The Bradford Hundred and the English Civil War


Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


Civil War re-enactment 2016

Civil War battle re-enactment in Bradford on Avon in 2016

The Civil War was a power struggle between Parliament and King Charles I that ended with the king’s defeat and execution and a brief republic -The Commonwealth- under Oliver Cromwell, before the Restoration of the Monarchy under Charles II in 1660.

The area around Bradford figured slightly in the English Civil War. Royalist troops under Sir Ralph Hopton crossed the River Avon at Bradford, perhaps with a brief skirmish, before heading north on the eastern side of the valley towards Bath, culminating in the Battle of Lansdown in July 1643.

The other action was at Great Chalfield, where Parliamentary troops occupied the manor house, except for a few days when the Royalists held it. Records survive of the provisions that the people of Bradford and other places had to supply for the Parliamentary garrison.

Nearby Farleigh Hungerford Castle, on the border of the Bradford Hundred area, was held for Parliament by Sir Edward Hungerford, but was taken without a fight by Royalists under his half-brother Colonel John Hungerford in 1643, around the same time as the army passed through Bradford. The Royalist garrison lived off the land around the castle, which would have included part of the Bradford Hundred, until John surrendered to Parliament in September 1645.

See the book by John Wroughton, 1999. Unhappy Civil War: the experiences of ordinary people in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire and the British Civil Wars website for the situation around Bradford in 1643.