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Crowds flock to Weymouth as Civil War battle takes to streets for re-enactment
HISTORY came to life in Weymouth as re-enactors took to the streets to relive the English Civil War.
Hundreds of people turned out to watch as battle lines were drawn up across the town and musket fire rang out from the beach as the Parliamentarians and Royalists clashed.
Re-enactment organiser Dave Allen said 2013 had been one of the ‘best ever’ years for the event, and that he hoped the success would spark a tradition of ‘heritage tourism’.
He said: “It has been fantastic, the crowds have really loved it and the weather has been very kind.
“This event has been going for a number of years and I think people are beginning to tune into their own history.
“That is really good for the town, and creates another tourist attraction.”
As well as the battle on the beach on Saturday, which drew crowds along the seafront, marches took place on both sides of the harbour, with troops in costume, as well as marches on Sunday to historical sites such as Sandsfoot Castle.
The re-enactment brought to life the events of the Crabchurch Conspiracy, and the Battle of Weymouth of 1645. Mr Allen said: “This was a really exciting event which pitted brother against brother, father against son.
“People picked sides based on their personal opinion.”
The battle was a last ditch attempt by the Royalists to take a port on the south coast in order to bring in French reinforcements.
Organisers went into schools in the run-up to the re-enactment festival, and educational events including exhibitions and talks were run alongside the living history element.
Mr Allen said: “This is a really good way to engage children with history.
“Instead of just learning it out of dry old books, they can smell it, touch it, look at it, and they’re asking all sorts of questions.”
He also praised the efforts of the re-enactors.
He said: “They do this for free, in their spare time, and they are very professional.”
All the fun of re-enactment
FAMILIES flocked to watch the re-enactment on Weymouth beach as the two sides drew up to battle.
Arley Smith, from Weymouth, who watched with children Tianie, seven, and Phalen, said: “It’s a great family day out and something a bit different.”
Phalen, nine, said: “It was really fun and I like the loud bangs.”
The Jones family, also from Weymouth, went along to kick off their half-term fun. Dad Ian said: “This is the first time we’ve been and it’s great. You can’t really miss it, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Beth, 11, who is pictured with her dad and brothers Nye, 10, and Ewan, seven, said: “It was really realistic, with the guns.”
Friends Harry and Ben Wells, both six, and Bea Stratton, seven, and her brother Sam, nine, took their parents to see the action after a visit from the re-enactors at their school.
Bea said: “It was very exciting, and my favourite part was the swords.”
Harry added: “I liked it when one of the fighters was on the ground and everyone else was fighting over his shoes.”