Wednesday, 21 October 2020

A battlefield to fight over .... often!


Dungborough


I have decided to formalise my occasional blogging references to the fictitious campaigning area of Dungborough that contains the Parish of Piggy Longton, making that landscape a focal point of some Wars of the Roses battles soon to be fought.


We have twice already visited this area in previous AAR ramblings. The first time was in 1066 for the ‘Not Hastings Battle’ which occurred at Little Bump Hill (link to the AAR in the Resource Section below).





The second time was the 1471 Battle at Dungborough, with an action centred upon Larkin’s Hill (link to AAR in the Resource Section below).





Dungborough has always been something of a backwater, but commonly sitting at the juncture of influence of either great families or dynastic power bases, it has frequently borne the brunt of the rivalry and machinations of others.


Dungborough is partly derived from the old english ‘burg’, meaning a fortified settlement. There are few candidates for such a settlement amongst the parishes of Dungborough, but it is most likely a reference to a few buildings, surrounded by a wooden palisade, that once sat atop Crown Hill in more ancient times. Although there are no signs of any of these structures present today, the topography feels right, especially as the hill has a steep slope to its southern flank, a brook to the north and that it is the only notable defensible feature in the area (clicky map).





We can be further persuaded by this probability as Crown Hill itself may well have had royal connotations as an ancient seat of power of tribal chiefs that took advantage of the dominant position. The old chronicles make mention of a procession of warriors and Druids to ‘Coron Torr’ by the Dark Stream, which seems a good fit for Crown Hill and its close relationship with Smoggy Brook.


The landscape has certainly been in use for thousands of years, demonstrated by some of the names that typify an early Brythonic occupation, such as Beacan (meaning small) Farm and Phelan (meaning wolf) Woods. Even the more contemporary Raven Woods has a woodland pathway that locals still refer to as the Brendan, a clear Brythonic linguistic connection to the raven.


Neidr (meaning snake) Wood is also of ancient origin and the least touched of the local habitat, providing mighty oaks and a hunting ground to the benefit of His Lordship.


Piggy Longton itself is now a small hamlet, originally of religious significance to a small Anglo-Saxon population, having at that time a single stone building known as Osric’s Chapel, but which by the mid 9th Century had fallen into disuse, following significant depopulation of the parish, mostly due to the viking raiding parties and subsequent local economic collapse. 


The hamlet of Piggy Longton came into existence when the first Viking settlers, avoiding the common land grazing pastures of the local Anglo-Saxons to the south and the wet land to the south west around Little Bump Hill, established a farming community. Osric’s Chapel was subsequently rebuilt and enlarged as Piggy Longton expanded to become the centre of administration across the local estates.


It is bounded to the west by Smoggy Brook and whilst this is not a particularly deep watercourse, on the lower stretches leading from Smoggy Bank Bridge, the western bank is notably boggy and even local drovers avoid it, using instead the bridge as a crossing point to move their livestock to the Little Bump Hill rough pasture or to journey to the spring and autumn markets at neighbouring West Rottington.


The rough pasture is common land and is grazed by local livestock, while the outer perimeter of the cultivated land is marked out by ditch and hedgerow as a protection against wandering (and hungry) livestock (in much later years, the interior fields would increasingly be defined with drainage ditches and some hedgerow).


For most of the time, Piggy Longton provides a picturesque idyll for its tenants and workers, but its strategic position, the tactical importance of Smoggy Bank Bridge and a small treasury from local tax collection, ensures the occasional explosion of violence, as is the wont of others to wreak.





As it happens, today there is a gathering of interest at the Market Square in Piggy Longton, as a herald has arrived with a decree that the parish must assemble an array of their finest archers and be ready to join their Lordship in defence of the parish! 


Resource Section.


The AAR covering the 1066 Not Hastings action. LINK

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/5368677310334370714/6184911582142100531


The AAR covering the 1471 Battle at Dungborough. LINK

http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2020/09/battle-at-dungborough-1471-with.html


This is the 80mm basing that I am planning to use for WotR forces. LINK

34 comments:

  1. I tell you what Norm, in these grim times of nothing but daily bad news I could do with a few days break at Piggy Longton, any good taverns? I absolutely love that map, I take it you drew it? What an excellent idea for creating campaigns or games with an ongoing narrative. Put a smile on my face this post Norm.

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    1. Thanks Lee, the map is drawn, tinted with watercolours, photographed and passed through an app that allows me to add text. There are quite a few different ‘locations’ the size of say a small playing card that can be taken from the map and transferred to the table.

      I had a conflix tavern on order, but the guy phoned yesterday to say that it was out of stock and wrongly shown on the website ..... so I have something else being sent to me ...... so for now Piggy Longton is dry!

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  2. What a splendid post, love the history of the area it will bring added flavour and atmosphere to future reports. Very fine map too.

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  3. Thanks Phil, I figured the ‘site’ could be used at different stages in history, with the story line tweaked, So for ECW. The hamlet would likely be bigger and there would be a greater presence of hedgerow, perhaps Even a bit more cultivated land to cope with population expansion!

