The Battle

After advancing from Tewkesbury in the morning and finding the royalists formed-up north of Ripple, the parliamentarians deployed on the high ground of Ordnance (Old Nan's) Hill north of the village. Waller's army consisted of around 1,500 men, mainly cavalry and dragoons with infantry from the Gloucester garrison and some artillery. The royalists with 2,000 men deployed with three bodies of cavalry further to the north facing the parliamentarians and pushed their musketeers into the hedgerows surroundign the battlefield. 

An attack by four troops of Waller’s cavalry was repulsed by Maurice’s men in what is now known as Deadland field, perhaps because some of the dead from the attack are buried there. After an ineffectual attempt to use his artillery and seeing the threat from the royalist musketeers, Waller decided to withdraw into the lane on his right behind a screen of dragoons and with musketeers from the Gloucester garrison covering the corner of the lane to make good the retreat. 

But the royalists attacked the parliamentarian dragoons.  Reference in one of the primary accounts to the parliamentarians having the ‘wind and sun’ against them suggests this attack occurred in the afternoon and was in part launched by the royalist right wing of cavalry, with the sun behind them, up the western side of the ridge where the gradient is flatter.  The parliamentarian dragoons failed to stand and broke through the hedges, disorganising Waller’s musketeers.  At this point Massey sent away for help from Tewkesbury as other parliamentarian soldiers fled toward the river with some drowning as they tried to swim to safety.  Sir Arthur Hazelrig’s troop of horse with those parliamentarian foot still in order forced the royalist to make a stand as what was left of Waller’s command continued to fall back.

During the pursuit a parliamentarian soldier, on Massey’s command, dragged a large gate across the lane to delay the royalists.  Even so the parliamentarians were unable to regroup and continued their flight towards Tewkesbury.  A running fight then ensued through and then south of Ripple as the Waller’s men attempted to reach Tewkesbury.  Waller’s men were facing defeat by the pursuing Royalists but at the entrance to a “strait [i.e. narrow] passage near the Myth Hill” parliamentarian reinforcements arrived from Tewkesbury and a combination of their firepower and a charge by Massey saved the retreat. 


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