The last major battle of the English Civil War will be fought again in Chester - 370 years after the combatants left a blood-stained field.
On August Bank Holiday weekend, two thousand Royalist and Parliamentary troops will re-enact the historic engagement of Rowton Moor, which saw Charles I fail in his attempt to lift the siege of Chester.
On the afternoons of August 30 and 31 at the Roodee, the UK’s biggest re-enactment of the year is being staged by the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote from the Sealed Knot re-enactment society.
The society's reenactment took place on Dean's Field in the city in August last year.
Supported by Cheshire West and Chester Council, the event is expected to attract combatants and spectators from all over the UK and Europe.
“It will be one of the most spectacular events that Chester has ever staged - a 17th century blockbuster of truly epic proportions,” said Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and economy.
“From the public’s point of view it will be entirely free and we are hoping that there will be nothing to compare in terms of truly incredible Bank Holiday attractions.”
Local Cllr Samantha Dixon said: “Our city, and the wider county of Cheshire, was a significant location during the Civil War and the events being re-enacted were pivotal.
“The regiments of the Sealed Knot will help remind us of its importance and the impressive re-enactment will bring home the scale of the battle.”
Fought on September 24, 1645, the battle was intended to relieve the siege of the last port under Royalist control but Charles - watching from the Phoenix Tower on the City Walls - saw his Cavaliers soundly beaten.
The Royal commander fled, ordering citizens, already starving and weary, to hold out for another 10 days. They managed five horrendous months before the walled city fell to Parliament.
Regiments marching on Chester from all over the UK will include men and women from all walks of life - even some whose ancestors served King or Cromwell in the same 17th century military units.
And among the converging infantry, artillery and cavalry will be regiments from Scotland and Ireland and mercenaries from the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Michael Molcher, an ensign in the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote, said: “People join the Sealed Knot for lots of different reasons. Some for the history - others the comradeship and enjoyment.
“There are even those who still believe passionately in the original cause - whichever side that might be.”
And he added: “We are all still Cavaliers or Roundheads at heart and we want people to come to the Chester Racecourse to cheer on their side and have a great Bank Holiday.”
Around 4,000 members of the Sealed Knot, their families, friends and supporters will be based on a massive camp site in or around Chester, the location of which is still to be chosen.
Those entering the fray for Charles could include: Prince Rupert’s Lifeguard of Horse, The King’s Lifeguard of Foote and The Earl of Derby’s Regiment. And for Cromwell: The Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote, Major General Richard Deane’s Company of Artillery and The Blew Regiment of the Cittie of London Trayned Bands.
Both immediately before and in the weeks running up to the Rowton Moor conflict there will be a full programme of related events - linked to key dates in history - to advertise the battle. Full details will be announced later.