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16th November 2017
at the Everyman
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Friday, 6th October 2017
“King of all Balloons”
James Sadler the Oxford pastry cook and first English aeronaut
Speaker - Mark Davies
Friday, 10th November 2017
Wyck Hill House Hotel, near Stow
Speaker: Dan Szor, Founder and CEO of The Cotswolds Distillery
On 20th March 2016 members of the Society took part in the annual Battlefield Walk to the Battle of Stow memorial near Donnington. Nigel Surman was one of them and this is his report.
On Sunday 20th March 2016 members of the Stow and District Civic Society joined forces with the Battlefields Trust contingent and traced (allegedly) the route taken nearly 370 years ago to the day by the retreating Royalist Forces who were forced into hand to hand combat in the Square in Stow-on-the-Wold before surrendering near the market cross. We however were going the other way!
Under the command of Simon Marsh we were lined up and over 20 strong! Given a crash course in Civil War fighting and manoeuvres before setting off from Tesco’s Car Park, we went down the Fosseway and on over the fields towards Donnington and the Monument where the fighting first started (allegedly).
I repeat “allegedly” because a number of experts are still disputing the exact location of the Battle of Stow and the route taken as fighting troops were forced up into Stow. Many of these theories originate from opinions as to the route Sir Jacob Astley with his Royalist forces was taking on his march from near Trooper’s Lodge to join the King’s forces, expected in Chipping Norton. Many of the roads and routes of today were not around then. The Salt Route which passed below Stow heading towards Maugersbury and thence to Chipping Norton was one possible answer whilst locally-named natural landscapes and folklore could give a clue that the approach was more from the Evesham side. As many members are aware, and is reported on our website, a survey of some surrounding fields was undertaken last year but was inconclusive so, without an abundance of cannon and musket ball finds, we are currently none the wiser about the actual location. Our march (walk) continued through Donnington village and on to the Monument. From here we had a wonderful panoramic view back to Stow; a view that in all probability takes in the site and full extent of the whole Battle.
We all enjoyed a rare but beautiful sunny English spring day with chattering birds and the bleating of newly born lambs en route. A far cry from what the men fighting experienced in the cold dark morning hours of the 21st March 1646. We made our way home back up the hill at a much slower pace than they, to a cup of tea and toast and not to be locked up in St. Edward’s Church overnight!
Stow’s New Model Army!
A walk to commemorate the 370th anniversary of the Battle of Stow
Simon Marsh, our guide from the Battlefields Trust, inspecting the troops.
Weary troops, homeward bound
However..... St. Edward’s Church was to be the destination for a few of us the next day. A brief service and reading by Rev. Martin Short marked the 370th Anniversary of “The Battle of Stow” and flowers were placed at the memorial headstone in the Church grounds after the recital of the famous prayer of Sir Jacob Astley uttered on the eve of battle: “O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me”.
Sir Jacob Astley’s prophetic words as he surrendered sitting on a drum in the Square, close to the market cross were:
“Well, boys, you have done your work, now you may go and play – if you don’t fall out amongst yourselves”
In tribute to Norman Goodman (pictured on the right), who sadly passed away last year and was a distant relation of Sir William Brereton (the Parliamentarian Commander), I have included the picture to the left showing him shaking the hand of local resident David Glaisyer (on the left), a distant relation of Sir Jacob Astley (the Royalist Commander) next to the market cross at the unveiling of our Society’s plaque in 2012 commemorating the end of the first English Civil War.