Preliminary Manouvres

Sir John Byron’s regiment of dragoons reached Worcester on the 16th September. They were en route for a rendezvous with the royalist army at Shrewsbury with a convoy of money and plate from Oxford. He occupied the city, which still retained its dilapidated medieval gates and defensive wall.

Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes, with the 1000 strong vanguard of Essex’s army, reached Worcester on the 22nd. The main body of the army, some 20,000 strong, was still over twenty miles away. Fiennes, whose military advice came largely from Colonel Brown, an experienced Scottish advisor, approached the Sidbury Gate and demanded the surrender of the city. When he was denied he retreated rather than attempt an assult.

Instead they marched south and crossed the Severn by the nearest bridge, that at Upton, more than 8 miles from Worcester. After some disagreement, rather than hold this bridge they marched north to take Powick bridge, less than 2 miles from the city. This would enable them to cross the river Teme to intercept Byron if he attempted to leave the city to march towards Shrewsbury, as this woudl require him to cross the Severn and march northward on the west bank. At Powick the parliamentarians waited for Essex to arrive with the main army.

Having secured the bridge, the majority of the cavalry were deployed in Powick Hams, the meadow between the Teme and Powick village. Here they were secure from any surprise royalist attack as there was no connection east across the Severn but could quickly cross Powick bridge to intercept Byron if he attempted to march west from the city. But, especially at night, with no advance scouts in the suburbs to the north, they had no way to know what actions the royalists were taking.

Meanwhile Prince Rupert, with about 1000 cavalry, had been dispatched by the King to support Byron. He had reached Bewdley on the 22nd and was in St John’s, the western suburb of Worcester, by about noon the next day. While part of his forces assisted Byron in his preparations to march to Shrewsbury, the majority were deployed in Wick field, some ditance to the north of Powick bridge.


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