Malmesbury Steps Back in Time to Mark Its Place in the English Civil War

Picture the scene: King Charles I’s Cavaliers are holding out in a Wiltshire market town when it is stormed by Cromwell’s men, resulting in a victory that sees the Parliamentarians take control.
Fast-forward 380 years and the battle that took place in Malmesbury in 1644 is about to be reenacted, only this time the front of the town’s famous Abbey will hopefully not become peppered with musket shot!

A special commemorative weekend, from May 3 to 5, is being hosted by Malmesbury Town Council to mark the two years, from 1644-1646, when Colonel Nicholas Devereux’s Regiment took control of the hilltop town, at the height of the English Civil War.The highlight of a packed programme of events will be two reenactments, on Sunday May 5, of the last attack on Malmesbury, and will be staged by living history group Colonel Nicholas Devereux’s Regiment of Foot.

The Regiment will make a large-scale visit to Malmesbury – bringing with them some of the foe (the Royalists) – and the battle will be reenacted for the first time on the streets.
Malmesbury town councillor, Cllr Campbell Ritchie, said although reenactments have taken place before, this is the first time one will be held across the scene of the original attack in the town centre.
“You can see the damage on the Abbey that dates back to 1644,” he said. “Thankfully, there will be no live ammunition this time, but the battle will take place on the exact location, which brings a real level of authenticity.”

The reenactments are among many activities being planned to mark Malmesbury’s place in English Civil War History.
On Friday May 3, there will be a talk at the Town Hall on ‘Wiltshire and Malmesbury in the English Civil War’ by Dr Chris Scott, former Director of Education for The Royal Armouries and an accomplished storyteller.
On Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5 in the Cloister Gardens and Malmesbury Town Hall, a military camp will be set up, with live demonstrations of food preparation and cooking, the officers’ tent, scribing, dyeing and making, sword skills, a beer shop and tavern, music and dancing.

An extra bonus will be a rare opportunity on Saturday May 4 to see the original of the unique Bird’s Eye View map of Malmesbury produced to show the Devereux Regiments occupation of the town, at the Warden and Freeman’s office on Market Lane

All events are free, apart from Dr Scott’s talk, for which tickets are £10.
Campbell added: “The current Colonel Nicholas Devereux’s Regiment of Foot is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024 and will be arriving in Malmesbury in force! They are also bringing some Royalist opposition with them, which is a great way to mark their birthday.”

For more information about the Devereux Weekend visit the Tourist Information Centre in Malmesbury. Tickets for Dr Scott’s talk are available at the Town Hall and at