Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Build up to the Battle of Chagford, Devon, 1643

The early months of the English Civil War were spent by both sides seeking to enforce their grip on the local administrations of the country. Control of a local council meant that taxation from that town or county flowed to whichever side had secured control, and if a town or city had an armoury then those weapons were at the disposal of whoever secured it first.

While most of Devon declared for the king, some of the small industrial towns preferred the Parliamentarian cause. Chagford was one such and in February a small troop of Parliamentarian horse was sent to the town to secure it against the Royalist forces mustering in Devon. Colonel Northcote and his officers stayed at Whyddon House, now the Three Crowns Hotel, while the men were billeted in the houses of the town.

The Royalists were, indeed, in the process of occupying all of Devon. Chagford was known to be hostile to their cause, but that made their commander, Sir Ralph Hopton, all the more determined to capture it and ensure that taxes due to the government from the town went to the king, not to Parliament. When he heard that Northcote and his men had arrived in the town, Hopton sent his own Colonel Berkeley with a troop of cavalry, and another of dragoons, to attack.

from "Battlefield Walks in Devon" by Rupert Matthews

Buy your copy HERE

Book Description

1 April 2008
A peaceful county today, Devon has seen clashes between Dumnonian and Welsh kings in the seventh century, Viking raids in the tenth and eleventh centuries and baronial uprisings in the fifteenth century. In 1549 the so-called Prayer Book Rebellion led to violent skirmishes at Sampford Courtney, Fenny Bridges and Clyst St Mary. It was the Civil War in the mid-seventeenth century that brought the greatest bloodshed to the county.

Rupert Matthews, ‘the History Man’, presents eighteen guided walks around the battlefields of Devon. He provides an account of events as they unfolded on the ground along with full background and context. His expertise, descriptive powers and lively enthusiasm bring the drama of history vividly to life.

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