It was one of the most significant conflicts in the country’s history. Now, a new database has been set up to record the monuments and memorials to the British Civil Wars.
The wars were fought throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland between the Parliamentarians (also known as the Roundheads) and the Royalists (or Cavaliers) over the governance and religion of the British Isles. Taking place between 1639 and 1660, the Civil Wars claimed an estimated 200,000 lives, and affected almost every community in the land.
But despite the death toll, no national monument has ever been erected to the collective memory of those who died – and there is no equivalent, for example, of the Cenotaph in Whitehall, unveiled originally as a memorial to the dead of WWI.
However, there are many individual monuments and markers to the period dotted around the country. These include statues to major figures such as Oliver Cromwell, as well as plaques and stained-glass windows in churches. There are also columns at battle sites, including Marston Moor in Yorkshire, the site of a key defeat for Royalist forces in July 1644.
The new database, established by the Battlefields Trust and a number of other historical organisations, allows users to search the array of monuments and memorials to the conflict located throughout the country.
The site, which was officially launched at the National Civil War Centre in Newark in late October, currently has more than 240 records. Submissions to the database are actively encouraged and the organisers hope to expand it over the coming years.
Commenting on the launch of the site, Simon Marsh, Research and Threats Coordinator at the Battlefields Trust, said of the database that, ‘We hope it might inspire those contributing or using the resource to find out more about this crucial period of our history.’
The database, which includes an interactive map, is accessible at battlefieldstrust.com/memorial