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.


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?


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

Naseby SK walk 04a

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.

Naseby SK walk 05

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

Naseby SK walk 03b

Naseby Project ‘out and about’

Posted November 10, 2017 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

Naseby out about 08

The Naseby ‘battle in miniature’ has done a couple more outings over the Summer …

Naseby out about 01

Naseby out about 02

Naseby out about 03

Naseby out about 04

Naseby out about 07

The Holdenby event was the BBC’s ‘Northamptonshire’ day – and, despite being a blustery Autumnal day, was hugely popular.

From a battlefield championing point of view, we got cleaned out of every battlefield trail leaflet we could get hold of*.

Naseby out about 15

Holdenby, of course, is where Charles I was held prisoner in 1647 after end of the Civil War – so has it’s own point on the Naseby Timeline.  

Like the pub in the village, a great place to be able to display the model and interpret the battle.

Enthusiasts will be pleased to note that, in the pub, we did a full refight of the battle – which engaged not only some non-wargaming reenactors but also a foreign student over here on an exchange visit (who decided that Naseby would be a good topic to pick for her study project)!

Here are some familiar scenes – but after the recent refurbs and adaptations …

Naseby out about 09

(Okey’s dragoons unleash fire into the flank of the Royalist cavalry)

Naseby out about 10

(Maurice’s cavalry rally forward and drive back Ireton’s wing)

Naseby out about 11

(in the centre, there is a small amount of gunfire as the King’s infantry approach)

Naseby out about 12

(a general melee follows along the ridge held by Fairfax’s New Model Army)

Naseby out about 13

(Cromwell’s cavalry completely overwhelm Langdale and dominate the Eastern side of the battle)

Naseby out about 14

(with much of the King’s army surrendered or retreating, a body of Rupert’s Blewcoats prepares to make a stand – 15mm figures by Peter Pig and Minifigs)


These were very popular and successful outings … active learning and interpretation.   Obviously we could do so much more for people’s understanding and enjoyment of their battlefield heritage if only we had the resources to make permanent exhibits and upscale our ‘out and about’ programme.

There is a saying … ‘if you build it, they will come’

Naseby out about 06

(the Naseby Battlefield travelling display)

Naseby out about 05

*before, of course, a week later, being in yet another heritage funding meeting in which earnest stakeholders question whether anyone will visit.   Why is it the mandarins who appoint administrators to quangos always appoint people who don’t care about military history and have no knowledge of such a key sector in their new brief?  I am sure if we needed to resource a knitting museum or ‘social history’ tea room we’d have far fewer problems.

Col Pride’s Regt.

Posted October 25, 2017 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

I’ve been unsure/unsatisfied for some time over how to represent Pride’s Regt. on the Naseby model …

Streeter shows two bodies … a reserve and a small body captioned as a rearguard.

Naseby Refurbs 00

It’s clearly a very important part of the model and the game – Rupert (Maurice) drives Ireton off this flank but fails to find a way round the end of the army.

Rupert and his cavalier leadership are blamed but Streeter shows this flank was well defended … firelocks around the artillery train as well as Pride split and plugging gaps.

After (for a long time) splitting the unit down (which leaves one of the bodies without pikes) I decided to build two units … with fewer men but each formed around a stand of pikes.

My units usually look like this …

Naseby Refurbs 01

The reduced units will look like this ..

Naseby Refurbs 04

Naseby Refurbs 02

This gives them the same footprint as full strength bodies (so they can block at full value even if we opt to lower their combat strength as a consequence of their split manpower).

I have also chosen to represent Bernard Astley’s Regt. on the Royalist side (so all the bodies are represented and both sides are now ‘up one unit’ on their rosters) …

Naseby Refurbs 05

I think this works better.

This is how we set up at Holdenby.

