The 370th Anniversary of the Battle of Naseby: 13th & 14th June 2015

This weekend Newcastle’s were in Naseby, Northamptonshire, an area well frequented by Newcastle’s and The Sealed Knot as a whole over the years.

The Battle of Naseby was in 1645 and was the second most important battle to be fought on British soil, after the Battle of Hastings. It was the turning point of the English Civil Wars as the Royalists slowly began to lose grip on their cause and the Parliamentarians began to achieve the results that they were after, ultimately leading to the death of the King in 1649.

The battle was fought in fields on the edge of Naseby on the 14th June, 1645 and was first battle of the newly formed New Model Army of Parliament. This army was the forerunner of what we know today as the British Army. It was kitted out in a standard uniform, was paid regularly and was run not by officers who were such because of their status, but because of their ability and military achievement. It was led by Sir Thomas Fairfax and was kitted out in the Red Coats that became the symbol of the army from then until the end of the 19th Century.

This weekend saw us as part of The Sealed Knot fighting on the exact battlefield where the battle had taken place, 370 years to the day beforehand. It was one of the bloodiest battles on British soil and was a complete disaster for the Royalist Army.

The event was organised by the Naseby Battlefield Project, who have worked tirelessly over the years to secure the battlefield’s heritage, install information panels, a walking guide and viewpoints in strategic locations and are currently bidding for Heritage Lottery Funding to open up a visitors centre inside Naseby’s parish church.

As the original Newcastle’s regiment was not present at the battle, we took on the identity of Sir Henry Bard’s regiment, marching under the Bard’s colour instead of our own.

It was a hard battle over uneven ground but the pike, especially on the second day, fought well against the enemy to put on a good performance. The musket were also able to have a good battle, again it was better on day 2 thanks to the weather being considerably better and not having to fight with damp powder.

The event was well run and we had a very enjoyable time. There was something particularly humbling about re-enacting on the exact field, on the exact day and it was truly a pleasure to be able to demonstrate to those of a modern age a battle that formed a pivotal part of their history and the country they live in today. It was also lovely to see the event so well supported, with people watching from their driveways as the armies marched passed.

There was a service again on the Sunday morning to which some Newcastle’s attended. It was a poignant and memorable occasion as re-enactors and locals joined together to take part in the service, which took place on the village green outside the parish church. Not only was the service itself special, some of the other regiments, who fight as the namesakes of officers actually present at the battle, were able to meet the direct descendents of these officers, who had been invited for the weekend. This would have been a very special moment for those regiments who had that opportunity.

On a social side of things, the regiment was in full celebratory mood this weekend as we celebrated the Birthdays of Tig and Fish. Tig, who is basically Mother Hen of the regiment and one of the foundation stones of our wonderful second family was treated like royalty for the evening and rightly so as she celebrated her 60th Birthday. Fish, website extrodinnaire and whisky loving Corporal of Pike was celebrating the big 5-0 and was very, very pleased with his whisky infused cake!

There was a 4 course buffet, including some wonderful ham, terrine and sausages from the pigs owned by Tim the regimental farmer and the evening was absolutely fantastic. The Newcastle’s blog fairy that writes these posts is a relatively new transfer to the regiment and was hugely, hugely impressed by the fab food spread and wonderful party atmosphere that they experienced for the first time.

Newcastle’s didn’t have any new members at this event, but young member Myah took part in the re-enactment for the first time. Aged 13, Myah is not able to go on the battlefield yet, but borrowing a drum on Sunday was able to take part in the Drumhead service and march to and from the battlefield, which this weekend was well over a mile each way. In the morning, she improvised with wooden spoon handles and then treated herself to some new drumsticks at lunch time before the march to and from the battle in the afternoon.

The two other drummers in the regiment, Jane and Beth were extremely impressed with Myah’s natural ability as she picked the beats up with ease and played like she’d been drumming for years. It’s fab that Myah has been able to give this a go now, as by the time she’s old enough for the field she will be a seasoned pro!

Myah was at the event with her Mum and her Grandparents. Her Grandad, Bob, is one of Newcastle’s Musketeers and was very proud to have Myah joining in with him for the day. He said,

It’s not often that we get to fight exactly on the battlefield, on the exact day however many years later but this weekend we got to do just that and I am so proud of Myah for taking part and being able to say she was there. She did really well and I’m incredibly proud of her.

Overall, it was a fabulous weekend, made extra special by the date and location. We are now looking forward to commemorating the battle of Marston Moor next month before hosting a regimental event at Beeston Castle in August.

Below are links to some local press articles about the weekend and a youtube video of the battle.

Northampton Chronicle and Echo

Youtube Video by Vobavision

As always, if you think this is something you would like to get involved with, head to the Joining Us page to find out how to do just that.

Photos provided by Rusty Aldwinckle and regimental members Ellie Bell, Bill Jones, Rena Erasmus & Beth Knight.

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