Battlefields Trust Stow-on-the-Wold Survey

The location of the battle of Stow on the Wold (1646) is unknown. Historic England registered an area around 2 kilometres north of Stow on a ridge beside the village of Donnington as the battlefield area in 1995, but questioned this in a paper to its Battlefield Panel in 1999.  In order to settle this, the Battlefields Trust wanted to organise a metal detecting survey to find the battlefield’s location.

Stow survey Oct 2015
Stow survey Oct 2015

The survey at Stow was originally conceived as part of a wider Heritage Lottery funded project, but this was rejected by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Alternative finance needed to be found and the Mercia Region of the Battlefields Trust, in which area the battlefield fell, made a grant application to the Arms and Armour Heritage Trust and funding of £2460 was generously made.  A further £500 was set aside from existing regional funds for the project.

The grant was used to purchase a set of surveying equipment – ranging poles, surveyors tape measures, transects and finds marker flags and finds bags.  This set of equipment jb rolex datejust 36mm m126284rbr 0021 ladies jubilee bracelet automatic is now available for wider use in the Battlefields Trust.  It was also used to pay a qualified archaeologist to lead the survey, for accommodation and subsistence for the survey team and to cover travelling expenses.

The survey was conducted in October 2015.  Sample areas several hundred metres in length and breadth were detected at 10m intervals and the finds collected, bagged, marked and location recorded in advance of them being cleaned, measured and recorded on a spreadsheet.

Areas over the possible battlefield area were examined, though no battlefield related finds were discovered over a six day period. This provided useful negative information about the battlefield location and has led to the development of a new hypothesis that the battle was fought much closer to Stow than has hitherto been considered.

Further archaeological work was undertaken in 2018 using the equipment funded by the Arms and Armour Heritage Trust as well as the residual part of the original grant and additional funding from the Battlefields Trust.  This located an area of fighting at Stow and further work is planned to establish whether it represents part of the rout or the initial stand of royalist forces.

Battlefields Trust Handling Collections

The Battlefields Trust successfully applied for and received a £1,864 grant from the Arms and Armour Heritage Trust in July 2014 for two handling collections that the Trust could use in its walks, talks and displays.  The items purchased included two of a sallet, a morion, a partizan, a halberd, six2.BT HANDLING COLLN, PPhilo & display, Marske Hall 16-04-18 arrows with different heads, a powder flask, bandolier and an inert matchlock musket. These were divided into two collections located in northern and southern England and were created to allow Battlefields Trust regions to demonstrate weapons and armour to the public as part of its charitable aims of preserving, researching and interpreting battlefields as historical and educational resources. The collections, which were focused around the Wars of the Roses and British Civil War periods, allow members of the public to get a sense of the challenges of using such weapons and armour.

They have been used extensively by the Trust, from explaining the design of a bassinet helmet on Wars of the Roses battlefield walks to demonstrating the loading and firing of a musket during Civil War battlefield talks and during school visits.  Members of the public have also handled the weapons themselves; obtaining a sense of their weight and cumbersome nature and, for the head piece armour, how constricting this can be for the soldier in battle.

The provision of the grant has helped the Trust better educate the public about arms and armour and have allowed it to bring more to life the experience of battle.