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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

English Civil War in the Marches: The Siege of Hopton Castle 1644

I'm on the move again, whilst stumbling through Shropshire today I had a chance to visit Hopton Castle on the border of Powys and Shropshire. One of five publicly accessible castles and eight on private land within 16 miles (25km) range.

Hopton Castle was of interest to me because of the English Civil War siege carried out there in 1644 where its commander Samuel More and 31 Parliamentarian defenders fought off several hundred Royalist soldiers.

Hopton was featured in an episode of the British television series Time Team, created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode featured a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining the process in lay terms (various Time Team episodes are currently available on YouTube covering prehistory to the industrial revolution.)

 Hopton Castle, during the siege of 1644 had a number of outbuildings around it fortified for its defence against a detachment of Royalist forces under Sir Michael Woodhouse, Prince Rupert's forces based in Shrewsbury held most of Shrophire at that time.
 The small brook that runs passed the castle grounds
 The castles stone structure dates to the c14th century standing on a Norman motte

 I think this is the outlet for the guarderobe since it has a shaft running upward to a room above. Renovators discovered a hole where the besieging Royalists eventually gained access to the tower during the siege apparently via this aperture on the outer wall of the keep, the ascent is approximately 12 feet vertically.
Small grassy mounds are all that is left of the oubuildings.The remains of Gregory the steward's lodgings and the manor house which featured in the early stages of the assault on the castle during the siege.



 Inside restoration work has been done to stop the building decaying any further.





 small ruins under the grassy mounds left of the tree


 The Royalists had brought 3 cannon comprising culverin and demi-culverin to convince the Parliamentarians to surrender.

 The carpark and access to the castle and leaflets are free, any donations will go towards Hoptons upkeep.

 view over the small bridge.



The site of infamy due to the bloody massacre of the 31 defenders, who twice refused to surrender. Only at the third request the garrison commander thought it prudent to surrender to avoid being blown up after Royalist engineers had dug a breach under the walls ready to fill with gun powder.

Apparently the Royalist intention was to reduce this small castle at Hopton and use it as a base to attack the Earl of Oxford's castle of Brampton (on private grounds). Castle Brampton was held against a Royalist siege by the Earl of Oxford's wife Brilliana in 1643 while her husband and son were away fighting for the Parliamentarian  cause.

Hopton castle is obviously going to be in the shadow of its more popular castles such as Stokesay and Ludlow castle. But it could make a small interesting skirmish wargame with 31 defenders and 1 commander Samuel More fighting for Parliament against several hundred Royalist foot armed with muskets pike and supported by 3 cannon culverin and dei culverin commanded by Sir Michael Woodhouse, fighting through the outhouses and enclosures on one side of the castle and trying to support a breaching party digging at the base of the tower in the hopes of planting some barrels of gunpowder to demolish the keep.

Anyhow, until next time.
All the Best, Peter.


Sunday, 24 September 2017

28mm Spartan Vignettes

As promised and somewhat a little later than I had anticipated are some Spartan vignettes I finished a while ago. All miniatures are 'Wargames Foundry' with a few commanders from Gorgon Studios ancient range.

Starting with the Command vignette of Spartiate leading class commanders of the Peloponnesian Wars.

 One of these minis is 'Foundry' the others are 'Gorgon Studios' minis.
 One of the shield designs (the red gate symbol with white snakes) represents the 'dokana' δόκανα of the twin brothers Castor and Pollux.
 The shield with the inverted V is a typical Spartan Lambda symbol.
And the third of course represents the legendary Gorgon's head. I've noticed that many ancient representations of the Gorgon's face seem the be almost Indian in style.

Next we have the pre-battle sacrifice of a goat,

Before battle was brought, Spartan priests divined whether it would be auspicious to bring battle by studying the entails of sacrificed birds, pragmatic Spartan commanders on the other hand could continue to let the priest sacrifice a number of animals until the 'Good' omen was found and only then 'give battle'.

The battle-line draws up

 Doughty Spartans ready for battle with their Lambda emblazoned shields, famous for their old fashioned beards and long hair.
 The battle-line draws up, these are wearing the pilos helmet used during the Peloponnesian Wars.

And then!....oh....the enemy appear to have scarpered!

ENDEX, time for tea and biscuits, the Spartans break for camp,

 Some cotton wool dyed with black enamel paint thinned with white spirit provides black and grey smoke for the camp fire. I suppose I could have added some red sparks painted on the smoke, I will experiment with that idea in the future.


Anyhow some Thirty Years War Generals are next up on the blog.

I have been painting a variety of stuff this month such as: 1/3000th WW1 and WW2 naval, 1/1200th Anglo-Dutch naval, Warhammer 40k, 15mm Marlburians. 15mm medievals, 28mm Wars of the Roses, 28mm Napoleonics some for Ebay, 28mm Fantasy and 20mm Napoleonics for customers, so I've been a bit busy.

All the Best
Peter.





Friday, 1 September 2017

Napoleonic Belgian Infantry & Carabiniers

At last the Belgians are finished and photographed, these minis will provide the Belgian element to add to the Dutch-Nassau contingent for my 'Waterloo Hundred Days' mini campaign. They represent the Belgian commitment against the re-emergence of Napoleon Bonaparte's Empirical ambitions and thwart his march on the city of Brussels.

28mm Napoleonic Belgian Infantry.
Apparently owing to political tensions the Belgians weren't too friendly towards the Dutch during the 1815 Waterloo-Hundred Days campaign.

Uniforms were blue jacket with white facings on every regiment, grey overalls, Belgic shako with white cords and plume except for the light infantry (skirmishing company) who had green and the grenadier company who wore red.













The flank companies also wore blue with white striped wings on their shoulders. These two Belgian battalions will form the bulk of the Belgian contingent.


28mm 2nd Belgian Carabiniers.

Present at Waterloo, I chose this particular regiment because I liked the steel helmet with brass fittings, thinking this was a lot more interesting than the other carabinier regiments (1st & 3rd) which apparently still wore the old bicorne.



This completes the heavy cavalry for the Dutch-Belgian-Nassau army.

Next I need to finish some more French Imperial Guard infantry, Dutch line infantry and Dutch artillery.

Any how I have just finished some Spartan vignettes last night so they'll be uploaded very soon.
All the Best
Peter