Sunday, May 24, 2009

Battle of Farnham Castle 1643

Parliament marches onto the field

Although I have been to one or two small (like an episode of Sharpe) Napoleonic re-enactments at the local Painshill Park I haven't been to a big one so when I saw a note about The Sealed Knot being at Loseley Park this weekend (on The Wars of Louis Quatorze site-see link on the right) I decided to take my little boy Guy along.


In the morning there was a skirmish between a small Royalist and Parliamentarian force. They used the oportunity to demonstrate (rather well I thought) the roles of the different troops and weapons. One of the things that struck me straight away was how many women were in the different units. Not just wandering around in the background in 17th century frocks (although there were plenty of those) but with muskets and even pikes.

I was delighted to see that one of the units there represented The Tower Hamlets trained band with their distinctive colour bearing their motto 'Jehova Providebit' (God Will Provide). This is one of the two units of Civil War infantry I have painted so far and although they only saw action at Cropredy Bridge they can be used to represent any of the London trained bands, such as the three regiments which were present with Sir William Waller's force at Farnham Castle.

A royalist force representing Lord Hopton's army then marched down the hill (the field used for the re-enactment was a very good choice, giving good visibility).

An American reader commented on the Louis XIV site that some American Civil War re-enactors had been banned from using gunpowder as it scared the "gentle-folk", or some such politically correct nonsense. No shortage of gunpowder today, however, and Guy's grandmother didn't seem at all phased ("I lived through the Blitz this is just fireworks!").

In the afternoon, after a drill demonstation by The First Foot Guards from the Monmouth rebellion period and an enjoyable large skirmish from the Medieval Seige Society (more of which tomorrow) we had the "big battle".

By this time we were enjoying our hottest day of the year and it reached 25 degrees, meaning a lot of hard work for those members of the forces that had to supply on-field water. It started with a Royalist force marching down the hill to approach what were supposed to be the walls of Farnham Castle, Wallers HQ in 1643.

Waller's forces march out of the castle to meet the Royalists

The view from "Farnham Castle" up the hill where the Royalist army assembles

It wasn't long before there were hundreds of re-enactors on the field. Well over a thousand, I believe. Battle commenced and went on for over an hour.

A good push of pike

The man with the tabard with a cross on is one of The Sealed Knot's trained medics.

There were over a dozen artillery pieces in action

All in all a very enjoyable day although I feel a bit over-cooked tonight and feel I might need some cool Chardonnay! Guy loved it and I had to forcibly restrain him from joining the Blew Regiment of Foot there and then.


  1. Nearly went after seeing mention of it on Ralphs site but was already committed to Doormouse counting in the morning & getting WCmdr Ayersts signature (WW2 pilot)at Manston in the afternoon( a varied day!) & I didn't fancy the drive. It looked one of the better re enactments all to often 10 men represent a regiment & the whole thing looks 'sad' the pictures are excellent, glad Guy enjoyed it. I was nearly recruited 15+ years ago when Gerrards Regiment turned out for a friends wedding (a shilling was at the bottom of my beer glass in the post reception festivities!)

  2. Very nice pics, I hope nobody took an eye out with all those pikes

  3. Thanks for your nice comments. As a captain in the Tower Hamlets regiment I can agree that it was very hot!!

    Have a look at our website for more pictures of us over the years:

    Perhaps you and your son would like to join a Godly parliamentarian regiment and save King Charles from his evil councillors!!