PIKES were wielded and muskets and cannons were fired as two spectacular civil war re-enactments provided quite a spectacle over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Crowds turned out in force to see more than 500 costumed enthusiasts take part in a revival of the siege of Basing House, in Old Basing, and a separate American Civil War-themed event at Wellington Country Park, in Riseley.

At the Old Basing site, Roundheads battled Cavaliers during an English Civil War re-enactment on Sunday and Monday.

The atmosphere was tense as regiments from the Parliamentarians and the Royalists gathered at the site to commemorate the famous conflict.

A character playing Oliver Cromwell read passages aloud from the Bible before the fighting took place during a staged skirmish. The re-enactment was organised by members of the Sealed Knot.

Graham Swain, aged 39, of Tollway, Chineham, visited the event with his wife and two children. He said: “This is the second time we’ve come here because we think it’s absolutely fantastic. My son loves history and what better way for him to learn about it than to see it actually happen?”

The American Civil War re-enactment featured soldiers on horseback. The Confederates were blindsided when the Unionists launched an ambush on their camp. The battle was organised by the Southern Skirmish Association.

Federalist major Russell Francis said: “Everything here is as authentic as possible, and it’s all about educating people about wartime conditions.

“We’ve been accused in the past of glorifying war, but actually we want to show people the horror of war and how hard it was for people.”