This Saturday, some of our members will be travelling to Wigan, to reveal the fascinating English Civil War history of this famous mill town.
The Battle of Wigan Lane was fought on 25 August 1651 during the Third English Civil War, when King Charles II invaded England with a Scottish army, hoping to take the country back following the execution of his father in 1649. Charles had travelled down the west side of England to Worcester, hoping to pick up troops and support amongst the Royalist-leaning areas. A force had been raised by the Earl of Derby from Lancashire and the Isle of Man, but in a fierce fight against a section of Parliament’s New Model under Colonel Robert Lilburne (brother of the famous Leveller, John Lilburne) they were routed and destroyed. The defeat was a blow to the king as this was the only English Royalist force of any size to attempt to ride to his standard in Worcester. Without large numbers of English Royalists to support him, his position was untenable and nine days later his predominantly Scottish army of about 15,000 men was decisively beaten at the Battle of Worcester by a Parliamentary army nearly twice the size under the command of Oliver Cromwell. This victory brought to an end Third English Civil War and ushered in nine years of republican rule. Charles escaped to France and lived in exile until his return at the Restoration in 1660.
At 11am this Saturday, musketeers will fire down from Wigan Parish Church tower before a drill display in Market Place, with musketry and pikes. This will be followed by a parade of soldiers up Standishgate to Market Place, led by the Mayor and Mayoress, and Yvonne Fovargue MP.
At 12.30pm there will be cameos at the living history camp on The Wiend / Piazza, followed at 1.45pm by a visit by the Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester George Almond CBE OStJ DL MSc. Musketeers will again fire down from Wigan Parish Church tower. Children welcome to take part in drill and there will be a skirmish on Market Place/Piazza with muskets, pikes, swords and hand to hand combat.
If you’re in the area, do come and join us to discover what life – and death – was like in the English Civil War!