On our blog we are starting a new feature each month, introducing you to one of the members of the regiment. We hope this will allow you to get to know us a bit more and see just how much of a diverse bunch we are in our 21st Century lives!
We also hope it lets you see why we love our hobby so much and hopefully convinces you to come and join us in a field somewhere in the near future!
Without further ado, here is the first member for you to meet!
Name: Dave Lovell
Age: Nearly 60
Rank/Role in the regiment: Commanding Officer (the man at the top!)
21st Century Occupation: Electronic Engineer
How long have you been in the regiment and what was your first event?
For ever! I went along to a regimental training event in September 1972 to see what it was all about and was kitted out and ready for action on Woodhouse Moor in Leeds in January 1973. I even got a two second TV appearance on a regional news programme.
Why did you decide to join?
I always had an interest in history, particularly military history, though with no special interest in the English Civil War period. In fact, if I had to declare a particular area of interest I think I would broadly describe it as The Age of Sail. In the early 1970s, re-enacting options were limited to The Sealed Knot or the Napoleonic Wars. There are many more options these days but they still don’t run to manning the yards of one of Nelson’s frigates at weekends. So why become an English Civil War re-enactor? Really nothing more than grabbing the opportunity that presented itself. A group of us at school did World War II war gaming and when one of our number saw a recruiting poster for the Sealed Knot, he suggested we should go and see the local Officer of Newcastle’s to talk about joining. I must confess to being less than enthusiastic about the idea to start with. It seemed like a rather expensive way of having a little bit of fun but I was soon convinced it need not be particularly expensive, and boy did it turn out to be a lot of fun! And that is without even allowing for the fact (in case you are not old enough to remember) that after you had read the paper, there wasn’t much to do on a Sunday in the 70s.
What has been your favourite ever event and why?
After so many it is impossible to single out any individual one as a favourite, so I’ll take the question as asking which was the most memorable. Musters long ago probably came near the top of that list, but not so much because they were inherently better, more because they were new experiences to me. So those that stand out are the ones that were different, like Windsor in 1977 where the Sealed Knot lined the Queen’s route during part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, or our cross-channel trip to Gravelines in France, ten years later. Disposing of left over black powder that could not be brought back to the UK left a very large hole in the French Countryside and several smaller ones in French windscreens. But I think the top of any list would be the week long event the Sealed Knot did in London in 1974. We all got free B&B in a central London hotel in exchange for a performance every evening in the moat of the Tower of London.
What’s your favourite part of being in Newcastle’s?
The Sealed Knot is not unlike a friendly Local, where you turn up knowing you will meet friends there. It’s just that this Local is in a different place every weekend. Stretching the analogy, Newcastle’s is the snug where all the best people hang out. How do you pick a favourite part of that!?
Does that sound like a cop out? Perhaps, but maybe it’s easier to come at the question from the other direction, would Knotting lose its attraction if any facet of it disappeared? Looking at it that way, it’s a definite maybe for sure! But I am certain that Newcastle’s as a group would survive for far longer if the re-enacting side of Knotting was to suddenly disappear than it would if it suddenly became all about re-enacting with no social side at all.
So after being a member for so long it really is impossible to pick a favourite part and the whole thing comes as a package anyway. But to put me on the spot again and force an answer I’d say seeing a new generation of youngsters discovering and enjoying the delights of the Sealed Knot as I once did. Perhaps not partying and battling quite as hard or for as long as we did, but they do their best, bless ’em!
Which 21st Century comfort do you miss the most when at an event?
For me personally, barely anything, but my partner would say everything she could bring in a caravan. If I have to pick something I’ll go for a toilet with paper and a working light!
If you’re not spending your weekends re-enacting, what would you be doing instead?
These days, mostly wondering how I used to find the time and energy to fly planes for fun and keep my classic cars on the road. I still have my Lotus Elite for Summer days out in the English countryside and an annual continental driving holiday. I’ve owned it from new and at 17 years old, it probably counts as a classic in its own right now. As for my Triumph TRs, perhaps I’ll finally get round to restoring them to their former glory in retirement.
And finally, what is your tipple of choice after a hard day’s battling?
Re-enacting can be hard work, especially since it has to be done wrapped in heavy woolen clothing. Pints sweated out in battle need to be taken in again,so it has to be beer, Real Ale of course and these days there is plenty of variety to choose from. And despite the rumours, I’m still a long way from the days when it will be a mug of Horlicks!