375 years later, the English Civil War returns to Manchester

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Nantwich 02 - Photo by Ammgramm on Flickr.jpgAlmost 375 years to the day since Manchester witnessed the first casualty of the English Civil War, the conflict is to be brought to life in Chadderton.
Foxdenton Park in Chadderton will go back in time to the 17th Century this weekend as The Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote, part of the Sealed Knot reenactment society, reveals what life was like during the English Civil Wars of the 1640s in an event that is ideal for the whole family.
From 10am on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will be able to visit an authentic encampment in the park and meet the army on campaign, before Roundhead and Cavalier take part in two deadly skirmishes! 
With muskets, drums, and pike, costumed reenactors will recreate one of the many battles between the two competing sides. Who will be victorious in this battle for control of the nation – the King? Or Parliament?
At 10.30am, the armies will march from Kingfisher School on Foxdenton Lane before taking part in skirmishes at 11.45am and 2pm in Foxdenton Park. As well as the battles, there will be fascinating displays explaining 17th Century life and what it was like to take up arms in this so-called ‘war without an enemy’.
Manchester has the dubious distinction of being the site of the first casualty of the English Civil War: on 15th July 2017, weaver Richard Perceval died during a street fight in Manchester when Royalists tried to force the Parliamentarian town to hand over its gunpowder stores.
Perceval, from Levenshulme, was allegedly killed by Thomas Tyldesley of Astley – the first death in a conflict that would claim a greater proportion of lives than World War One.
The event will take place next to Foxdenton Hall, which reuses features and stonework from an earlier building of 1620, which was built for lord of the manor William Radclyffe. Radclyffe died along with his oldest son, Robert, at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642, the first pitched battle of the English Civil War.
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About the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote:
Part of the Sealed Knot, the world’s oldest and Europe’s largest re-enactment society, the members of Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote re-enacts a regiment from the English Civil Wars period from 1642-1660. They portray the lifeguard of Edward Montagu, the second Earl of Manchester, who was one of the leading generals in the First English Civil War of 1642-5. For more information, go to www.earlofmanchesters.co.uk
About The Sealed Knot:
Europe’s oldest and largest re-enactment society, The Sealed Knot was formed in Oxford in 1968 and has thousands of members across the UK, Europe, and the world. It stages dozens of events every year from commemorative marches and village fetes to massed battles. A registered educational charity, the Society aims not to glorify war but to honour those that died in the many battles of the English Civil War, and to educate the public about those wars, and also about the lives and times of people in that period.
The name of the Society derives from a group, which, during the Protectorate, plotted for the restoration of the monarchy; here the similarity ends though as the present society is a non-political charity that has both Parliamentarian and Royalist armies.
About the English Civil War:
The English Civil War was actually a series of armed conflicts between 1642 and 1652, culminating with the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Far more complex than simply ‘Roundheads versus Cavaliers’, the English Civil Wars was a tumultuous period when our modern nation state was first formed. Arguments between King Charles I and his Parliament over taxation, religion and control of the country boiled over into open conflict in 1642, with the country dividing into those who supported the King and those who supported Parliament. After the second Civil War, Oliver Cromwell rose to prominence and following Charles II’s failed invasion of England, Cromwell became head of the English Commonwealth and then king in all but name as Lord Protector. He died in 1658, but his son and successor Richard Cromwell quickly abdicated. Charles II returned and was restored as King of England in 1660.

This weekend: the Roundheads march into Wiltshire!

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6723477_origChoose your side this Spring Bank Holiday weekend as we celebrate the 375th anniversary of the start of the English Civil War!

Amidst the glorious setting of Charlton Park, the Sealed Knot will bring this pivotal moment to life with a living history encampment across the weekend, plus dramatic cameos commemorating the history of the Howard family.

Set piece battles will take place on the Sunday and Monday showcasing the talents of musket, pike, cavalry and artillery!

Buy tickets here >>

Built by Lord Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, for his wife Catherine, Charlton Park House was ready for occupation by 1607. After Catherine’s death it was inherited by her second son, Thomas, who in 1626 was created the first Earl of Berkshire.

