Civil War returns to Barnstaple

English Civil War shenanigans return to Barnstaple on Saturday, April 20.

English Civil War shenanigans return to Barnstaple on Saturday, April 20. - Credit: Archant

History brought to life on Saturday, April 20 as Barnstaple marks the anniversary of its surrender in 1646 during the English Civil War.

English Civil War shenanigans return to Barnstaple on Saturday, April 20.

English Civil War shenanigans return to Barnstaple on Saturday, April 20. - Credit: Archant

THE roar of English Civil War muskets will be heard in Barnstaple once again this Saturday (April 20) as the town commemorates its role in the conflict.

Following a successful first event last year, Civil War re-enactors and living history experts will be returning in even greater numbers to mark the anniversary of the Royalist town’s surrender to Parliament in 1646.

From 10.30am a great many costumed characters will gather by Barnstaple Heritage Centre at The Strand to drill with their weapons, fire their muskets and beat their drums.

A 17th century barber surgeon will also be in attendance, demonstrating the tools of his grisly craft and it is rumoured, is even promising to re-enact a leg amputation!


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The Heritage Centre will have a special extended Civil War exhibition to browse too, plus books for sale and a copy of the declaration of surrender. Stalls will be available for hire along the colonnade.

At 12noon, the Mayor of Barnstaple, Councillor Lesley Brown, will accept the terms of surrender which marked the town’s fall to Parliamentarians 367 years ago on April 14.

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The free event, organised by the Heritage Centre and the Town Council, came about last year after it was realised very little was done to mark such a major period of the town’s history.

“It is going to be bigger and better than last year, with history really brought to life. If anyone wants to join in with us on the day or dress up, we’d love to hear from you” said centre manager Denise Holton.

“The Civil War was a time of great suffering and people forget it split the nation in half – father fought son, brother fought brother. Barnstaple itself changed hands four times, there was starvation and suffering, it took the town a long time to recover.

“It is planned to make this a permanent event and there is talk of staging a pitched battle in Rock Park next year.”

To find out more, or hire a stall, contact Denise Holton at the centre on 01271 373003.

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