• The Villages Mag

Goostrey history... Civil War

History of civil conflict shows that Goostrey was never a boring village. “There is no such thing as a boring English village historically,” said the TV historian Michael Wood, and Roger Burgess, who is working on the village’s history with Goostrey Parish Archive certainly agrees.

We are proving this to be true in the case of our research into the history of the village,” says Roger, the archive chairman who has discovered another Royal link with the community.

Only recently his probing into century-old annuls made the intriguing discovery that in the 13th century (September 25 1278) Edward 1 stayed the night at Barnshaw with his retinue during his journey from Vale Royal to Macclesfield.

Now further research has found that Prince Rupert, the nephew of Charles 1 who was appointed to lead the Royalist cavalry during the Civil War, camped with 500 horse on land west of the village.

Roger has also discovered that during his military march on the area, the prince who was the “Poster Boy” for the cause in the 17th-century conflict, also had 10,000 men camped at Rudheath, Goostrey.

“Given that a good part of Goostrey was owned by the Mainwarings of Peover, a noted parliamentarian family, one shudders to think what the consequences were for local peasant farmers who were ‘on the other side’ and would be easy prey to the pillaging of the hungry troops,” said Roger.

“It also turns out that the vicar of Goostrey at this time, one Henry Newcombe, left a memoir of life in the village - a copy the memoir we have recently secured - was the centre of dissent between Anglicans and Nonconformist, the village must have been anything but boring in the 17th century.”

However, the archive has still to uncover any reference of a direct conflict between the Royalists and the locals.

It is recorded during the Civil War, there was a skirmish in Holmes Chapel between Royalist and Parliamentary soldiers on December 26, 1643, and shots were fired from approximately where Barclays Bank is now.

Two men were killed and there are musket ball marks on the parish church tower to this day believed to be from the skirmish.

Archive volunteers hope to publish a history of the village possibly as early as next year.

Meanwhile, it is continuing to add to the collection held at the village hall through donations or copies of photographs and written material from local families and holding socially distanced garden meetings once a month.

Although the collection is not available currently to visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic, the archive can be contacted via Roger Burgess on 01477 535443 or email at roger.burgess67@icloud.com

Goostrey Archive

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