The English Civil War which was fought between1642 and 1646, was a fast paced and mobile conflict with rival armies forever on the move.
Stow-on-the-Wold lies on the junction of seven roads so consequently both the royalist and parliamentary armies frequently passed through the town and King Charles I himself came to Stow for a third time just before the battle of Naseby in 1645. He stayed the night at the King’s Arms (20 yards from our coffee shop…..apparently he was rather partial to their gammon and eggs)
The Parliamentarian army sent out a reconnaissance team and found the Royalists on high ground close to the village of Donnington about 1½ miles north of Stow-on-the-Wold. As soon as it was light, the Parliamentarians attacked up the hill but their left wing were driven back in confusion and then overpowered.
A second Parliamentary advance followed and this time the Royalist forces were pushed back in the direction of Stow. Fighting continued into the Square and local legend tells that blood flowed down Digbeth Street such was the slaughter.The dead were laid in Digbeth Street, which re-enforces the legend of blood flowing down the road. To this day, their burial site remains a mystery. (Hopefully they are not buried under Digbeth Street....I won't be going down into our cellar again!)
In April King Charles I, realising his cause was lost, slipped away in disguise from Oxford and surrendered at Newark.
So, in and around this hill top town of Stow-on-the-Wold was fought the last battle of the English Civil War which was ultimately to lead to the execution of the King and to lay the foundation of our parliamentary democracy.
Today a simple stone stands in the churchyard of St Edward’s Church, Stow-on-the-Wold, to honour all those men who fought and died for their beliefs.
It would only be a matter of time before these rival armies arrived in Stow-on-the-Wold at the same time. In March 1646, they did just that, and this time Stow-on-the-Wold would provide the setting for the last battle of the English Civil War.
|The Battle of Stow|