Finds of the Month – August 2021

This months Finds of the Month isn’t focusing so much on individual finds as it is one particular find type founds in the Parish of Speen.

The First and Second Battles of Newbury during the English Civil war were key turning points for both sides. The second battle stretched right from the Parliamentarian camp west of Thatcham to the Parish of Speen, with some engagements at Oxford.

Over a long period of time, a large group of musket balls has been found in a small area of Speen suggesting they were from engagements between the Parliamentarians and Royalists.


As the battlefield is heavily urbanised, it is often difficult to see and archaeological evidence of the battle. That was until these musket balls, and now another 30 or so were recorded this past month.

This new collection of musket balls show signs of firing and again fall in an equally small area of Speen. These to areas, very close to each other, look to show exactly where the two sides engaged.

Plan of the battle (Walter Money and C.K.K. (1879); Whiteman and Bass Photo-Lithography, High Holborn, London – Money, Walter (1884), “List of the Plans and Illustrations”, in The first and second battles of Newbury and the siege of Donnington Castle during the Civil War, 1643-6, London: Simpkin, Marshall, page 212 (facing)

The battle plan was drawn up decades after the battle and is, by its very nature, static. The area from which these musket balls came adds some animation to the battle map and possible shows how and where each side met in part of Speen.

Unless a battlefield is well known and has been archaeologically investigated, it is often difficult to see them in the archaeology. By reporting these finds to the PAS, these finders have added more knowledge to the narrative of the battle.