Saturday, 6 March 2010

Battle of Birmingham

The latest copy of the Wargames Illustrated  - Issue 269 March 2010 'the ECW edition' (purchased by my brother - thanks) is probably the best yet since the BattleFront takeover. There are several very interesting articles but the one that caught my eye in particular was an excellent one about the Battle of Birmingham, if only because I work and often shop there.

The event is normally referred to as The Battle of Camp Hill which took place in April 1643. More details here. The battle is notable because William Feilding, 1st Earl of Denbigh, (present at the battle of Edgehill, October 1642) was injured and died shortly afterwards. The action also inspired the famous pamphlet illustration of Prince Rupert but I hope to post on that subject later on.

The article states that battle site lies under the urban sprawl of modern Birmingham and there is nothing left to see. However I don't believe this is strictly true if only because of this building; the Old Crown pub. Located in Deritend, it lies half way between St. Martins and Camp Hill, in the most likely place where the running battle took place.

The Grade II listed pub is the oldest secular building still standing in Birmingham. Although the pub claims to date from 1368 the present building dates from the 15th century. It is just about half a mile away from the new Bullring. If you need directions, ask a local to point you towards the Custard Factory (as in Bird's custard). This building is right next to the Old Crown.

If you fancy re-acting a favourite pass time of plenty of English Civil War soldiers i.e. drinking beer, then I’d recommend you cross over the dual carriageway and pop into either the Swan or the Anchor pubs, which is just behind the brand new bus terminal. As bus depots go, this one is on quite attractive (yes, I do need to get out more). Both of these very traditional pubs are on the same road parallel to the High Street. I visited both pubs last week (only in the name of research for this blog, you understand).

These images are taken from wikipedia as my new phone camera went into a major sulk and failed to save any of my pictures.

The Victorian church St. Martin's in the Bullring was rebuilt over the remains of the medieval building. This well known landmark still however contains several effigies of local knights all located in the north aisle. The best remaining effigy is that of John Be Bermingham (sic) who fought for twenty years in France before dying in 1393. The family coat of arms still forms part of the city’s flag. Two other effigies survive but in poor condition.

Edward Burne Jones, the artist associated with the Pre Raphaelite movement, was baptised in the church.

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