Partizan 2017

Posted May 23, 2017 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

The Naseby project was invited to exhibit as part of the history zone at Partizan, Newark Showground, at the weekend.  We took along the familar tableau of the battle and were fortunately to be sharing space with The Battlefields Trust, The Pike and Shot Society and the Civil War Centre.

… so an excellent opportunity to make the historical pitch to the Reformation/Early Modern warfare enthusiast.

Good light, too, for photographers …

(Naseby in glorious 15mm)

There was something of a Civil War thing going on … Burton And District did Cropredy …

An interesting interpretation of the topography and a pity we didn’t have time to chat about the characteristic terrain at Cropredy …

That was 28mm … meanwhile Andrew B and Simon M has a smaller scale Edgehill using Simon’s card driven To The Strongest rules … battle en masse and super figures …

Well, Naseby, Cropredy and Edgehill at the same show.   Plus the societies and the Civil War Centre … Quite a feast for the ECW Battles enthusiast!  Great show … spent most of it on the stand but well worth a look.

Campaign 2017 … the Naseby display

Posted May 15, 2017 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

Campaign 2017 Naseby 01

It’s a familair story but one we never tire of telling.   Here are some shots of the Naseby game from this year’s Campaign (public display, The Centre, Milton Keynes in May … ).

Campaign 2017 Naseby 02

(the armies arrayed on Broadmoor)

Campaign 2017 Naseby 03

Skippon anchors the Western end of the New Model line on the ridge a mile or so North of Naseby village.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 04

While Cromwell massed his cavalry on Parliament’s right, vastly outnumbering Langdale’s Northern Horse.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 06

In like fashion, the King’s best cavarly were stationed on their right wing, opposite Henry Ireton and hard against Sulby Hedge.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 06a

The King’s infantry were arrayed in three large battaglia in the centre.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 07

The Royalists also employed a significant reserve, mixing Horse and Foot.

Apparently at Cromwell’s suggestion, Parliament had infiltrated Col. Okey’s regiment of dragoons into the closes along Sulby Hedge …

Campaign 2017 Naseby 08

… and the battle opened with the dragoons pouring fire into Maurice’s flank.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 09

As the King’s centre attacked, it encountered a Forlorn Hope stationed in to foot of the valley.

Campaign 2017 05

And Cromwell’s cavalry poured over the crest of the old rabbit warren …

Campaign 2017 Naseby 11

As this ‘bird’s eye’ shot shows, Cromwell moving forward while the rest of the army held the ridge prevented Langdale from protecting the flank of the King’s infantry as it made the uphill attack.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 12

The battle, viewed from the South West.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 13

Battle is joined on Closter Hill … the King’s army driving forward.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 14

Meanwhile, Rupert and Maurice disperse Ireton’s cavalry and pursue into Parliament’s rear.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 15

Needing to be in overall command during the key phases of battle, Rupert is reported as being shot at by the artillery train Firelocks, out of contact with his senior officers …

Campaign 2017 Naseby 16

Langdale is driven from the field, and Cromwell’s rear lines turn in on the King’s centre ..

Campaign 2017 Naseby 17

The key moments viewed from Okey’s position in Sulby Closes.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 18

The King’s infantry are surrounded and surrender.

Campaign 2017 Naseby 19

Although Thomas Fairfax commanded the army, Cromwell’s name will always be foremost in the story of the victory at Naseby on the 14th June 1645.

Naseby battlefield is in the process of major Lottery Fund bid to build a Visitor Centre at All Saints church, in the village (and which was the scene of some of the events earlier in the day of battle) …

Any help you can give will be hugely valuable in achieving this vision.


Naseby in Miniature … (The Other Partizan, May 2016, Newark)

Posted October 10, 2016 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

13263959_10204757413453527_4729155320208476746_n(Naseby 1645: a miniature version of the battle ‘dropped into’ Streeter’s famous projection of the battlefield)

Earlier in the Summer, in association with The Battlefields Trust and Northampton Battlefields Society, we put on the wargame version of the battle at Newark’s Summer show …

Making best use of the set up, rather than play the battle through as a game, I moved the pieces forward roughly in accordance with our understanding of the battle to create a series of tableaux …

With the addition of a couple of set-up scenes to complete the narrative, here is a miniature battle of Naseby.