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  4. Norm, your hand-drawn and colored map is a thing of beauty. If you produce any more boardgames, you ought to consider taking on the task of map making yourself. You may give Barber and McGowan a run for their money. Looking forward to seeing where you take us.

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  5. I love the background 'fluff' and the map is a joy to behold Norm:)

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  6. Thanks Jonathan, it all seemed to work out rather well. Hopefully some interesting actions will fall out from this. The landscape actually has function from pre-Roman, right through to 'what if' Operation sealion actions, though we shall be hearing the bow twang of eighty good men!

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  7. Thanks Steve, enjoyable to do the research on wherevsome of our names come from.

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  8. Norm -
    Isn't this quite close to the settlement of Dawdlings, not far from which, on Canles Hill was fought the decisive battle between the Williams, led by Norman the Bastard, and the Saxo-Anglophones, led by Godwin Haroldsson?

    Or am I completely off the mark?
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  9. Hi Ion, yes that is the one, occurring just after Haroldsson returned from his earlier victory at Steamyford Ridge against Harald Hardnock’s horned Vikings. :-)

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  10. Good English countryside to fight over 👍you have a very inventive mind

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  11. Thanks Matt, it seems a shame that such a fine place will shortly feel the chill of cold steel and the war cries of a thousand men.

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    1. In the real world I would agree but in the wargame world smoggy brook will run red with blood, the clash of steel and the screams of dying men. Bring on the battles 👍

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  12. Fun little fantasy background piece. I have to echo the thought that the home produced map is really a nice piece of work. Super pretty. How many battlefields can you get out of it?
    I hope this little work of fiction will provide lots of scope for miniature battles. 😀

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    1. Thanks Stew, I think the compact space has a surprising number of actions to explore. I have already done two, Little Bump Hill (like a sort of Hastings) and Larkins Hill (as a sort of hidden approach of two forces). Future conflicts almost certainly hold opportunities of;

      Attack against the steep southern slopes of Crown Hill, the attack across the boggy Smoggy Brook, the fight for the bridge, the fight for Piggy Longton, open battle over the cultivated fields and some smaller actions that include the two farms and Neidr Wood, plus just quartering the map to generate some interesting tables with randomly set lines of approach.

      By which time, I will be in my 90’s and ready to draw the. Next map to explore West Rottington:-)

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  13. I do like this gorgeous map, congrats!

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    1. Thanks Phil, I’ve tried these things before and have always managed to make mistakes, the further you go on, the more chance of a mistake, but this one was rushed and only meant to be the practice one, but it surprisingly worked out okay

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  14. What a lovely map you have created, great work.

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    1. Thank you, the visual and the story is in fact pushing my painting along to get something to the table.

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    1. Thanks, I think the thing that I enjoyed most was doing all the Google stuff for old English / Briton / Viking language and seeing the corruption and relationships of developing language - all good stuff.

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  16. As most others have said Norm, this is a great bit of creative imagination at work and a very clever idea to provide a battlefield you can use over and over again - you could even have VBCW or Operation Seelowe type games on the same terrain as Ancient Britons fought the invading Romans (some of the buildings would have to change of course!)

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  17. Thanks Keith, I saw the farms as potential for Sealion action and particularly for some ECW, but the map also holds the potential for simply getting an anonymous setting for a fast set-up game, with just the geography used for pretty much any setting or period.

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  18. Norm,
    I saved this read for my morning train ride into the office and I'm glad that I did! Looks like a place id like to love in someday:)

    The idea of having a nicely laid out map for future battles is often overlooked by us gamers but I think adds a certain richness to the game as I had come to find during the Ponyri campaign last year - special spots on the map take on a significant you disnt intend and add even more to the narrative. This is lovely work- forgive me if I've missed it but how did you make the map?

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  19. Thanks Steve, don’t move there over the next few weeks ... there is trouble brewing :-)

    The actual map is 12 x 9”, so you could just lay a small playing card or card sleeve over part of it and have that define the area of the table to be played on, so a good way to get variety in a game.

    To make the map, 200lb watercolour paper was given a pale yellow wash and left to dry. The map was drawn with 0.2 permanent ink pen, then a mix of coloured watercolour pencils and watercolour paints were applied. Once done, it was photographed and passed through the Phonto App on the iPad, which basically allows you to add text and some shapes to a photograph - job done. I was surprised that it only took me about an hour and a half or so!

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  20. A nice combination of hand drawn map and using the computer. Very neat!

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    1. Thanks Peter, though in part, inspired by your own hand drawn campaign maps.

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  21. Wonderful approach to the hobby and so uplifting amongst all the real world malarchy, thanks.

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    1. Thanks David, it is already generating some new figure / terrain orders and driving Google research to ‘populate’ this world with the necessary Captains, Earls and Dukes that will allow the tale to unfold. :-)

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  22. Very interesting history of the location, Norm. Nice battlefield sketches too.

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  23. Thanks Dean, I’m starting to feel like it’s real :-)

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  24. Nice map,interesting language research too! I was walking around Wheathampstead recently, it's a small town in Hertfordshire, two battle sites,one Caesar versus Britons and a spillover from one of the battles of St Albans in the WOTR, luckily they avoided the ECW!
    Best Iain

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  25. Thanks Iain, we are lucky to be so history rich.

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