Q: Do I have to buy all the clothing / kit at once?
No you don't. Members of the regiment will lend you spare men's / ladies / kid's kit over the first season but you would be expected to purchase a little kit at each event throughout the season to slowly build this up as you go. Please see the Clothing / Kit List for what you will need and by when.
Q: Where do I buy my kit?
The regiment has a regimental seamstress who can make kit to measure for you, or you can buy it from the "traders row" found at most musters. You can also buy items at the two traders' fairs in Coventry in October and March each year.
Q: Can I make my own kit?
Yes. You can buy patterns and make your own but please ensure that the materials you use are natural fibres and colours that would be available in the 17th Century.
Q: I need to wear glasses does this matter?
Contact lenses are better, but if not suitable, it will not stop you taking part. However we would suggest you wear a thin-framed pair so that they do not look so 20th Century conspicuous! Also it will depend upon your chosen arm if you fight; they are not recommended for fighting pike, but one of the water carriers can hold on to them for the battle and give them back to you for the march back to the campsite.
Q: I have a medical condition will this stop me from taking part?
It depends on the condition and severity of course, but many members of our regiment are diabetic or asthmatic for example, and still take a very active part in the battles. It is crucial that you make senior officers aware of any condition you may have, and we can advise you accordingly.
Medication such as inhalers can be taken onto the battlefield and held safely by our water carriers within easy reach of the "fighting" position should you need them to. It is crucial that you notify us of any changes in your condition on the day and do not put yourself in danger, but in general you can take part like anyone else!
We have trained medics on the battlefield and campsite at all times, day and night, at all major events.
Q: Do I need my own transport / can I get a lift?
It is easier if you have your own transport but lifts can quite often be arranged either the whole way or if you travel by public transport from the nearest railway or bus station. The person offering the lift may not necessarily be from your own regiment but could be somebody looking to share the cost of getting to a muster. As a regiment we encourage car sharing to help people get to each event and can put you in contact with others to help share transport costs.
Q: Do I have to attend every event?
No. It is a voluntary society and you only attend those events you can afford to, or interest you because of location or historic significance. The regimental officers will agree a number of "preferred events" that members of the regiment should concentrate their efforts on getting to. Such events might be, for example, where the regiment is the host regiment and responsible for putting the event on and those that we will aim to get the best level of turnouts for, to support other regiments within our Tertio and most of the larger (major) battles.
Q: Do I have to camp?
No, you can find a local hotel or bed and breakfast if you prefer; a list of these can be requested from the organising regiment. However, 98% of members of the Society do camp in some form or other, either on the 'plastic site' in a modern tent, camper van or caravan or on the "authentic site" in a canvas tent made to 17th Century specifications. Camping with your regiment is thoroughly recommended though and certainly helps you integrate into this very social regiment!
Q: What do I need to bring?
If you are camping just bring whatever you need to make yourself comfortable for warmth, eating, sleeping and whatever kit you have. All modern equipment, camp beds, lighting, bedding, cooking equipment, food, drinks etc is fine.
Q: Is equipment provided?
The regiment will provide pikes, dummy muskets and match. The Society provides black powder for muskets and cannon. To start with the regiment will also provide helmets for pikemen, but you are encouraged to buy your own by the end of your first full season.
Q: What about campsite safety?
The 20th Century campsite is for members only and is strictly kept off-limits to general members of the public, so provides a safe environment for child members to run around and have fun. However, use common sense with your children as campsites can still present dangers, with dogs, trip hazards and camping stoves etc. In terms of security for your possessions, again, this is usually a very safe and secure environment; the potential for loss or damage to your property is very low indeed and rarely ever occurs, but again, be sensible.
Q: Can I bring pets?
Dogs only are recommended! Usually, yes, but there may be occasions where the landowner places restrictions on this. There are quite often mentions in the "Warning Orders" for the events (a communication sent out before each event which will be distributed to you) if there are special provisions for dogs or if they are not allowed.
Your dog will be expected to be on the lead at all times while on the campsite and you will be expected to clean up after it.
Q: Can friends/family (non-members) come onto the campsite?
Day passes can be arranged but unless they are members they will not be allowed to stay overnight. A day pass will not allow that person to take part in any battle or display however, as the Society's insurance will not cover them.
Q: What can I do?
You can try out all arms of service if you wish! For more details please view the About Rawdons page. Women wanting to take a fighting role on the battlefield dress as men in male kit for the battles, and many do, but can transform into women's kit in the evenings!
Q: What is there for the children to do?
If the children are between the ages of 11 and 16, they can be enrolled in the Society's Apprentices. Here they will be drilled in all arms and be given training that will enable them to take the battlefield at the age of 16. The apprentices also undertake pre-battle drill displays and provide escort for VIP's.
At some events they may participate in closely scripted scenarios at the start of the battle. Up to the age of 11 there is no official organisation for the children; however at times they will be asked to participate in scenarios with the baggage trayne and, if present, one of the traders will involve them in some drill activities.
The regiment will encourage the younger children if they wish to take part in drill, but will not allow them to take part in any fighting drill for safety. Quite often older children accompanied by a responsible adult in the regiment will look after the younger ones while their parents are on the battlefield. Rawdons are a strong family-orientated regiment with many kids, so they won't be left bored!
Q: Do I have to go on the battlefield?
