Battle of Roundway Down 1643

Overview

Heritage Category:
Battlefield
List Entry Number:
1000030
Date first listed:
06-Jun-1995
Location Description:
ROUNDWAY DOWN

Map

Ordnance survey map of Battle of Roundway Down 1643
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
ROUNDWAY DOWN
District:
Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Bishops Cannings
District:
Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Bromham
District:
Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Heddington
District:
Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Roundway
District:
Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Rowde
National Grid Reference:
SU 02041 64779

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

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment to the Selected Sources on 10/04/2019

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
31
Legacy System:
Battlefields

Sources

Websites
English Heritage Battlefield Report: Battle of Roundway Down 1643 (Published 1995), accessed 10th April 2019 from https://historicengland.org.uk/content/docs/listing/battlefields/roundway-down/

Legal

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

End of official listing

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