14th June 1645 … 8:00 am


Fairfax and Cromwell ride forward and see the Royalist army deploying to the North …

They pick a the gentler ridge the South side of Broadmoor as a position where Rupert might be prompted to attack them.

naseby-narrative-16-01a(what they might have seen: the model landscape dropped into today’s view of the battlefield from the ‘Fairfax Viewpoint’)

Meanwhile, although they know it is close, the Royalists are unsure of the exact whereabouts of Parliament’s army.

The New Model army draws up on the ridge of Closter Hill, Skippon’s regiment taking the end of the infantry line, the grazing cows were brought in and a forlorn hope was sent forward into the foot of the valley….


Cromwell sends Colonel Okey and his dragoons to ambush the King’s army…


Behind Parliament’s lines several detachments were deployed as rearguards, and further back a ring of firelocks were guarding the artillery train …


The armies deploy on opposite sides of Broadmoor

naseby-narrative-16-02(Naseby – the opening positions viewed from the Royalist side: in this picture from Newark, the opening shots are being fired)

9:00 am …


the Dragoons open fire into Prince Maurice’s cavalry throwing the planned attack into confusion.


Rupert takes personal command of the cavalry and they ride forward, reorganising in the foot of the valley before mutually attacking Ireton’s cavalry on Parliament’s left.

The musketeers attached to support the cavalry attack have been drawn into the firefight with Okey’s ambush …


10:00 am …

… the foot begin their assault on the New Model infantry on Closter Hill


… the first opposition is from the Forlorn Hope …


… then they make the uphill attack into the New Model regiments just back from the crest of the ridge …


… in the dip of the valley, the approaching foot had dropped out of sight only reemerging as they crested the slope – few shots were got off as the men charged into personal combat with musket butt and tuck.


Naseby 370 12a


(Naseby 1645: the infantry ofboth sides go straight to ‘push of pike’ and fight ‘with musket butt and tuck’)

Cromwell and Langdale’s cavalry wings engage ..


Maurice forces Ireton’s men backwards


Astley’s foot gradually prevail on the ridge


Cromwell’s cavalry force Langdale’s Northern Horse a quarter mile off the battlefield


11:00 am …

Maurice’s cavalry pursue the broken elements of Ireton’s wing off the battlefield but fail to find a way round Parliament’s flank


The King must now launch the reserves to prevent Cromwell using his remaining cavalry to encircle the foot on Closter Hill …


The King is disuaded by his courtiers and is led from the battlefield.

12:00 …

Cromwell’s reserves now close around the King’s infantry, isolated in their winning fight on Closter Hill …


Surrounded, most of King’s infantry now surrender

1:00 pm …

Most of the King’s army is now in flight.


The Bluecoats stand like a wall of brass covering the retreat


The retreat and pursuit carries on all afternoon with localised firefights breaking in the roads and fields on the way to Market Harborough.   The massed surrender of Royalists meant this was the decisive battle of the war, and amongst the baggage captured after the battle were papers which were subsequently used to put the King on trial.

On June 14th 1645, in a field in the parish of Naseby, the war for the style of government in England was won by Parliament.

Civil War Northamptonshire

Posted June 5, 2016 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized


Gloucester – a Pike and Shotte what if.

Posted June 27, 2015 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

Ph Gloucs 01

Saturday’s Phalanx show was followed by the now customary Gentlemen Pensioners big game on the Sunday: this time an English Civil War ‘what if’ based on the relief of Gloucester in 1643.

The background is explained in this extract from The Battlefields Trust resources …

Despite few troops and poor provisions the parliamentarian Governor of Gloucester, Colonel Massey, refused to surrender. Unwilling to repeat the heavy losses that had resulted from the storming of Bristol, Charles besieged the city.

