Kings Sconce, Newark on Trent


The King’s Sconce was an earthwork built to protect the approach north on the Fosse Way at the town of Newark on Trent. The town was a vital link to the king’s supporters in the north.

Newark was a Royalist town and the earthworks were built to protect it from the Parliamentarian forces. The design was Dutch, as were most of the sconces.

The King’s Sconce was constructed of earth and located in the Spittal area of the town to the north east. It is recorded as having been very strong and high, with the ditches camouflaged.

The locals manned the sconce to protect their town. A 3-bay house was built on it for accommodation.

During the siege of 1645-1646 the town produced their own coinage in the form of tokens – some of which survive today.

1643 – The town was first attacked by Major General Thomas Ballard, who had 6,000 men and 6 guns at his disposal.

1644 – Prince Rupert relieves the town.

1645 – The town is besieged by the Scots and a large portion of the Parliamentarian army.

1646 – The 1645 siege is still under way. On 6th May John Belasyse surrenders the town under orders of Charles I.

1646 – 12 May “The whole countryside was summond in with pick and shovel and crowbar; earthworks were levelled, ditches filled in, the bastions demolished, the King’s Sconce destroyed, and the castle dismantled” (Sketchley, 1859).

1856 – The site was demolished for the Great Northern Railway.

2020 – Modern housing around the area where the sconce was sited.


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Kings Scone, Newark on Trent
Coins produced for Charles I at Newark on Trent during the Civil War









References and Bilbliography

Barratt. J. 2009. Sieges of the English Civil War. Pennsylvania: Casemate Publishing.

Bennett. M.2016. Historical Dictionary of the British and Irish Civil Wars 1637-1660. Maryland, USA: Rowman & Littlefield.

Bull. S. 2008. ‘The Furie of the Ordnance’: Artillery in the English Civil Wars. Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer.

Campbell. J., & Cox. M. 2017. Lost Newark. Stroud, Glous: Amberley Publishing.

Gaunt. P. 2014. The English Civil War: A Military History. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Hull. L. 2016. Understanding the Castle Ruins of England and Wales: How to Interpret the History and Meaning of Masonry and Earthworks. North Carolina: McFarland.

Harrington. P. 2013. English Civil War Fortifications 1642–51. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

McRae. A. 2013. How the Scots Won the English Civil War: The Triumph of Fraser’s Dragoons. Stroud: The History Press.

Osborne. M. 2014. Defending Nottinghamshire: The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present. Stroud: The History Press.

Sketchley. R. F. 1859. Notes on Newark: a lecture delivered in the Corn Exchange, November 28th 1859, in connexion with the Newark Mechanics’ Institute. Newark: William Moss.

Image: Richard Croft / Civil War sculpture.


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