Malmesbury was held by the Royalists during the First Civil War but DAlghfNW0AAErMp.jpgsurrendered to Parliamentarian Colonel Massie in 1644, a Presbyterian officer who fought tirelessly against Royalists in the region. Massie eventually became commander of the Western Association army and, after the formation of the New Model Army, was given his own independent command. But after Charles I’s execution he switched sides to the Royalists, participating in the failed Scottish invasion of England in 1651 and fleeing with Charles II after the Battle of Worcester. He was captured but  escaped from the Tower of London by climbing out of a chimney. He later returned to try and spark a Royalist uprising but was again captured, again escaping and fleeing to the Continent. He returned to England in January 1660 and caused a riot in Gloucester when he stood for election to the Convention Parliament. But, after being duly elected, he supported the Restoration and was rewarded by Charles II for his services with a knighthood and a grant of money and lands in Ireland, where he died in 1674.

This event is being organised and run by Hopton’s Tercio of the Royalist army of the Sealed Knot Society.17504395_1656918467727426_53025364880548108_o.jpg

TOMORROW: Civil War soldiers will escort King Charles through Oxford!

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18404022_1702258246526781_1913620980335891942_o.jpgTo celebrate the 400th birthday of Elias Ashmole, founder of the world-famous Ashmolean Museum, King Charles I will parade through the streets of Oxford – with us as his guard!

This Friday from 6.30pm, with standards advanced and drums beating, a parade of Civil War soldiers and officers will escort King Charles from Broad Street to the Ashmolean Museum.

A special LiveFriday event at the museum then runs from 7pm to 10.30pm – and tickets are FREE!

Find out more about the fascinating history of Oxford during the English Civil War, meet the troops, see the King sat in state, meet the townspeople, sign your own oath of allegiance to His Majesty and much, much more! Immerse yourself in the 1600s with period dancing, music and quizzes.

Members of the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote, along with friends from the Sealed Knot and English Civil War Society, will be on hand to introduce you to one of the most turbulent periods in Oxford’s history – when it became the other capital city of England!

This promises to be a very special evening at one of the most prestigious venues in the country. Tickets are FREE but booking is essential. (£1 booking fee) Book here >>

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Find out where we’re battling this summer!

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Fancy stepping back in time to one of the most tumultuous periods in British history?

Do you want to hear drums call ranks of musketeers and pikemen to order, cannons roaring besides them as preachers and officers exhort them into battle? Do you want to see how life was lived by ordinary people during the 17th Century?

We have a full schedule of events this summer where we’ll be heading back to the English Civil Wars and bringing this important period of history to life across the UK!

Here’s a list of where the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote will be appearing this year, check out the further details below or click on our interactive map!

  • Charlton Park, Wiltshire: Sat 27 May 2017 – Mon 29 May 2017
  • Newark, Nottinghamshire: Sat 22 Jul 2017 – Sun 23 Jul 2017
  • Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire: Sat 05 Aug 2017 – Sun 06 Aug 2017
  • Scampston Hall, North Yorkshire: 25 August – 28 August
  • Lancaster Castle, Lancashire: 9 September – 10 September
  • Edgehill 375th Anniversary, Warwickshire: Sat 23 Sep 2017 – Sun 24 Sep 2017

Charlton Park, Wiltshire
Saturday 27 May – Monday 29 May

Buy your tickets in advance!

A major event at a stunning location in the Wiltshire countryside! The Sealed knot will bring to you the excitement of a battle with cannons roaring, cavalry charging, muskets volleying alongside a large living history camp which will be of interest to all ages. Have a word with the 17th Century suppliers of equipment and arms, see the work of the lace makers of the period alongside many more disciplines. Something for everyone, young and the young of heart.

ENTRANCE £15 PER CAR // £10 CAR SINGLE OCCUPANT // DISCOUNT WITH SCHOOL VOUCHER £10 PER CAR

Newark, Nottinghamshire
Saturday 22 July – Sunday 23 July

This July, the Sealed Knot will be returning to Newark to stage a battle reenactment on the sconce, one of the best-preserved English Civil War defences in the country.

On Saturday 22 July and Sunday 23 July, we will be helping stage spectacular English Civil War battles and providing an insight into how people lived and died at Newark in the 1640s.

Home to the National Civil War Museum, Newark is the ideal place to discover more about this important period in British history. From thunderous battles featuring cannons, muskets, pike, and cavalry, to the encampment showing you the life and times of the English Civil War, this is something not to be missed.

Children can take part in specially-organised pike drills on the camp, where there will be an assortment of trades and crafts of the period.

Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire
Saturday 5 August – Sunday 6 August

Once again the Royalist forces of the Duke of Newcastle lay siege to the Parliamentarian garrison in the stunning castle, now run by the National Trust. Come and see the skirmish and wander through the living history village. Discover more >>

Scampston Hall, North Yorkshire
Saturday 26 August – Monday 28 August

Sealed Knot members from around the country will flock to North Yorkshire for the largest Civil War event in the UK!

A spectacular battle featuring hundreds of reenactors will crown a huge Bank Holiday weekend event – cannon, muskets, and drums will sound across the parkland surrounding this magnificent house.

This is the perfect chance to see the Sealed Knot at its best. Just 40 minutes from York and half an hour from Scarborough, this great location is an ideal Bank Holiday treat for the whole family!

Lancaster Castle
Saturday 9 September – Sunday 10 September

To arms! Step back to a turbulent time in Lancaster’s history as the English Civil War returns – from the town’s brave defenders to the castle’s stout walls keeping plundering Royalists at bay! The Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote will be garrisoning the castle and giving the family the chance to experience what life was like in 1643 as King Charles and Parliament fought for control of the country. Witness live weapons demonstrations, talk to the soldiers, and see how people lived in the 17th Century in a superb educational day out for young and old alike. In this war without an enemy – which side will YOU choose?

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Edgehill 375th Anniversary, Warwickshire
Saturday 23 September – Sunday 24 September

The Sealed Knot end their reenactment season with a special event marking 375 years since the Battle of Edgehill, the first major engagement of the English Civil Wars.

Both sides hoped that the battle next to the sleepy village of Kineton would decisively end the squabbles between King Charles and his Parliament, yet the mixed outcome merely heralded almost a decade of warfare across the British Isles.

Come and mark the occasion with us as we take part in a huge battle reenactment at this historical location!

Besiege Newark! This July, the Sealed Knot returns!

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The Queen’s Sconce has stood next to the town of Newark since 1644, when it formed part of the vast network of defences thrown up to protect this Royalist bastion from Parliamentarian forces.

This July, the Sealed Knot will be returning to Newark to stage a battle reenactment on the sconce, one of the best-preserved English Civil War defences in the country.

On Saturday 22 July and Sunday 23 July, we will be helping stage spectacular English Civil War battles and providing an insight into how people lived and died at Newark in the 1640s.

Home to the National Civil War Museum, Newark is the ideal place to discover more about this important period in British history. From thunderous battles featuring cannons, muskets, pike, and cavalry, to the encampment showing you the life and times of the English Civil War, this is something not to be missed.

Children can take part in specially-organised pike drills on the camp, where there will be an assortment of trades and crafts of the period.

Keep an eye on our blog for more information as we get closer to this fantastic event!

This Bank Holiday weekend: muskets, cannon and pike come to Northampton!

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17796753_1656906064395333_5347088845753045927_n.jpgExperience a nation at war with itself in the Parliamentarian heartland of Northamptonshire!

At Billing Aquadrome this Bank Holiday weekend, cannon will roar and musketeers will volley as an all action battle unfolds when members of the Sealed knot recreate two forces, one of the King Charles I and one of Parliament under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell.

Alongside this the 17th Century village will consist of trades who supplied the armies and crafts of the period, all presented by people knowledgeable in their field.

We’re delighted to be returning to Billing Aquadrome, just outside the centre of Northampton, for a weekend of bringing the English Civil Wars to life with the Sealed Knot!

Date: 29 April to 1 May
Location: Billing Aquadrome, Crow Lane, Great Billing, NN3 9DA

Order of events
Saturday
11am – Living history camp opens
11am – Regimental arms displays
2pm – Large formation parade with firepower of two cannon, followed by skirmish
4.30pm- Living history closes.

Sunday
11am – Living history camp opens
11am – Army parade
2pm – Skirmish
4.30pm- Living history closes.

Monday
11am – Living history camp opens
12 noon – Skirmish
4pm- Living history closes.

This event is being organised and run by The London Brigade of the Armie of Parliament of the Sealed Knot Society.

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Traitor at the Gate: who was Sir John Hotham, the man who closed the gates of Hull?

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4.a.jpgOn 23 April 1642, a herald appeared at the gates in the fortifications of Hull that led to the road to nearby Beverley.

He called on the governor, Sir John Hotham, to open the gates and admit the King, Charles Stuart, who was nearby with 300 troops.

