The Battle

After skirmishing, at Chewton Mendip and elsewhere, at the beginning of July the royalists advanced towards and began to probe Waller’s position at Bath. He countered them first on Claverton Down to the south east of the city. The next day the forces faced each other on the south east side of Lansdown Hill, to the north east of the city, as the royalists moved around Bath on the east. Again Waller’s position was too strong for the royalists to engage. Finally on the night of the 4th July they quartered at Marshfield, five miles to the north of the city.

On the morning of the 5th July 1643 Waller deployed his 4000 strong parliamentarian army on the northern edge of Lansdown Hill. Although he probably had a few more cavalry than Hopton, he was heavily outnumbered in infantry. Because this was a largely enclosed landscape, and thus most advantageous to infantry action, he was potentially at a severe disadvantage and so ‘the fox’ needed to use all his skills to even the odds.

He had therefore taken a commanding position on the scarp edge and made it even stronger by the construction of temporary defences, which he lined with musketeers and artillery. On either side of this there were woods, on the steep slopes of the hill, where he deployed further musketeers. Yet more were deployed on the flanks, probably where lanes led up onto the hilltop. On the level ground behind the defences he deployed what reserves of horse and foot he had available.


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