There are many roles you can do, both military and civilian, for young and old – or simply for those that are interested in how we lived in the 17th century:
The basic infantry of the Civil Wars, pikemen are normally chosen from the tallest and strongest as they needed to be able to wield a sixteen foot pike effectively. They are formed into divisions and their primary purpose is to protect against attack by cavalry. They are also used against other infantry either to hold or to gain ground. Considered to be the 'queen' of weapons, many a gentleman is found in the ranks alongside the common soldier.
Like the modern army today, the sergeant's role is to control the bodies of troops under the command of his officers. A sergeant can be identified by a sash tied around the waist, and by the use of a halberd.
At the forefront of military technology, the musket was considered to be a crude weapon unsuitable for gentlemen. However, unlike the pike or the longbow it replaced, to use a musket took little or no training, and when used in massed ranks could be devastating on the field of battle. At the start of the Civil Wars pike outnumbered musket 2 to 1, but by the end the ratio had been reversed. It is important to note that our modern musketeers are highly-trained and have undergone rigorous testing to ensure the safety of themselves and others when using the firearm in their hands.
Ensigns carry the regimental flag or "Colour" and are the most junior officers on the field. The Colour is the honour of the regiment, and is protected at all costs.
In the 17th century drummers were a significant part of an army. Their main function is to beat the orders on the field, which would otherwise not be heard in the noise of battle. They also drum while on the march to keep the soldiers at an even pace and were also important as go-betweens in parley.
There are many officers on the field of battle, from Lieutenant all the way up to General. Unlike the modern army there is no easy way to identify the rank of an officer, other than the cut of their clothes or the weapons they hold. Junior officers may carry a partizan or other small polearm to denote their rank, and have a sash tied over one shoulder. More senior officers may carry a leading staff, simply a pole with ornate decoration.
Most artillery units of the period were specialist, mercenary companies who were hired in to control a very formidable weapon. The artillerists in the Sealed Knot today can be considered to be just as specialist, as it takes a great level of skill and practice to control a cannon on a battlefield. When used effectively field artillery could devastate a battle, and we take great care in ensuring these formidable weapons are used safely and responsibly.
The cavalry units of the period were critical to the success of a battle. At Edgehill in 1642 the charge of Prince Ruperts Horse was famous for shattering the Parliamentarian lines and carrying the day for the King. Many of the horses in the Sealed Knot are the property of their riders, and the horses thoroughly enjoy the experience of charging across an open battlefield.
There are many civilian roles in the Sealed Knot, and this is only limited by your imagination. Many of our members painstakingly research a craft or trade of the period, and portray these at our many Living History displays.
Non Historical Roles
Without the support of our members who choose not to fight, the Sealed Knot would not be what it is today. There are many things that you can do to contribute to the Society, and we are grateful to all those who donate their time for little or no reward.
Sealed Knot Medical Service
The Sealed Knot Medical Service (SKMS) aims to provide full first aid cover for Sealed Knot members whilst they are at events. Made up of both professionals and volunteers, the SKMS can be seen on a Sealed Knot battlefield wearing their distinctive black tabards with a white cross. The only requirement we have to be a member of the SKMS is that you hold a relevant medical qualification, be it as simple as a current First Aid at Work certificate, and the willingness to sacrifice your personal time to the benefit of the society.