Hi and welcome to my site.
Cheshire is full of weird and wonderful stories of the supernatural, local heores and the mysterious.
I will take you on a tour as I look deep into the Cheshire that lies underneath the wonderful countryside and find the secrets that still hide there.
What magic and long lost secrets will we find?
So, sit back and enjoy my journey. This is a land of Magic, Knights, Dragons, Wizards, Witches, Boggarts, Murder, Ghosts and Old Forgotten Knowledge.

I would love to hear your stories as well. So if you have anything you would like me to look into and find information out, please let me know.

Friday, 26 February 2010

The Battle of Nantwich

Acton and Nantwich, Cheshire

It was a cold and foggy afternoon when my friend Kath and I thought we would retrace the footsteps of these brave Civil War soliders. We started out track around Acton Church. It was like a scene from an old horror film with the fog rolling over the gravestones. It was easy to imagine the horror from the battle, as so many were buried here and the church did hold prisoners for a short time.

Next to the church is The Star public house and Dorfold Hall. This area was The Royalist stronghold. Their headquarters were either at the church or the hall. But we know most (if not all) the Generals and Leaders stayed at the Hall and The Battle of Nantwich could have been planned from The Star.

As we walked round and headed across the road to the battle site, it was getting easyer to picture what the battle could have looked like. In fact, I was half expecting a solider to walk out in front of me, coming out of the fog.

We walked to an area known as Dead Mans Field. I am sure you can imagine why.
Many people have claimed to see and hear the battle continue, as if the souls are still fighting.

Nantwich had been the only town in Cheshire to go against King Charles 1 and sided with the Parliamentarians.

The Civil War had started because King Charles 1 (1600-49) had dissolved Parliament in 1629 and for the next eleven years, he had ruled alone. This had not been popular and by 1642 Civil War spread across the country. The war lasted from 1642-1646. The Parliamentarians (roundheads) under Sir Thomas Fairfax (1612-71) and then Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) finally defeated the Royalist (Cavaliers). In 1649, King Charles was executed in Whitehall, London.

Nantwich had had a few skirmishes between the two forces but by the end of 1643, Nantwich was besieged again by Lord Byran's Royalist army.

King Charles had been fighting in Ireland but peace had been arranged, so his troops could join the few that were left fighting the Royalist cause in this country. They landed at Chester and went to join Lord Byran's troops.

Nantwich was defended by 2,000 men led by William Brereton but the Royalist army was now 5,000 strong. Knowing he wouldnt have enough men, William Brereton sent for Thomas Fairfax. He came from over the Pennines with 3,000 men. Before reaching Acton, Thomas Fairfax met with a couple of small skirmishs, one in Delamere Forest on the day before the battle.

Thomas Fairfax set up his quarters on January 24th at Tilstone, just outside Tarporley and then headed towards Acton, meeting with another small skirmish at Barbridge on the morning of the battle. He set up his council of war at Hurleston, just outside Acton.

Lord Byran heard of Thomas Fairfax's approach with extra troops and left his headquarters at Dorfold Hall and met his other leaders at Acton Church and assembled his army on a hill. His artillery and infantry were sent across the frozen River Weaver. But this was his downfall, as a sudden thaw caused the frozen river to thaw and his army was cut in half.

The Parliamentarians, led by William Brereton left their camp (Hack Green Nuclear Bunker now stands in this area) and their headquarters, for the other leaders were at The Crown and Lamb Hotels and attacked the Royalist infantry. Thomas Fairfax attacked the front and his infantry held back the Royalist horsemen.

The Royalist army were attaked from both sides and they soon surrendered. In fact, the battle only lasted one and a half hours. 1500 prisoners were taken by the Parliamentarians and held at Acton church. Bullet holes can still be seen in the church and this has been linked to the shooting of Captain Steele. I will tell you about this later.

Lord Byron escaped but with only his cavalry.

Nowadays, this event is celabrated eachyear by a re-enactment of the battle by the Sealed Knot actors. They dress in full costume and carry long pikes, muskets and use cannons.
It is a great attraction and a fun day out.

But wondering on the batterfield itself, you are humbled as you remember the dead and what a pityful site the area must have looked.

Captain Steele
Thomas Steele was a reluctant solider and was a cheese dealer by trade.

He held Beeston Castle for Parliament until 13th December 1643 when Captain Sandford and only eight infantrymen with muskets, climbed up to the castle at night. Steele had plenty of men to defend the castle but he surrendered. It is said he entertained Sandford and his men to dinner.

Thomas Steele left the castle and travelled to Nantwich to inform the forces that Beeston had fallen. When the townsfolk found out, he was condemed to be shot. He died in Tynker's Croft behind Acton church. After being shot by two musketeers, one shot him in the belly and the other in the throat. His body was immediately put in a coffin and buried in the churchyard.

This had given the Royalist a stronghold and the castle remained in their control for a year before the main attack on Nantwich.
Captain Sandford was killed in the attack on Nantwich.
What had happened that night. Had Thomas Steele just had enough and gave in or did Captain Sandford tricked Thomas into believing that he had more troops than he had.

There have been many sightenings over the years. We have Civil war soliders walking around the town and of course many people beleive that the battle still takes place on the blood soaked fields. The sound of cannons, muskets and clashing pikes, also the screams and shouts of the fighting and dying men.

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