Blogtober 2021 : Day 12
It’s raining today. That mizzly, drizzly rain that gusts across the fields and isn’t in the least bit fun to walk in so no dog walk photos today. Instead, I’ll show you some I took the other week when we were out, and in particular our church which has been the focus of some attention recently.
Do you see the numbers 1648 on the bank there? That’s the exciting part, and those were put there by the community team who are currently looking after the church grounds. They’ve been planting up the bank and the idea is that those numbers will be surrounded by flowers in the future.
Now, unless you live in Winwick or your English history is particularly good, you might not know what the numbers stand for (I must confess that I didn’t) so I’ll show you.
Look at that!
Winwick has been declared an historic battlefield site by Historic England which means that no matter how the world changes or the landscape is shaped in the future by fields, roads or houses, those who fought and lost their lives in support of their beliefs will be remembered.
I like that, I think it’s important and I like to think that on Remembrance Day, not only will those soldiers from the more recent wars be remembered, but now we have a more visible connection to those who were here long before that.
I must confess that I don’t know a great deal about the English Civil Wars. I’ll have learnt about them in school but that time in history doesn’t really appeal to me (I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that it’s Roman history that floats my boat! 🙂 ). Now, looking them up online, they seem to me to have been inordinately complicated power struggles between the Parliament and King Charles I (the monarch at the time) with both making allegiances with other parties who might have been better staying out of it. A bit like politics now, I suppose.
Warrington makes very little of its Roman heritage (apart from what is in the museum) but the connections to its more recent past are much more visible – and thank goodness, I say, because I believe that we need to know what anchors us to our ancestors as much as we need to look to the future.
Oliver Cromwell was the leader of the Parliament (he allegedly stayed in a cottage near Warrington town centre and his statue has been there since 1899), and his soldiers were known as the Roundheads because of their helmets. I’ve had lots of conversations about him with my girls as we’ve driven past his huge bronze statue over the years. The opposition, the King’s army, were known as Cavaliers, which was originally a term of abuse from the Roundheads for the wealthy supporters of the King.
Even up until recently there were cannonballs found in the nearby farmers’ fields during ploughing (we still see people with metal detectors out on the fields with the farmers’ permission from time to time). I remember being told about a “bloody stone” where a soldier was allegedly cut down during the battle but when I’ve tried to look it up, it looks like it’s not related to the Civil War at all – it looks like I just live in a part of the world with a violent past!
That’s not surprising really, when you think that there has been a settlement here for nearly a thousand years – Winwick is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086 which was commissioned by William the Conqueror to assess the extent of the land that made up England at the time (and therefore how much tax he could levy – nothing changes, eh?!).
On a summer evening, though, walking through those same fields that saw so much death and destruction, you’d never imagine it at all.