2019 update

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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