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The medieval market cross in the market place at Stow on the Wold, where Sir Jacob Astley was captured as his defeated troops fled through the town.
 
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Battle of Stow on the Wold
21st March 1646

In the early morning of 21 March 1646 the last battle of the first Civil War took place in Gloucestershire, one mile north of the town of Stow on the Wold. After initial royalist success the superiority of the parliamentary forces, particularly Brereton’s cavalry, soon overwhelmed and routed the royalist forces. Fleeing the field, the royalists fought a running fight back into the streets of Stow where the final action took place, culminating in Astley’s surrender in the market square.

The destruction of the last royalist field army at Stow on the Wold dashed the last desperate hopes of the Royalist cause and effectively signalled the end of the first Civil War. Charles surrendered soon afterwards, to the Scottish army at Newark, in May 1646.

There is some dispute as to exactly where the action was fought with a number of theories put foward.  The traditional site is located on the ridge to the west of the village of Donnington.  Alternative sites have been suggested  approximately 1500 meters north of the town or lying across the A424 or across the ridge between the A424 and the A429, the Fosse way south of the traditional site . Survey work carried out at the traditional site, the A424 site and the ridge between the A424 and A429 by the Battlefields Trust in October 2015 failed to identify battlefield remains.  This opens the possibility that the battle was fought much closer to Stow than has hitherto been suggested.  Further survey work is required on all possible locations before any conclusion can be drawn.

Access is possible to all areas by public rights of way and, with care, by roads across the battlefield. The visit can be completed by following the route of Astley’s fighting retreat into the streets of Stow. There is the added interest of a memorial stone to one of the battle victims in the church. But most of all one must go and sit on the base of the cross in the market place, just where Sir Jacob Astley’s himself sat when he surrendered, for it was here that the First Civil War was effectively ended. This  event has in recent years been marked with a plaque on the base of the cross installed by the Stow Civic Society

KEY FACTS

Name: Battle of Stow on the Wold

Type: Battle
Campaign: Stow on the Wold

War period: The Civil Wars
Outcome: parliamentarian victory
Country: England
County: Gloucestershire
Place: Broadwell / Upper Swell / Donnington / Longborough
Location: probable

Terrain: open field and urban
Date: 21st March 1646
Start: early morning
Duration: short

Armies: Royalist commanded by Sir Jacob Astley; Parliamentarian commanded by Colonel Thomas Morgan
Numbers: Royalist: circa 2,000-3,000, possibly 1,000 horse & 1,500 infantry; Parliamentarian: circa 1,750 horse and 2,000 foot.

Losses: Royalist: 200 killed, 1,700 captured; Parliamentarian: limited

Grid Reference: SP191272 (419101,227269)
OS Landranger map: 163
OS Explorer map: 45

English Heritage Battlefields Register report CLICK HERE

 

   
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