2019 update

Posted July 15, 2019 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

ECWB 2019 update 00(Naseby Battlefield – a poignant reminder on a field of conflict)

This is by way of catching up.  It has been a busy year both on and off the battlefields.

But I open with shot of memorial flowers at Naseby on the anniversary: we interpret, renact, refight, and commemorate acts of heroism, sacrifice and war in which countless lost their lives and we respect their part in our history.  We respect their stories and we demand that, out of respect and out of an understanding of our national story, these places are protected and preserved.

ECWB 2019 update 01

If that wasn’t justification enough, these fields of conflict are also home to a great diversity of species, and their conservation.  Earlier in the year I took some pictures of the dragonfly pond and interpretation panels at the Sulby viewpoint at Naseby.  These are examples within the wider subject of battlefield ecology and are reference material both for a book in preparation and an international conference this year.  I confess it isn’t really something I’d thought about.

ECWB 2019 update 02

Around the same time, Mike and I, as the local battlefield guides, were planning out the events for the first part of the popular visitor season and the anniversary weekend.  It was to feature a keystone visit by the royal Corps of Signals who had chosen Naseby as a working example of military operations in action.

ECWB 2019 update 03(At the ROC viewpoint, planning tour itineraries)

ECWB 2019 update 04(Royal Corps of Signals pose with reenactors at Sulby viewpoint at the end of their tour)

ECWB 2019 update 08a(Martin Hackett and friends – another specialy arranged outing on Naseby field)

ECWB 2019 update 05(some of the reenactment content for the Army tour: a reconstructed dragoon by Sulby hedge)

Civil War battles featured strongly (as ever) at the Battlefields Trust conference and AGM (this year hosted in Winchester) which took battlefield archaeology as its theme, with talks on methodology, an update on the search for Stow battlefield (and evidence) and a visit on the Sunday to Cheriton.

ECWB 2019 update 06

ECWB 2019 update 07

Stow is interesting as, if you go by Brereton’s own account, it is already over by the time he writes his report from Stow Market Place at 8am – which gives an extremely tight timeline for an encounter outside the town with troops falling back into it (dawn is about 5:30 in mid March).  I have always thought the traditional battlefield is too far from the town to suit this timeline.

ECWB 2019 update 08(Development Officer Julian Humphrys interprets Cheriton)

Back at base we had the usual problems ‘heritage professionals’ generally fail to grasp.  we get people to car share on tours but we still have huge issues cramming the vehicles in.  There simply isn’t the capacity at battlefields like Naseby to cope with the demand whenever we put on events or just run a tour.

ECWB 2019 update 08b

While other attractions have money poured into them yet fail to reach their target numbers, battlefield sites struggle to get permission and funding to extend lay-byes or put up signs (indeed, one of the key campaigns at Naseby in the first part of the year was to stop Highways England taking down some of the signs we had already got – which were considered distracting clutter).

ECWB 2019 update 08c(2019 anniversary visitors survey Naseby field from the Cromwell monument)

ECWB 2019 update 09

ECWB 2019 update 10

ECWB 2019 update 09a

ECWB 2019 update 11

Nevertheless the show goes on and in addition to a Winter tour, we have a school visit, a tour with a writer developing a play about the battle, the Arts Council, and a new link up with Daventry Museum all in the diary.  It’s quite busy given that the established view is that people aren’t interested in battlefields.

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Naseby talk at Towton

Posted January 3, 2019 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

towton talk

Haselrige’s Lobsters go home

Posted December 10, 2018 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

Still

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.

lob do 02

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.

lob do 03

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.

lob do 07

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.

Naseby Winter Tour 18 03

Naseby Winter Tour 18 05

Naseby Winter Tour 18 04

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 …

Naseby Winter Tour 18 09.jpg

Naseby Winter Tour 18 07.jpg

Menacingly seen through the foliage …

Naseby Winter Tour 18 07a

After which the musketeers delivered a final few volleys …

Naseby Winter Tour 18 08.jpg

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

WTHB 18 01

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

WTHB 18 05

… (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.

WTHB 18 04

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.

CROPREDY BRIDGE

WTHB 18 06

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.

Cropredy

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.

WTHB 18 09

(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) …

WTHB 18 06a

(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
Categories: Uncategorized

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 …

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 02

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

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 03

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

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 05.jpg

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 04

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 …

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 06

… 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

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 07

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

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 06a

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 08

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.

BT 2018 AGM Con ECW 09

(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
Categories: Uncategorized

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.

N at BH 2018 02

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.

N at BH 2018 03

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!) …

N at BH 2018 04

N at BH 2018 06

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.

N at BH 2018 08

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

A special outing for the Naseby Project.

WMMS

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 …

N at WMMS 2018 04

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?

Discuss.