Siege! Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire: 1st & 2nd May 2016

It’s been a busy few months for Newcastle’s and it’s about time we updated you on what’s been going on! Over the next few days and weeks we will let you know about the fun we’ve been having and what we’ve got coming up as we get stuck into the rest of this campaigning season.

Back in May, we headed to Bolsover Castle, spiritual home of the regiment for an event with English Heritage. Bolsover Castle is a beautiful castle in the Derbyshire Countryside that was the playboy home of William Cavendish before the war before becoming a relaxing home for himself and his second wife once they returned from exile in France in the 1660s. It provided two great days of Living History and skirmishing and a lovely time was had by all.

The castle itself is a pretty mix of ruin and complete buildings. There is a fantastic 17th Century riding house that was built by Cavendish to practise his passion of High School riding (the predecessor to dressage) this form of riding was bought over from the continent by Cavendish and was something he practised daily. As well as this, the ‘Little Castle’ a square keep with a gardens outside surrounded by a wall is complete and some rooms are furnished in a way they would have appeared in the 17th Century. The ruined terrace provides an equally spectacular back drop with incredible views over the Derbyshire countryside, on a clear day you can see other properties in the Cavendish family collection including Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House.

Our event was in conjunction with Lisle’s regiment from The Sealed Knot and Fairfax’s and Devereaux’s from the English Civil War Society along with Cavalry provided by The Troop. Newcastle’s arrived on the Saturday afternoon and spent the evening setting up our 17th Century camp at the castle, setting our own tents up at the modern camp at a sports club in town and then heading to the local pub for some beverages and a catch up with each other.

Sunday morning was spent getting our camp ready for the public to visit and a walk through of the three skirmishes we were doing during the day. There was just time for breakfast at the pub next door before heading to the camp and interacting with the public, telling them all about what we were doing including cooking, crafts, 17th century games and explaining weaponry and the English Civil Wars.

It was lovely to have such an interested and engaged crowd and to have the whole regiment together all day on an authentic camp. As always, the ladies of the regiment provided a fantastic spread of food mid-afternoon to keep us all going.

As well as the camp we had 3 skirmishes during the day and on the Sunday also provided a drill display, showing how the muskets are fired and the pikes, drums and colours are all used in battle.

After this, there was a great display from 4 of The Troop as ‘Haselrig’s Lobsters’ they put on a great cavalry display in full armour and it was truly a fantastic spectacle for the crowd and foot soldiers alike. All rounded off by a proposal on the battlefield from one of the cavalryman to his girlfriend who is one of the grooms!

The three skirmishes are a lot more structured and scripted than the events we usually do and a wooden ‘castle’ had been built on the field for us to be besieged in. The musketeers had platforms to stand on to fire over the walls and enjoyed stealing the ladders that parliament had to try and climb into the castle and our regimental pyromaniacs James and Mat had fun running out with burning torches to set fire to the parliament ‘camp’ that was on the field, something they had done so well at our event at Beeston Castle last year they were asked to do again. It didn’t take much persuading for them to agree!

We spent Sunday evening back in the pub with our friends in Lisle’s enjoying a drink, the odd song and some great fun all round before heading back to the sports club to get a few hours’ sleep before doing it all again.

Monday was not so kind with the weather but the biting wind and a very heavy rainstorm didn’t deter and we enjoyed another day together on camp and taking part in the skirmish again. After running away at the end of the final skirmish, we surrendered and came back through the gates to the castle gardens to do our final salute to the public and rounded off a great two days before packing down our 17th century camp and heading home.

Regimental events like these are hard work but very rewarding in the end as they are a great opportunity to get our name out there for potential new recruits. They’re also a great opportunity for our new recruits to really see what we can do with the Living History side of our events and get to know lots of the regiment. We were lucky to have 4 new recruits with us for the weekend. First of all we had Liz and her son Frank who had joined us for the evening at our Feaste in February and decided to come and give it a go. Frank absolutely loved it and is now very annoyed that his friends at school don’t want to play civil war with him every day, we agree and can’t understand why they wouldn’t want to either! Here’s what Liz thought of her first event with us

The Bolsover event was the first event that Frank my 7 year old boy and I went to. The regiment were kind enough to lend Frank a kit, as it was my first event I didn’t know what to expect so I didn’t wear  kit. Everyone was very kind to us and made us feel very welcome. It was like they had known us for years. We had a great time and I have now invested in my own kit. It’s a fun, enjoyable time and I would definitely recommend it!

We also welcomed Sam and Amy, both friends of our members Beth and James who came along. Amy joined us for the day and spent it as a female civilian which suited her interest in history and fashion. Sam came along for both days, he is a friend of Beth’s from her University Weightlifting club and his enthusiasm and strength sports background are both assets to our regiment and pike block! He really enjoyed his time with us and has since been along to another event and plans to do more.

Overall it was an enjoyable and important event for us and provided a weekend of fun, laughter, happy memories and new members!

Fancy coming along to our next event? Check out or Joining Us page to find out how you can.

Images courtesy of Andrew Barrass, John Beardsworth, Roma Webb and English Heritage

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