Col John Birch's Regiment of Foote

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About the Sealed Knot

The society

The Sealed Knot, the society of Cavaliers and Roundheads, has become a British institution since its formation in 1968 by the late Brigadier Peter Young DSO, MC, FSA. Today it has a membership of over 5000 and is the largest military reenactment society in Europe, with its own coat of arms.

Its spectacular recreation of battles, sieges and skirmishes of the English Civil War has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people, and it has helped raise over £1,000,000 for charity. Apart from these larger scale events, individual members of the Sealed Knot also give fun but educational talks for schools, colleges and other organisations.

The membership

Its membership is drawn from all walks of life and every part of the UK, from the far north of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall. We also have members from across Europe and even as far as the United States. Most summer weekends will see the society in action, whether at a major muster or regimental display at a country house or castle.

The Sealed Knot was originally the name given to a secret Royalist organisation which, in the 1650s, worked for the restoration of the monarch with little success. It took its name from the chain on the Order of the Garter that links sealed knots with Tudor roses. However, the present Sealed Knot is far from being a secret or political society and comprises both Roundheads and Cavaliers. It is run on the lines of two seventeenth century armies and members are organised into regiments largely on a geographical basis.

Almost all the uniforms, leatherwork, weaponry and armour are made by traders within the society or by members themselves, and are based on original patterns. Over the years, the relentless quest for authenticity has not only improved the Knot's standard of presentation but has also led to a wealth of research into the period, shedding new light on the armies of the seventeenth century.

Where possible, the Sealed Knot endeavours to recreate battles on their original sites. Most of the major battles of the civil wars have been staged including Edgehill, Naseby and Marston Moor. Other notable events include the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations at Windsor and forays into Europe and the United States.

Like the armies of the civil wars, the Sealed Knot retires to winter quarters. October to March is a time for regimental get-togethers, banquets and social events. For many the Knot is a year-round source of comradeship and enjoyment. After a few years it becomes a way of life, combining a unique blend of living history, physical excitement and damn good fun.