Hello again! After a quiet winter it’s time for the blog and social media to get up and running again ready for the 2016 season! There’s no better way to start than to have a look back over the highlights of 2015.
We may be saying so ourselves, but we had a rather good year! Lots of great events, plenty of reasons to celebrate and lots of new faces joining the ranks, so here’s a good look at all the good stuff from last year.
Major Musters – Our first of the big events in 2015 was a great event in Newark, Nottinghamshire on the Early May Bank Holiday. It was a fantastic event where the whole town turned out to support the event and as a regiment, we had a great time. It was fab to be part of the opening of the new National Civil War Centre in the town.
Late May Bank Holdiay was spent at Stanford Hall in Leicestershire. Although the event wasn’t as big as Newark, Newcastle’s were well represented and enjoyed themselves. The battle was well thought out and portrayed well for the watching crowds.
The next big event of the year was the 370th Anniversary Event for the Battle of Naseby. This was a fantastic opportunity to remember one of the iconic turning points of the Civil Wars. The event was a bigger version of an event that is regularly put on in the village and although a little wet and windy, was a great commemoration of such an important part of British History.
The biggest event of the year was the August Bank Holiday event in Chester. August Bank Holiday is always the biggest yearly event for the society and Chester was an absolute spectacle. The march from the campsite into town and the parade through the town centre on the Saturday had the most wonderful atmosphere and we had two great battles on the Racecourse on the Sunday and Monday. Teamed with great evening entertainment both on the campsite and in the town, it really was the most wonderful event to be a part of for the regiment.
Smaller Events – The first of the smaller events was back in January when the regiment went to the annual Holly Holy Day event in Nantwich, one of the longest running annual events for the society, it was cold and soggy as usual but enjoyable and ended in a cocktail bar so it was all good really!
In July we took part in another Annual event commemorating the Battle of Martson Moor, the battle at which Newcastle’s Regiment made their last stand. The event was well supported by the regiment and was enjoyable for those that were able to attend.
In September we headed to Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset to take part in a Multi-Period event. A small but perfectly formed unit of the regiment attended and enjoyed the Dorset sunshine and free entry to see the tanks. TANKS TANKS TANKS! soon became the rallying call of the weekend!
In October, 6 of the regiment joined the parade at Ripple in Worcestershire. The village is held in high regard by the society as being the home of original founder Brigadeer Peter Young. Each year a service at the parish church looks back on the year for the society and remembers members of the society who we lost that year. It’s always an honour to be there to remember the wonderful society to which we belong.
Our final event of the year was the annual event at Edgehill, Warwickshire. Held every October at the local Sports and Social Club the event commemorates the first pitched battle of the English Civil Wars and on the Sunday morning we, as always, took part in the commemorative memorial service on the original battlefield. A privilege we are honoured to have as the site is now a high security Munitions plant owned by the MOD.
As well as taking part in Society events, in 2015 we also had some of our own events going on. Back in February was the annual Feaste. There was a range of the most wonderful food provided by a great team headed up by Tig and Meathead. It was a wonderful opportunity to see everyone during the winter and an opportunity to put on our 17th Century gladrags!
We also put on a Regimental battle event at Beeston, Cheshire in August. It was a fantastic weekend with great weather and as always, a brilliant time setting up a full Living History camp as a regiment and spending all day in the camp showing the public what 17th Century life was like.
Reasons to Celebrate
We’ve had many reasons to celebrate this last year. Firstly, at Naseby we had a joint birthday party for Mother hen of the Regiment Tig and our Web Master and Pike Corporal Fish, who turned 60 and 50 respectively. It was a great party and some of the best food you could imagine when camping in a field in Northamptonshire!
In August we had lots of celebrating going on. Firstly, there was the 60th Birthday party of twin members of our regiment John and Nick Cooper. This event was held at Nick’s house in Oxfordshire and was an opportunity for the regiment to put on their 21st Century finery and enjoy a lovely celebration.
We also had another party at Chester for Andy’s belated 40th and Nathan’s 21st. Another fab party with fantastic food! If there’s one thing we know how to do in Newcastle’s, it’s how to put on a great spread!
Our final celebration at an event was for Toby’s 13th Birthday whilst we were at Bovington. Not only was Toby mightly impressed by spending the weekend at the Tank Museum which is a firm favourite, we also had a rather fabulous cake party!
Unfortunately, it seems we didn’t think to take any photos of our partying in August & September! We’ll aim to improve on that this year!
