All the King’s horses and all the King’s men will have to come back tomorrow to try againThe culmination of an amazing day’s events on Saturday July 27, thanks to the English Civil War Society, was the first part of the Battle of Marlborough re-enacted on the original battle site – Marlborough Common.
At 3pm the town garrison defied the summons of the King’s troops provoking the cries of ‘They shall pay for their insolence with their lives’.
Watched by a crowd of hundreds, there were many manoeuvres with pikes, muskets, cannons and cavalry accompanied by smoke and more smoke, together with the noise and hurly burly of battle.
The hour’s battle ended with the town’s Parliamentarian garrison forcing the Royalists to retreat. The next stage of the battle will be held tomorrow, Sunday 28 at 3pm.
Margit Campbell from London told Marlborough.news, “I’m German and I’ve never seen anything like it. I did my UK citizenship test and learned all about the civil war and now I can see it for myself.”
David and Claire Galvin from Shaftesbury came to watch the battle five years ago and were back for more. “We just love history, it’s fantastic and it’s good for Marlborough too. It’s great that it’s a free event.”
Mo McDermott from Great Bedwyn agreed. “It brings the community together and brings visitors to the town.”
Earlier in the day at 11.30 am Sir Neville Poole (Member of Parliament in 1642) presented the defending garrison to Marlborough’s Town Mayor, Mervyn Hall. With shouts of “Who do we fight for? King Jesus” over a hundred men with cavalry, muskets, pikes and drums marched down the High Street past the Town Hall to the Common.
Sir Neville told the Mayor, “These are the men who will succour you, defend this town and fight to the death.”
Meanwhile, in the Priory Gardens a living history encampment displayed seventeenth century trades, crafts and domestic life.
Richard Scrivener, the regimental clerk to Sir Marmaduke Rawdon of the Regiment of Foote, was busy recruiting an apprentice. Patricia Haddock was making ribbon braid, and the local wise woman was making herbal medicine and beauty products.
There was a spice merchant, a rush weaver, an armourer, a tailor and a bodger, the seventeenth century name for a carpenter, who travelled from village to village working in exchange for bed and board.
The schoolmaster was flourishing his birch, used frequently on naughty children and in a family domestic scene the father and children played a seventeenth version of noughts and crosses while the mother was at her spinning wheel.
The cook and his kitchen staff were busy preparing the seventeenth century peasant dish of pease pottage with the ingredients of peas, onions, leeks and carrots. Although potatoes had arrived in the country in 1595 they were not widely available until much later.
Free entry to the Merchant’s House allowed visitors a further insight into seventeenth century domestic life. Thomas Bayley, the silk merchant was in residence with his friend the local magistrate, Sir Hadrian Richards. Sir Hadrian was using the weights sent to him by the Royal Mint to check that coins in circulation in the town were legitimate.
The sounds of the lute drifted in from another room where groups of women were engaged in several different crafts.
Lindsay Long and her grandchildren, Scarlett (10) and Isla (8) visited the Merchant’s House. “I liked the designs on the walls and the colours which are very different from today.”(Scarlett)
“We also like the living exhibition in the dining room of the family eating and the marriage chests,” added Lindsay.
Tomorrow as well as the Battle on the Common at 3pm, the living history displays in the Priory Gardens and the Merchant’s House will continue. There will also be a wreath laying ceremony to mark the Battle of Marlborough by the Castle and Ball Blue Plaque at 11 am.
Pics: Keep scrolling to the bottom of the page and click on any image to enlarge
Saturday morning in The Priory Gardens, Merchant's House and the troops marching along the High Street:
And in the afternoon on The Common: