27 November 2011

Time Team @ English Civil War sites

The Time Team archaeologists on-site.

Due to Channel 4 restrictions I can't embed the videos on the site, but below are links to each Time Team episode where all or a significant proportion of the recording is devoted to English Civil War (or related) archaeology ...

The First King of Racing, Newmarket, Suffolk, Series 19 Episode 4, 12.02.12
The team digs in the heart of the historic town, in search of the remains of King Charles II's racing stables - arguably the world's first stables dedicated for racing.

Watch on YouTube

The Massacre in the Cellar, Hopton Castle, Shropshire, Series 17 Episode 5, 16.05.10

Hopton Castle was one of the few castles to be held for the Parliament in the west. Sir Michael Woodhouse laid siege to the castle, with a force of about 500, which was defended by about 30 Roundheads under the command of Samuel More. More eventually agreed terms and surrendered. However the Cavaliers reneged on the agreement, and all the defenders except More were massacred and thrown into the moat.

Other accounts vary on how the siege ended. They state that after a three week siege, More delayed surrendering until the bailey had been taken and the entrance to the keep was on fire, at which point he surrendered at the discretion of the Sir Michael Woodhouse, who under the laws of war as they were practised at that time, choose not to accept the surrender and ordered the killings.

Recently saved by a preservation trust, the castle is now open to the public.

Watch on YouTube

Siege House in Shropshire
, High Ercall Hall, Shropshire, Series 9 Episode 8, 24.02.02

High Ercall Hall
, originally a fortified 13th-century manor owned by the Arkle family; in the seventeenth century the house was owned by the Newport family, having been rebuilt in 1608 for Richard Newport, 1st Baron Newport. The Newports were prominent royalists and during the English Civil War Francis Newport, 1st Earl of Bradford garrisoned the Hall for the King.

Between 1644 and 1646 the house withstood repeated attacks by local Parliamentarian forces, culminating in a prolonged siege, using artillery, from July 1645. The Royalist commander at High Ercall, Sir Vincent Corbet, eventually surrendered on 28th March 1646.

Watch on YouTube

The Leaning Tower of Bridgnorth, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, Series 8 Episode 11, 18.03.01

Bridgnorth Castle castle was one of the Midlands' main Royalist strongholds and in 1642 many Royalist troops were garrisoned there. In 1646, Cromwell’s Roundheads arrived with orders to take Bridgnorth for the Parliamentarians from the garrison led by Sir Robert Howard.

Following a three week siege, Cromwell was successful and he ordered that the castle be demolished. By 1647 little of the structure remained. The Parliamentarians left it much as it is today, the stone from the castle being taken and used to repair the town's damaged buildings. Parts of the great tower still remain, but because of the damage caused during the Civil War, it now leans at an angle of 15 degrees, 4 times the lean of the leaning tower of Pisa.

Watch on YouTube

The Royalists' Last Stand,
Basing House, Hampshire, Series 7 Episode 8, 20.02.00

At the time of the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, Basing House belonged to John Paulet, the fifth Marquis of Winchester, who was a supporter of King Charles I. As a consequence, parliamentary forces invested Basing House on three different occasions, with the Royalists successfully breaking the first two sieges.

The final siege started in August 1645 when Colonel John Dalbier, with 800 troops, took up position around the walls. The garrison held out, despite further reinforcements to the attacking force, until Oliver Cromwell arrived with a heavy siege-train. By October 13, 1645, the New House had been taken and the defences of the Old House breached. The final storming took place across the link from the New House. Many valuable goods were carried off and a fire destroyed the building. Like other houses and castles destroyed at the time dressed stone was sold off at auction. Local vilagers were encouraged to replace wattle and daub panels in their houses with bricks from the house, or to build new houses in brick.

A recent UK Heritage Lottery Funded scheme has upgraded visitor facilities at the site. Further renovations are scheduled for 2011/12.

Watch on YouTube

If I've missed any relevant episodes, please send them on.

Full list of all Time Team episodes
The Time Team YouTube channel

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