Gloucestershire

Battle of Stow enemy descendants make peace after 366 years

The descendants of two English Civil War commanders who fought against each other have shaken hands on the 366th anniversary of the Battle of Stow.

David Glaisyer is a descendant of Royalist general, Sir Jacob Astley.

Norman Goodman's ancestor was Sir William Brereton, commander of the Parliamentary cavalry.

A plaque marking the spot where Astley surrendered on 21 March 1646, while sitting on a drum, was unveiled in the Gloucestershire town earlier.

The Battle of Stow was the last major battle of the First English Civil War.

'Streets thick with blood'

The plaque at the base of the cross in the town square, provided by Stow Civic Society, also remembers the 200 Royalist soldiers who fled the battlefield and were caught in the square, where they were slaughtered by the Roundheads.

Image caption The plaque marks the spot where Sir Jacob Astley surrendered to Parliamentary forces

Legend has it that the blood of the dead ran in rivulets down Digbeth Street. It is said the blood was so thick that ducks could bathe in it, hence the name Digbeth - a derivation of "duck bath".

Mr Glaisyer said: "It's quite good to shake hands, because in all wars there's no clear winner ever."

Mr Goodman said he was a "keen royalist" despite the fact that his ancestor fought for Parliament.

"Poor old Stow got it in the neck with all these armies marching through," he said.

Historians are unsure exactly where the fighting itself took place.

Tim Norris, from the civic society, said: "It was always thought the Roundheads and Cavaliers first clashed on a hill just outside the village of Donnington two miles north of Stow, but there's now evidence that the battle may have been much nearer to the town."

The society is working with the Battlefields Trust to try to secure a grant to pay for an archaeological survey to establish the exact location.

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