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250 seamen from the frigate Warwick and captured six Royalist scouts sent out from Haverfordwest, killing a seventh.


On Friday, 1st August, the Royalists moved out of Haverfordwest. They numbered 450 horse and 1,100 foot-soldiers, with four field guns. The two armies came face to face at Colby Moor. The area had been for many generations a location for gatherings of the local militia, and was used during the Civil War for troop musters, perhaps because the main road from Carmarthen to Haverfordwest originally ran through Llawhaden and Wiston, traversing this area which was then open moorland surrounded by high ground.


The fields to the north and east of Colby Moor Farm and Claridale Farm are traditionally the site of the battle, though no exact location was given in the records of the time; musket and cannon balls have been unearthed in the vicinity.


During the afternoon of August 1, the Royalist army, under Major-Generals Stradling and Egerton, drew up in formation on the eastern edge of Colby Moor, facing Laugharne’s troops, which may have occupied the higher ground fringing the eastern end of the moor. Details of the battle are scarce, but fighting began at about six o’clock in the evening, when ‘a small party of (Laugharne’s) horsemen, hoarded on both sides with 150 musketeers, charged their whole body.


For the first hour the action was very fierce, with neither side gaining the advantage. Eventually the Royalist lines buckled and a chaotic retreat began, during which weapons and carriages were abandoned by men fleeing for their lives. The survivors struggled back towards Haverfordwest through the winding lanes and cornfields, hotly pursued by the victors. A number of the fugitives were killed during the retreat and their bodies are said to have lain undetected amidst the growing wheat until harvest time.


During the late evening of August 1, 1645, a group of fugitive Royalists occupied the Rath, an ancient earthwork topping a hill outside the village of Crundale, and attempted to hold it against the pursuing Parliamentarians. Their resistance was useless; the Rath was overrun and they were killed or driven out.


Several hundred men managed to reach the safety of Haverfordwest Castle. During the night of August 1, whilst Laugharne’s forces were encamped in the fields outside the town, the Royalist horse evacuated to Carmarthen, leaving a small garrison to occupy the castle. On the following day, Laugharne’s army occupied the town. Sunday, August 3, was spent as a day of rest, but over the next two days the castle was bombarded and stormed. One hundred and twenty soldiers and 20 officers were taken prisoner.


The smaller Royalist strongholds, such as Carew Castle, were soon captured. As a result of the battle of Colby Moor, the Parliamentary cause in Pembrokeshire and West Wales was now supreme.


In all, the Royalists lost 150 men killed at Colby Moor, whilst over 700 were taken prisoner. The captives included Lt. Colonel Price, two majors, seven captains and twenty lieutenants, as well as guns, powder, carriages and provisions. Some of the dead were buried in a mound still visible in the fields near the site of the battle. Others are said to lie in unmarked graves along the northern perimeter of the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, Wiston, where a memorial to the battle may be seen.


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