The Civil Wars of the mid seventeenth century were a reflection of profound political, constitutional, religious and social conflict which was expressed in a struggle for control between King and Parliament.
In March 1643 the Royalist position in Staffordshire proved of such concern to King Charles that he ordered the Earl of Northampton to lead a force north from Banbury to retrieve matters. Having secured Stafford, the Earl led his 1,200 troops, mostly cavalry, out to confront a Parliamentarian army of 1,500.
The armies clashed in the middle of the afternoon of 19 March on Hopton Heath, just outside Stafford. The battle was keenly fought and ended only at nightfall. Although the Earl of Northampton was killed the Royalists had the better of the encounter.
The landscape in 1643 was one of heathland with birch scrub but with enclosed grazing land around the present-day Heathyards. The land was enclosed and improved in the eighteenth century.
Two good viewpoints for appreciating the battle are publicly accessible. A number of features of historic landscape importance survive but are not currently accessible. There is potential for a circular trail.
Part of the battlefield lies within a Special Landscape Area in the Local Plan. Historic Landscapes are subject to policies ED32 and ED33.
Anon, 1643, Letter by a Royalist Eyewitness, published in the Staffordshire Record Society volume for 1936
Young, P, 1954, 'The Battle of Hopton Heath, 19th March 1643', in Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, XXXIII