A powerful replica cannon called Barak – thought to be the biggest of its kind in the world – is set to appear at the spectacular 4th Pikes and Plunder Civil War festival in Newark, Nottinghamshire, on 6 and 7 May.
The mega Bank Holiday event is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the historic royalist town, which held out against a 16,000 strong Parliamentarian and Scots army for six months in 1645, amidst a bitter power struggle with King Charles I.
Organisers from the National Civil War Centre and English Civil War Society say up to 300 re-enactors will take part, fighting battles and staging displays to mark the 372th anniversary of the town’s fall on 8 May 1646.
Carol King from the National Civil War Centre explained:
“Last year’s event caught the public imagination with tremendous battles at the Queen’s Sconce and displays at Newark Castle. We’ve added a few tweaks this year to make it even better. The re-enactors pride themselves on being authentic and will offer a riot of colour, noise and pageantry to capture this fateful time.”
The star-shaped Queen’s Sconce - the finest surviving earthen fort of its kind in Britain - will be fought over by musketeers, pikemen and artillery from 2pm. Newark Castle – used by the royalist garrison as a gunpowder store and base for operations - will feature scores of living history displays (11am to 4pm), whilst the cobbled Market Place will echo to drills and musket fire (11am).
Timings apply to both days and entry is free.
More battlefield pyrotechnics are planned and a so called demi-culverin cannon called Barak will defend the Sconce from attack. This super gun was made for the Roundhead Association and is thought to be the world’s biggest of its type capable of firing with old fashioned black gunpowder. Such cannons could fire a 10 pound ball over 500 metres.
Stephen Foster, event co-ordinator and Commanding Officer of Robert Overton's Regiment, said:
“The cannon is a superb reproduction that makes a massive impression. The earth really does seem to move when it fires. Although there are other civil war re-enactments in Britain, there are none like Newark which celebrates a major siege using such an awesome setting as the Queen’s Sconce. Together with the castle it is a permanent reminder of the bitterest war in England's history. It will be an extraordinary couple of days for visitors and for those of us taking part.”
The National Civil War Centre is also open 10am to 5pm daily with a fabulous display of recently acquired period armour in the new Cutting Edge exhibition (normal admission charges apply).