Walk­ers learn a lot about his­tory on their march to bat­tle

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS - COLIN PARK

A RE­CENT walk with the East Cheshire Ram­blers was timed to view a dis­play given by the Sealed Knot So­ci­ety who re-en­acted the Bat­tle of Nantwich an­nu­ally in the town.

The walk started in the nearby vil­lage of Ac­ton which was the head­quar­ters in Jan­uary 1644 for the Roy­al­ist troops un­der the com­mand of Lord By­ron.

The fig­ure of eight walk headed west across fields from the vil­lage to Swan­ley Bridge where the tow­path of the Llan­gollen Canal was fol­lowed north to Hurleston Locks for the morn­ing cof­fee stop be­fore re­turn­ing along the tow­path of the Shrop­shire Union Canal back to the vil­lage.

Prior to lunch, the group were shown around Ac­ton Church by vol­un­teers which in­cluded a climb up to the bel­fry. The solid church tower is much older than the rest of the church and has stood for nearly one thou­sand years and was once used as a look­out for any raid­ing parties.

Lord By­ron also used the tower as a van­tage point to look to­wards Nantwich which at the time was the last place in the area to be held by the Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans dur­ing the English Civil War.

The Bat­tle of Nantwich was fought in the fields east of the vil­lage of Ac­ton on Jan­uary 25, 1644 and de­spite Roy­al­ists suc­cesses dur­ing the weeks pre­ced­ing the bat­tle, a sud­den thaw in the cold weather meant that the River Weaver burst its banks and the sur­round­ing area turned to a quag­mire and things now went in the Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans’ favour.

To reach the re-en­act­ment of the bat­tle at Mill Is­land in Nantwich, the group set off via Welsh­man’s Lane to en­ter the town via Welsh Row.

At 2pm the Sealed Knot So­ci­ety con­sist­ing of sev­eral hun­dred sol­diers dressed in pe­riod at­tire put on a bat­tle dis­play last­ing over an hour in­clud­ing fre­quent can­non fire, pike men in ac­tion and much gun­fire be­fore pre­sen­ta­tions.

The re­turn to Ac­ton was again along the tow­path of the Shrop­shire Union Canal from Marsh Lane Bridge but now the walk was un­der­taken in heavy rain, how­ever as a con­so­la­tion the group were re­warded with a vivid rain­bow as the walk ended.

For more in­for­ma­tion go to ram­blers eastcheshire.org.uk

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