The Sealed Knot re-enacts the battle
Echoes of war still surround Edgehill
The battle of Edgehill was the first of the English Civil War and though it was over quickly, the sounds of war continue to echo over our countryside.
King Charles set out from Shrewsbury for London but the government was intent on him not making it, so they sent Essex and his men to intercept him and stop his march to the capital.
The troops met halfway at Edgehill on the southern edge of Warwickshire and almost 30,000 soldiers clashed in a bloody battle, with muskets, pikes, staffs and swords leaving hundreds of men dead.
A year later, senior statesmen revisited the site and, to their terror, they witnessed a spectral re-enactment of the battle featuring men in combat that they knew to be dead.
Sealed Knot soldiers
Since then, spooky sounds and creepy apparitions have been experienced at the site, believed to be one of the most haunted in Warwickshire.
After several constitutional disagreements between the government and King Charles I, the king took up his standard and led his troops against the parliamentarians (roundheads).
Charles began a journey to London from his base in Staffordshire with an army of around 14,500 troops but was headed off at Edgehill by the parliamentary army, lead by Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.
The armies met in a massive skirmish, leaving huge swathes of troops dead and badly wounded. The bodies were looted for clothes and money and left where they lay.
Suddenly, the gun smoke, thunder of hooves and screams of battle vanished into thin air.
The group, scared witless by what they had seen, ran to tell the authorities about the spooky scene.
Over the coming months, more strange tales came from witnesses who had seen and heard the battle being replayed over the deserted hills and fields.
A monument stands in memory at Edgehill
In fact, there were so many accounts that printer Thomas Jackson was prompted to publish the tales in 1643.
The King was intrigued by the stories in the booklet and he sent some of his most credited officers to the site to see what they could discover.
The men went to the site to speak to witnesses but they got a lot more than they bargained for.
They were left terrified by two grisly visions of the battle being re-played over the hills and to their horro, they spotted friends and colleagues who died in battle taking part in the action.
Sightings of the phantom armies in the throes of fighting seemed to decrease but the eerie and unmistakable screams, shots, thunder of hooves and chinks of armour of battle are sometimes heard at night - particularly around Halloween.
last updated: 18/04/2008 at 11:16