No. We recognise that fighting isn't everyones' cup of tea, but you will still be made most welcome. Several of our members turn up with their family, but choose to relax on the campsite and enjoy each other's company, or look after their children. We often attend historical sites of interest with castles, houses and parks, or the event may also include fairs and rides which is a great distraction for the kids.
Q: Do I need to know the history of the events portrayed?
It is not at all necessary, but a general knowledge of the overall events of the civil war would be beneficial. If you are happy talking to the public at events then you will require a greater depth of knowledge and you find you'll pick things up from other members of the regiment and Society as you attend more events.
Q: What do you do when you're not on the battlefield?
This will depend on what sort of event you are attending. If attending a regimental event you may be asked to talk to the public or help with demonstrations of pike and musket drill or help children and adults into and out of armour.
If the regiment is running a muster there will be all the jobs involved with setting up and running a secure campsite for the rest of the Society. If attending an event run by another regiment it will be up to you what you do and that could depend upon the venue. We have a great social bond as a regiment and either visit local family-friendly pubs, or stay on the campsite and form a social circle around our part of the campsite, or attend the "beer tent" that is put on at most events; which is family-friendly.
If at a historic venue, you could also look round the town/house/castle. Where other re-enactment groups are also present you can look at their displays too. It is important to remember not to mix 17th and 20th Century clothes if doing this.
Q: Do you only do battles?
No. We do drill displays and some living history events where we would be showing the public more of the social side of the period. We also sometimes organise charity fund raising events or attend schools to educate the children about this important period in our history or with other local groups.
Q: Do you fight all year round?
The campaign season tends to follow that of the period, with the battles normally taking place between April and September/October; which lends itself to camping in the fairer weather. Between October and April there are various regimental social events, usually with some drill thrown in, and which may include a Regiment Banquet.
Q: Do you do any events during the winter?
Rarely; it's too cold to camp! Other than our own regimental social events and banquet, other regiments' banquets can also sometimes be attended, numbers permitting.
Q: Are the battles dangerous?
Due to the use of black powder for the muskets and artillery and the sheer physical nature of pike fighting there is some element of danger. However, rules of engagement, tests for musket and sword and general drill tend to minimise these.
Q: Are the guns real?
All firing muskets and artillery pieces are proofed for shot and, as far as firearms regulations are concerned, they are classed as shotguns. They are certainly capable of firing projectiles, but we only load black powder and wadding to make the bang and puff of smoke!
Q: Do I need any special licences?
Only if fighting as musket or artillery. For musket you will need a shotgun licence and for both you will need a black powder handling licence, which you can obtain from your local constabulary firearms officer. We can help advise you on how to go about this.
Q: Do I need special insurance?
Not for the battlefield but you may need to see if your household insurance needs amending to cover your kit and musket (if applicable).
Q: Can I switch to another role later on?
You can change roles anytime you like, but make sure your officers know, so they don't start shouting at you for being in the wrong place; this also helps to ensure you are given some training first so you can enjoy the new role safely!
Q: How do you rise through the ranks to senior positions?
Promotions are gained on merit, experience, knowledge, aptitude, attitude and the ability to be able to turn out regularly to most events; but only when there is the need for succession, plus the willingness to take on the responsibility that rank entails is crucial. It is not gained purely on length of service; many members prefer not to take on senior roles, so they can just relax at the weekends, but we actively encourage and motivate those that would inspire others.
We strive, though, to keep the number of officers balanced in proportion with the overall size of the regiment; it would be historically wrong to have officers out-numbering the rank and file! Also the regiment would not run smoothly with too many Chiefs and not enough Indians!
Q: How authentic do I have to be?
There are minimum dress standards issued by the Society and you will be encouraged to move beyond these but it is a matter of choice and finances as to how authentic you become. With regards to speech we use C20th language but will use C17th titles whilst addressing other members in front of the public, e.g. referring to married ladies as "mistress".
Q: How do I find out what is going on?
The Society produces an e-magazine 'Orders of the Daye' for the membership which can be downloaded from the Sealed Knot website, every two months. This contains a full list of musters, together with individual battle 'Warning Orders', which give directions on how to get to the campsite and in some instances a timetable of what will be happening over the weekend. In addition two editions of Orders of the Daye per year will actually be printed and posted out to all members.
Details of our own regimental events will be sent out each month in a Regimental Newsletter, preferably by e-mail or can be posted to those that don't have access to e-mail.
We also are re-establishing monthly social meetings, especially through the winter season. These are great to help keep people in contact and in the loop and are based in our 4 main membership areas; shown in the next QA just below.
Q: Where are we based?
The main core of the regiment is based in Hampshire, Oxfordshire, West Sussex and Cornwall. However, there is a sizeable contingent in South Wales and Northamptonshire; plus various other members are scattered elsewhere across the country.
The regiment can be said to have two "spiritual" homes. The first is Basing House (near Basingstoke in Hampshire), which the regiment garrisoned when it was first raised in the 17th Century. The second home is Faringdon (Oxfordshire), where Sir Marmaduke Rawdon died and is buried.
Q: How do we keep in touch/who do we contact?
During the season your file leader (an experienced member of the regiment) should contact you regularly to find out if you will be attending the preferred musters or regimental events. This helps us to gauge potential numbers for the event; which is used to ensure that we organise sufficient pikes or powder (ordered from the muster organisers) and also that we book enough camping spaces for our regiment, so that we are not spread out all over the site. Your file leader will also help answer your questions, advise you on the correct kit/equipment and can help to organise transport to events.