By Sarah Freeman in The Yorkshire Post.
On a bright, spring day, Marston Grange farm looks pretty idyllic. The Smakman family have been growing wheat and barley on this land since 1942 and soon the fields will turn bright yellow and this year’s rapeseed crop comes into full bloom.
Apart from the gentle hum of the tractor, there is not much which disturbs the peace in this corner of Yorkshire, but it wasn’t always this way. Wind back to the summer of 1644 and these fields were about to turn red with the blood of a thousand troops as the English Civil War intensified. One of the biggest battles ever fought on British soil, on the evening of July 2 more than 40,000 soldiers descended on Marston Moor, each side desperately defending their cause.
On one side where the Royalists. On the other were the Parliamentarians and the clash, on land between Wetherby and York, marked a turning point in the bitter conflict, which had begun in 1642. Over the course of two hours, events swung against King Charles I, not least because of the leadership of Oliver Cromwell, whose cavalry charged and regrouped to unleash mayhem on the enemy ranks.
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