Battle of Alton
Alton Town Council and the English Civil War Society (ECWS) were delighted with the fantastic turn out for the Battle of Alton event on Sunday 30th August and on Monday 31st August despite the weather on that day and the revised itinerary because if it.
The event began each day with a small drill in the Market Square at 11.30am, giving people a taster of what was to be expected from the reenactors during the event. Before the 1.30pm march there was an interlude, when visitors had chance to browse the local shops, partake of the cafes & eateries, and enjoy the Living History display in St Lawrence churchyard.
On Sunday 30th August, the streets of Alton were lined with spectators gathered to watch and follow the ECWS march through the town centre to the main battle field at Flood Meadows. The weather was on our side and saw a superb 2pm battle in Food Meadows to the delight of thousands of spectators. The ECWS performed brilliantly with soldiers wielding 18ft long pikes charging at each other, whilst more fired muskets and cannons, creating a very realistic battle re-enactment to the delight of the crowds.
The event finale took place at 4pm, ‘The Fall of St Lawrence’ depicted the end of the engagement and where the commander of the Royalist forces, Sir Richard Bolles, lost his life. Following the finale Rev Andrew Micklefield spoke, reminding those who had enjoyed the fun of the event that there were real lives lost back in 1643 during the original battle of Alton.
Following very heavy rainfall during the early hours of Monday 31st a difficult decision was made in consultation with the local police, Alton Town Council and ECWS event organisers that the main 2pm battle at Flood Meadows had to be cancelled. The decision was unanimous and made in the interest of both public and ECWS safety in mind. The Flood Meadows site was extremely wet and muddy making the grass very slippery, with a lot of surface water laying on the bottom path near the Tanhouse Lane entrance.
With true British resolve however the event did continue despite the weather, with the 1.30pm march finishing instead at St Lawrence Church where a smaller 2pm battle around the church was held. The success of the impromptu 2pm battle was a credit not only to the ECWS who had to think fast in staging an unrehearsed version, but also to the many marshals. All of the marshals were local volunteers who had kindly rallied together to ensure that a safe event was enjoyed by all. The 4pm finale was even better second time round, with great informative commentary from ECWS member and local resident, Mr Tony Cullen.
The Living History display in St Lawrence Churchyard was busy throughout the event with families learning about daily life in the 17th Century from the very informative actors dressed in period costumes. Displays included an Inn with examples of menus that where available during the time and mock rooms to illustrate the stark difference in accommodation according to your status and wealth. The working