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Some people may have an interest in becoming a Civil War reenactor so the following questions and answers are provided. I have been involved in the period since a boy and have been reenacting the period fully since 1977. I would encourage anyone to live history as I and many others have done. The website does not belong to a reenactment group and there are many around for you to look at if you like. A list of links would take up the whole page and require continual updating so a leave that search up to you.

In recent times I have developed the role of C17th wood turner. I'm especially interested in the advancements of the early modern period which you can read about on those pages. The wonderful Arts and Crafts Movement led to a revival of rustic crafts, in particular furniture and stool making. It is easly to forget the C17th sophistication and mechanical advancements so I now concentrate on bringing the pre-industrial, guild based artisan crafts of the renowned British engineers, to the public at any Early Modern Period events I'm invited to. The list below is for those who are interested in the battle reenactments that often explode around me.

Q1. Isn't it embarrassing dressing up?

Q2. I think I would rather be a Roundhead than a Cavalier but I'm not sure why.

Q3. When I come along, what will be expected of me?

Q4. How much commitment do I have to give?

Q5. What do I do before and after the battle?

Q6. Where do I get the correct clothing?

Q7. Isn't this glorifying war?

Q8. Your musters are all over the country: how do I get there without a car?


Q1. Isn't it embarrassing dressing up?

A1. Not at all. When I garden, cycle, climb a rock face I wear different types of clothes. In restaurants the chef wears a big white hat and stripey pants and people join the TA's and go paintballing in modern soldier's outfits. My kids love dressing up and it is part of 'living the part'. As any actor will tell you, the show does not feel real until the dress rehearsal. Self consciousness goes out of the window as soon as you are dressed in period clothes: you feel a part of things and a lot more comfortable than in 21st century clothes.

If you are a self conscious person, remember people are interested in your character and not you personally. You get a knack of focussing your mind beyond the people who are immediately around you, and think yourself in to the role of a person from the seventeenth century. Like an actor, you become the role.

Q2. I think I would rather be a Roundhead than a Cavalier but I'm not sure why.

A2. Recently there was a pole of the greatest Englishman of all time. Oliver Cromwell came second and there were many accolades given to the man. Many people consider Cromwell to be the main person in the Civil War. This is not the case.

During most of the War, Cromwell was only a talented commander of horse. He came to prominence at the end of the war and during the Commonwealth, when he showed himself to be an able General too. People commonly mistake Cromwell as the personification of the War itself and thus think the Roundhead cause was the best.

Because monarchy is now subservient to Parliament, and plays mainly a 'figure head' role, it is natural to assume that the seventeenth century was part of the country's maturational process. This is not the case. We must look at history from the perspective of those who were there at the time. James I had united Scotland and England by birthright. That right passed to his second and less able son, on the death of his oldest child. Charles' remit was to maintain the unity of 'Britain' and he did this economically, religiously and politically, as best he was able. To do this he required the support of the nouveau riche, who were largely untaxed. By taxing these people, he angered many powerful people who managed to undermine his effort to maintain the unity of Britain. The plot however has many subplots that are too numerous to mention here, but remember the King could have relented at any time: he martyred himself to the cause of uniting England Scotland and Wales as one country, and was tried and executed by people who could find no legal reason for his guilt.

The King's stubbornness is sited as a reason for his failing but could be seen as determination. Hitler may well have described the British as stubborn but we would have called it determination, I'm sure. As for the 'Divine right of Kings' issue, the King used that argument only at the end and during his trial, to defend himself, he was not an autocrat. Cromwell however reduced the power of Parliament, when Protector, Installed his own son in his place at his death bed, and treated harshly/ killed the 'Diggers' (nearest thing to modern socialists). He murdered and maimed Roman Catholics in the name of God and indeed thought he was carrying out the direct spoken instructions of God at all times. Viewed in modern times he would have been considered a mad man. If we view Charles by modern standards then we should do the same with Cromwell. This was not a social revolution, and resulted in the rich getting richer and Parliament was not elected in anything approaching a democratic system.

Q3. When I come along, what will be expected of me?

A3. We do large battles and small cameo type events. Some events are put on by our own regiment. There are roles for everyone at each of these types of events. At the small regimental events, you can take the persona of a peasant, merchant, servant or lady etc. Help is always given when deciding what you might like to do. At big battles you can be a soldier, drummer, water carrier, trooper or cannonier. You can also stay in the dedicated 'safe area' and watch if you like. It is great fun to take part in a battle but you can always march down with the army and then watch the battle from the sidelines (particularly if you have young children), or wander around the 'living history' display, the nearest grand Hall or the other public attractions. If you enjoy watching battles, why not join us and watch them free as a member.

Q4. How much commitment do I have to give?

A4. That is entirely up to you. Some members come to every muster and plan their holidays around our events, making clothes and equipment in any spare time they have. Others come once every year or so. There is no expectation that you will come to every thing we do.

Q5. What do I do before and after the battle?

A5. We are a freindly regiment and often sit and chat or play games but there are lots of things to do, away from the campsite if you wish. Some go to the nearest city and shop. Some find a good local pub or restaurant. Some look around the nearby Manor House. I personally like to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. The beer tent is very popular. We have bands on and it is a great social event. After, or instead of, the beer tent, we sit outside someone's tent and chat about the day's events: hopefully on a warm summers evening. There is a great traders market where we can look at and buy authentically made clothes and goods. We also drill in the morning and the kids can join in with this if they like.

Q6. Where do I get the correct clothing?

A6. New members are given spare kit but, if you like, you can buy from the traders market, or make your own. We have patterns to follow and people with experience to help you. There is a great deal of satisfaction to be had from making your own clothes.

Q7. Isn't this glorifying war?

A7. I don't know a single person in the Sealed Knot, who would like to fight in a real war. My hat goes off to anyone who fights for their country of course, but it is a courageous and risky thing to do. When I went to East Berlin through checkpoint Charlie, before the wall came down, I saw images of war everywhere. Churches had become war museums too! In the West there were no such reminders, it was as though it had never happened. Until recently all English churches were surrounded with graveyards; this was done on purpose, to remind the parishioners of their own mortality; not to glorify death itself. If we forget our past, we may make the same mistakes again. Let's never forget the religious extremism that infiltrated to the highest levels in Stuart England, and the people who died in its wake. Remember what can happen, by reminding yourself of what did happen. This is as part of our heritage as 'Ring a Ring of roses'.

Q8. Your musters are all over the country: how do I get there without a car?

A8. It is great that we get to travel around the country and visit places we would not normally be able to get to. Although some travel by rail and bus, venues can sometimes be remote and a car is needed. Up to now, we have always been able to give lifts in cars, and only occasionally have we needed to hire a minibus. We will always find a way to get you there though!