Naseby talk at Towton

Posted January 3, 2019 by yesthatphil
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towton talk


Haselrige’s Lobsters go home

Posted December 10, 2018 by yesthatphil
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In a unique event to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the formation of Sir Arthur Haselrige’s famous regiment of horse, the present Lord Hazlerigg hosted a small group of reenactors and historians at Noseley Hall in Leicestershire, in the family’s ancestral chapel.

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The medieval chapel holds the family tombs in particular of Sir Arthur, where wreaths were laid and a small service of commemoration and reconciliation was observed.

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lob do 04(representatives of Haselrige’s regiments of horse and foot outside Noseley Chapel)

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lob do 06(the present Lord Hazlerigg with members of the modern historical groups)

So a remarkable bond was established between the historical figure and the enthusiasts who take today’s commemorative battlefields in his name.

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Naseby Battlefield Winter Tour 2018

Posted December 2, 2018 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

Naseby Winter Tour 18 01

A few hardy souls braved the last weekend of November and joined Naseby guides and trustees for a trip around the battlefield.

In fact, the weather, though overcast, was kind.

Additionally to the now regular value added by reenactors and living history enthusiasts, a special event this time was the return of one of Okey’s dragoons to Sulby hedge.

Naseby Winter Tour 18 02(New Model infantry at the Cromwell monument)

We looked at officers and ensigns at Fairfax, musketeers at Cromwell and everybody finished up at Sulby spotting the dragoon and firing off final volleys.

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The views of the battlefield are relatively unobscured by foliage in Winter.

Naseby Winter Tour 18 05a(the Eastern flank of the battlefield – where Cromwell’s cavalry defeated Langdale’s Northern Horse)

We had access to the paddock at Prince Rupert’s Farm for this tour, and the possibility of walking through to the Sulby viewpoint (so across the Royalist cavalry wing.  Due to the weather, however (mud!) we opted to drive round.

Naseby Winter Tour 18 06(the view of Sulby hedge –  left – from the North: Okey’s men deployed in the field directly in front of you)

Here, dragoon Alan gave a splendid presentation – on horseback – of dragoon equipment and tactics … and cantered either side of the hedge so visitors could get a feel for the narrative …

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Menacingly seen through the foliage …

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After which the musketeers delivered a final few volleys …

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This was all tremendous entertainment for the visitors – and a cut above a regular battlefield walk  … of course, Naseby is one of the best documented and securely identified battlefields in Britain,  so as well as the costume and equipment, at Naseby you really are seeing the battlefield.

As for the hedge … well it will have changed a lot over the centuries … and it was probably much bigger then … and the battle was in June so it would all have been much more bushy …

Nevertheless, Okey’s story is one of those ripping yarns that needs to be explored further.

Wargaming the Historical Battles (2018)

Posted September 14, 2018 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

WTHB 18 02

In amongst all the heritage events and campaigns, normal service has been maintained and, locally, we have continued to explore the Civil War and the challenges of reconstructing the battles in miniature.

The figures are Trebian’s.

St. Fagans

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St Fagans (1648) was a peculiar affair in which a small Parliamentarian force terrorised a much larger rebellious ‘army’ near Cardiff.  Our game was a follow up to CoW, where Mike E had put on a session using his own mechanisms.

The game requires a significant strength/morale loading in favour of the New Model troops – but in this case seemed something of a forgone conclusion.  Mike has taken on board some of our feedback so there may be more to on the battle and Mike’s thinking to come.

Marston Moor

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… (or: Trebian gets all his toys out) …

In which we returned to squares and to Richard Brook’s Victory Without Quarter.

Now I have refought Marston Moor on a number of occasions … notably with the old Pike & Shot Society display team and their colossal game (part of which fed recruits into my own Naseby model)  …  Marston Moor was a big affair and involves quite a lot of manoeuvre, deploying off the march and grand cavalry sweeps.

WTHB 18 03(Marston Moor … 15mm figures from the splendid Peter Pig range)

Which is everything that you want from wargaming a great battle – but is also a test of game rules and game management.  In this game we used quite a bit of the original game’s card management and it did make the game feel like a trudge rather than a sweep.

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I think Marston Moor is one of those iconic battles -one you want to be able to refight on the wargame table with entertainment, authenticity and flexibility in equal measure.


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Cropredy is an awkward affair to reconstruct … essentially a grand  (and rather unmanageable) ambush … an operational level battle with troops on the move … potential issues of surprise, visibility, nightfall, command distances etc.


Waller’s army was shadowing the King’s column from the other side of the Cherwell valley and opted to attack the marching force in the fields between Cropredy and Wardington after part of it had already crossed the Cherwell at Hay’s Bridge.

To do this he had to get his men across the river in a hurry, at Cropredy and Slat Mill, seal off the exit at Hay’s Mill – the eliminate the inferior force he had just trapped in the bend of the Cherwell.

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(Cropredy: some fleeing Royalist cavalry escape to safety across Hay’s Bridge)

We were still using squares, which created quite a few anomalies during the game … and unit-by-unit activation (which allowed multiple attacks on individual units in a way that really does need to be tidied-up) …

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(Cropredy Bridge: some views of the battlefield today)

In this game the initial attacks from the Parliamentarians went very well … Royalist leaders falling off their horses and being taken prisoner … but as the game progressed the management difficulties mounted and the historic withdrawal became inevitable … and probably more awkward in the game than in 1644!

