MUSKET and cannon fire rang out across Monkton Park over the weekend as the English Civil War was fought again in the ‘Battle for Chippenham’.

The 1643 battle for the town was re-enacted by hundreds of members of The English Civil War Society who returned to Chippenham on Saturday and Sunday (July 23 and 24).

The town played host to a recreation of the dramatic summer of 1643 when the Civil War raged across Wiltshire and the West Country.

The free event was staged by the English Civil War Society in partnership with Chippenham Town Council, which hoped to attract up to 10,000 visitors over the weekend.

Alistair North, a director of ECWS, said: “We were very pleased with the event and the response we got from the people of Chippenham. It was a great weekend.

“I think the council were also pleased with what happened and that we were able to put on so many displays. It was possibly the biggest that we have managed to do so far.”

Cllr Nick Murry, Monkton Ward councillor and Chair of the Town Council’s Amenities, Culture and Leisure Committee said: “Monkton Park was transported back to the 17th Century over the weekend, with a spectacular re-enactment of a Civil War battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers! 

“It was great to see so many people of all ages enjoying themselves, and to see the park used for a large-scale community event once more, with activities having been paused during the pandemic. The event itself was both entertaining and educational, and we look forward to hosting the English Civil War Society again in future.”  

Thousands of visitors were able to see The King’s Army and the Roundhead Association bring history alive in the battle to decide whether the town would be Royalist or throw in its lot with the Parliamentary forces.

On each afternoon, the battles commenced as the Royalist and Roundhead armies clashed on Monkton Park with over 400 pikemen, musketeers, gunners, and cavalry all taking part.

The event, inspired by a dramatic moment in Chippenham’s history, followed the huge success of the 2011 and 2013 ‘Battles for Chippenham’.

The Living History displays included a working printing press giving out the latest news sheets with tidings of the war and other news.

Re-enactors were happy to meet visitors, explain their work and to share stories about Chippenham’s role in the English Civil War.

Former Royal Artillery Regiment sergeant Colin Clarke, 52, from Chippenham, who was re-enacting a gunner, said: "It was brilliant. We had a really good weekend. Visitors were really interested in the Living History section."