Thursday, 14 June 2012

hampden and his men edgehill part 4

Early on the morning of Sunday, October 23rd, Prince Rupert forwarded information to the King that the camp fires of the Parliamentarian army had been seen on the plain between Edge Hill and Kineton.

 With keen foresight Earl Lindsay abandoned the intended advance upon Banbury, and speedily

began the movement of the Royalist army towards the fringe of hills which dominates the Warwickshire vale. It seems at first strange that the Parliamentarians, familiar as so many of them were with the physical features of the neighbourhood, should have neglected when so near to secure possession of some part of the Edge Hill ridge. This, however, is explained in a pamphlet of the time,“An Exact and True Relation of the Dangerous and Bloudy Fight between his Majestie’s Army and the Parliament near Keynton.” Therein we learn that the artillery were unready, for want of draught horses, and with Colonel Hampden and Colonel Grantham were forced to be left behind, and hence no advance could safely be made beyond Keynton.
Hampden had with him three regiments of foot, nine or ten troops of horse, some companies of dragooners, and seven pieces of cannon, with the necessary ammunition train,[ perhaps about 4,000 men in all. The troops of the Parliament were quartered in the villages of the plain. Tradition says that Tysoe was occupied, and that the soldiers took the bread from the village ovens ere they

 marched down street to the fight. But of the doings at Compton in the Hole
barely a mile distant, during the occupation we know nothing.It is hard also to understand that there should have been anything in the nature of a surprise  in the Royalist advance, for within a district so sympathetic to their cause, one would have supposed the Puritan leaders to have been immediately informed of every movement of their enemies. Indeed, in another quaint pamphlet, “A Letter sent from a Worthy
 Divine,” the writer says that the alarm came at about eight o’clock in the morning, that the enemy were advancing, and that “it pleased God to make myself the first instrument of giving a certain discovery of it, by the help of a perspective glass, from the top a hill.”

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