canalatcropredy02Cropredy is a pretty village just a mile or so north of Banbury on the River Cherwell. For many people it is connected with Fairport Convention, a rock folk band who have given an annual concert there each year for the last forty years. However in 1644, rock music was not on the mind of King Charles I as he hurried along the east bank of the Cherwell away from Cropredy with his troops. The troops at the rear were straggling and Sir William Waller with his parliamentary forces on the other side of the river decided to try to cross Cropredy bridge and separate Charles from his soldiers in a pincer movement between Slat Mill and the bridge. Skirmishes followed but by night fall there was effectively a stalemate with both armies facing each other across the Cherwell. The Royalists withdrew under the cover of darkness. They had hardly suffered any losses but Sir William lost around 700 men including many deserters.

Cropredy bridge is still there but the Oxford Canal has run parallel to the Cherwell since 1790. The canal footpath permits a very pleasant walk in either direction. Parking is easy and free at the cricket ground close to the bridge. When you have walked enough, there are two traditional pubs serving food in the village, the Brasenose Arms and the Red Lion.

August – September 2018