Cheriton and the Civil War Battlefields
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Who could believe that this tranquil area of countryside was once the site of a tremendous battle with enormous bloodshed just over 350 years ago! However, the history of this beautiful area of Hampshire provides us with a marvellous excuse to enjoy a good walk with some far-reaching views.
On the 27th March 1644 the Roundheads under Sir William Waller marched from Arundel and assembled at East Meon, a small village seven miles to the south-east of Cheriton as the crow flies. The Roundheads then attempted to cut off the Royalists as they advanced eastwards from their base at Winchester, so the Royalists, led by the Earl of Forth and Sir Ralph Hopton, raced for the security offered by Alresford, where they spent the night of the 27th on the nearby downs. The Roundheads camped in Lamborough Fields to the east of Cheriton Village.
By the end of the 28th March the Royalists had advanced and lay upon the ridge along Upper Lamborough Lane to Bramdean Lane; and you will be walking along this route. You will also be going past where the Roundheads' position was, lower down along the Cheriton Lane. After a tense night, when dawn arrived on the 29th March the Roundheads sent 1,000 musketeers into Cheriton Wood to the east of Bramdean Lane and the Royalist positions. The Royalists however, outflanked them in the wood and drove them back. There then followed a fierce battle in which the village to the south, Hinton Ampner, was set on fire by the Royalists. The Roundhead cavalry took advantage of the smoke cover and after a long battle around Bramdean Lane and with heavy losses, the Royalists returned to Alresford, setting fire to it before retreating to Reading.
This Battle of Cheriton finally halted the Royalist advance out of the South West and thwarted Charles 1's plans for an advance upon London. The area of the battlefield remains undeveloped agricultural land, Cheriton Wood is still there and so is the network of tracks and minor lanes which gives us the opportunity to survey this battle scene. There has been disagreement as to where the exact site of the battle took place, but a metal-detecting survey has produced evidence which may suggest that the traditional site, as described here, is the correct one. Maybe one day there will be a full detailed survey to prove it once and for all.
The walk also takes you past a monument commemorating the 20,000 soldiers who were involved in the battle, although other sources claim that there were only 15,000. The losses vary too, from 360 to 2,000.
England - South England - Hampshire - South Downs
Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, River, Wildlife
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