Calling all Wimbornites! Charge Into the Battle of Wimborne!

Wimborne will go back in time to play host to the incredible re-enactment of an historical battle that took place around the town during the 17th century when King and Parliament were locked in a bitter civil war.

For the first time in the town, over 600 members of the English Civil War Society (ECWS) will be re-enacting ‘The Battle for Wimborne’ from 25th to 27th May. The town will come alive with Royalist and Parliamentary foot soldiers and cavalry plus a military camp will be set up at Julians Bridge. Think Hollywood epic with spectacular costumes, artillery and horses galloping.

Royalist Wimborne was locked in a struggle with Roundhead Poole with many skirmishes in the countryside between the two towns.  The “Wimbornites”, as they were called, hatched a plot that a Roundhead Officer in Poole would open the gates in return for money.  On the night the “Wimbornites” set off, the main gates were opened but not the inner ones. They came under heavy attack before being forced to flee with many casualties – they had in fact been betrayed!

There will be two large reenactment battles on Sunday 26th and Monday 27th May when the Roundheads from Poole will once again march to clear Wimborne of its Royalist troops. But which side will you be routing for?

The Minster Green will also be a sight for action as the riot that broke out in Wimborne Minster church, causing the Earl of Shaftesbury to send in troops is brought to life once more along with drum workshops and many other exciting scenarios.

Specialising in “Bringing History Alive” with “Living History” there will be interactive displays depicting aspects of life in the 17th Century including basket making, weaving, dyeing, food preparation, music, printing, writing, needlework, embroidery, woodturning and paper making. You may even get advice from an ancient apothecary, discuss battle scars with a surgeon or bump into a busybody laundry woman!

Far from glorifying war, Military Living History in the town will portray the varied and dangerous life soldiers faced in the Civil Wars and how the civilian population suffered.

There will be an exhibition at The Museum of East Dorset “From Revolt to Rebellion” telling the story of Wimborne from the Civil War, through the Restoration and finally the Monmouth Rebellion, ably portrayed by the Town’s own Militia who will be celebrating their 25th anniversary with a special event in September.

There will also be an historical talk at Allendale House on 16th May by Haydn Wheeler about Clubmen 1645, local people who rose up to protest about the devastation of their homes and livelihoods caused by the Civil War.

The ECWS are working with many local organisations on this free, not-for-profit event including The Museum of East Dorset, Wimborne Town Council, Dorset County Council, The Minster, local schools and Wimborne BID.

Tammy Sleet, Wimborne BID Manager said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting this exciting event for the town which is set to bring alive this epic historical period of Wimborne.

Figures show that such an event can help increase visitor footfall by 40% so we’re looking forward to not only a bloody (fake of course!) but also a very busy May bank holiday weekend for businesses in the town.”

Photo Credit Jacques Le Roux