A 17th Century Re-Enactment Regiment in The Sealed Knot

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Who are We?

Prince Rupert's Commanding Officer at the end of the Civil War was Lt Colonel John Russell; he had become the Regiment's Commanding Officer after the tragic death of Colonel Henry Lunsford on Christmas Steps during the taking of Bristol by Rupert's forces in July 1643.

Lunsford had led attacks on the city walls at Windmill Hill with his Regiment of Foot, but had repeatedly been beaten back. However a successful assault on a different part of the wall had led to Parliament's troops being distracted by attacks on two fronts. This advantage was pressed home by Lunsford who charged at the head of the Regiment, leading them by example. Unfortunately in the ensuing house-to-house fighting Lunsford was hit by musketeers on Christmas Steps; he fell, shot through the heart. Christmas Steps was for a time re-named Lunsford's Stairs, but has now reverted to its original name.
The spot where Lunsford was hit is commemorated by a plaque raised by the present Rupert's Regiment some years ago, and is still there today.

Lunsford's Regiment were therefore without a Colonel. The Regiment, through their exploits earlier in the war at the battle of Edgehill - the famous Chalgrove Raid - and at the siege of Bristol had gained some degree of recognition. Rupert, who had known Henry Lunsford well, decided to make the Regiment his own, to be known thereafter as Prince Rupert's Regiment of Foot.

Although being the Colonel of the Regiment, Rupert obviously could not command it in person, and he chose as the Lieutenant Colonel, John Russell to command the regiment.
John Russell and Prince Rupert's Regiment went on to fight in many of the major battles of the War.

When the Regiment took part in the battle of Naseby it formed the reserve with the King's Lifeguard; here the Regiment made its famous 'last stand' and fought on until overpowered by incredible odds with no quarter being asked or given. The tattered and torn colours of the Regiment paraded through London bore witness to the hard-fought battle and the ferocity of the attacks on the Regiment.

Despite this loss, Lt Colonel Russell managed to escape, though wounded, from this defeat and join with Prince Rupert at Bristol. Following the temporary disgrace of Rupert who was blamed for the capitulation of that city, Rupert was discharged from the King's service and his Regiments of Foot and Horse were cashiered.

The Royal Regiment of Guards was formed in 1656 by Charles II when he was in exile in Bruges, Flanders and was commanded by Thomas, Lord Wentworth.
On the Restoration in 1660 Charles II returned to England, and on 23rd November 1661 he raised 'His Majesty's Foot Regiment of Guards', with Russell as Colonel.

In 1665 the Regiment in England was amalgamated with the Regiment of Foot Guards left in Flanders to form a regiment of 24 companies under the command of Colonel John Russell.
By the time of Sedgemoor the Royal Regiment of Foot Guards consisted of 24 companies and 2 companies of Grenadiers.

Hence we have the link between Prince Rupert's Regiment to the Royal Foot Guards, who under the Colonel following John Russell, Henry Duke of Grafton, took the Regiment to Sedgemoor to beat the Rebel Army under Monmouth.

Prince Rupert's close association with the Royal Foot Guards via John Russell was seized upon as a jolly good pretext to divert into something a bit different, but still within the remit of the Sealed Knot.

We now have made a goodly start at portraying this prestigious Regiment. The concept is to recreate a reinforced Company of Foot of the Royal Regiment of Foot Guards. As the Grenadiers were in their own Companies, we are based on a Company of Foot that has been reinforced by a platoon of Grenadiers under their own officer. The troops have their march enlivened by our Regimental Corps of Drums to add spring to their step. The different marches and speed of marching have been carefully researched and taken up to great effect. The faster speed of march takes some getting used to, so stand behind us, otherwise you may get trampled to death!

To date we have a Grenadier Platoon (minimum height 6') armed with flintlocks, a Musket Division with matchlocks and a Pike Division with 16' pikes. The Captain and Lieutenants are suitably pole-armed and we have Henry, Duke of Grafton, appropriately haughty and horribly over-acted to run the commentary when putting on a display, or enjoying a goodly hanging of a rebellious peasant or two.