The Battle of Edgehill
On the afternoon of 23 October 1642 two armies, each of around 12,000 men, faced each other at Edgehill. This was the first serious confrontation of the Civil War. The Royalists occupied the north-south ridge and the Parliamentary army was deployed on the plain below. Despite their superior position, the Royalist force was at a disadvantage as they were in hostile country and finding it difficult to obtain food. As a result they descended the slope to fight in the fields below.
When night fell, both sides claimed victory in an inconclusive battle that left more than a thousand men dead. One of these was Henry Kingsmill, Captain of Foot, ‘unhappily slaine by a Cannon Bullett.’ His grieving mother erected his memorial thirty years later, once the monarchy was restored.
This memorial in St Peter’s, Radway is rather awkwardly fitted into an alcove too small for it. Kingsmill, dressed in curly wig and knee-coat, reclines on one elbow and has suffered the loss of both his legs above the knee and the top of his head. In spite of this it serves a moving reminder of this critical battle in England’s history.