During the English Heritage weekend there was so much on offer for people to see. So much so that I was a little unsure of where to go. I wanted to experience something new so when a Civil War Re-enactment was advertised at Bradgate Park, I jumped at the opportunity. Bradgate Estate holds the ruins of the Greys family home and where Lady Jane Grey lived in her younger years. I love my history as many of you will know. War re-enactments are new to me but living history is not. The only other re-enactment I had been to was that of the Romans at Waddesdon Manor a few weeks ago which I really enjoyed.
I really enjoyed my time at Bradgate Park and it was made even more enjoyable having bumped into a friend who I had met through volunteering for the National Trust, Susan Guy who also is a volunteer photographer at other NT properties.
Thinking I was going to be on my own for the day, it was a pleasant surprise and so lovely to have good company for the day. There were so many people in the park that day and if you have ever been, you will know how big it is. The chances of us bumping into each other wasn't very high at all!
The re-enactment at Bradgate Park included a march through the park towards the battle field, the battle itself and a camp ground where even children were dressed up in costume. The camp ground gave you a little idea of what life was like between battles.
The display was demonstrated by 'The Sealed Knot charity' whom performs re-enactments of the British Civil Wars to commemorate that time in history but also for educational events to bring history to life for so many people. I have realised through teaching our own children that history is remembered more, when they can experience part of it either through visits to historical places, or by people like The Sealed Knot charity putting on the display that they do. It is the same with the Victorian days and Tudor days children have in their school years. They won't forget them. Now back to the English Civil War and a little history.
The Civil War and Lord Thomas Grey
The Edge Hill battle records 13,500 royalist and 12,500 Parliamentarians taking part in this battle. with 3,500 Parliamentarians making their way towards the battle. It is thought that around 3000 men died either during the battle or shortly after due to injuries. It was felt that no one really won this battle though each side has it's own stories to tell.
In this battle was Lord Thomas Grey of Groby who was the son and heir of the Earl of Stamford who was elected MP of Leicester during the 'Long Parliament' at the young age of nineteen and commander of the Midland Counties. Thomas Grey commanded a troop of horses during this battle at Edge Hill under Sir William Balfour's regiment.
In 1648 Thomas Grey was made commissioner of the court which tried Charles I and was the only person of nobility to sign the death warrant for the Kings execution. By the end 1648 Oliver Cromwell's 'New Model Army' had gained control over England and on the 30th of January 1649 King Charles I was executed at Whitehall in London. After the Kings death, monarchy was abolished and the republic was born which was called 'The Commonwealth of England'.
Lord Grey became a member of the new council and fought in the second and third English Civil war. The Second Civil War was against the Scots in 1648. Grey managed to raise an army to defend Leicestershire against their attack. During the Third Civil War and the one that was to end all English Civil Wars, Grey defended the Midlands against the son of Charles I and the Scots who were trying to put Charles II on the throne of England. Thomas Grey was thought of as one of the leading figures in the New Commonwealth.
In the coming years Thomas Grey's beliefs were to alienate him from Cromwell and in 1655 he was arrested on suspicion of plotting against Cromwell and was imprisoned in Windsor Castle. After appealing to Cromwell on his own behalf, He was released and retired never to take up politics again. He died in 1657 at the age of 34.
I took far too many photos as usual so I will try to get them uploaded to my new Facebook page ASAP
For a little more on Bradgate Park itself, here is a previous blog I wrote.
A link to Susan Guy's blog which is a lovely blog and has been written very differently from mine and explains more about the soldiers and weapons which I did not do.
Also a link to the Sealed Knots charity web page.
Link to Bradgate Park itself
Copyright Jana Eastwood