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Newton Brook and banking
 
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Hermitage Brook and the north side of the valley. It was across this ground that the parliamentarian infantry had to cross to reach the Scots to the left of this photograph defending the Red Bank
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8
Battle of Winwick
19th August 1648

Following the defeat of the joint northern royalist and Scottish Engager army at Preston, those troops that had crossed the river Ribble continued on their march south. Late on 18 August, three miles north of Warrington, the Duke of Hamilton, commanding the army, came upon the area known as Winwick pass between the ancient townships of Newton-le-Willows and Winwick which he deemed suitable to defend. He ordered his foot to deploy along two streams, Newton Brook and Hermitage Brook.  The latter was steeply banked to the east, along what is now Hermitage Green Lane, with only a narrow passage for the main Winwick road (now the A49) across the Hermitage Brook.  Whilst the Scottish infantry made a stand, Hamilton with the cavalry continued on to Warrington where he left troops to defend the bridge before marching onwards through the Delamere Forest pursued by Parliament's Cheshire forces.

The Scottish infantry at Winwick were commanded by Lieutenant General William Baillie. The parliamentarian army under Lieutenant General Oliver Cromwell, consisting of New Model and Northern Association regiments, arrived late on the Saturday morning 19 August 1648.  The battle started around midday and lasted for around six hours, ending in defeat for the Scots.

The surrender of the remaining Scottish forces at Winwick and subsequently at Warrington meant the invasion was over. Hamilton surrendered with what was left of the horse on 25th August at Uttoxeter. The siege of Colchester ended on 28th August, leaving only Pontefract Castle in royalist hands. The war and the defeat of royalist uprisings in England and the Scottish intervention helped lead directly to the trial and execution of King Charles I in January 1649.

Hermitage Green Lane  and the area to its south, which consists of open agricultural land, is the best preserved part of the battlefield. On the north side Newton-le-Willows has been developed over the years and the area of the parliamentarian deployment, known as Newton Park, a former colliery site which has been returned to wilderness, is now under the threat of destruction from development.

The post road was realigned in the early 19th Century, when the Red Bank was cut away.  The level of the A49 was subsequently raised, but fortunately, part of the original post road location is visible today, though now overgrown by trees.

The Red Bank and Hermitage Green Lane still gives the impression of the defensive position used by the Scots and the problems the parliamentarian infantry and cavalry would have faced, especially, as the brook would have been flooded through the weeks of unseasonal rains in July/August 1648.

 

KEY FACTS

Name: Battle of Winwick (Red Bank)

Type: Battle

Campaign: Preston Campaign 1648

War period: English (Second) Civil War April to September 1648

Outcome: Parliamentarian victory over the Scots Engagers on 19 August 1648 at Winwick Pass effectively brought an end the Second Civil War. Colchester in Essex, besieged by parliamentarian forces, held out until news of the defeat of the Engager army reached the town. 

Country: England

County: Lancashire

Place:  North of the town of Winwick at Red Bank on the Wigan to Warrington Post Road; secondary skirmish at: Winwick town area; Prisoners held at: Winwick Church; and final capitulation at: Warrington bridge.

Location: exact

Terrain: Open ground either side of the Red Bank valley running in an east/west direction, with high banking with trees and hedges; where the junction of 2 brooks, swollen and flooded from weeks of unseasonal rain.

Date: 19th August 1648

Start: ​Midday 19th August 1648. 

Duration: Three main phases: first phase at Winwick Pass about 3 hours; second phase at Winwick Pass about 1 hour; and a third phase at Winwick Town/Church (1 mile distance) about 2 hours.  A negotiated surrender of the remanants of the Scottish army from Winwick occured subsequently at Warrington Bridge.

Armies: The Scottish Royalist (Engager) army: commanded by the Duke of Hamilton, who ordered the Scottish foot, commanded by Lt-Gen William Baillie to make a stand at Winwick Pass. No Scottish horse took a part in the battle of Winwick pass.The parliamentarian army: commanded by Lt-Gen Oliver Cromwell.

Numbers: Scottish: 4000-6000 Foot; Parliamentarian: 2750 horse and dragoons; 3000 foot.

Losses: Scottish: 1000 -1600 at Winwick; Parliamentarian: 100.

Prisoners: At Winwick: 1500-2000 Scottish foot; Total: recorded at Warrington 2547. 

 

 

   
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