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Under a great yew tree

Thursday, 4 Nov 2021

Battle on Dr John Dunn. Under a great yew tree

I motorcycled recently to Holman’s Bridge just north of Aylesbury.

In the fields, near the Holman’s Bridge, was the Battle of Aylesbury in 1642 during the English Civil War.

It was not until 1818 that men digging for gravel in the meadow, by whichever version of Holman’s Bridge preceded this one, discovered a large number of human bones.

No weapons were found, but they would have been so scarce and needed in the Civil War that the dead would have been stripped of valuables, especially weapons such as swords and pikes.

The bodies were collected and buried in one common grave at Hardwick churchyard, on the hill.

There under a great yew tree, by the south wall of the tower is a green lichened stone chest with the following words engraved upon it, words which are particularly moving when you think of the later wars of which people hope each time that this will be the last conflict.

“Within are deposited the bones of 247 persons which were discovered A.D. 1818, buried in a field adjoining to Holman’s Bridge near Aylesbury.

“From the history and appearance of the place where they were found they were concluded to be the remains of those officers and men who perished in an engagement fought A.D. 1642 between troops of K. Charles I under the command of Prince Rupert, and a garrison who held Aylesbury for the parliament.

“Enemies from their attachment to opposite leaders and to opposite standards in the sanguinary conflict of that civil war, they were together united in its fury, united in one common slaughter, they were buried in one common grave, close to the spot where they had lately stood in arms against each other.

“After the lapse of more than a century and a half these bones where collected and deposited,together still, in consecrated ground.

“May the memory of brave men be respected, may our country never again be called to take part in a contest such as that which this tablet records.”

© John Dunn.

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