The fate of Gloucester was seen as a key factor likely to determine the outcome of the war. The parliamentarians in response were busily equipping and raising troops for Essex’s army in London. At the end of August the Earl of Essex, with an army some 15,000 strong, set out from London the relief of Gloucester. On learning of Essex’s approach Charles raised the siege on the 5th September and withdrew southward. Gloucester had been relieved and re-supplied.

gloucester-campaign(campaign map reproduced from

Our game explored the other option: an attempt by the King to prevent Essex’s army getting to Gloucester.  In the game, Parliament had to reach the security of the hedges and enclosures of the Severn valley.  They were heavily defended, but losing them would signal that the King’s attempt to prevent the relief of Gloucester would fail.

Ph Gloucs 01a(enemy troops denying Parliament possession of the enclosures)

The rules used were Pike & Shotte from the Black Powder stable.  On previous occasions I have not found them to be at all reflective of Civil War battle – but for this game Steve had made some significant changes and it and the parent game are familiar to me (which helps get your head round a big game) so I was keen to give it a go.

The main changes were (a) to depict Regiments of Foot as single, mixed weapons, bodies (rather than brigaded units of pike and shot) … (b) to enable disorder to be removed on a die roll before activations, and allowing disordered troops to withdraw (both to limit the tendency to stall in front of the enemy) and (c) to soften the effects of failed activations (to allow players to get on with the game  – especially as it was an 8 player game).  All good changes.

Ph Gloucs 02

I was asked to take the role of the Earl of Essex and command of the army.  I gave strong cavalry commands to Will and Dave on the flanks, and Chris and I shared the infantry in the centre.   I allocated the main punch to my subordinate figure, Philip Skippon.  And we wasted no time setting about the task.

Ph Gloucs 04

The attack was a little lop-sided … all the troops under my own command pressed forward enthusiastically (low rolls on the activation giving them multiple moves) while the other brigades in the centre failed to move off.  This set a pattern.

On the flanks I expected the generally harder charging Royalists to barrel forward and put us under pressure.  But on both wings we managed to box them in and take the battle to them.   It still should have been tough but we were clearly getting the better of it.

Ph Gloucs 05

Initially Skippon’s attack in the centre went well – the good activations got to the hedge lines quickly and some vigorous charges and good saving rolls carried the position.  Unfortunately the defenders ran off through their supporting reserves who unleashed a withering fire which drove the assault back*.

This formula repeated several times, and although the defensive lines were breached repeatedly, we never really threw the enemy completely from the positions.

Ph Gloucs 03(high water mark of the Parliamentary attack)

I fed a second wave of foot into the assault, and by this stage the whole centre was on the move.  Attrition was building up on both sides but we were now in a general engagement and news from the cavalry wings continued to be positive (indeed, I had held some troops back in case of disaster and these could now be fed in also) …

Ph Gloucs 06(Gloucester?: the second wave goes in)

Even so, resistance remained stubborn and frustrating and the matter was eventually resolved by the collapse of both Royalist cavalry wings (in pure game terms breaking their army; in our gentlemanly assessment, requiring their foot to retire at nightfall).

We had, there or thereabouts, achieved our objective, though in a surprising way (I had expected we would likely have cleared at least some of the closes with out foot but that we might be stripped of our horse – actually the foot had made the barest of progress and it was the horse that carried the day … the Earl was indeed very pleased with his commanders) …


This was by far the best game of Pike & Shotte so far: not without a lot of issues but a far better feel and much easier to play ‘in character’ (i.e. to make role-based rather than game-based decisions).  Homogeneous pike and shot units transform the game, giving it the tactical (and play) simplicity of Civil War battle but the whole musket-disorder thing still strikes me as very 18th century/Napoleonic.   It was tamed in this game, but the withering fire itself doesn’t really ring true.  Same goes for artillery … still cracking away in the latter phases of the game (indeed I even had a regiment of foot broken by a lone gun after the infantry it had seemed to be attached to had themselves run off) … Hmmm.

