Sunday, 23 September 2018

Visitors given authentic view of Civil War

MUSKETS and 16ft pikes were among the weapons used during a Civil War battle re-enactment held at Mapledurham House.

MUSKETS and 16ft pikes were among the weapons used during a Civil War battle re-enactment held at Mapledurham House.

Visitors were taken back to 1643, when the house was stormed by Parliamentarians who attacked the garrison and took over the property.

Smoke filled the air as about 160 actors performed the choreographed historic battle on Saturday and Sunday, watched by more than 300 people.

Many actors camped in authentic soldiers’ quarters, which were open to the public. Visitors could also see the surrounding civilian camps, which included a public house, school and kitchen.

Event organiser Steve Southcoat, who played a Parliamentarian army surgeon, said: “Mapledurham is a historic house so we stick to what we know happened here.

“We put our hearts and souls into it. It was not a big battle but it was part of what the Royalist forces felt as the Parliamentarians marched across the country.”

Mr Southcoat, a member of the English Civil War Society and Fairfax Battalia, said re-enactments help to bring history alive.

“It is fantastic to visit places like this and to actually come and see the history of it,” he said. “It really gives a deeper understanding of the history because it is about how people lived.”

Battles are carefully organised to minimise risk of injury to actors and the public. Real gunpowder is used in the muskets.

Mr Southcoat said: “We are very disciplined and careful in how we use our weapons. We train our troops and have drills every time we meet.

“When we do hand-to-hand fighting, our movements are exaggerated so you are signalling to your opponent what strike you are going to make and they adapt accordingly.”

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