The Battle of Lansdown
It’s hard to believe today as your eyes take in the green and pleasant countryside around Toghill House Farm guest house that just a short stroll away there was once a bloodbath!
At the top of Lansdowne Hill – less than a mile away from Toghill as you travel south down Freezinghill Lane towards Bath Racecourse – you will spy Sir Bevil Grenville’s Monument. Sir Bevil was a Royalist hero of the English Civil War who was fatally wounded on this very spot in the Battle of Lansdowne on 5th July 1643.
Battling for Bath
Leading his legendary Cornish pikemen, fresh from victories at Braddock Down and Stratton and raring to win Lansdowne too, Sir Bevil was literally pole-axed on the head by a Parliamentary Horseman as he and his Cornishmen bravely stormed the top of Lansdowne Hill in the face of the enemy. Sir Bevil didn’t die immediately but succumbed to his head injury later at the nearby rectory in Cold Ashton.
The opposing force at Lansdowne was led by Parliamentarian Sir William Waller, determined to stop the Royalists from advancing on Bath.
Britishbattles.com explains how events unfolded:
“The Royalist army set out from Marshfield and advanced down Freezinghill Lane towards Bath via the road over Lansdown Hill. The route crossed Tog Hill and Freezing Hill, during which each side’s dragoons and advanced parties of musketeers skirmished from hedgerow to hedgerow.”
To cut a long story short, the Battle ended up inconclusive – the Royalists forced Waller and his supporters to retreat from the hilltop but at the expense of heavy losses and desertions. No-one’s ever been sure how many casualties there were at Lansdowne in 1643 but one Parliamentarian pamphlet in the aftermath maintained 200 Royalists died and 300 were wounded, while the Parliamentarians had 19 dead and 56 wounded. The true figures are likely to have been much higher.
NOTE: English Heritage has published a full, detailed account of the Battle of Lansdowne if you are interested in knowing more.
Explore the Battlefield
As you can see, when you stay at Toghill House Farm you are walking in the footsteps of history, although the House was not built until several decades after the battle, in 1691.
Why not come and explore the Lansdowne Battle Field, which is not very different now to what it was in 1643.
There is a layby next to the Bevil Grenville Monument, which is about 100 yards from the road, where you can park.
The site of the monument, which is an open-access site, is on the Cotswolds Way Walking Trail. You can walk with dogs on a lead.
You can quench your thirst at the nearby Blathwayt Arms – a cosy classic country free house with a great view of Bath Racecourse and lovely garden. Superb food, local ales, tea and coffee, dogs welcome … what more can you wish for?
If it’s summertime why not finish off your Battlefield excursion with a cool treat. Take a few minutes’ drive down the A420 from Toghill House Farm to Marshfield Farm ice-cream parlour where you’ll find the most delicious ice-cream made on-site straight from “cow to cone”. With 26 flavours to choose from you may be tempted to try them all! Note: Dawn and Will Hawking only open the parlour on the farm during the summer months (from Easter onwards) but Marshfield ice cream is available from selected stockists around the Mendip area and across the Cotswolds
ABOUT TOG HILL HOUSE FARM
Guests are treated to a traditional English breakfast and can make use of our laundry room, delightful courtyard area and parking facilities. Well-behaved pets are also welcome.
Toghill House Farm and bed and breakfast is run by the Bishop family, who are devoted to making your stay a truly pleasurable experience.
Toghill’s working farm warmly welcomes all bed and breakfast guests and offers you a real taste of rural life. In fact, visitors to the farm are often greeted by its very friendly team of cats and dogs as they arrive.
Animals on the farm include sheep, bantams, horses and a Shetland pony. Walking routes have been marked out throughout the farm grounds and you can choose short walks or full-day or half-day outings.
Double/Twin ~ £96
Triple Room ~ £130
Family Room, Sleeping 4 ~ £150
Family Room Sleeping 5 ~ £160
Special offers & Rooms Available
For example, free glass of wine at Sally Lunn’s, 10% off The Roman Baths, 25% off at Wookey Hole, 3 hours for the price of 2 at The Thermae Spa and 10% off in White Living.
For more offers: https://www.stayinbath.org/reward-card/.