I was less aware of what was going on the flanks but I gather that the Royalists found it hard to get their cavalry charging (activation failures) so in the majority of cases the Parliamentarians charged in with the Royalists counter-charging.   We beat them in combat (luck) which allowed sweeping advances to repeat the discomfiture.  A lot of that is die-rolling of course.

Despite all that, this was a very enjoyable game engaged in good spirit by all the players.  And that’s what really counts.  I hope Steve continues to improve the basic game, and I’ll look again at the statistics for firepower effects, artillery and officer incidents to see what light these shed.

On a separate note, the game also confirmed the King’s historical decision to raise the siege and retreat rather than confront Essex’s relief force.


*indeed, a misreading of the ‘large unit’ break point saw test these troops too soon, much to their disadvantage (they failed horribly) but such is the fog of war.


Will’s blog of the game

Wargame Amateur’s blog of the game

Naseby 370

Posted June 17, 2015 by yesthatphil
Categories: Uncategorized

Naseby 370 00

This will be an attempt to sum up an event involving thousands of people spread over several zones on two days of military heritage commemoration and festival … in a few pictures.  It’ll be inadequate but it might give you a flavour of the biggest event we have ever hosted at Naseby.   It was not without its hiccups but most people seem to have been blown away by its passion, richness and sheer size.

Naseby 370 02(photographs copyright and courtesy of The Naseby Battlefields Project)

Sealed Knot camps spread around the village, with an exhibition site and Living History on Mill Hill, adjacent to the battlefield … and a dedicated field for reenacting the main fight.   There were events in the village on both days … march throughs recreating the celebrated events of the approach to battle – columns clattering through the village, hastily abandoned meals, commanders marshalling their troops.

Naseby 370 03(photographs copyright and courtesy of The Naseby Battlefields Project)

On Sunday morning the sun shone on a moving drumhead service commemorating the sacrifice on both sides in the struggle for Parliamentary liberties.   Later, at 3pm on Mill Hill, tea was served as part of a national network of events celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

Naseby 370 01

In the Mill Hill exhibition pavilions we were joined by The Northampton Battlefields Society, Helion Books, David Lanchester, Phoenix Gaming Club, The Battlefields Trust, The Friends of Kettering art Gallery and Museum, Kettering Civic, poet Clare Mulley, the artists of KDAS and photographer Sebastian Nevols.  Thanks to all of them for their support.   A broad mix of local groups,  heritage champions, families, artists and photographers

Naseby 370 06

As well as the wargames, we had model layouts of Northamptonshire’s key battles, Naseby and Northampton

Naseby 370 07

… and on Sunday, Naseby Project patron, Earl Spencer cleverly avoided the VIP network in order to come over to the exhibition area and meet the exhibitors and visitors (above, signing and dedicating a copy of his book on the regicides, The killers of the King, for an appreciative reader).

Naseby 370 09(some scenes from the drumhead service at Naseby Church on the Sunday morning)

Naseby 370 10(photographs copyright and courtesy of The Naseby Battlefields Project)

370 Sa 08a

Authentic displays and weapons drills for youngsters were complimented by live music and revelry for reenactors and guests from the village, trade and exhibitions on the Saturday night.

Well, that might just give an impression of this massive event.  Inevitably, as host of the exhibition and visitor zone on Mill Hill, I couldn’t get round and record all this myself, so I am really grateful to all the photographers who have shared their pictures vis social media.  This would not just be Naseby’s biggest event, but also its best documented.

You too can help defend this historic battlefield (and help the Naseby Project put on more events in the future): become a member … you donation will really count.   Your support will make a difference.

Naseby 370 12(preliminary display: defending the Baggage Trayne – image copyright and courtesy of the Naseby Battlefield Project)