THE day of the Big Battle dawned cold and grey. Any
blue in the sky was quickly defeated by the clouds that had hung over the whole
country for weeks on end. But the troops who were to fight the battle - and the
"army" of people supporting them from the market town and around - were not going
to be put off by a little thing like the weather.
In fact, things were to get better by
the end of the day when everyone - victors and vanquished alike - would go home
in high spirits after a job well done.
There had been battles in this area
before - on January 25th, 1644, for one. And there were echoes of the
decisive battle played out in the town around the 25th since 1973, but this
was going to be "the big one". The Big Battle of Nantwich. And this
time it was going to be fought over two days - admittedly the same
scenario on both days - at the precise time of the
original set-to. The powers-that-be had fought a battle of their own and had
persuaded the people with money (The National Lottery Heritage Fund) to back
their efforts in a major summer muster.
There were also to be horses
charging around the battlefield site at Reaseheath College adding to the realism,
something that couldn't happen on the much smaller Mill Island in the centre of
Nantwich. And there seemed to be more cannon on hand to join in.
A large gathering of townspeople
had assembled to watch the battle unfold. They liked a good battle - and they
were going to get one. But it ended as it always did - in a rout of the Royalist
Armies and a lifting of the siege of Parliamentarian Nantwich.
Fortunately, there were few real
casualties - a
twisted ankle or two, maybe. But there were quite a
number of soldiers felled before the eyes of the crowds - only for them to get
up again when the action, and focus, moved away from them and they joined in the battle once
again. Well, you don't travel 200 miles or more to spend your day lying on a
battlefield, and so the authorities had agreed to any number of "resurrections."
A roving reporter, complete with
a means of communication that would not become reality for the best part of
three centuries, was able to bring the words of surrender to the watching crowd.
Then it was all over and the crowds left the battlefield to return to the
This had been a one-off event as a
summer muster, but it would happen all over again the following January (26th,
2008) if not on quite so large a scale.
their bandoleers of 12 apostles, each containing enough black powder for one shot
One of two units of soldiers over from
Germany march to join in the battle
Hasn't the cavalryman on the
right forgotten something . . . ?
Stand by for the big bang as
the charge on one of the cannons is lit . . .
If this had been real, the
soldiers in the near distance would not still be moving
He's been battling away
like that all day. I'm just bored with it all