Reenacting is a unique and fascinating hobby, and you’re bound to have lots more questions about it – from how much it costs to where we get our kit from, there’s undoubtedly lots of details you’re keen to find out. We’ve tried to answer as many of the most regularly asked questions as we can think of … but if you have more, visit our ‘contact’ page and we’ll be more than happy to help!
Do you all stay ‘in character’ all weekend and speak ye olde English?
No, we don’t have ‘characters’ and we don’t pretend we’re really from the 17th Century – when we’re off the battlefield, we’re just ordinary people having fun with our friends. Some of us do a bit of acting at smaller events, which is great fun, but our interaction with the public is as normal people who just have a passion for what they do.
Do I have to wear all the clothes?
If you don’t want to go on the battlefield, then no. But what you’ll soon find is that those in modern dress look like the odd ones out! The clothes are actually a great social leveller – when you’re all dressed up it produces a great camaraderie between everyone.
Where do you get all the kit from? Will I have to spend a lot of money?
Our kit is made either by the regiment’s seamstress, Sue, or by specialist reenactment suppliers. One of the great things about joining Manchester’s is that you don’t have to shell out loads of money on kit at the very beginning, the regiment can lend you all the kit you need and, if you enjoy it, you can slowly build up items over time. It’s a great, easy way to catch the reenactment bug!
What happens at events?
Events are called ‘musters’ and usually take place at weekends throughout the year. They range in size from just a few people to several thousand. Most of our members camp in modern tents, caravans or camper vans. After you arrive on a Friday evening it’s time to set up your tent or camper and then socialise – but away from battles or training how you spend your day is entirely up to you! Battles usually take place once a day on the Saturday and Sunday, and we’ll give you training before you take part.
Do women have to be wenches?
What role you choose is entirely up to you. All roles in the regiment, including pikemen and musketeers, are open to both men and women. Have a look at the many roles you can try when you join Manchester’s – and don’t forget that if you’re not sure then you can always change your mind.
What about my kids? Is this family-friendly?
Absolutely, the Sealed Knot is a really family-friendly organisation and is a great hobby for all ages to enjoy. Our campsites are secure, there are usually people able to keep an eye on the kids during battles, and there are often activities at larger events with the Sealed Knot Apprentices. Most events take place during the summer – making the Sealed Knot perfect for keeping the kids entertained during the long school holidays!
Do I have to sleep in a 17th Century tent and quaff mead?
You can if you like but most of our members use modern tents or camper homes and caravans. The beer tents at our events sometimes have mead, but you’re more likely to find modern beers, lagers and spirits than flagons of ale! At our smaller ‘living history’ events there is sometimes the option to sleep under canvas.
Are the battles dangerous?
Injuries are rare during battles – we all look after each other and make sure we’re safe. All members are covered by the Sealed Knot’s third party insurance. But if you’re not keen on going into battle, there are non-combatant roles or you can help support the regiment on and off the battlefield too.
Do I have to fight for Parliament?
Although we are a Parliamentarian regiment, we don’t actually think we’re fighting the war all over again and which side you’re on isn’t that important – what’s more important is that you get on with the people in your regiment. But if you’d prefer to fight with the Royalist army, we can warmly recommend our friends in the Marquess of Newcastle’s Regiment of Foote.
But I don’t know anything about the English Civil Wars…
When they joined, neither did most of our members! Many didn’t join because they were interested in the history – they joined because of the great social side of being in Manchester’s. If your knowledge of the period only stretches as far as knowing Oliver Cromwell had warts, don’t think you’ll feel left out – you don’t need to be an expert to take part and there are no tests at the end!
I don't have loads of spare weekends, do I have to commit to lots of events?
No, you’re under no obligation whatsoever to attend events – you get to choose when you turn up. To help you plan ahead, the Sealed Knot’s quarterly magazine, Orders of the Day, carries a full list of events while our regimental newsletter, The True Informer, includes a list of events we’ll be turning up to as a regiment. We also make sure we keep everyone informed via our members-only Facebook group. But the choice is yours – you can come to as many or as few as you like. That’s what’s so great about Manchester’s – we know that people have a life and commitments outside of the Sealed Knot, so when you come along is entirely up to you.
I’d like to have a go but don’t want to commit to joining up...
That’s easy – a temporary membership means you can attend one event to try it out and see whether it’s for you. For just £10 (or £15 for a family) you are guaranteed a free weekend’s camping, a very warm welcome AND you get to take part! No obligation and no commitment, plus we’ll lend you all the kit you need to take part, you just need to bring a tent!
Plus, if you join up in the first six months of a calendar year then the cost of your temporary membership will get deducted from the cost of your full membership! Contact us now for details.
Doesn’t this glorify war?
We don’t just re-enact war – we also bring the lives of ordinary people back from the past, demonstrating the jobs and personalities of the 17th Century. Re-enactment is a hobby, first and foremost. The Sealed Knot exists to commemorate and re-enact the English Civil Wars, one of the most tumultuous periods in British history when the modern constitutional monarchy that we know today began to develop. Many people died because of the wars, both on and off the battlefields that litter the country, and we feel it is important that those sacrifices are remembered and honoured. What we do doesn’t glorify war, in fact we hope it brings home just how devastating the wars were and keeps alive the memory of those whose struggle and deaths helped win us the rights, freedoms and privileges we now enjoy.
Why do you call it the English Civil War? What about Scotland, Ireland & Wales?
The English Civil Wars, The British Civil Wars, The English Revolution, The Puritan Revolution, The Great Rebellion, The Wars of the Three Kingdoms… one thing pretty much all historians of the period agree on is that the term ‘The English Civil War’ isn’t accurate (the old joke goes that it’s incorrect in three ways – it wasn’t English, it wasn’t just one war, and it wasn’t particularly civil) But why is it inaccurate?
Firstly, it describes a series of conflicts that spanned the entire British Isles, involving Scotland and Ireland, as well as England and Wales. Secondly, it wasn’t one war but many – historians tend to chart the period to encompass the Irish Rebellion and Confederate Wars in Ireland between 1641 and 1653 (including the Cromwellian invasion), The Bishops’ Wars between England and Scotland in 1639 and 1640, as well as THREE separate wars (1642-6, 1648-49, and 1650-51) that took place in England, Scotland, and Wales.
So what’s in a name? And why do historians use different terms to describe the same conflict? We explored this question, and explained why we still use ‘English Civil War’, on our blog…
So go on, get in touch, join up now & give it a go – you don’t know what you’re missing!
Does it cost a lot?
Beyond the initial cost of your membership and getting to events? No!
Unlike other re-enactment groups, you don’t need to buy a load of expensive kit to take part in Sealed Knot events.
The regiment can lend you some kit to begin with. If you enjoy yourself and want to come regularly, you don’t have to buy anything more than the basic kit, which is cheap and can be built up over time.
You don’t have to jump straight in – for as little as £10 (or £15 for a family) a temporary membership allows you to experience an event as a taster.
The full membership fees for the remainder of 2018 are:
* Individual – £21
* Family – £41
(Two adults and a maximum of four children)
* Single Parent Family – £21
(One adult and up to four children)