THE sound of cannon fire and drums will be heard and swords will clash as young people step back to the time of the English Civil War.

Roundheads and Cavaliers will once again descend on Bolton as battles are re-enacted as part of a special Heritage Lottery funded project to teach local children about their town's part in the civil war, which rocked that nation in the 1640s.

The Storming of Bolton will take place on July 7 and 8 in the grounds of Bolton School as re-enactors from The Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote, the local regiment of the Sealed Knot reenactment society, recreate the era.

The real Storming of Bolton happened on May 28, 1644 and is also known as the Bolton Massacre.

The regiment was awarded £9,800 towards the cost of the project.

Youngsters and their families will experience what life was like for ordinary people in Bolton in the 17th Century.

Known as ‘the Geneva of the North’ due to its staunchly Puritan population, Bolton was attacked in May, 1644 by forces led by King Charles’ nephew, the dashing Prince Rupert, on his way to relieve the siege of York.

After repelling the first assault, Parliamentarian defenders hanged one of Rupert’s officers, which led to a notorious massacre when the Royalists finally stormed the town.

The outmatched Parliamentarian commander and MP for Wigan, Colonel Alexander Rigby, pretended to be an enemy soldier before fleeing the defeat, which ended up being a huge propaganda coup for the Parliamentarians.

Local magnate, the Earl of Derby, was later executed next to Bolton Market Cross for his part in the massacre in 1651.

Headmaster of Bolton School boys’ division, Philip Britton, said: "We are very pleased to be able to share our facilities to enable this event to take place. It is an eye-catching way of reminding the young people of Bolton about an important moment in our history. We look forward to welcoming everyone in the summer."

David Frederick, commanding officer of the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote, added: "To be able to provide such an immersive educational event like this with the ability to reach hundreds of local children is very exciting for both myself and for our regiment. We’d like to say a huge thank you to both the Heritage Lottery Fund and to Bolton School for making this possible."