West Berkshire’s rich heritage includes many connections to the English Civil war.
The First battle of Newbury was fought in fields at Wash Common and Skinner’s Green on 20 September 1643 as part of the war, between a Royalist army under the personal command of King Charles 1, and the Parliamentarian forces commanded by the Earl of Essex.
The second battle of Newbury took place nearby, at Speen, on land now home to Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club, the following year, on 22 October 1644.
In 1968, Sealed Knot was founded, with the aim of honouring those who died from both sides of the English Civil war, and educating the public about the period. The non-political educational charity does this through staging frequent battle re-enactments, complete with costumes, roaring cannons and acrid gunpowder smoke. Many of these have been staged in West Berkshire over the last fifty years. Popular locations have included Donnington Castle and Shaw House.
Anyone who witnessed the exciting 1993 staging of the 1st Battle of Newbury in the fields behind John Rankin School is unlikely to forget the experience.
Click through our archive photographs of spectacular battles from the past fifty years – and beyond!