Brief History of the Regiment
The regiment is one of the oldest serving in the Sealed Knot, and represents both the Pike and Musket arms of a typical foot regiment in the Civil War. As well as combatants we have drummers, camp followers and apprentices (older children who are too young to go on the battle field). There is no discrimination in the regiment, if you want to fight with a pike and are fit enough to do it then that’s great, if not then don’t worry -there are always plenty of other things to try !
Our Sealed Knot regiment recreates the personal foot regiment of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex & Lord General of the armies of Parliament from 1642 to 1645. The regiment existed from the start of the Civil War (in 1642) to 1645, when its soldiers were absorbed into The New Model Army.
The first recruitment took place at the New Artillery Gardens in London. The Lord General’s doughty yeomen fought with distinction at The Battle of Edgehill in 1642, their commander among the ranks with pike in hand, and also helped to turn back the King’s forces to the west of London at The Battle of Turnham Green later that year.
On 13 April 1643, the Earl of Essex at the head of a Parliamentary army of 16,000 men left Windsor and laid siege to Reading. Despite attempts by King Charles and Prince Rupert to lift the siege, the Royalist garrison surrendered later that month. Also in 1643 Essex’s regiment were part of the force sent to relieve the siege of Gloucester which they successfully did, fighting against the King’s army on the way back at the first battle of Newbury.
1644 found both the Lord General and his regiment marching into Cornwall and subsequent chastening defeat at the Battle of Lostwithiel, although the Earl and the cavalry escaped, the foot soldiers were forced to surrender. Honour was regained at the second battle of Newbury later that year.
The Regiment was disbanded early in 1645. This was alongside most other Parliamentarian regiments due to the formation of the New Model Army, in whose ranks many of Essex’s former soldiers marched and saw action at the Battle of Naseby the same year. The Earl himself died in 1646 following a hunting accident following which he was given a large state funeral in London.