The Battle

Alerted to the arrival of the royalist forces at Chester, Poyntz rode through the night to the aid of the parliamentarian forces besieging the city. The advantage of surprise was however lost to Poyntz as the message he had sent to the besiegers, informing them of his plan, was intercepted by the royalist at Holt bridge. Langdale had little choice but to deal with Poyntz before turning his attentions to the besiegers. To this end he deployed his troops on Millers Heath straddling the Whitchurch Road between Rowton and Waverton.

The initial engagement took place in a narrow lane linking Hatton Heath in the south with Millers Heath, where Poyntz vanguard was ambushed by the royalists deployed behind hedgerows. The encounter was vicious and short. After an initial volley of pistol shot the battle continued with swords ‘a full quarter of an houre, neither yielding ground to the other’. The action went first one way and then the other, but finally the Royalists were pushed back to the lane's end. There they were able to hold their ground, the parliamentarians not having room in the lane to bring up reserves. But both commanders had sent for reinforcements from their troop in or besieging Chester, and the stalemate was broken by the arrival of the fresh parliamentarian troops. This force, comprising both horse and foot, from those besieging Chester, threatened the royalist flank and gave Langdale little opportunity but to withdraw his troops to Rowton Heath.

The second clash occurred on the heath itself. Here the parliamentarians quickly gained the advantage, causing Langdale to retreat again.  Royalist reinforcements under Gerard had belatedly arrived and joining them Langdale's troops once again drew up to face the enemy. This time the royalists were completely routed, fleeing back to the suburbs of Chester. Here complete chaos ensued with the panic driven royalists caught between the pursuing enemy, the besiegers within the suburbs and their own reinforcements, whilst musketeers within the walls fired on both sides indiscriminately. The royalist troops that were able broke and fled, though many were subsequently killed or captured.


Explore the Battlefields Hub

Battlefields Trust NewsBattlefields Trust EventsJoin the Battlefields TrustDonate to The Battlefields Trust