My first Battle of Nantwich

Nantwich, a small town in Cheshire, was once the scene of a fierce battle between Parliament and Royalist forces that took place on 26 January 1644. Parliament prevailed and lifted the six-week-long siege of Nantwich by the King’s army.

Every year, on the weekend closest to the anniversary of the battle – known as Holy Holly Day because Roundhead soldiers stuck sprigs of holly in their hats on the way to battle as a field sign – the Sealed Knot parades through the town and re-stages the battle. It is the longest running regular fixture in the Sealed Knot’s calendar and its combination of socialising, mud and the competitive Rose Bowl contest makes it a favourite amongst members.

Here, one of our regiment’s youngest fighting members, Jess Tomlinson, gives a very personal account of why Nantwich – and fighting with Manchester’s – is so much fun:

Everyone looks forward to the battle of Nantwich, it is the most talked
about event of the New Year. Renowned for being the muddiest and
most brutal battle of the season, you can imagine how excited I was
at 16 to have my first battle at such an event. However that dream
was dashed when in the same year I was to step onto the field at
Nantwich they changed it to August.

Three years on and I got to finally experience my first Nantwich and,
in one word, it is fantastic. It is an event fuelled with alcohol and
laughter, you have little sleep in the freezing cold hall yet you still get
up in the morning to put on a show, then drink and have an amazing
night with your friends around you.

Saying this makes it sound like one big party but Nantwich provided
me with something I will never forget – the sense of pride I felt march-
ing through the historic market town with the Earl of Manchesters
Regiment of Foote. The march is supported by the enchanting sound
of the drums and the not-so-enchanting singing from our ranks, the
sound made me proud to be a part of this prestigious event.

While at Nantwich we participate in the Rose Bowl competition, which
made me nervous, I was a musketeer that day and I was so scared
that I would get it wrong or be out of time.

The Rose Bowl competition carries on when you step onto the mud-
dy postage stamp aka. the battlefield. This made my adrenaline hit
an all time high and I had the best battle I have had since I started
fighting three years ago the battle was fun and adrenaline packed.
I had the chance to just let myself go and I loved every second of it.

We did not win the Rose Bowl, however in my eyes Manchester’s
are always winners and my first Nantwich will be a weekend that I
will never forget.

Jess Tomlinson


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