Hull was a strategic port and site of an arsenal left after the Bishops’ Wars against the Scottish Covenanters in 1638 and 1640. Already limbering up for armed conflict against Parliament, Charles wanted access to the weapons stored with its walls. Sir John’s job was to make sure he never got them.

So he refused.

Yet in just a few short months, the same Sir John would be negotiating with the King’s allies to surrender the town to the Royalists.

This Sunday, reenactors from the Sealed Knot and the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote will reenact this moment with members of Hull Playgoers Society, next to the actual remains of the Beverley Gate.

But who was Sir John Hotham?

With five marriages and military service on the Continent under his belt, Hotham was MP for Beverley. Dismissed from the governorship of Hull because of his objection to the Bishops’ Wars, which he thought would damage the fortunes of the northern counties, he was nonetheless elected MP for Beverley in the Long Parliament of 1640 and actively opposed the King. In January 1642, Parliament re-appointed him governor of Hull and told to head there forthwith.

Specifically instructed not to deliver up the town or its arsenal without Parliament’s authority, when the King appeared before the walls on 23 April 1642, Hotham barred the town gates and denied him entry. The King declared Hotham a traitor, but Parliament praised his actions. In July, the King returned with a small army and the first siege of Hull became the earliest military action of the English Civil War.

Wenceslas_Hollar_-_Hull.jpgHull’s strategic importance increased during 1643 when the military success of the Royalist general, the Marquis of Newcastle, against the Yorkshire forces of Sir Ferdinando and his son Thomas Fairfax, as well as the defection of Sir Hugh Cholmley at Scarborough, left the city as the only Parliamentarian stronghold in the county.

Rather than attack the city’s impressive walls, the Royalists instead turned their efforts to trying to convince Sir John to change sides. Hotham had grown disenchanted with the Parliamentarian cause and its leadership and had already entered into secret negotiations with Newcastle to surrender the town.

But the indiscreet behaviour of his eldest son, Captain John Hotham, aroused the suspicion of Parliamentarian commanders. Captain Hotham had originally secured Hull against the Royalists with the support of the radical MP Peregrine Pelham and the Yorkshire Trained Bands, the local militia force. But military blunders, the poor behaviour of his troops, and his resentment at Thomas Fairfax’s authority led to the secret negotiations.

At a rendezvous of Parliamentarian troops at Nottingham in June 1643, Colonels Cromwell and Hutchinson reported their suspicions to their superiors and and the arrest of Captain Hotham was ordered. He escaped from Nottingham and fled to Lincoln, but was arrested again when he went to confer with his father at Hull.

Sir John himself made a desperate attempt to escape but was finally arrested at Beverley.

So suspicious and angry had people become with Hotham’s behaviour that one detractor at the time marvelled that after his failed defection he “found nott soe much as one man to lift a hand on his behalf”. His arrest was not handled with kid gloves:

one musketeer battered Sir John, felling him from his horse and striking his face with a musket butt, inflicting a grievous wound from which Hotham suffered until his execution.

Both Hothams were imprisoned in the Tower of London but worse was to come – when Newcastle’s correspondence was captured after the battle of Marston Moor, the full extent of their plotting was revealed.

The popular Parliamentarian general Sir William Waller presided over the court-martial of the Hothams in December 1644. Sir John was found guilty of treason – thus earning the dubious distinction of being declared a traitor by both King and Parliament – and despite trying to lay all blame on his father, Captain Hotham too was condemned.

Hotham was beheaded on Tower Hill on 2 January 1645, the day after the execution of his son.

Sir John Hotham was characterised by both sides as a weak man and a turncoat who, despite his steadfast handling of the incident at the Beverley Gate in 1642, showed his true colours by prevaricating, possibly to buy himself time to see which side would be victorious. His son was a hot-headed and stubborn man whose actions undoubtedly helped lead him and his father to the scaffold.

As described in Andrew Hopper’s Turncoats and Renegadoes: Changing Sides during the English Civil Wars, there was – at least – one upside to Hotham’s wavering – it kept the King’s forces outside the gates of Hull:

Whether it was due to Sir John’s second thoughts or his deliberate sabotaging of their efforts, the royalists’ failure to secure Hull’s arms magazine led to the king’s army being poorly equipped at Edgehill – itself a decisive factor in their failure to inflict a crushing defeat on the Earl of Essex.

He may have been a traitor but Sir John Hotham, probably without realising, did the Parliamentary cause one big favour.