Although we haven’t had a chance to celebrate it properly yet, Over the Christmas period we also had an Engagement! Longstanding member of the regiment Ellie is now engaged to her partner Craig, who has become a member of the regiment this last year. It’s definitely been a great year for celebrations in the regiment and hopefully 2016 will be providing lots more reasons to party!
We’ve already started on the partying this year too, by celebrating Commanding Officer Dave’s 60th Birthday in style with a fantastic meal at a pub in Nantwich on the Saturday night. No photos as yet but hopefully the blog fairy can find some before writing about the Nantwich event next week!
New Arrivals – This year has seen the arrival of three new Baby Newcastle’s! The first to arrive this year was Dexter, who was born back in April to parents Ellie and Craig. He’s been enjoying some of his first events including Stanford Hall, Naseby, Beeston, Chester and Bovington! That’s a lot to pack into the first 9 months of being a Newcastle!
Next to enter the world was Robyn, youngest member of the Kneller clan. Parents Kate and Richard, big sister Romilly and Conker the dog welcomed their new arrival in November and introduced her to the rest of the regiment at Nantwich last weekend. Robyn is definitely part of a re-enacting family with Grandparents on both sides of the family, her cousin (Dexter!) and both Aunties all members of the regiment too!
The final arrival of 2015 was baby Ozzy. Ozzy’s Dad, maternal Grandparents and Auntie are all members of Newcastles and his Mum spent many years as a Newcastle until joining a cavalry regiment a few years ago. Meathead and Hannah gave the regiment the best Christmas present we could have asked for because yes, Ozzy was born on Christmas Day!
Transfers – This year saw 3 members of the wider society decide to come and join Newcastles from other regiments. The Newcastle’s blog fairy, Beth B came across from Tillier’s in the winter after finding that Newcastle’s had the kind of regimental family feel of her childhood memories of the Sealed Knot.
Beths turn out to be like busses, as two have come along at once! Beth P has also made the move from Skippon’s regiment t obe with her boyfriend James who has been a member of Newcastle’s since joining as a child. Firm friends already, the two of them have fitted right in with the rest of the ladies in the regiment, mainly through a mutual love of gin.
Romantic ties was the reason that Richard Kneller also decided to join the rest of his family moving from Hoghton’s regiment. Wife Kate and daughters Romilly and Robyn are part of the Newcastle’s flock so Richard decided it was time to join them in a nice new white coat too.
All 3 are still very firm friends with their previous regiments. There are no hard feelings and sometimes moving within the society is just a better fit for someone. It’s great to have all 3 new transfers in the regiment though!
New Full Members – This year has also seen a host of new members joining the ranks, some of which liked it so much that after initially joining as temporary members, they became full members during the season.
First to join us was Nathan, friend of regimental members Digger and Meathead, he first joined us for the regimental Feaste and then decided to give the battlefield a go at Newark. He loved that weekend, saying that it ‘already felt like a second family’ and has been coming to most events since then. He fits right in with the rest of the regiment and it’s great to have such an enthusiastic new Pikeman and has already perfected his dramatic death routine!
Also joining us for the first time at the Feaste was the Jarmy family. Coming all the way from Glasgow to join us at the events, Scott and June and their two young boys James and Dylan have got stuck in. After Feaste, their first muster was Standford Hall and they trekked south again for Naseby and Beeston. The boys love it and when not chasing their boys around the campsite, Scott and June have become firm members of the regiment already. It will be great to see them at more events in 2016.
Another new member to join the ranks at Newark was James Baugh. He has done various re-enactment over the years, often involved in Cavalry of some sort and was recommended Newcastle’s by friend of the regiment and Cavalry member Rosie. James joined with a friend at Newark and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Time constraints prevented him from attending another event in 2015 but he’s signed back up for the coming season and we’re looking forward to seeing him again at Feaste in a few weeks.
Next to join us at Stanford was Craig Bell, boyfriend at the time and now Fiance of Ellie, who’s been a Newcastle all her life, it’s been great to have Craig join the Pike block and the whole Bell/Moger family coing to events now that baby Dexter is here too. Craig’s laid back nature has allowed him to become one of the lads straight away and he has been to many events since.
At Naseby we welcomed back Rena who’s been away for a few years. Rena’s parents Bob and Rita have remained members for the duration, bringing along Rena’s daughter Myah but it’s been really nice to have Rena come back to the regiment. She’s enjoyed being back with the gang and especially enjoyed seeing Myah getting involved as she took up drumming this year and has been joining in with parades ready for going on the field in a few years time. There are as yet no pictures of Rena in kit, we’ll work on that this season!
