Monarch’s Way tribute

The Monarch's Way at Houghton
The Monarch's Way at Houghton

THE man who marked out the Monarch’s Way, following the escape route of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester, is being remembered in a 615-mile relay.

To commemorate the service of Trevor Antill, his walking boots are being carried from Worcester to Shoreham, passing through Steyning en route.

The boots reached West Sussex on March 19 and are now being carried by ‘minders’ to the mouth of Shoreham Harbour, where they will be given to Sussex Yacht Club on May 17 for passage to Fecamp.

Their journey mirrors the six-week escape of Charles II in 1651. Hotly pursued by parliamentary forces under Oliver Cromwell, he travelled first north, then south through the Cotswolds and the Mendips, and finally along the South Downs to Shoreham, where he made his escape to France.

John Morrison, minder of the Houghton to Findon section of the Monarch’s Way, said: “Loyally supported by his followers, many at great risk to their own lives, he was given shelter in places both great and humble, many of which still exist today.”

Using footpaths and bridleways, Mr Antill created the Monarch’s Way more than 10 years ago, closely following the route believed to have been taken by Charles.

Mr Morrison added: “He continued to walk this route regularly over the succeeding years. He set up a series of volunteer minders to look after and to keep a watchful eye on the path, as well as establishing the Monarch’s Way Association for all those who shared his interest and for those who wished to walk the Monarch’s Way.”

Mr Antill died in 2010 and as a token of their respect, the minders of the Monarch’s Way Association are carrying his boots for one last time, along the full length of the Monarch’s Way. There will be a celebration on May 17, the final, five-mile section, starting in Brighton at 1pm.