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Hopton, Ralph (Sir)
ir Ralph Hopton was an experienced army officer who fought on the side of the Royalists for King Charles I. Hopton was badly injured at the battle of Lansdowne Hill when, after the battle was over, an ammunition cart exploded near him. Hopton was blinded temporarily.
This battle was fought along a steep sided ridge near Bath. The Parliamentarians were led by Waller. The Royalists were led by Sir Ralph Hopton and Sir Bevil Grenville. Waller took advantage of the high ground and the Royalist suffered serious casualties as a consequence. The Royalists managed to reach the top of the hill and Waller moved his men back behind a defensive wall. Waller waited until the dark of night then moved his army off the battlefield. Sir Bevil Grenville was killed in the fighting and the day after the battle Hopton was seriously injured, suffering temporary blindness, when an ammunitions cart exploded.
The Royalists were badly affected by the injuries suffered at Lansdowne Hill especially when Hopton was injured by the ammunitions explosion. Waller took advantage of the Royalist army's weakened state and chased them to Devizes where they took refuge.
Once Charles learnt that Hopton was being held at Devizes, he sent Wilmot to meet up with Prince Maurice and put together a Royalist army to free the town. The Royalists and Parliamentarians met at Roundway Down just north of Devizes. Wilmot was able to drive the Parliamentarians back towards the top of a steep slope where, as the Parliament army fell, many were killed. The slope is now known as Bloody Ditch.
Fairfax caught up with Hopton who was in North Devon at Torrington. The attack by Fairfax drove Hopton from the town and captured many of his men. Hopton managed to escape into Cornwall with several thousand horsemen but his men were demoralised and had started to desert him.