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  Battle of Nantwich . . . and Holly Holy Day

A DISPLAY in Nantwich Museum's main gallery about the Battle of Nantwich includes the letter from Sir Thomas Fairfax, the leader of more than 2,500 Parliamentarian soldiers, to General Monroe after the battle telling what he had done with some prisoners.

   Nantwich was on the side of the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War and endured a six-week siege by the Royalist forces.

   After the siege was lifted, in January 1644, the local people marked the event in subsequent years by wearing sprigs of holly in their hats or on their clothing.

   The annual commemoration on January 25 became known as Holly Holy Day. The practice faded out after a time, but was revived in 1972 following the introduction of a

wreath-laying ceremony to mark those who died in the battle and the siege. It followed an initiative by the late Percy Corry, a local historian. Now, on the Saturday nearest to January 25th, wreaths are laid in memory of those who died and the battle is re-enacted by the Sealed Knot Society on Mill Island. The first re-enactment of the battle took place in 1973 on Barony Park but is now held on Mill Island in the centre of Nantwich. 

   The commemoration is organised by the town's Holly Holy Day Society. The committee members include the Museum's former Community Learning Officer, Allison Kirk. 


lThe Battle of Nantwich was staged as a "summer muster" on the 2007 August Bank Holiday weekend - a one-off Big Battle of Nantwich (there were 2,000 troops in action). The picture above is from that event. See this external website for a report and pictures of the 2007 event. 


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