HISTORY comes alive in Weymouth this weekend when musicians, historians, authors and re-enactment troops come together for a military festival.

Battle lines are being drawn up as the town centre becomes a living history classroom to highlight the area’s involvement in the English Civil War.

It focuses on the fierce Battle of Weymouth of 1645 and the events surrounding it which became known as the Crabchurch Conspiracy. This has inspired books and an album of music from local folk rockers The Dolmen who will also be performing at the weekend.

The re-enactment festival, which has been staged for a few years, is set to be bigger in 2013 and the sounds of musket fire and battle cries will be heard.

Marches will take place on both sides of the harbour involving both Parliamentarian – Roundheads – and Royalist – Cavaliers – troops in period costume and they will come together for a big battle on the beach on Saturday.

Troops will also be seen on Sunday as they march to historical sites in the borough.

Education events will be held at the Old Town Hall and there will be an evening of ‘true tales and beautiful music’ at Weymouth College on Saturday night.

Displays at the Old Town Hall and the re-enactment marches are being organised by Guardians of the Old Town Hall and Portland Garrison.

Donations and profits will go to the Old Town Hall renovation fund. The hall is set to become a heritage centre for Weymouth featuring in particular the town’s involvement in the Civil War as well as local history.

Debby Rose from the Guardians said: “This year’s event is much bigger than previous years. It has generated a lot of interest with re-enactors and visitors travelling from Wales, London, Norfolk and as far north as Scotland.”

For more information see weymoutholdtownhall.co.uk

Timetable of events over weekend

Old Town Hall (all weekend, 11am-4pm) 

  • Living History exhibition of life in the 17th century, book signing by Selwyn Williams, exhibition of schoolchildren’s Civil War paintings to be judged by Professor Ronald Hutton and Kit Berry, raffle, history displays Saturday, February 16 
  • 11am-4pm Re-enactment of 17th century march by Parliamentarian and Royalist troops from bases at the Golden Lion and Hope Square before a battle on the beach at 3pm and the final salute in Hope Square
  • 12pm-1pm Pilgrim House, near Hope Square. Talk on the English Civil War by Stuart Peachey 
  • 4pm-5pm Pilgrim House. Talk on the life of Fabian Hodder and the Crabchurch Conspiracy by Selwyn Williams Tickets for talks will be available on the door and at the Old Town Hall on the day.
  •  7pm Bay Theatre, Weymouth College. Historian Professor Ronald Hutton and ‘Stonewylde’ series author Kit Berry narrate tales of the English Civil War and the Crabchurch Conspiracy with music by The Dolmen. Tickets from Imagine Books and Dorchester Cycles, and Old Town Hall on the day Sunday, February 17
  • 11am-3pm Re-enactment of 17th century march by Parliamentarian and Royalist troops. Depart Sandsfoot Castle and joint armies march to Old Town Hall. Then leave at 1.30pm taking salute at Holy Trinity steps. After going over Town Bridge to the Pavilion, troops return to Hope Square for the final salute