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Posted on Oct 24, 2004 in Stuff We Like

Battlefield Tour – Basing House

Armchair General


Despite the power and wealth of the Paulets, the fact that they remained loyal to the King meant that it was inevitable that they would be forced to take up arms against their Parliamentarian enemies during the English Civil War.

Having already survived one siege, the House was besieged yet again from May 1645. A garrison of around 500 soldiers (certainly no more than 650 at its peak) faced an enemy who’s strength increased to over 7,000 by the time the siege ended.

On the morning of the 14th of October, 1645, having made two practical breaches in the outer walls the day before, the forces of Oliver Cromwell himself seized the House – and it was all over for the Royalists.


In the Exhibition Rooms that are on site, there is this fine painting depicting the fall of Basing House.


And here is an overhead view of how the dramatic final battle might have occurred.

Final Battle

We can’t finish without a picture of a Gun. And here we are. This is a replica of a 3.5 inch Light Field Gun as might have been used during the siege, by either side. The actual gun barrel was especially cast by the curator of the site, and is a replica of a barrel from 1609. The carriage on which it sits was built from plans dating from 1642.

Field Gun

This design of weapon was best suited for use as part of a Battery, and had a range of about a mile – although not with any particular degree of accuracy. The two items either side of the gun are gabions – the equivalent of sandbags, they would be filled with whatever material came to hand and used in defensive positions.

Field Giun

Although much of the site is in ruins, what’s left of Basing House is a fascinating glimpse into an important era of English history and well worth a visit.



To view the complete set of images from my visit, go to the ACG image gallery here.

Andrew Summersgill

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