Archaeologists have found the site of the first battle of the English Civil War

(ORDO NEWS) — According to British historical records, the first battle between the army of King Charles I and the supporters of Parliament took place on a field near the village of Caerdworth in Central England. It turned out that was not the case at all.

In 1603, James I Stuart became King of England. The goal of his reign, he set the absolutization of royal power, and, if possible, the elimination of parliament. With which the latter, for obvious reasons, did not agree.

The conflict between the Crown and the Parliamentarians led to what English historians call the English Civil War (not to be confused with other conflicts of the same name), and in our historiography, the English Revolution.

She had many reasons: economic, political, religious. But it all came down to one thing – the struggle for power.

Archaeologists have found the site of the first battle of the English Civil War 2
Reconstruction of one of the battles of the English Civil War of 1642-1651

Four decades of confrontation between the Stuarts and the English Parliament ended in 1642 with a predictable crisis of the state.

On June 2, Parliament sent the King the Nineteen Proposals, a document whose adoption would severely limit the power of the monarch.

Charles I refused the “offers” and raised his flag in Nottingham (London was ruled by supporters of Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell). In August 1642, the king sent an army to the capital.

Supporters of the monarchy were called cavaliers or royalists, and those who fought on the side of parliament were called roundheads.

The first armed clash between them took place, according to written sources, in a field south of the village of Kerdworth in Central England.

This battle is called the Battle of Curdworth Bridge. But now the story has changed a bit. Archaeologists from the HS2 high-speed rail project have discovered the ruins of a building that once guarded

the entrance to the estate during excavations at the medieval estate of Coleshill Manor in Warwickshire.

Judging by the remaining parts of the foundation and masonry, the building was built at the same time as the entire estate, about seven centuries ago.

It is difficult to call this building a gatehouse, for this it is too heavily fortified. To date, the foundations of two large octagonal stone towers and part of the rather impressive walls have been found.

The very presence of such a fortification suggests that Coalshill Manor played an important role in Central England in the Middle Ages, although this has yet to be correlated with written sources.

Archaeologists have found the site of the first battle of the English Civil War 3
General view of the excavations

After carefully examining the sandstone walls at the bases of the towers, the researchers found about 200 traces left by musket and pistol fire. They also found about 40 musket bullets.

It should be borne in mind that metals were highly valued at that time and they tried to collect bullets after the battle. It became clear that the fortification had once been heavily shelled.

Musket bullets were found approximately where in the 17th century the bottom of the moat that surrounded the estate was.

Thus, a picture is formed not only of the shelling, but also of an attempt to attack the fortification. Archaeologists believe that this happened in August 1642 – before the Battle of Curdworth Bridge.

In 1642, Coleshill was occupied by royalists descendants of Simon Digby, an aristocrat and politician who became the owner of a huge estate when his previous owner, Simon de Montfort, was arrested and charged with treason at the end of the 15th century.

Archaeologists have found the site of the first battle of the English Civil War 4
Computer model of Coalshill Manor

Coleshill was built next to the bridge over the River Cole, which means it is located in a strategically important place that the Royalists wanted to hold and the Roundheads wanted to capture.

Parliamentary troops were to pass the estate on their way to Curdworth Bridge.

The researchers believe that it would be logical for the Roundheads to strike quickly and capture the manor as a base of operations in order to get better conditions for the upcoming battle.

At the same time, they believe that the defensive structure survived and the estate remained in the hands of the supporters of the king.

Unfortunately, there are no historical documents that mention that there was a skirmish in Coalshill.

But the marks on the walls of the tower’s foundation are clear evidence of heavy shelling, which has no obvious connection with any event outside of that civil war.

Thus, the attack and defense of Coalshill Manor was probably the first armed conflict of the English Civil War of 1642-1651.


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