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for Fenny-Compton, whence a fine ramble takes you to the beautiful range of hills, which gives its name to the fight. As soon as you leave Fenny-Compton, you begin to climb the pleasant Dasset Hills. Up and down hillocks clad to their summits in grass you walk, talking or thinking over the strange events which have happened in England since the memorable day which gave its deathless fame to the place we are visiting. A memorial of that day was placed, and still exists, on the hills over which we are now walking. On the western edge of the Dasset Hills is the Beacon of which good old Beesley tells us. “ After the Sunday's fight at Edgehill, when the darkness had set in, a small party of the Parliament troops, who had gained the summit of the Beacon Hill, at Burton-Dasset, gave the signal. Tradition says, that some shepherds on a part of the high ridge over Ivinghoe, on the borders of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, (forty miles in a direct line from Edgehill,) saw a twinkling light to the north-westward; and, upon communication with their minister, 'a godly and well-affected person,' fired the beacon there also, which was seen at Harrow-on-the-Hill; and thence the intelligence was at once carried to London.” Thus from the hill on which we are now standing was telegraphed to the anxious Parliament and anxious Londoners the great event of the day. The Beacon itself is built of stone, is circular, about sixty or so feet in circumference, and goes tapering to the top, on the parapet of which is placed a conical roof, whereon the fuel for the Beacon light was placed.
From the Beacon we get a fine view of the vale of the Red Horse, the hills of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Stretching out before us is the range of the Edge Hills, to which we are journeying.
We passed between the two small villages of BurtonDasset and Avon-Dasset, without visiting either, and held our way on to the hills, keeping the Beacon Hill to our left. With solemn thoughts befitting the occasion, we reached the few houses which stand at the bottom of the rising ground, on the top of which is built the Round House, which marks the spot where the King's centre was arranged on the day of battle. Our object was not so much to climb the hills, as to reach a place where we could obtain a good view of the ground, form in our own minds the plan of action, and so get a distinct idea of the nature of the fight. We found the field, still called the Grave, the fittest place for this purpose, and to this appropriately-named spot we went. It is situated about half way between the hills and Kineton. reached it, and, seated on the ground beneath a farspreading tree, we again read over the account of that terrible encounter ; terrible more from its being the first fight of the civil war, than from the actual slaughter which then took place, considerable though it was. Quartered at Kineton were the Parliamentarians, commanded by Essex, Sir W. Fairfax, Lord Mandeville, Lord Wharton, Lord Brook: the fierce Denzil Holles and Oliver Cromwell were also there. The King's forces were drawn out on Edgehill. There, looking from the Grave, on our left, is Bullet
Hill, the station of the King's right; and Prince Rupert there commanded the cavalry, with Lord Byron to order the reserve; Colonel Washington had his dragoons there, supported by six hundred regular horse, and there were also eight regiments of infantry. Right before us is the Round House, and there was placed the King's centre with General Ruthven: the Earl of Lindsay, Lord Willoughby, Sir J. Astley, Sir Edmund Verney, the standard-bearer, and the King in person, commanded the various regiments. There at the Sun's Rising (a public-house) was the King's left, the cavalry of which was commanded by Lord Wilmot, supported by Lord Goring and Lord Fielding. There also commanded Lord Carnarvon, at the head of six hundred pikemen and a small body of musketeers. It is now near three o'clock in the afternoon, and the action is opened by the Parliament guns ; from the left the King's cavalry make the first charge, and are repulsed. Now a traitor does his base work, and Sir Faithful (!) Fortescue orders his troops to fire their pistols in the ground, and marches over to the King's forces. They meet with their reward; for, before their purpose can be known, some twenty-five of the renegades kiss the dust. But there is no time to pause over them. Down there from the right, like a blast of death, sweeps Prince Rupert and his horse, and the Parliament men fall rapidly before them, and Sir James Ramsay's horse are put to rout. Colonel Essex hastens to support them ; but his forces are broken, and flee. The battle has now become a chase. In vain Essex strives to
rally; in vain Holles and Ballard advance to cover the ground. On the spot where we are now peacefully standing was the sharpest and fiercest struggle. It was but momentary. The Parliamentarians are flying, helter-skelter, before the invincible Rupert. Right across the fields, for three miles, up to Kineton itself, is that terrible chase pursued. The slaughter is tremendous; and there at Kineton is Essex's luggage; and now Rupert's fierce followers are at their favourite work of pillage, forgetful of the battle which is still raging, and needing their services here. We will leave them at their brigandage, and follow the course of the fight.
The Earl of Essex is now charging the main body of the King; the routed forces of Holles, Ballard, and Brook re-form, and make good their ground, and pour in upon the enemy thus fiercely charged; and now the gallant Hampden has joined his two regiments to the weakened forces. Rupert is roused by
. a messenger from his pillaging employment, and returns too late to retrieve the battle, which his conduct has so much tended to lose. On his returning troops Hampden opens a heavy fire, doing great execution; and the furious Prince has a near chance of it for his life to-day. It is said that he threw his beaver and feather away, so that they might not make him an especial mark for his foes. The King's forces are now giving way. The cavalry from the Parliament's right now pour in furiously upon his disordered troops, and, among others, Cromwell is there, as Carlyle says, “ doing his duty." Now, the
royal standard is taken, to be again recovered by stratagem. The brave Earl of Lindsay is shot in his thigh, gallant Colonel Essex is dead, and Lord St. John keeps him company. The King wishes to make another charge, but is withheld. The Parliamentary troops have got possession of Bullet Hill, (Rupert's old place,) and the King is in a critical position. For more than two hours the fight has continued; and now, says Clarendon, "night, the common friend to wearied and dismayed armies, parted them; and then the King caused his cannon which were nearest the enemy to be drawn off; and, with his whole forces, spent the night in the field, by such a fire as could be made of the little wood and branches which grew thereabouts."
Both parties claimed the victory; but the advantage was, in the end, with the Parliament. More than a thousand men fell in this battle, the King losing most officers, and the Parliament most men. Long after the battle memorials were ploughed up; and to this day bullets are sometimes found in the field in which we now are. Adjoining the field is a small wood, which at that time was a hollow; and there, for the most part, were buried the bodies of those who fell. The locality abounds with memorials of the fight, which has rendered it famous for ever. There is the Grave, the King's Barn, the two Farms of Bratterton and Thistleton, the Round House, Bullet Hill, the Vale of the Red Horse, Prince Rupert's Headland, &c., all of which places may be visited in a day's ramble. We walked through the wood, and