Remembering Montgomery: The largest Civil War battle fought in Wales

The largest English Civil War battle to take place in Wales – involving more than 8,000 soldiers – has been reappraised in a ground-breaking new book, written more than 350 years later.

The Battle of Montgomery, 1644. The English Civil War in the Welsh Borderlands offers the most detailed reconstruction and interpretation of the battle to date, using field work to propose the likeliest location of the fighting.

“The Battle of Montgomery, fought outside the town on 18 September 1644, was the largest engagement in Wales during the war of 1642-1646, yet it has been overshadowed by the more well-known battles, such as Edgehill (1642) and Naseby (1645),” says military historian Dr Jonathan Worton, who lives near Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

“I am pleased and proud to have expanded current knowledge not only on the Battle of Montgomery, but also of the Civil War in the Welsh Borderlands – a fighting region that is still often overlooked by historians of the wider national conflict.”

Sir Thomas Myddelton, who had jointly commanded the victorious Parliamentarian Army at Montgomery, later described it as: ‘As great a victory as hath been gained in any part of the kingdom’. Securing Parliamentarian control of this key frontier town and castle significantly weakened royalism in the area – paving the way for ultimate victory in 1646.

Drawing on his doctoral studies of the Civil War, Jonathan spent part of 2015 thoroughly researching his work from mostly originally sources.

He said: “Living in Shropshire, Montgomery – just across the border, in Powys – is my ‘local’ Civil War battle. Being a keen walker, I made many visits to the area of the battle site – looking at the topography of the still largely unspoilt agricultural landscape, which has probably not changed greatly since the 1640s, and comparing it with the contemporary sources from the time of the battle. This helped me to create what is considered by far the most thorough account of the likely course and nature of the battle.”

Publishers Helion & Company Ltd. have specially-commissioned artwork for The Battle of Montgomery, which contains a wealth of photographs and illustrations.

“We are immensely fortunate to have a historian of Jonathan’s considerable talents taking a long-overdue look at this decisive – but long-forgotten – battle,” says Charles Singleton, commissioning editor of Helion’s Century of the Soldier series.

‘Jonathan’s first book for Helion, To Settle the Crown. Waging Civil War in Shropshire 1642-48, was a huge success and it is no surprise to me that The Battle of Montgomery has been equally well received, with very favourable reviews.

‘This is a must-read book for those with an interest in not only the English Civil War, but in conflict in the Welsh Borderlands.”

The Battle of Montgomery, 1644. The English Civil War in the Welsh Borderlands is available here.

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