SOLDIERS descended on Marlborough Common to seize the town in a re-enactment of the English Civil War.

In the region of 1,000 members of the English Civil War Society, dressed in period costume, helped bring history back to life as they recreated the Royalists’ capture of Marlborough in 1642.

The sun was shining – unlike the weather during the real siege, which took place in winter – as Parliamentary soldiers battled against King Charles I and his Royalist troops.

The re-enactment was staged on Saturday and Sunday, but added a few tweaks to the reality of the 17th century siege, most of which took place near Aldbourne.

Mayor Marian Hannaford-Dobson said: “It exceeded our expectations; it really was fantastic.

“The battle was very noisy and very exciting. I had a small part to play in it; I was part of the parlay.

“Apparently, in 1642, the mayor at the time went to speak to the Royalists, to see if the battle was really necessary. I had to tell them that the town was not going to surrender, which I found quite exciting.

“The feedback we’ve had from the town has been really positive. Everyone seems to have had a wonderful time.”

Crowds of approximately 3,000 people turned out during the two-day event.

Away from the battlefield, the Civilian Living History display in Priory Gardens gave an insight into life for ordinary people during the 17th century.

Visitors were greeted by a surgeon, explaining medical techniques of the time, blacksmiths, spice sellers, lacemakers, spinners and people roasting chickens on a spit.

Coun Hannaford-Dobson said: “There were lots of activities going on in Priory Gardens and people in period costumes were mixing with everyone else.

“There aren’t many other places where you can have a family day out for free and there was free parking as well, which helped.

“We’d like to thank the History Society and Wiltshire Council, who gave us money for the event, and Hills for sponsoring it, because without them it wouldn’t have been able to happen.”