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The Fernhurst Society

Tales from the Archives - 9

The battle of North Ambersham

During the English Civil War in the 1640s, there was a powerful family named Yaldwyn (aka Yalden) who owned Blackdown House and much land. They were aggressively neutral and fought savagely and impartially against any who dared to violate their lands, be they Royalist or Parliamentarian. So feared were they that the area was known as ‘The Forbidden Lands of the Yaldwyns’ and their commander, William Yaldwyn, was nicknamed ‘The Hard-Faced Man of the Yaldwyns’. Oliver Cromwell is known to have stayed there for several nights.

In 1644-5 there was a cavalry charge near the Forbidden Lands by the 4th Troop of the Roundhead army on a body of about 100 Royalists, in the teeth of a fierce hail and thunderstorm. All but one of the Cavaliers were killed. That sole survivor eventually crawled out from among the dead and was passed over the hedge into the Forbidden Lands. An eye witness said ‘he was pop-eyed with fright and his rescuers thought him part mad’.

If you would like to know more about this story, or research other local topics, the Archive is open on Tuesdays, 2.30-5pm in the Village Hall. Other times by arrangement.

Christine Maynard
Fernhurst Archive

One of a series of short articles bringing you some of the incidents from our rich village history. Collated by Christine Maynard, based on documents preserved at the Fernhurst Archives, these originally were published in the monthly Fernhurst News.

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