One of the star attractions at Overton School fete was a re-enactment of a Civil war Skirmish by the Marquess of Winchesters Regiment. (See below)
The fete, which raised £3000 last year, is the principal fundraising event of the Overton School Association and all the money raised goes towards providing extra equipment and entertainment for the children. "Top marks to Jamie Wiltshire and his team for arranging another successful event."
During 1643 and 1644, a hard fought battle for supremacy was fought across the south of England by the Royalists and Parliamentarians.
This campaign was concluded when the Parliamentarian General, Sir William WaIler, conclusively defeated the Royalist Lord Hopton at the battle of Cheriton near Alresford in Hampshire. But the two men, who were good friends in civilian life, had fought each other across north Hampshire for many months before this. It was an important part of the country The old main road from London to the rich sheep country in Wiltshire ran through Basingstoke and on to Andover. Whoever controlled this road controlled the income and raw materials that this wealthy part of the country produced.
The Royalists had a distinct advantage in that they held Basing House, 'Loyalty House' as it was known. Owned and garrisoned by the fifth Marquess of Winchester, who was reputedly the second richest man in England after the King, the house sat in a dominating position overlooking this major highway Then not being kept under close siege by he Roundheads, the garrison frequently sent out patrols, roving as far afield as Marlborough in Wiltshire.
The village of Overton will have seen much passing traffic during the civil wars. Both the armies of Hopton and Waller passed along the road, and hence through Overton, at different times, on their way to Basing. The garrison from the house will have sent patrols and foraging parties through the village; not to plunder, but to re-provision the house, most likely with promises of payment to the locals at some future date. As nearly all of the rest of Hampshire was controlled by Parliament it is possible that small groups of soldiers from the opposing forces will have come across each other in and around Overton. It is just such a skirmish that will re-enacted at the Overton School Summer Fete. Soldiers from the Marquess of Winchesters Regiment, a Royalist Regiment of the English Civil War Society and based on the Basing House garrison, will fight their counterparts from the Roundhead Association, the Parliament army of the Society The skirmish will be preceded earlier in the afternoon by two different drill displays, where members of the public will be able to see in detail how the cumbersome weapons of pike and musket would have been used in action.