The battle of Edgehill, on Sunday 23rd October 1642, saw the army of the Earl of Essex, the parliamentarian Lord General, and the King’s army clash in the first major action of the Civil War in England. It was fought in the open fields between the villages of Radway and Kineton in Warwickshire. The battle of Edgehill, or Kineton Fight as it was sometimes known, was intended to be the one great battle to decide the war.
Although often viewed as an indecisive battle, in effect a bloody draw, the king actually gained an important advantage. Essex failed to break through and had to retreat northward, to the security of the parliamentarian garrison at Warwick. This left the royalists in command of the road to London, and control of the capital was the key to the war.
The battlefield is largely agricultural land and appears at first sight to be well preserved. In reality it has been extensively disturbed and several key rights of way closed by the construction, in the late 1940s, of a military depot. Many of the silos and rail lines have been removed, but a great deal of damage has been done to the archaeology of the battle. In places even the underlying form of the land has been altered. Most of the battlefield still remains in Ministry of Defence ownership and is inaccessible, so it is difficult for a visitor to fully appreciate the terrain of the battlefield. However the M.O.D. are cooperating closely with the Trust to facilitate our major new survey of the battlefield. We hope that, in the future, it may also prove possible to improve public access to and interpretation of the battlefield.
Name: Battle of Edgehill (Kineton Fight)
War period: Civil War
Outcome: royalist advantage
Place: Kineton / Radway
Terrain: Open Field
Date: 23rd October 1642
Start: circa 2:00pm
Duration: Until nightfall (sunset was about 4:30pm)
Armies: Royalist army: nearly 15000 strong, nominally under Charles I; Parliamentarian army: just over 15000, under the Earl of Essex
Losses: circa 1000 dead and 2-3,000 wounded
Grid Reference: SP359493 (435900 249300)
OS Landranger map: 151
OS Explorer map: 206
English Heritage Battlefields Register report CLICK HERE