WTHB 18 12

The Battlefields Trust AGM

Posted August 22, 2018 by yesthatphil
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BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 01

This year’s Battlefields Trust AGM and Conference had a  number of interesting sessions for the ECW enthusiast …

Mark Hornsby and Phil Philo explained a lovely model Mark had constructed of the manoeuvres and actions at Piercebridge in 1642 in 6 and 2mm …

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Great stuff displayed alongside the very different approach I have used for Naseby.

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You will have doubtless seen the Naseby model before but here are some details from Piercebridge …

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Several of the talks were on our period also … Kevin Winter (NCWC) did a presentation on the development of armour … Simon Marsh presented a summary of the work (and the evidence) on the bridge of boats project …

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… but very specific to this conference (in Durham), we had a talk on the Dunbar bodies found adjacent to the cathedral … victims of the death march and (in many case, fatal) incarceration of prisoners from the battle of Dunbar …

Durham University Archaeology Project

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We walked into the city and visited the site and the exhibition …

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Well worth an hour or so of your time.   A fascinating story.  Most did not survive the horrifying ordeal.  Many of those that did found a new life after transportation and a decade of servitude in New England.  A brilliant example of research.

We also visited the reinterment site and paid our respects.

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(the Battlefields Trust delegates honour the deceased captives of the 1650 Battle of Dunbar)

Think about joining the Battlefields Trust and look out for the 2019 Conference/AGM.

More from the Naseby Project

Posted March 31, 2018 by yesthatphil
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N at BH 2018 01

In January the Naseby Project were invited by Historic Royal Palaces to showcase Phil’s wargame model of the battle at a games event they were hosting at the Banqueting House in Whitehall.

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The Banqueting House was, of course, the site of King Charles I’s execution in Jan 1649 (so a 369th) and this connection to the decisive battle where Charles lost his struggle against Parliament was uppermost in HRP‘s thinking.

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We set up an eclectic variety of games beneath one of London’s most spectacular ceilings (though one perhaps ‘off message’ as far as the battle might be concerned!) …

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It was not going to be possible to play the Armati game of the complete battle, so in the first session I ran sample episodes from the historic event … the gunfire at Sulby, Cromwell’s attack, the assault on the New Model infantry etc.

But I wanted to play through a complete battle, so for the second gaming session, I found some willing recruits to take on the roles for a Matrix game/free kriegspiel.

N at BH 2018 05

They adapted very well and explored the historical narrative.  Two aspects that were particuloarly resonnant … Charles chose to ignore Carnwath’s advise and a led a charge of the reserves to intercept Cromwell’s attempted encirclement.  It faltered and Cromwell successfully argued the king’s capture.

N at BH 2018 07(Naseby kriegspiel at the Banqueting House … King Charles is captured)

Following the king’s misfortune, the Parliamentarians successfully argued that Col Okey could remount his dragoons and join in the encirclement of the army.  This is, of course, exactly what Okey said he did at the battle and presented a rare opportunity to replace the foot figures with the mounted ones that go on every outing but are generally not needed for the game.   A special moment.

As another interesting take, the King’s courtiers successfully spirited away his cabinet and papers so the details of the end of the Civil War would remain uncertain at the end of the battle.

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(the timeline of Naseby: how it all ended for King Charles outside the Banqueting House)

A special outing for the Naseby Project.


Back in a more familiar venue, we braved the snow and ice and took the game to WMMS in association with The Society of Ancients and Northampton Battlefields Society.

N at WMMS 2018 01

N at WMMS 2018 02

Following the recent discussions on the SK Winter Tour of the battlefield, we paid some special attention to the action around the hedge and Sulby closes.

N at WMMS 2018 03

Okey had something like 700 men at Naseby … dismounted with 1 in 10, we are told, holding the horses … (and if Okey’s account is correct, and Streeter’s interpretation is followed) all the horses were corralled up behind the 600 or so lining the hedging …

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N at WMMS 2018 05

It’s a lot of men and horses in ‘ambush’.  How was it achieved?  Is it plausible?  Should Maurice’s cavalry flushed out the enclosures before they took up their positions on Dust Hill?


More pictures from Naseby battlefield

Posted March 13, 2018 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

Naseby SK walk 01

This month Naseby project guides hosted an ‘off season’ visit by members of the Sealed Knot.    SK members regularly turn out in period costume to help visitors to Naseby get a feel for the period.

Always ‘on duty’, it turns out many reenactors had not actually been taken round the battlefieldas visitors.

This ‘winter’ tour was to remedy that.

Naseby SK walk 02a

It is a good time to visit the battlefield as the hedges that have enclosed the fields since the 17th Century are less prominent at this time of year.

Naseby SK walk 02

The top of the Naseby ridge (Closter Hill) where the New Model Army was deployed

mike pic

Trying to envisage the cavalry deployment on Dust Hill

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Dust Hill still shows evidence of the ridge and furrow that covered the battlefield in 1645.  In the background you can see the flag at Sulby Hedge.  This marks the far (Royalist Right) corner of the battlefield.

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ROC Post and the end of the tour (and more ridge and furrow)

Naseby SK walk 03b