This July: the English Civil War will return to Bolton!

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Cannon will fire, drums will sound, and swords will clash as schoolchildren from across Bolton get the chance to go back in time to the English Civil War – thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A new project will see special education days staged at Bolton School to teach local children about their town’s part in the Civil War that rocked the nation in the 1640s.

Roundheads and Cavaliers will then descend on 7-8 July for ‘The Storming of Bolton’ – an exciting weekend of thrilling battles and fascinating ‘living history’ in the grounds of Bolton School, all free for local people and staged by costumed reenactors from The Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote, the local regiment of the Sealed Knot reenactment society.

The Earl of Manchester’s Regiment was awarded a £9,800 regional grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the costs of the project, which means it will be free for local families.

Thanks to the generous support of Bolton School, the project’s education days and first event in July will give youngsters the chance to see what life was like for ordinary people in Bolton in the 17th Century and aims to improve educational access for children from across the town.

Known as ‘the Geneva of the North’ due to its staunchly Puritan population, Bolton was attacked in May 1644 by forces led by King Charles’ nephew, the dashing Prince Rupert, on his way to relieve the siege of York. After repelling the first assault, Parliamentarian defenders hanged one of Rupert’s officers, which led to a notorious massacre when the Royalists finally stormed the town. The outmatched Parliamentarian commander and MP for Wigan, Colonel Alexander Rigby, pretended to be an enemy soldier before fleeing the defeat, which ended up being a huge propaganda coup for the Parliamentarians. Local magnate, the Earl of Derby, was later executed next to Bolton Market Cross for his part in the massacre and the third Civil War in 1651.

Headmaster of Bolton School Boys’ Division, Philip Britton, said: “We are very pleased to be able to share our facilities to enable this event to take place. It is an eye-catching way of reminding the young people of Bolton about an important moment in our history. We look forward to welcoming everyone in the summer.”

David Frederick, commanding officer of the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote, said: “To be able to provide such an immersive educational event like this with the ability to reach hundreds of local children is very exciting for both myself and for our regiment. We’d like to say a huge thank you to both the Heritage Lottery Fund and to Bolton School for making this possible.”

Morning and afternoon education classes (9.30am-12 noon and 1.30pm-3.00pm, for Year 5, 6 and 7 pupils) with experienced local reenactors at Bolton School are available to book now on 7th and 29th June. To book your class’s place on one of the free education sessions, contact Mrs Michelle Fox Makin at Bolton School on 01204 840201 or at BDInfo@boltonschool.org

Contacts:

Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote public relations: Michael Molcher on 07821 405 772 or manchesterspr@ymail.com

Bolton School public relations: John Newbould on 01204 434788 or jnewbould@boltonschool.org.uk

Battle weekend details:

Where: Bolton School, Chorley New Rd, Bolton BL1 4PA

When: 7-8 July 2018

Provisional battle weekend activities:

10am – 4pm: a ‘living history’ display on Bolton School’s grounds will include traditional crafts, cooking, and talks about 17th Century life, as well as give children a special scavenger hunt so they can learn more about Bolton during the English Civil War.

2pm: a thrilling battle between Roundhead and Cavalier will be staged in the grounds, including cannon, muskets, and pikes.

About the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote:

Part of the Sealed Knot, the world’s oldest and Europe’s largest re-enactment society, the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote re-enacts an infantry regiment from the civil wars of 1642 to 1651. With members drawn from across the country, they portray the pike, musket, and artillery divisions of the personal regiment of Edward Montagu, the second Earl of Manchester, who was one of the leading Parliamentarian generals from 1643 to 1645. For more information about the regiment, go to http://www.earlofmanchesters.co.uk

About the English Civil War:

The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, popularly known as the English Civil War, was a series of armed conflicts across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland between 1641 and 1652, which concluded with the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Far more complex than simply ‘Roundheads versus Cavaliers’, this was a tumultuous period of divided communities and shifting loyalties. Arguments between King Charles I and his Parliament over taxation, religion and control of the country spilled over into open conflict in 1642, with those who supported the King and those who supported Parliament taking up arms. The King was captured in 1646 and, after he helped provoke a second civil war, he was tried and executed in 1649. Over the period, an MP called Oliver Cromwell rose to prominence and eventually headed the English Commonwealth before becoming king in all but name as Lord Protector. He died in 1658, but his son and successor Richard Cromwell abdicated soon after. In 1660, the king’s eldest son Charles returned and was restored as King of England.

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