MONMOUTH has been taken over by Royalists and Roundheads this Bank Holiday weekend, as the nation’s biggest living history group takes people back to the Civil War.
Roundheads have been guarding Monnow Bridge from Cavalier intruders - almost exactly 375 years to the day after Oliver Cromwell himself stayed in the town.
The Sealed Knot, who were founded by Old Monmothian Brigadier Peter Young in 1968, have also set up camp on the town’s Showground.
The town changed hands three times during the conflict between 1643 and 1645 and saw fierce fighting with soldiers shot and killed in today’s Monnow Street.
And Cromwell stayed in the town on May 10/11 1648 on his way to the siege of Chepstow Castle.
A Sealed Knot spokesperson said: “Charles Gerard, one of the youngest senior officers in the Royalist army during the English Civil war, was sent to Monmouth after it had been besieged to repair the damage and strengthen the defences.
“As lieutenant-general of South Wales and Monmouthshire, he often passed through the town, quartering his troops on the way to and from some of the major engagements of the war.
“Monmouth was “the key of South Wales” essential for passage of the King's armies between “the West, Wales, and the northern parts”.
“Its castle (along with Raglan & Chepstow) was property of the Marquis of Worcester, whose lands were major Royalist recruiting areas.
“The strategic position of the stronghold changed hands several times over the Civil War, due to attacks that could be launched up the Severn River, which was key in the long-running Royalist attempt to seize Gloucester.
“To experience what may have occurred at Monmouth in 1643, join us this Bank Holiday weekend April 30th - May 1st.”
The Sunday April 30 to Monday May 1 Civil War re-enactment takes place at the Showground, and marks a return visit from the country’s oldest battle reenactment group, who were here in 2014 to mark the 400th anniversary of Monmouth School.
A spokesperson said: “Enter our authentic 17th Century encampment as we bring the siege of Monmouth to life.
“Meet the soldiers and discover what it might have been like in the army camp during the English civil war.
“The day finishes with a re-enactment of the Siege of Monmouth where the Parliament and Royalist forces battle for control of Monmouth.
“From the food being cooked in camp to the drill of the armies before the battle with pike, musket, drums, horse and cannon, enjoy a fun day out for all the family as you watch the clash of arms between Royalist and Parliament.
“With food traders and beer tent onsite as well as many local stalls, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this May Day weekend.”
Parliamentary members of the Sealed Knot are also standing guard at Monnow Bridge, dressed up in full costume, to repel Royalists.
The Civil War caused tumult in the town, Monmouth Castle changing hands three times before finally falling to the Parliamentarians in 1645.
The event exactly 375 years on from Cromwell's visit includes a Living History Village with a variety of displays such as:
• Close up on a cannon
• Domestic life in the period
• Scribe and pen making
• Portrait Artist
• Life of a soldier
• The household
• A trader and well-off pikeman
• Hurdle and gabion making
Entry is £15 per family, price including two adults and three children.
Adults are £5, concessions £3.