OR A TRUE RELATION OF STRANGE PROCEEDINGS IN A SOMERSETSHIRE LOFT

Sunday, 3 July 2011

FIGHT AT HAM MEADOW 1643

On this day in 1643, a fierce little skirmish took place at Ham meadow, Claverton. Waller had sent Colonel Burghill's regiment of horse with some commanded foot and dragoons to occupy a walled wood on high ground at Monkton Farleigh. They sprung their ambush and after some initial success were pushed back by the Royalist Cornish foot. (In the eigtheenth century 2 bodies were exhumed in the vicinity one of which still had a piece of shot, possibly from one of Wallers hammered guns, embedded in it's chest).

The Royalists then spotting Waller's force drawn up above Claverton village across the valley sent troops to try and take the bridge of boats the Parliamentarians had built to send their men across the River Avon to spring their ambush. Waller had constructed a small redoubt to defend the crossing traces of which are still visible today


Here are the traces of the old ford which Waller probably utilised in his bridge of boats. After a fierce fight between the Cornish foot and Parliament dragoons and musketeers the Royalists prevailed and Waller withdrew as night fell.

The different accounts of the ambush vary greatly. The royalist Colonel Slingsby states that the Parliament force lost 100 men and 2 small pieces. John Vicars the Parliamentarian states the losses as 10 men although he concedes the 2 hammered guns were captured, but blames the gunners for that!

The hammered guns in Waller's army seem to be a bit of a west country speciality. I assume that they were similar to frame guns or even large bore muskets on carriages.

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