In this brand new and exclusive series from HISTORY® UK, presenter and wild swimmer Rick Edwards (left) teams up with YouTube sensation Beau Ouimette (right), a river detectorist with over 30 years’ experience and more than 1 million online followers, as they search the UK’s waterways for archaeological finds.
Episode three, broadcast on 1 April at 9pm, sees our intrepid explorers head to the vast River Trent and site of one of the greatest strongholds of the English Civil War – Newark Castle. Here on the banks of the waterway in 1645, the forces of King Charles I were trapped in a bloody siege by Scottish forces from the North and Parliamentarian armies from the South. In the first official search of the waterway, the River Hunters hunt for lost Civil War relics that reveal the secrets of this brutal battleground.
In 1642, after years of unpopular taxes, failed wars and reckless spending by the King, Parliament lost patience and turned on Charles 1, plunging the country into conflict. At time, rivers and crossings were vital for moving and supplying troops and the Parliamentarians – or Roundheads – held the Severn and the Thames further south. Further north they wanted the Trent but standing in their way was the Royalist stronghold of Newark Castle. It suffered attack after attack, as the Roundheads tried to bombard the Royalists into submission and in just six months, a third of the town’s 6,000 inhabitants perished.
Aided by experts including British archeologist Gary Bankhead, the River Hunters start their search directly next to the castle and find key evidence from the key advances in warfare at the time, which eventually helped lead to the King’s demise.
They continue their search at the River Devan next to the remains of the attacking 9,000 strong Parliamentarian camp, now a scheduled monument. Here they uncover lost items that help picture the harrowing life in this turbulent time. They also follow the Trent to where Charles I surrendered and reveal secrets of its pasts from centuries before.
River Hunters follows Rick and river searching expert Beau as they visit historically significant sites across the UK through the waterways that have remained untouched for hundreds and even thousands of years. By searching these unexplored rivers, they will reveal secrets from the major events that happened there and find treasures from the past which will bring forgotten stories to life.
As Rick and Beau visit locations synonymous with British history they cover iconic events and battles including the Battle of Stirling Bridge, Roman Britain, the Wars of the Roses, the Reformation and the English Civil War. Their searches of unexplored rivers and waterways unearth treasures from the past which reveal how our ancestors used to live.
Using state-of-the-art technology, archive maps and contemporaneous accounts from the period, Beau and Rick perform the first underwater archeological digs in some of the most exciting and iconic historical sites in Britain, often in dangerous and fast-flowing water.
The eight-part series River Hunters with Rick Edwards continues on HISTORY® with this third episode airing on Monday 1 April at 9pm.