Visitor David Kellett outside St Marys Acton dressed as a Civilian Constable from the English Civil War period (1)

St Mary’s Church on Monks Lane in Acton organised several ‘Holly Holy Day’ events to mark the Battle of Nantwich, writes Jonathan White.

The Church was open with ‘Tea at The Tower’ volunteers serving hot drinks and buttered toast.

A talk entitled ‘The Civil War – Explained’ was delivered to an audience of 60 people by Local historian Mike Lea inside the Church. Afterwards, the audience followed Nick Harley for a guided walk to view the battlefields. Charles Hull (church volunteer) assisted with answering questions.

The ‘Battle of Nantwich’ occurred during the first English Civil War (1642-1646) and was fought between the Parliamentarians (Roundheads) and the Royalists (Cavaliers) who were loyal to Charles I.

At the end of 1643, the Royalist Army had secured much of the North West and Cheshire with the exception of Nantwich where, surrounded by Royalists, the Parliamentarian garrison held out under siege. Namptwiche, as it was then called, was Cheshire’s second major town and very important due to its strategic position on the road to Chester.

A Parliamentarian force under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax (1612-71) advanced from Lincolnshire to relieve the town.

This army engaged the Royalists in the Henhull area to the west and defeated them in the Battle of Namptwiche.

As Fairfax’s forces marched on Acton, Col Richard Gibson deployed four Royalist regiments of infantry to meet them.

The Royalists fell back to Acton Church where Col Gibson surrendered to Fairfax. Many of the Officers took refuge in Acton Church and were also taken prisoner after surrendering.

The battle took place on 25th January 1644 and it was a Parliamentarian victory. To celebrate the Parliamentarian victory people wore sprigs of holly in their hair and hats.

A representative from the audience said: “Acton Church has offered something for everyone.

“The atmosphere was truly welcoming and Mike Lea is a fabulous speaker; he described the events surrounding the battle with enthusiasm and tremendous skill (all without notes!).

“Hats off to the dedicated team at Acton – a job done well.”

Future events at St Mary’s Church, Acton:-‘Tea at the Tower’ – run by church volunteers and takes place EVERY Sunday afternoon (2:30-4:30pm) throughout the year.

Hot drinks and cakes are available. Donations are gratefully received.-‘Tea at the Tower’ guided monthly walks.

The walks are at a relaxed pace and the 5-mile route will mainly involve canal towpath and lane walking and only a small number of stiles will be negotiated.

Stout outdoor shoes or walking shoes/boots are recommended. Ample car parking is available in the Acton village car park.

All are welcome, including dogs on leads.

Donations are gratefully received.

All walks start from St Mary’s Church, Acton at 1pm (please meet for 12.45pm at the Church), and for those who wish to indulge in cake and a drink, walkers will be back in time to visit the Acton Church ‘Tea at the Tower’ community café.

The future dates for the walks are Sunday February 6, March 6, April 3 and May 8.

Spring Concert – Saturday 7th May: Acton Operatic Society sing hits from Lerner & Loewe.

All the events raise valuable funds for St Mary’s Church, Acton, a Grade 1 listed building.

For further information visit:

Local historian Mike Lea during his talk entitled ‘The Civil War - Explained’ (1)
Local historian Mike Lea during his talk entitled ‘The Civil War – Explained’
Visitors approach St Marys Acton prior to the talk (1)
Visitors approach St Marys Acton prior to the talk

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