A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Chester Trip – Preamble

It isn’t Regensburg, but my ECW trip to Chester is on. I’ll be going there with a friend from 1st to 3rd December – the hotel is booked, so we’re going. We have both read John Barratt’s excellent book on the Great Siege, so the idea is to have a look at what remains of the Civil War sites, and the odd pub would be all right too.

Chester is not unfamiliar to me; as a child, I used to visit the place – and especially its zoo – but in those days the journey from Liverpool was a bit of an epic – long and tiring. We didn’t have a car (I had a rich Auntie in the Wirral who had a pre-war Vauxhall, but she didn’t really speak to us), so sometimes the journey involved a train from Birkenhead Woodside station (which I think you would struggle to find now), sometimes not, but it always involved a few of those green Crosville buses. It is an attractive city, and it looks the part for an ECW trip, but I am aware that very little of it dates back to the Civil War. For a start, much of the city was destroyed in the siege, and there have been frequent improvements over the years since then. The walls are marvellous, but a substantial part were widened and turned into a promenade for the townspeople in the 18th Century.

I originally had a picture of a wartime Crosville Guy Arab bus here
- it was pointed out that not only was it too early, but it was probably red.
Here's a proper Bristol Lodekka from the 1950s, with the correct livery of Tilling Green
We’ve made bookings with Ed Abram’s fine Chester Civil War Tours operation – we will definitely be going on the standard tour, and, though the Rowton Moor tour is not officially open so late in the year, we have the offer of going there too if the weather is passable and if the farmer is happy to let us on his fields. Serious walking boots will be taken. There is also an interesting tour of ECW public houses, but we may do that ourselves in the evenings. I was recently walked around the field of Eggmühl by a uniformed fusilier of the 5th Bavarian infantry regiment from 1809, so being taken around Chester by a Royalist gentleman in full period costume for 1645 will be quite normal.

It would be nice to wander a little further afield – Brereton’s trip up to Mostyn is a possibility, as is a quick look at Nantwich, or Beeston Castle – but the main thing we have to decide is what to do about our 4th day. Originally, my colleague found he had to be back in Scotland on the 4th day, but he has subsequently got out of his prior engagement, so an extra day is again available. We could stay on in Chester, of course, but I fancied a trip to Ormskirk – they had a nippy battle there – quick but influential, it effectively finished off the Royalists in Lancashire in the First Civil War apart from the garrisons at Lathom, Greenhalgh and Liverpool. Also, we could have a look for the site of the original Lathom House, pay our respects to poor old Lord Derby, who is interred in the local parish church (in however many separate bits), and – failed trump card! – I have family in Ormskirk who kindly offered hospitality, but, alas, the dates don’t line up and they have other plans! Like many local people must have done in the 1640s when they learned that Rupert or Brereton were coming, they have obviously made quick evacuation arrangements when they heard about our trip. Not a huge problem – we can still go to Ormskirk, or we could go over to Yorkshire and have a look at Marston Moor, or Adwalton (less easy to find), and someone has suggested Pontefract Castle.


Now that we are definitely going, we can approach the details with a bit more focus.

What fun!

1 comment:

  1. That looks like a visit worth making.Have a good time of it.

    I have 'rich' relatives on the Wirral who don't speak to me. In my case though I can't really blame them!