Monday, 16 March 2015

Re-enacting the battle of Edgehill

Circumstance permitted me to attempt a one-man re-enactment of the battle of Edgehill (Warwickshire, 23rd October 1642) on March 13th. It remains very easy to capture a panoramic view of the battlefield.

Full accounts of manoeuvres can be read in a hundred places; here let it suffice to say that a large proportion of the field is inaccessible as it is owned by the MoD, which seems strangely appropriate. Ergo, no attempt at complete re-enactment was going to succeed, and I compromised with a gentle stroll around the prettier bits together with some isolated theatrical displays. Unsurprisingly, the local churches had some information to give.

Kineton was just behind the parliamentary lines on the day and would have seen a lot of action; I recreated a small piece of this outside the post office. In St Peter's church there's a dinky mermaid on Frances Bentley's tomb:

Radway is stationed at the base of the “edge” (bank) that was strategically important to the Royalist army on the day. Henry Kingsmill was interred in St Peter's church here after falling in the battle (beautifully re-enacted by me, if I may say so).

It reads:
HERE LYETH EXPECTING THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR HENRY KINGSMILL ESQ. SECOND SON OF HENRY KINGSMILL OF SIMONTON IN YE COUNTY OF SOUTHERN KENT WHO SERVING AS A CAPTAIN OF FOOT UNDER HIS MAJESTY CHARLES 1st OF BLESSED MEMORY WAS AT YE BATTLE OF EDGEHILL IN YE YEARE OF OUR LORD 1642 AS HE WAS MANFULLY FIGHTING ON BEHALF OF HIS KING AND COUNTRY UNHAPPILY SLAIN BY CANNON BULLET IN MEMORY OF WHOM HIS MOTHER THE LADY BRIDGET KINGSMILL DID IN THE 46TH YEARE OF HER WIDOWHOOD IN THE YEARE OF OUR LORD 1670 ERECTED THIS MONUMENT. I HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE HENCEFORTH IS LAYD UP FOR ME THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Unsurprisingly, his Mum had to wait for the re-establishment of the Throne in the form of the debauched Charles II before putting this thing up.

Ratley is over the edge and was presumably a royalist haven on the day. Here's a nice picture of Mary Magdalene up to her old tricks (not really part of the re-enactment) in the church of St Peter ad Vincula:

The day was accompanied by a lowlight and a highlight.
  • Both of the Kidderminster restaurants billed as “the best curry in town” were closed, so I had to settle for a steak pie in the 3-Shires Cafe. It was not good.
  • Hard by Radway church was PB 1086272, a type 3204/1, numbered CV35 147 by RM. It's seen some use; in my view these look all the better when they have not been beautified by RM:

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