Youngsters beware – a trip to the Royal Armouries this weekend could be impressive!


Caption: re-enactors Michael Molcher, Ian Handley and Danni Sheldon enact a scene from this weekend’s English Civil War display at the Royal Armouries (photo credit: image by GAVIN FREEBORN)


Youngsters visiting the Royal Armouries this weekend could find themselves signing up to join The New Model Army … whether they like it or not!

Clarence Dock will sound with the boom of cannon and the crack of muskets on Saturday and Sunday, as the sights, sounds and smells of the English Civil Wars come to life with an outdoor display of 17th Century arms and armour next to the Royal Armouries.

This weekend, one man’s past will come back to haunt him as he is pressed into service by the very army he betrayed – thanks to a display by the re-enactors of The Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote.

But parents beware – the kids could soon be whisked off by the recruiting sergeant, who is under orders to find fresh recruits for Parliament’s army in its war against supporters of King Charles!

After ‘volunteering’ to sign on the dotted line, they’ll soon be practising pike drill under the watchful eyes of the officers, who won’t hesitate to hand out penalties for shoddy soldiering! Youngsters who sign up will receive their own original ‘impressment commission’.

From its very beginning in the first English Civil War, Parliament’s New Model Army was largely manned by ‘impressments’ – men forced into becoming soldiers – with every county pressured into providing new recruits.

Julian France from the Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote said:
“In the 17th Century, impressment was the only way the New Model Army could get enough men so that the King’s forces could be defeated. And like every country, Yorkshire had to provide enough soldiers.
“We love coming to Leeds and the Royal Armouries to bring the English Civil War to life and this year’s event should be the best yet, with our recruiting sergeant on the look out for youngsters to press into military service.
“And parents needn’t worry – we’ll hand the kids back at the end. Unless they ask us not to!”

Leeds has a rich English Civil Wars history – Briggate and Leeds Bridge were the scene of a battle in 1643 when the Parliamentarians stormed the town from Woodhouse Moor, a fight witnessed by St John’s Church which still stands on New Briggate; overlooking the Royal Armouries, the Cavalier pub now sits on the site where the town was bombarded by Royalist forces; and King Charles himself was interred at Red Hall on the Headrow, where the Cube shopping centre now stands, by Scottish forces on their way to hand him over to Parliament.

For more information, please contact public relations officer
Michael Molcher on 07821 405 772 or

Event details:
Where:     Royal Armouries museum, Armouries Drive, Leeds
When:        10am – 5pm, 25th and 26th September
Activities:    Historical encampment with 17th Century crafts and artefacts; re-enactors in period clothing; regular displays of arms including the firing of cannon and muskets; recruitment of youngsters into the regiment.

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 about the regiment, go to or visit our official blog at

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.

Long arguments between King Charles I and his Parliament over taxation, religion and control of the country spilled over into open conflict in 1642, with the country dividing into those who supported the King and those who supported Parliament.

Defeated in 1645 at Naseby by Parliament’s New Model Army, Charles was arrested but his secret treaty with the Scottish sparked the second Civil War. The Scots were defeated at Preston, and the King was then tried before being executed in January 1649.

His heir, the future Charles II, began the third English Civil War when he invaded England with a Scottish army in 1650. They were defeated by the forces of Oliver Cromwell, who went on to invade Scotland and Ireland.

The only commoner to ever rule England, Cromwell headed the English Commonwealth and then became king in all but name as Lord Protector. He died in 1658, but his son and successor Richard Cromwell soon abdicated. Charles II returned and was restored as King of England in 1660.


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