Three pages of photos from the Big Battle of Nantwich (2007)

(See also this Letter from Nantwich for the background to the event) 

Re-enactment was a resounding success

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 21st Century.

   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.   

 

The first contingent of troops approaching the battlefield

Ladies who see to the soldiers' needs.  A drink of water, that is!   (Note the 17th Century bottle)

Roundheads (the Parliamentary forces) march to

 the sound of a drum

Musketeers with 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 

 It always looks spectacular when the pike men go into action

Wounded - not resting . . .  Some of the day's "casualties" await attention

Roundhead troops mass round a small-scale

 model of Acton Parish Church 

 

 

Any captions with a hint of facetiousness are not meant to detract from the efforts of those involved in the Big Battle - nor, of course, the original Battle of Nantwich  

lMore pictures can be found here:

 Andy's proud moment  |  People at the BIG day

 

 

The Battle of Nantwich in articles

A Roundhead cavalryman keeps an eye on proceedings, scenting victory

A welcome drink of water from a camp follower (a stone jar, this time!)

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