Our final new full member joined us at Chester. Alyssa Cooper’s parents, sister and Uncle and Aunt are all members of the regiment and Alyssa decided it was time to give it a go too. Alyssa, or Alan when looking manly in the Pike Block, got stuck in immediately, joining the block with no fear and grinning from ear to ear at the end of her first battle. She’s since joined us again for Nantwich, has bought her ticket for Feaste and already decided whether a recent date was a keeper based on whether he’d be good in the pike block. It looks like Alyssa’s here to stay!
Temporary Members – Friend of new member James, Robert Rankin also came and joined us for the weekend at Newark. He too really enjoyed his time with us and is hoping that once he has more time he will be able to join us for future events.
After seeing our re-enactment at nearby Beeston Castle, 3 members of the Hall family, Robert Snr, Robert Jnr and Haydon all came to give it a go at Chester. Both Roberts loved it and planned to come again later in the year until they were struck down by a bit of lurgey. They’re hoping to come back again this coming season to give it another go and that in time Haydon will also settle in and come to more events with us. Always enthusiastic, we’re looking forward to this Father/2 sons trio coming back to a battle field soon (and get their picture!).
As well as the Hall family, our Water Carriers had a helping hand at Chester. John and Helen Cooper often have spanish speaking student lodgers staying with them and at the time of Chester, Gabriel was staying with us. Language barriers were no issue for the rest of the regiment and the smile on Gabriel’s face at the end of the battle told us everything we needed to know about whether he’d enjoyed his day.
There was another influx of people coming along to give it ago a month later at Bovintgon. Only a half an hour drive away from their home in Weymouth, Ellie and Craig brought along a few friends. Indi joined Ellie in women’s kit for the weekend and instantly fitted in as one of the gang. She enjoyed the weekend a lot and hopes to come to more events this year when she’s not scheduled to work at a weekend.
Another friend of Ellie and Craig’s, Richie came along with his 10 year old son Felix. Richie got straight into the thick of it in the pike block and Felix was kitted out too. He spent the day with another of our young members Ollie and although a little shy, did agree that he too would like to come back again with his Dad when they can.
Our final new temporary member this season was Thai. He joined us for the battle at Edgehill. Although he only had a very basic army canvas to sleep under during a cold and wet October weekend, his spirits weren’t dampened and he enjoyed the pike block and hopes that once he’s settled into a job etc that he will join us again for some events this year (and again, we’ll get him caught on camera!)
It was a pleasure to have all of our new members come and join us for battles this season, we’re already pleased to have so many of them returning already and can’t wait to see others who are aiming to join us again when they have the time and means to do so. There’s always a place in Newcastle’s regardless if you’re there once a month or once a year.
Overall, it’s been a fantastic year for the regiment with plenty of new members, lots of great events and plenty of partying. We have so much to look forward to over the coming months. 2016 has already started well with Nantwich, incorporating Dave’s birthday and in just a few weeks we will be heading to our regimental heartland of Chapeltown near Sheffield for our annual Feaste before congregating in the regimental ‘Local’ for pints and plenty of singing.
The next Muster of the season is fast approaching in mid April as we head down to Old Basing House in Hampshire for the first full weekend event of the year. It’s going to be a good opportunity to clear the cobwebs and get used to being back on the field before heading to our Regimental event at our regiment’s true home, Bolsover Castle.
Owned by The Marquess of Newcastle himself, Bolsover was his Bachelor pad before and during the Civil War before becoming the quiet, relaxing out of London home for him and his second wife when they returned from exile on the restoration of the crown. It is always an absolute pleasure to represent our regiment’s namesake in the castle that was his home and it will no doubt be a wonderful weekend for the regiment.
Later that month we will be back to Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire where we have had some wonderful events over the past few years. Home of Lord Byron, the pretty stately home is a lovely setting for an event and it will be great to be back there at the end of May before seeing where the rest of 2016 takes us.
As always, we’ll be keeping the blog going throughout the season with posts about Upcoming Events, Muster Write Ups, our ‘Meet the Member’ feature and the newly rebranded ‘Scholar’s Corner’ where members of the regiment share their knowledge about 17th Century History.
As well as the blog you can keep up to date with us on social media, follow the links below!