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Battle of Roundway Down 1643

List Entry Summary

This battlefield is registered within the Register of Historic Battlefields by English Heritage for its special historic interest.

Name: Battle of Roundway Down 1643

List entry Number: 1000030

Location

ROUNDWAY DOWN

The battlefield may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Wiltshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Bishops Cannings

County:

District: Wiltshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Bromham

County:

District: Wiltshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Heddington

County:

District: Wiltshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Roundway

County:

District: Wiltshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Rowde

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not Applicable to this List Entry

Date first registered: 06-Jun-1995

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: Battlefields

UID: 31

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Battlefield

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

BATTLE OF ROUNDWAY DOWN 1643



The Civil Wars of the mid seventeenth century were a reflection of profound political, constitutional, religious and social conflict which was expressed in a struggle for control between King and Parliament.

The Royalists needed to secure the West before they could turn their attention to the real target, London. After the indecisive Battle of Lansdown, the demoralised Royalist army was pursued by a reinforced Parliamentary army from Bath. Following a short siege of Devizes, the Parliamentarians had to withdraw to Roundway Hill to face Royalist mounted reinforcements from Oxford who were drawn up on Roughridge Hill.

Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Royalist cavalry succeeded in defeating the better-balanced Parliamentary forces, pursuing many over the very steep slope near Oliver's Castle where horses and men fell helter-skelter into Bloody Ditch.

The opportunity presented by the Royalist victory to secure the West could have made Roundway Down one of the most decisive battle of the first war, but Gloucester held out and the opportunity passed.

The landscape of the battle was one of sheep pasture and arable open fields, making ideal ground for cavalry. The characteristic straight-sided fields were not created until 1794.

AMENITY FEATURES Access to Roundway down is good. There is a picnic site at Oliver's Castle and a network of public footpaths with good views of the battlefield. The landscape has many features of archaeological and natural heritage interest.

OTHER DESIGNATIONS The whole battlefield lies within the North Wessex Downs area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is part included in an area of High Ecological Value. The battlefield is an Area of High Archaeological Potential. Kings Play Hill and Roundway Down are Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

KEY SOURCES Bulkley, S, 1643, Sir John Byron's relation to the Secretary of the last western action between the Lord Wilmot and Sir William Waller Chadwyck Healey, C E H (ed.), 1902, Bellum Civile

Selected Sources

Websites
English Heritage, 1995, Battlefield Report: Roundway Down 1643, accessed 11-JUN-2015 from https://content.HistoricEngland.org.uk/content/docs/battlefields/roundway.pdf

National Grid Reference: SU 02041 64779

Map

Map
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End of official listing