Edgehill Battle lines online

By IH Thursday 11 October 2012 Updated: 21/12 08:46

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Buy photos » A Royalist reenactor at Edgehill roadside battle monument. (s)

THE BATTLE of Edgehill now has its own dedicated website.

The first battle of the English Civil War saw the 12,500-strong Parliamentarian army, led by Lord Essex, come face to face with King Charles I and his Royalists army of 13,500 men, on a glorious sunny autumn afternoon on Sunday October 23, 1642.

Not only was it the first pitched battle of the English Civil War, it was also the longest, spanning three days, although the the actual result was somewhat inconclusive with both sides finally going their own way - but not before leaving an estimated 1,000 dead, and nearly 3,000 injured.

Despite no clear outcome, the severity of the fighting and the length of the battle sent a clear message to the country it was to be war in earnest.

Edgehill battlefield is the largest battlefield on the English Heritage Battlefields Register, stretching from the escarpment of Edgehill and sweeping down some 2.5 miles to Kineton.

The battlefield is also reputedly the most haunted in Europe, with people having claimed to have seen ghost armies reenacting the battle in the days after, to people today who say they have heard drums being beaten on the anniversary of the battle.

The not-for-profit website - www.battleofedgehill.org - was edited and researched by local historian and professional Warwick web designer Darren Harridence, who has worked on projects relating to the battlefield since 1994.

For the first time visitors can clearly view the battlefield - which suffers from limited access as much of it is on Military of Defence-owned land - using satellite imagery accompanied by photographs from within army base where some of the most fierce fighting took place.

There is also a wealth of information concerning what happened where, and what can be seen today.

The website includes the routes of public footpaths and official permitted routes across and around the battlefield, showing points of interest and even lets web visitors survey the scene using Google’s Street View.

Visitors to the website can measure distances with the site’s inbuilt tools as well as overlay historic mapping and aerial photography to understand how the battlefield appeared during the time.

Users can also show or hide various suggestions for how and where the armies deployed and read details relating to individual brigades and regiments.

And most significantly, the website also presents the radically new battlefield interpretation based largely on

relatively unknown archaeological evidence recovered during a systematic survey of the entire battlefield between 2004 and 2007.

Local traditions, folklore and myths are also explored, as well as first hand accounts by the battle’s combatants.

Visit www.battleofedgehill.org to view the website.

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Buy photos» A view of Radway Tower on Edgehill - completed in 1750. (s)

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Buy photos» The edgehill escarpment - which stands 700ft above sea level and was unwooded at the time of the battle. (s)

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