned and charged the infantry remaining on the field who promptly  fled back through Middleton Cheney towards Northampton.

the 'likely' battlefield, the view from the interpretation board

What's there now?
The Battlefields' Trust, Middleton Cheney Parish Council and the Northamptonshire Battlefields' Society  have created a Battlefield trail leaflet, available to download here.

The February 2023 Battlefields' Trust survey of the 'likely' battlefield site found little evidence of the battle. The precise location of the battlefield is still unknown but it is likely to be in the vicinity of Astrop Road, either under land now developed into a housing estate (The Moor's Drive) or close to the new information board to the south of the A422. To visit either location I would recommend parking adjacent to the children's play park located on Astrop Road in the village. The Moors' Drive is located here.

As you head out of Middleton Cheney keep a look out for this fingerpost. Somewhat unhelpfully I took this photo looking towards the village rather than the view from the village (where I recommend that you park)

To access the information board carry on, on foot. Cross over the bridge spanning the A422, keep a look out for the finger post pictured above. The information board is located a few metres along the footpath, and is visible from the road.

A newly dedicated memorial (June 2023) is located in the churchyard of All Saints, Middleton Cheney. It commemorates the 46 soldiers killed in the battle and recorded as being buried in the churchyard in the parish register.

Not directly connected to the battle, but to the northern end of the village, is the curiously named road  'Kings Stile'. Local tradition claims that the on the 28th June, 1644 King Charles rode from Wardington and rested on a stile before joining his army which was marching from Edgcote to Grimsbury (hence the curious road name). Following  the victory at Cropredy Bridge, he would lead his victorious army through the village to Deddington on the 1st July.

A newly installed plaque, located on Chacombe Road (to the side of 1 Kings Stile) marks these events.

Postcodes for SatNavs
All Saint's, Middleton Cheney OX17 2NR
Battlefield interpretation board, Astrop Road OX17 2PQ

Kings Stile, Middleton Cheney OX17 2QZ

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