Last weekend we all headed to the beautiful grounds of the Compton Verney Estate, just outside Kineton in Warwickshire for the first of our 375th Anniversary events, which you’ll see more and more of over the coming years. This weekend it was to re-enact the Battle of Edgehill which happened on the 23rd October 1642.
The Battle of Edgehill took place in Warwickshire in October 1642 and was the first pitched battle of the English Civil War. Although it happened in the October, we were re-creating the event just a little earlier than the actual anniversary in the hope for better weather, which broadly, we got.
It was a great event with a good campsite and a brilliant battlefield that had the iconic slope that had been crucial on the day of the original battle. The actual site of Edgehill, located less than 10 miles away from where we were, is now an MOD munitions plant and although they are kind enough to allow us to hold a memorial service on their site every year, they unsurprisingly were less keen to let us play with explosives in the middle of their munitions base…
As usual, the regiment started arriving on the Friday night and once tents were pitched and caravans parked, we headed to the beer tent and food traders to enjoy an evening of catching up with friends.
We were welcoming some new members into the regiment this weekend so it was a great way to get to know Tom, Tommy, David, Jacob and Perry.
Naturally, the rest of the evening was spent round the fire singing before retiring to bed.
Saturday morning arrived and after a month off, we were ready to get stuck into the fight. We started the morning off with drill, making sure all our new members were ready for the afternoon. All 5 of our new boys got stuck into the pike block and learned the ropes ready for the afternoon. Some were a little more enthusiastic than others after practising pushing but all of them were still keen to take to the field.
After some lunch we all got formed up ready to take to the field. With a slightly earlier battle time, it was a bit of a rush but we all made it ready to head down.
This weekend some regiments who hadn’t originally been at the Battle of Edgehill had been given the alias of another regiment who had so for this weekend the blue bonnets were gone as we took to the field as Dutton’s regiment, who also handily wore white coats.
The battle started with the whole of the Royalist army marching down the slope of the hill to meet parliament at the bottom. We were re-enacting the Royalist right flank of the battle and so moved down the hill as they would have done before. We also had plenty of cavalry for the weekend who were re-eancting the charges as accurately as they could.
We got stuck into a good, if a little scrappy fight on a field that felt a bit tight space wise even though there was loads of it! But everyone came off the field smiling and all 5 of our new members seemed to have had a great time. Unfortunately though, Newcastle’s seemed to be rather camera shy this weekend so we only have limited photos to show you!
The earlier battle start time did mean we had most of the afternoon left afterwards to relax and do other things such as looking round the living history camp and exploring the traders in traders row, looking to pick up new kit, fabrics etc.
We also had another opportunity for our pikemen, including our new recruits to try their hand at live firing, once again under the expert tuition of our musketeers.
A few of us also had a secret party to get ready for and whilst she was in her Grandparents caravan we set to work decorating the camp in preparation for Myah’s 16th Birthday party, something which we’d managed to keep completely secret from her for the past couple of weeks.
Turning 16 is a big deal in itself, but it also means that Myah would be old enough to take to the field, a big deal when you’re a re-enactor. Myah’s actual is a couple of weeks after the event so we had her party a little early. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be so lenient when it came to going on the field and so she’ll be joining us for her first battlefield experience at our event in Nantwich in January.
When discussing party plans with her mum in the few weeks before, we decided to do a party themed on her favourite thing. Myah’s favourite thing, believe it or not, is hummus. She LOVES hummus, so we had a hummus party! We brought along food contributions and with over 30 pots of hummus on offer, she was delighted.
After feeling like she was being held to ransom in the caravan by her Grandparents, we went along and gave the signal that everyone was gathered and ready so they could let her back out and the look of genuine shock on her face as we all shouted ‘happy birthday’ showed we’d been successful in giving nothing away. After receiving her bag of presents and card signed by the regiment, Myah had a little tear as she thanked us all and we tucked into all the food and the obscene amount of hummus!
There was also a cake provided by our lovely Lyn, a perfect drum for our youngest, but tallest!, drummer.
We spent the rest of the night in the beer tent before heading back to the fire for singing into the early hours. We had more opportunity to get to know all our new members who seemed to be enjoying the social side of the hobby as much as the fighting which was great, they were fitting into the regimental family already!
Sunday rolled around and we spent the morning doing Drill again. Unfortunately David and Jacob couldn’t stay for the second day’s fighting but we’re hoping we’ll see them again at more events next season. Perry, Tom and Tommy were all up for another go on the Sunday though and so got stuck into drill ready for the battle ahead.
Our apprentices, Alex and Toby also went off to their own drill with the rest of the apprentices (those aged 9 – 16) from the society and also went down to Living History to take part in displays for the public.
Once again 1pm arrived and we headed off for the second battle. We re-created the royalist charge down the hill again and then got stuck into fighting at the bottom. With slightly less numbers wise on day 2 we were pleased with our efforts and both the musket and the pike enjoyed good fights with many wins.
After battle had been done, we headed back to camp to pack down and say goodbye. Sadly, this was our last big event of the 2017 season so it was goodbye until 2018 for a lot of us as we head into the off season during the autumn and winter.
On the plus side, we have a couple of regimental things happening over the winter (not public facing) so we do have a couple of opportunities to see each other again and break up the time between now and the 2018 season starting.
The advantage of an early battle also meant we all set off for home a little earlier and were able to get back earlier than usual which was a nice way to end the season.
Although we have no big events coming up, we do however have a couple of parades in October in Warwickshire and Worcestershire so keep your eyes out over the next few weeks for posts about those.
All in all, 375 Edgehill was a great way to end the final big event of what’s been a great season.
If you’d like to give this fantastic hobby a go, please head to our Joining Us page to get all the info.