Winthorpe during the Civil War 1642 - 1644

The town of Newark was fortified by the besieged  (Royalists) and surrounded by siege works, made by the attackers (Parliamentarians). Richard Clampe's Siege Plan 1446, shows the defences of the Winthorpe area and of the village itself. The latter defences, like those of Balderton, Coddington and Farndon have disappeared due to farming and building. Colonel Gray's Sconce was partially destroyed by the extension of Newark Sewage Works but part of the defences are in the far corner of Mr. Leach's field, at the rear of houses in Stephen Road.

The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments 1964, described Winthorpe defences as follows:-

"Defences at Winthorpe, 1¾ miles N.E. of Newark, earthworks are now destroyed but in part traceable as described below. The village is small and on rising ground; in the 17th Century the centre of the village lay at the crossing of the Newark - Gainsborough and Holme - Coddington Road, but the latter road has since been diverted to the N.E. (Siege Plan shows the Coddington to Winthorpe road following the old footpath across the Pastures (present airfield) and not Drove Lane as it is to-day). As shown by Clampe, the defences enclosed a roughly rectangular area, approximately 500 yards by 300 yards, aligned along the Newark - Gainsborough Road but excluding the site of the present church on the lower ground to the S.W. where Clampe shows a ruin. Two demi-bastions flanked the S.W. approach from Newark and the other sides were either tenaille or indented trace. No earthwork remains survive but a stream N. of the village preserves the outline of the N.W. side of the defences."

The Fosse Way is not shown on Richard Clampe's Plan. It is suggested that the village road, upkept by the villagers, would probably be in a better condition and therefore more suitable for military purposes.

The Parliamentary forces reached Winthorpe in December 1645. According to Cornelius Brown, in a paper dated 30th January - 6th February 1646, there was a reference to digging by villagers. It refers to "countrymen being ready with their Mattocks." (pickaxes)

Clampe's plan shows cattle and sheep grazing in the fields between Newark and Winthorpe, a man or horseback near the sheep, but it is impossible to tell whether the figure is civilian or military, and numerous piles of what look like hay in the fields. Near other villages he shows three plough teams, each of two oxen pulling a wheel-less beam plough, cattle and sheep tended by herdsmen usually with crooks, one herdsman asleep, three men shooting wild fowl, a two wheeled cart standing idle and nearby two farmers, one with a long handled implement and the other with a billhook. Perhaps the farming community was little affected. There is certainly nothing in the few wills of the day to suggest that a war was being fought.

When our present church was being built the remains of a cannon emplacement and powder were found as well as a mass grave of military personnel.

In 1735 S. Buck described a "church of brick" (stone?) so that the ruin on Clampe's plan was either repaired or replaced by that time.

Miss K.E.Euston.

Extract from Focal Point.