On Sunday 23 October 1642, the English Civil War kicked off in style with the first major battle, the Battle of Edge Hill, not too far away from our now quiet corner of Warwickshire. As battles go no-one really knows who won this one, there were lots of skirmishes and both Parliamentarians and Royalists claimed victory.
The local old wives tale is that a month after the battle, local farmers and townsfolk heard noises coming from Edgehill and saw and heard what they thought was another battle being fought on the hill. However, as they edged closer to investigate, both armies completely vanished. If you believe what you read, officials were sent to the site to interview witnesses and they also saw the ghostly visions, including colleagues and friends who had died.
It is said that sightings of two phantom armies fighting it our with each other are more visible and occur more often toward Halloween; the clinking of armour, volleys of musket fire and the galloping of hooves can still be heard at Edgehill.
Myth and legend? Or ..... the truth? We went to Edgehill last weekend and look what we found:
Parliamentarians approaching the Royalist camp through the trees.
The first volleys were fired (that flash is the gunpowder firing)
Roused from their unearthly slumber, the Royalists came out to defend their camp and their King:
But the Parliamentarians were not to be defeated, and left forth another salvo.
And steadily started to advance in formation
Towards the intrepid defenders
Who lined up all hands ready for the fight
The battle waged on, with casualties on both sides in the fierce hand to hand fighting
Until finally, as it seemed that all might be lost, and the Roundheads neared the camp boundary..
They were successfully put to flight by the ladies of the camp wielding a jug of water and the cooking spoon
Girl power, 17th century style.
So was it all a dream, was it really the ghostly re-incarnation of long dead foot soldiers, or were the Sealed Knot doing a civil war re-enactment at Upton House - who knows?