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Friday, 3rd April 2020
“When Life was Nasty, Brutish and Short”
By Derek Taylor
Friday, 17th April 2020
Spring Quiz – St. Edward’s Hall
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The mystery remains.
Where was the Battle of Stow fought?
Tim Norris joined the archaeological hunt for some remnants of the 1646 battle on land just north of Stow, and here explains what happened next.
In October 2015 four battlefield archaeologists arrived with metal detectors and a very impressive looking GPS unit, hoping at last to resolve the debate on exactly where the confrontation between the Royalist Army gathered up by Sir Jacob Astley, and the Parliamentarian Army under Colonel Morgan, actually took place.
For many years it was thought to be the escarpment to the West of Donnington village where a monument was erected in 2000, but subsequent discussions among battlefield experts came to the conclusion that it was fought on more open land across the Evesham Road further South and nearer to Stow.
The only means of resolution was to survey the areas with metal detectors in order to locate positive evidence of the existence of battlefield artefacts, primarily musket balls, which would have been scattered around extensively. A quantity of coloured marker flags were prepared from fabric and bamboo poles beforehand, plus equipment for washing and bagging finds.
The survey started in the field to the South of the road from the A424 towards Donnington and several sweeps were made without locating any evidence of a battle, and it was soon realised that the land fell away in this area such that a battle commander would not have sight of his right flank.
They moved to the higher ground further East, but again nothing of any significance was found, so they then surveyed the area further South where the Royalists were thought to have chosen their ground. Although all sorts of unusual items were unearthed (though not of any value!) there was no evidence of any battle.
A number of other local fields were swept, despite two days of persistent rain, before eventually moving to the area where the monument is situated. Once again no results were obtained and as this was the end of the week and the areas which they permitted to search had been exhausted then the survey came to an end with no result.
However we have to draw some positives from this work in that these areas can now be excluded from the investigations and further consideration given to the other possible routes that could have been taken from the last recorded location of the Royalists on their march to Stow.
Alternatively could the confrontation have occurred even closer to Stow? There are suggestions in the contemporary accounts that very little time elapsed between the Royalists being put to flight and the completion of the final stage of the battle in Stow square. Some of the funding still remains and plans are afoot to examine other areas.
Some of the equipment used in the survey
Misty morning briefing by Simon Marsh
Simon on Donnington Hill which it used to be thought was the battle site.
For an account of the Battle of Stow and its significance, click here.