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Historian claims Battle of Aylesbury is a myth

Pictured left to right, metal detectorists Peter Dudley and Allen Holden at site ofthe supposed battle of Aylesbury near Buckingham Park. The pair found what are believed to be musket balls at nearby Watermead field

Pictured left to right, metal detectorists Peter Dudley and Allen Holden at site ofthe supposed battle of Aylesbury near Buckingham Park. The pair found what are believed to be musket balls at nearby Watermead field

The Battle of Aylesbury, famously part of the Civil War, may just be a myth – with the bodies found of ‘soldiers’ actually dating back to ancient times.

A theory has been put forward to suggest the battle was a mere skirmish.

And the skeletal remains found next to Buckingham Park in 1818 – long thought to have been those of Cavaliers and Roundheads – may actually have been Anglo Saxons who were buried 1,000 years before the Civil War.

The suggestion is made by author Bob Zeepvat in the 2014 volume of Records of Buckinghamshire, the county journal, just out.

Mr Zeepvat has re-assessed the evidence.

He agrees there may have been a skirmish at Holmans Bridge on the Bicester Road between Aylesbury’s parliamentarians and opposing royalists but disputes the claim that there was ever a full-scale battle.

The battle myth arose from the discovery in 1818 of the skeletal remains of 247 bodies.

Mike Farley, one of the vice presidents of the Bucks Archaeological Society, said: “Contemporary descriptions are poor, but it is probable they were found in a gravel pit closer to Bierton than to Aylesbury.”

Mr Zeepvat believes the skeletons are more likely to have been from 1,000 years before the Civil War.

Mr Farley said: “With no means of dating such finds, the early Victorians were inclined to date any burials found beneath fields to the Civil War.”

Shortly after their discovery the burials were reverently re-buried in Hardwick churchyard where they still remain beneath a stone chest.

Last year The Bucks Herald reported on the finds of metal detectorists Peter Dudley and Allen Holden.

The men found 32 musket balls on a field at the entrance to Watermead.

Mr Dudley said at the time: “Some people say it was a battle, some say it was only a skirmish.”

He said the musket balls were the most exciting thing he had ever found.

Other reports in the county journal include the surprising discovery of a prehistoric iron smelting near Grendon Underwood.

And the use of Tythrop House in Kingsey to house child refugees from the Spanish Civil War and subsequently older Jewish children fleeing Nazi Germany.

Copies of the journal can be bought from the county museum for £15.

 

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