Home » Battle of the Beanfield » Battle of the Beanfield. "[unreliable source?  The clean-up cost upwards of £20,000, besides the priceless archaeological information that was lost. Yet, despite the massive police effort, very few of those arrested were prosecuted. 20 people were arrested..  A stand-off consequently ensued. The festival grew in size.  Official figures said eight police officers and sixteen travellers were taken to hospital with minor injuries. The Battle of the Beanfield took place over several hours on 1 June 1985, when Wiltshire Police prevented a convoy of several hundred New Age travellers from setting up the 1985 Stonehenge Free Festival in Wiltshire, England. It was like a scene from the War of the Worlds. A day in which a large convoy of travellers was intercepted by thousands of police officers near the historical site, Stonehenge, in a bloody one-sided battle that highlighted brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement. From 2000 onwards English Heritage have operated an "open access" policy to Stonehenge on summer solstices with very few arrests or conflict with police reported. , Eventually the police launched a final attack during which the worst of the violence is purported to have taken place. Fences had been torn down, and a thousand young trees cut down for firewood". The local police had been tipped off to the coming caravan and were making preparations to stop the group by whatever means necessary. Stonehenge’s solar alignment was discovered in the 1800s, which caused the focus of celebration to turn to the solstices.  In the summer of 1988 around 130 people were arrested and in 1989 that figure rose to 260. On display is one of Banksy's legendary pieces, 'Beanfield.' Moco Museum's collection consists of modern and contemporary art with Banksy as a continuous exhibition. They said they wanted to go into the campsite 'suitably equipped' and 'finish unfinished business'. They lived in converted buses, campers, and motor homes, often stopping in open areas or ont he outskirts of population centers for a few days before moving on. Available with an Apple Music subscription. According to The Observer, the convoy evaded the main roadblock on the A303 by slipping down a side road but were then met with a second roadblock. The term traveller is highly stereotypic and lumps everyone of a similar lifestyle into one group, which was unfortunate for the Peace Convoy and they took the brunt of years of rage that had been building in the law enforcement community. The Battle of the Beanfield took place over several hours on 1 June 1985, when Wiltshire Police prevented a convoy of several hundred New Age travellers from setting up the 1985 Stonehenge Free Festival in Wiltshire, England. Required fields are marked *. It didn't take too long to hitch a ride. I thought i heard someone calling me. I've seen the pictures on TV. The song "Itinerant Child", by Ian Dury and Chaz Jankel, which appears on the 1998 album Mr. Love Pants, by Ian Dury & The Blockheads, was inspired by Dury's experiences during the incident. , At 7pm officers in riot gear entered the field and launched a final attack. ", There were insufficient holding cells in local jails to hold all those arrested. This was achieved by tipping three lorry loads of gravel across the road. At the end of the day, 537 travellers were placed under arrest and 24 people were hospitalized, 8 of those being police officers. Yet this, in its stark reality, was the most barbaric example of what a so-called civilised state could do to its people. Women with babies were hauled by the hair through smashed windows of their vehicles. Past the place where my friend died. As lockdown … This was the device to be used to justify the attack at the "Battle of the Beanfield" on the 1st June in Hampshire. Unfortunately for the festival goers, the police had developed an extreme prejudice for travellers and anyone living the traveller lifestyle.  The police had laid down an exclusion zone four miles (6.4 km) around the perimeter of Stonehenge, which the convoy hoped to breach. Well it wasn't a battle really. It was barbaric. When some of the travellers tried to escape by driving away through the fields, The Observer states that the police threw truncheons, shields, fire-extinguishers and stones at them in an attempt to stop them. Copyright © 2020 The Gypsy Thread. There were around 450 people in total, and they included a number of women and children. No Replies Log in to reply +1. I've seen the pictures on TV. The Levellers - Battle Of The Beanfield Lyrics. Alan Lodge told the BBC, "The idea that this is two opposing armies having a pitch battle in a field in medieval style is completely false - this was an ambush that happened on a small, mild mannered bunch of people - hippies, for God's sake". To this day, the Battle of the Beanfield is looked upon by many as a turning point in how law enforcement interacts with the community. I thought, I heard something calling me I've seen the pictures on TV And I made up my mind that I'd go and see With my own eyes It didn't t Reports of people being dragged out of cars and pummeled were numerous but when two officers chased down a