Quick Stop – the Battle on the Bridge

On the way back from Coventry the other weekend, we passed over a bridge…

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It’s one that looks like pretty much like any other nondescript road bridge in the country, and I doubt most people even register it as they drive across, let alone realise that this marks the site of a very noteworthy event in English history – the Battle of Cropredy Bridge.

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The battle, part of the English Civil War fought on the 29th June 1644, was between the Parliamentarian Forces under the command of Sir William Waller and the Royalist Army under the direct command of King Charles I.

Following a series of maneuvers and feints, the Royalist army, moving North up the eastern side of the River Cherwell, was being shadowed by Sir Waller’s forces on the opposite bank less than a mile behind.

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In a bid to out-maneuver and split up the Royalist rearguard, Waller attempted to cross his army over the river at a series of points, Cropredy bridge being one of them. Three separate and rather bloody battles followed, the outcome of which saw the  Parliamentarians hold on to the bridges, but suffer heavy losses of 700 men, many of who had become demoralised and decided to desert.

After the following stalemate the king and his Royalists, who had only suffered light casualties but were low on supplies, escaped to the west under the cover of darkness, and later went on to win the battle of Lostwithiel a short time later.

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Calm waters now, but once the scene of great turmoil 

We in the Ratmobile didn’t know any of this of course, until we spotted a little information board on the side of the road, and stopped to see what it was.

We were glad we did.

So if you ever see one of these on the side of the road, take a moment and investigate. You never know what history you may discover, even about the most humble of bridges…

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I was quite sad to see what a poor state the information board was in

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “Quick Stop – the Battle on the Bridge”

  1. Pleased to see it so little changed from when I went there many years ago. Tends to get overshadowed by the greater battles of 1644.

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  2. The almost-invisible bridge coming into Aylesbury from Buckingham is Holman’s Bridge, close to the site of the battle of that name. I wonder how many people in the new houses built on the site realise that hundreds of men died there and that the lumps in the fields argue emplacements, according to history. Mind you, according to the planners, thebattle never took place at all and the mass grave found there was ‘only’ a plague pit…

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    1. I’ve not heard of that one – although I’ll now look it up. But you’re right, there’re so many places around us of significance that we don’t know about.
      I shan’t comment on blooming planners – I won’t be able to stop.

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    1. Thank you – I’m glad you liked them.
      That’s a good question, and to be honest I’m not sure, as the board doesn’t say. The bridge is on the edge of the village of Cropredy, but I don’t know where the name comes from – I’ll have to investigate.
      Origins of village names can be quite interesting!

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  3. It boggles my mind that there is so much history over there! A battle from 375 years ago – wow. Thanks for showing us this important landmark. Someone needs to restore that information sign.

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  4. How fascinating! It’s a shame the board looks so unloved, but it is good that is still there and it can give some details about the bridge. Good that you’ve noticed the board too, as the story is really interesting.

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  5. Ahh Stuart, so nice to read your post again! What you do best – make the unnoticed noticeable! What a cool history in that “humble bridge”. And as always, you give it the respect and love it deserves. Thank you for sharing! We will be without service a lot in the next few months. But I do look forward to checking in with you when we do have it. Hope you’re well.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments Lindsay, and so good to hear from you! I’m glad you liked the post, it always amazes me how humbles things can play such important roles in our history – just imagine what would have happened if the King had been killed in the battle, I wonder how different history would be, or not in this case.
      Take care of yourselves and enjoy your travels – I’m looking forward to hearing about them! Speak to you soon! 😀

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