As part of the Welcome Week activities, before the first week of teaching, the War Studies class went on a jolly to Worcester to learn about the last battle of the War of the Three Kingdoms (or the Third English Civil War, depending on your preferences). It was an excellent chance to really get to know the rest of the year, and a couple of the academics who led the programme (and who would be our Personal Tutors).
Taking a very full train we sped to Worcester, past some fantastic architecture (I was lucky enough to later visit the splendid Guildhall, watching out for echoes of the Civil War wherever we went.
Our first port of call was the impressive cathedral, and after a breathless trip up and up we reached the tower where we were given a description of the Battle of Worcester, with a real appreciation of the challenges facing both sides, and of how the terrain affected the fighting. It was a really entertaining and enlightening whirlwind tour of events, and really highlighted how little Worcester had changed since the mid seventeenth century.
After a brief stop for pie we went on to the Commandery, which was the headquarters for the future Charles II during the battle and now houses a really fascinating museum where we were introduced to the arms and armour of the period – and were able to see some marvellous hidden gems; I particularly liked the medieval painted wall!
Following this we had a guided walking tour of the battle which brought home quite how close the two armies were, and how hard the struggle was, which ended at a pub which Charles fled from (before hiding in an oak tree) after the battle was lost. Taking the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing pint (or two) and getting to know each other better, we all reflected on what a great start to the year it was!
By Rik Sowden, BA War Studies