Cavaliers and Roundheads will be fighting over the city of Gloucester this weekend to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the English Civil War Siege of Gloucester. Over a hundred re-enactors will be taking part in a mock battle in Gloucester Park, with regiments of pike and musketmen going toe to toe while withstanding charges from the horse cavalry and bombardment from artillery.
The English Civil War Society will be holding a number of events around the city on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September. At 11am, you will be able to watch soldiers performing drills in King’s Square and learn about the complex infantry weapon-handling techniques and battlefield formations. The soldiers will then muster in the streets of Gloucester at 1pm and march to Gloucester Park for battle at 3pm. Brunswick Square (which was known as Gaudy Green back then) will be the host for the townsfolk of Gloucester from 11am to 5pm. The living history camp will offer visitors an interactive experience. You will be able to wander through the site talking to the re-enactors, discovering the type of food that would have been eaten, trying on a pikeman’s armour or handling a matchlock musket. You can also see blacksmiths, basket weavers and a butler cooking for his gentry. The event is organised by Marketing Gloucester on behalf of Gloucester BID (Business Improvement District) and is part of the Gloucester History Festival.
In August 1643, King Charles I’s 35,000-strong army marched on the city of Gloucester following a string of victories that summer. Gloucester was strategically important as it was the last Parliamentarian stronghold between the South West and Lancaster, and its location on the River Severn meant that it could disrupt supplies from Wales. Gloucester was defended by a small garrison of around 1,500 men commanded by Governor Edward Massey. The garrison and the citizens of Gloucester bravely held out for a month before the siege was lifted with the arrival of the Earl of Essex on 5 September – a day we now celebrate as Gloucester Day. This proved a turning point of the war as Essex went on to defeat the King in the Battle of Newbury shortly after.
Nick Brookes, chair of Gloucester BID said: “Gloucester BID is delighted to be supporting the Gloucester History Festival and recreating events surrounding the Siege of Gloucester. What better event is there to celebrate the resilience of the city and its people? The weekend will allow us to use a number of areas around Gloucester and help increase the footfall.”
Karen Pearson, Festivals Lead at organisers, Marketing Gloucester, said: “This weekend’s activities will be a great show for families and history buffs. It’s a chance to see what life was like for ordinary citizens and soldiers during the 17th Century, as well enjoying the spectacle of the dramatic battle re-enactments.”
English Civil War Weekend – Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 September
11am – Drill Displays, King’s Square *
11am – Living History Camp, Brunswick Square
1pm – Soldiers Muster in the Gate Streets
3pm – 4pm – Battle Re-enactment, Gloucester Park *
* Please note that there will musket and cannon fire in King’s Square and Gloucester Park at the above times.
Photo opportunity – Friday 14 September 5pm
Press are invited to Matson House, Matson, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL4 6DY (now Selwyn School). This was Charles I’s headquarters for the siege and Royalist army re-enactors will be gathering before marching on the city of Gloucester.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org