Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gloucester Day and the English Civil War

click photo to enlarge
On a recent afternoon in Gloucester we kept coming upon groups of re-enactors dressed and armed in the manner of the Parliamentary forces of the English Civil War. We assumed that they were taking part in a re-enactment somewhere in the locality and, apart from taking a couple of photographs of them, we thought no more about it.

Once I was back home, however, I made a point of finding out precisely what they were about and in so doing I learned about an episode of the English Civil War of which I was previously ignorant. The roving bands were in fact taking part in the Gloucester Day weekend that celebrates the city's history and culture. Gloucester Day as it is currently staged dates from 2009 but prior to that was for over two hundred years a celebration of the lifting of the Siege of Gloucester on 5th September 1643, an event in the English Civil War. Apparently the city was under siege by the Royalist army under Prince Rupert and Charles I. The besieging force was about 30,000 strong and the city's garrison of 1,500 regulars plus some militia was heavily outnumbered. But, they took every advantage of their defences and even made sallies from the fortifications to attack the surrounding troops. The siege lasted from August 10th until 5th September when a relieving force of 15,000 troops arrived. Despite the overwhelming advantage possessed by the Royalist forces they lost over 3,000 men killed and wounded compared with the approximately 50 losses on the Parliamentary side. The incident was counted a victory for the forces opposed to the king and celebrated as such.

It seems that if we stumble upon such events they are usually re-creating the Civil War - as were these re-enactors in Lincolnshire.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 140mm (210mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On