very pregnant woman before clubbing her in the head from behind, it went from enforcement of the law to personal. I thought I heard something calling me I've seen the pictures on TV And I made up my mind that I'd go and see With my own eyes An ambulance was allowed through to take them to hospital. General CommentThis song rocks. Irish Travellers, Romani Gypsies, and Scottish Gypsies still move around the lands. The police were enforcing a High Court injunction obtained by the authorities prohibiting the 1985 festival from taking place. It was recorded in 1989 and appears on his 1993 live album Unhinged. The news section of the Police Review of 8 June 1985 reported "The Police operation had been planned for several months and lessons in rapid deployment learned from the miners' strike were implemented. With a guy going south to start a new life. The Summer Solstice once again being observed at Stonehenge, in 2005. And i made up my mind that i'd go and see. This particular group however, was not part of one of the traditional groups nor were they gypsies; one might equate them to “deadheads” which are people who follow the Grateful Dead, an American band, around the nation while on tour. I was in a sort of state of shock. The Levellers. , In February 1991 a civil court judgement awarded 21 of the travellers £24,000 in damages for alleged false imprisonment, damage to property and wrongful arrest. As the convoy approached the blockade, it was obvious that someone had to give. Both sides felt justification in their movements, however unbeknownst to the Peace Convoy members, the British courts had already issued an injunction against the event due to rampant lawlessness and drug use from the prior year. I said to them, that if it was my permission they were after, they did not have it. That event has gone down in history as ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’. Convoy members were transported throughout the Midlands and even to northern England. , Most independent eyewitness accounts of the events relate that the police used violent tactics against men, women and children, including pregnant women; and purposely damaged the vehicles used by the convoy. This book is the combined effort of a large number of people who feel passionately that only through reaching an understanding of what actually occurred before, during and after ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’ can a proper ‘closure’ take place for those involved and the many people who have been in some way touched by it. After four months of hearings, twenty-one of the travellers were successful in their case and were awarded £24,000 in damages. The Battle of the Beanfield took place over several hours on the afternoon of Saturday 1 June 1985 when Wiltshire Police prevented a vehicle convoy of several hundred new age travellers, known as "The Convoy" and referred to in the media as the "Peace Convoy" from setting up at the 11th Stonehenge Free Festival at wikipedia:Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England after English Heritage who were the custodians of the … With my own eyes. In 1975 the festival switched to Watchfield but did not prove successful at the abandoned military site. View by: Highest Rated; Most Recent; Oldest First +2.  Travellers made attempts to negotiate with police but the officer in charge, Assistant Chief Constable Lionel Grundy, ordered that all travellers be arrested.  The Observer and The Independent report that traveller's vehicles were smashed and set on fire. Many believe that the police reacted correctly, since they were following the High Court ruling, and the travellers were afforded the opportunity to simply turn around and go on their way. , Articles with unsourced statements from July 2014, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from July 2014, Articles lacking reliable references from August 2014, Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, Anthony Maurice Gifford, 6th Baron Gifford, "The Observer - Twenty years after, mystery still clouds Battle of the Beanfield", "BBC - Summer solstice: How the Stonehenge battles faded", What happened next? Until she … At the end of the day more than 1,200 uniformed police officers were assembled. With the lawlessness and rampant drug-use at the previous year’s festival still fresh in their minds,the Wiltshire force built a massive roadblock using tons and tons of gravel. The travellers seemed unaware and were unprepared for the hell that was about to be unleashed on them. | From the Observer | The Observer, "Stoned Henge: Events and Issues at the Summer Solstice, 1985", The Independent - Twenty years on, the peace-loving festival fans still bear the scars of the Battle of the Beanfield, "BBC - Summer solstice celebrated at Stonehenge", https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Beanfield?oldid=4298771. Available on Vimeo, The Battle of the Beanfield is the first show by Breach Theatre, now known for the excellent It’s True, It’s True, It’s True about Renaissance artist Artemisia Gentileschi. Started moving their vehicles hauled by the hair through smashed windows of their.! 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