Sir Bevill Grenville’s Monument and the Battle of Lansdown 1643
Always driving past it, never actually stopping, until today. The monument stands just north of Bath on the spot where Sir Bevill, a Royalist commander from Cornwall, was killed at the Battle of Lansdown in July 1643. This cool monument was built in 1720 and is the earliest surviving war memorial in Britain.
The Monument can be found on the Lansdown Road heading north out of Bath between the racecourse and the A420.
In the late afternoon of Wednesday 5 July 1643 the Royalist army of Lord Hopton clashed with William Waller’s Parliamentarian forces who were defending Bath, one of the last Roundhead strongholds left in the West Country at the time. The battle was described as “the greatest storm that ever I saw” by a surviving trooper and fierce fighting continued until dark, with Waller’s infantry being forced back, leaving burning matches on a wall to give the impression they still held their positions.
However, the result was inconclusive – Waller was forced back to Bath, but the Royalists suffered so many casualties and were so disordered and short of ammunition that they also had to retreat to Devizes. Their captain Hopton was injured and temporarily blinded when an ammunition cart exploded. Sir Bevill Grenville himself was mortally wounded in hand-to-hand combat storming the Parliamentary positions on the hilltop. His death was a serious set-back for the Royalist cause in the Westcountry as it was said that he alone knew how to handle the unruly Cornish pikemen he commanded.
Worth a pit shop – hey!