The Twickenham Museum
: 1600 - 1700

The Army on Hounslow Heath
Summer 1686

Part of the encampment plan in Twickenham Parish
The existence of a standing army in England was a by-product of the Civil War. The Restoration of 1660 saw the retention of a few regiments. But when James II came to the throne in 1685, he set about enlarging the force. Annual manoeuvres were held on Hounslow Heath between 1686 and 1688, which some thought were intended to overawe London. A military hospital designed by Sir Christopher Wren was built on the site of present day Hospital Bridge Road roundabout. Other permanent encampment buildings were established on land leased to the King by Lord John Belasyse, with an estate in nearby in Whitton. 

In 1687, the army re-enacted the Great Siege of Buda, which ended the Islamic occupation of the Turkish capital the previous year. 

Further reading

The Camp on Hounslow Heath by Ed Harris. Published by the Borough of Twickenham Local History Society. ISBN 978 1911 145073

back to top