ROUNDHEAD forces return to Malmesbury this summer when the ancient town steps back 370 years to its Civil War past.

Col Nicholas Devereux’s Regiment of Foote and a host of camp followers will take over the centre for a weekend in June as part of a Living History event.

There will be skirmishes down at Daniel’s Well while dozens of re-enactors will populate the historic streets.

One of the organisers, deputy mayor Sue Poole said:” If you meet them they will greet you in character and even if they go into the pubs they will still be in character.”

The regiment represents the same force that garrisoned Malmesbury from 1644 when the Parliamentarians were locked in combat against the Royalists and the last time it was re-enacted was 17 years ago, although the town was given a little taster in the Market Cross last summer.

As well as soldiers, it will be bringing families and craft workers. “I’m hoping they will bring the barber surgeon,” said Cllr Poole. “It is not just about the Civil War. We’re trying to make it about life in that period as well as all the political upheaval.”

“The idea is to put Malmesbury on the map, raise awareness of the town and get visitors into the town.”

She added: “Everybody that I’ve spoken to is really, really enthusiastic about it.”

Funding of £3,200 has already been pledged along with a £1,500 grant from Malmesbury Carnival. Heritage Lottery funding is being applied for and sponsorship sought from local firms to stage the weekend on June 14 and 15.

Cllr Poole said: “We have got enough to pay for the regiment and the basic extras.” But other costs are likely to include road closures, barriers, policing and first aid cover.

The living history group, chaired by Julia Bowen, with Roger Griffin from Athelstan Museum, Lesley Wood of the Chamber of Commerce and history consultant Christina Staff, also wants to produce a souvenir booklet and educational material for the local schools and the museum to use in its outreach programme.

Landowners have already been approached and a website is set to go live in the near future.

Businesses that want to help with sponsorship can email Cllr Poole at Volunteers prepared to help with stewarding and manning barriers will also be sought.