Printer Friendly

War just wasn't civil; SUSAN HAMPSHIRE visits the first museum to tell the tale of Britain's Civil Wars.


THE first-ever museum to detail the story of the British Civil Wars is now open in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Built by Newark and Sherwood District Council, the new National Civil War Centre tells the story of the brutal 17th Century clash between Crown and Parliament in great detail.

Expected to attract over 60,000 visitors a year, it is now open at a cost of PS5.4m, backed by a PS3.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Together with a friend, I was recently invited by Experience Nottinghamshire for a preview of the museum, which is housed in the town's Grade II-listed Old Magnus Building in Newark's Appleton Gate, and which began life as a Tudor grammar school.

Full of information about the British Civil Wars, fought across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland from 1638 to 1652, the museum has been located in Newark due to its major role in the wars, being at the crossroads of the Great North Road and the Fosse Way, as well as being an important crossing point over the River Trent.

For many years, the town was held by the Royalists and endured Southwell |in terrible suffering. The new museum tells the story of the town folk, caught in the Civil Wars crossfire.

Michael Constantine from the National Civil War Centre says: "The Civil Wars caused huge misery but also laid the foundations for our modern state.

"Yet for many, it is a totally unknown episode. We want to change that. It was a cruel conflict, not just a joust between gentlemen.

"The Civil Wars history reveals about 4% of people died as brother took up arms against brother and the lives of ordinary people were shattered. No village, hamlet or town escaped the turmoil.'' There's also a Civil War Trail app which is free to download and which will guide you around Newark to various historical points of interest.

Minster Nottinghamshire While we were there, we decided we had time to take a look at the rest of this Nottinghamshire town which has a historic castle dating back to the 12th century, and which was partly rebuilt in the 1600s at the end of the Civil Wars.

Sitting by the side of the River Trent, the ruins of the castle are enhanced by lovely gardens and a bandstand.

The town also has a large impressive cobbled Market Square which is well worth a visit, along with a host of shops, restaurants and coffee shops.

|While we were in Newark, we took advantage of the local hospitality and enjoyed lunch at The Danube Restaurant which overlooks the castle, and a late-afternoon glass of wine in the delightful courtyard of the Ann et Vin award-winning wine bar.

Moving on for an overnight stay in the charming town of Southwell, just over 10 miles from Newark, we certainly enjoyed this pretty little centre.

Staying at the town's Bramley Apple pub, we enjoyed a day exploring Southwell, which has two major claims to fame.

Firstly, it is the home of the Bramley cooking apple - hence the name of the pub - and secondly, it has an amazing minster which stands tall in the countryside.

A cannon is fired at the wall of Newark Castle The apple was first cultivated in Southwell about 200 years ago and the original fruit tree still bears fruit in a private garden in Church Street. When the apple gained commercial success, it was named after Matthew Bramley who first grew the fruit.

Southwell, which has been called 'the jewel in Nottinghamshire's crown', is home to Southwell Minster, a fabulous building which dates back to the first millenium and which has a fascinating history, once again tied in to the Civil Wars.

Many people may wonder why this small town has such an imposing minster at its centre. The answer is that the minster came first, built as a halfway house for archbishops travelling up and down the country. The town then grew up around it.

With its distinctive pepper-pot towers, the Minster has many unusual features, including the Chapter House which is decorated with carvings of leaves, berries, human, animal and fantasy figures.

Today, it is both a parish church for the local people, as well as an imposing landmark visited by people from all over the country.

Southwell is also home to a National Trust property, Southwell Workhouse which was originally a refuge for those in need.

It is one of the finest examples of this kind of building anywhere in the country and was originally hailed as a blueprint for other workhouses to follow.

NEED TO KNOW S | USAN HAMPSHIRE stayed at The Bramley Apple Inn in Church Street, Southwell. Call 01636 821000 for latest room rates, Take a look at www.

| for more information about the new museum.

To find out more about the |town of Southwell, see which has information about the minster, the town's racecourse, the workhouse and the shopping centre. Southwell Minster also has its own website: To find out more about |Nottinghamshire, visit www.


Southwell Minster |in Nottinghamshire

A cannon is |fired at the wall of Newark Castle

| Performers re-enact the biggest siege |event of its kind in historic Newark to mark the opening of the National Civil War Centre
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 9, 2015
Previous Article:Paradise lost Saved; The Mauritius is best known for its stunning beaches, but James Edgar discovered the island is also a conservationist's dream.
Next Article:TV CHOICE.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters