Friday, 6 January 2012

Battle for Stow is now published

The blog below didn't really take off - but the book did.

It was published by Amberly in 2010 and you can take a look at it on my bookshop website along with my other books ( Here's the description:

The Battle for Stow

England has been at peace for as long as most people can remember – but there are still battles being waged in its towns and villages.

Nearly 400 years ago Sir Jacob Astley set out for Oxford from the town of Bridgnorth with a small army raised from Wales and the West. He was the king’s last hope in a disastrous civil war. But Astley did not reach the Royalist capital. His force was attacked by Parliamentarian forces near to Stow on the Wold where the survivors were locked in the local church and where blood flowed through the streets.

In today’s battles there is little or no bloodshed – though blood pressure sometimes runs dangerously high. In this book the Battle of Stow provides the backcloth to the battles of today – battles that are taking place in many communities across the country. These are the battles waged between residents and their politicians, between ordinary people and big business, between the locals and the incomers, between those with roots and those who are just passing through. Here the foot soldiers are more likely to wield a pen or placard versus the pike or musket of the 17th century.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Please comment on the evolving content of the book

I am still at an early stage in the creation of the book - researching and firming up on contents. My completion date with the publisher, Amberely Books, is the end of the year. Just now I am thinking about chapter content and linking the modern stuff to the battle and civil war. Am I missing any points? Any comments on the ones I have?

Chapter Content (no order yet) -- Link to Civil War/battle

Gypsy Fair -- The march to Stow, travelling people
Incomers/Residents -- The makeup of the armies, local and elsewhere
Plymouth Brethren/Minorities --Puritans, catholics, C of E, ranters
Commerce – supermarket etc -- How did they eat
Tourists -- The many visits paid to Stow by both sides
Pubs and entertainment -- Entertainment en route?
The Aged and Infirm -- The aging Lord Astley
Other towns -- The towns visited along the march
Employment -- Who paid the troops
Housing -- Where did the troops sleep?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Oxford to Bridgnorth to Stow

Well, I made it. Set out from Oxford on Tuesday 17th March 2009 after leading a group on a city tour. Changed from my touring clothes to walking clothes and caught the Woverhampton train, there I boarded a bus to Bridgnorth.

Arrived in the town where Sir Jacob Astley assembled the 3,000 troops that he marched toward Oxford (though I suspect that some joined at Worcester) at about 3 pm. It's a nice place. Interestingly there is a lower part (where the Severn bridge lies) and an upper part (where the castle and older buildings exist). I asked at the TIC if there were any buildings dating from the civil war and was given a pamphlet which was of passing interest but didn't mention Astley and told of a church which had displayed a civil war sword which had been stolen some years ago!

I viewed the impressively leaning keep, the town hall (see photo) and the old castle gardens then descended to the river on the 'exciting' funicular railway. I found the Severn Way easily enough and began walking, soon convincing myself that this must have been the route taken by the troops - steep cliffs on my right, the river on the left, the way fairly flat.

I reached Hampton as darkness fell, pitched my tent and spent the evening in an incredibly friendly pub called the Unicorn: good beer, good food, good company - perfect. Then out into the cold tent. And boy was it cold. My sleeping bag was useless. The only good thing to be said for it was that it rolled up into a very small bag. The label said that it could be used at extreme temperatures - perhaps if I had lit the thing I would have got some warmth! And I was fast developing cold symptoms.

And that became the theme of my march. Having a cold, being cold. Having sore feet and aching shoulders from carrying the 30lb backpack. Perhaps those soldiers of 363 years ago felt the same. Still I got to the battlefield on time, on date.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Press Release ---In the Beginning

Press Release

Walking in the Royalists Footsteps

Three hundred and sixty three years ago Sir Jacob Astley set out for Oxford from the town of Bridgnorth with a small army raised from Wales and the West. This was Charles 1st last hope. Defeated in many battles against Cromwell’s new model army he was surrounded by Parliamentarians in the royal capital of England during the civil war – Oxford. But Astley did not make it. On March 21st 1646 his force was attacked by Parliamentarian forces arriving from various parts of the country. The battle took place near the village of Donnington and the defeated Royalists retreated to Stow on the Wold where they surrendered and were locked in the local church. Blood flowed that day through the streets of Stow.
Rob Walters is writing a book entitled the Battle for Stow. It uses the Battle as a backcloth to the battles that are going on in Stow on the Wold and numberless small towns and villages throughout the country in the 21st century. He is launching a blog to allow anyone so minded to suggest things that should be included in the book and to comment on the items that he uproots. You can find the blog at
To get himself into the spirit of the battle Rob is going to repeat Astley’s march starting at Bridgnorth on March 17th and arriving at the battle site on the evening of the 20th. He will then sleep in nearby fields, just as the Royalists did and awake for the dawn of March 21st when the battle began more than three and half centuries ago. His journey will take him along the Severn Way, turning off at Worcester, then to Bidford where Astley finally crossed the Avon watched by the growing roundhead army.
Rob’s home in Stow looks across the valley towards the battle ground along the probable route taken by the fleeing soldiers. He will finish his walk appropriately at Stow Church where the soldiers were incarcerated before being marched to Gloucester.
I would be grateful if you could publish the blog address and invite anyone interested in this project to contact me.

Rob Walters
Author, guide, beer lover, traveller
Iverley House, Evesham Road,
Stow on the Wold, GL54 1EJ
Tel 07768316868
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