Lawful Laws and Liberty: Fighting for the good old cause
Since we launched the Century of the Soldier book series in May 2015, we’ve come across a great many people with the same passion for the period of history. Standing out from the crowd for us is a regiment from the English Civil War Society – Colonel Nicholas Devereux’s Regiment of Foot.
Colonel Nicholas Devereux’s regiment is one of the founding regiments of the Roundhead Association – part of the English Civil War Society. The present regiment was founded in the early 1970s. It can boast of a proud tradition of historical research and the development of authentically-produced clothing and equipment. We are also one of the very few re-enactment groups that drill with metal-edged pikes and pole arms and shoulder-loaded muskets.
Deveraux’s have an ethos of researching the history of the regiment, the drill and equipment it uses and the clothing that the original soldiers were likely to have worn. We can proudly boast of five published authors within our ranks with many more coming to the fore. Recruiting from all over the country, we are mainly based in and around the West Midlands, Wiltshire and greater South West.
History of the Original Regiment
Colonel Nicholas Devereux raised his regiment following the siege of Gloucester in 1643. In May 1644, the regiment captured the Cotswolds town of Malmesbury. Devereux became the Governor of Malmesbury and his troops became the garrison.
The regiment supported the war effort with large bodies of troops – some of whom were to fight at the battle of Cropredy Bridge. The regiment was to help clear Wiltshire of Royalists and besiege the King’s garrison at Farringdon. The surrender of Oxford and Farringdon saw the end of the fighting in 1646, and Devereux and his regiment stood down in October 1646.
Roles in Today’s Regiment
As a recruit, you will receive specialised training and support for the role you chose for yourself. New and veteran members of the regiment drill regularly to ensure a high level of proficiency. Once you have joined, a member of the regiment local to you will act as a mentor to help you through your first season with us.
The Pike Division
The Pike Division are the stalwarts of the regiment – supporting the musketeers and leading the assault. If you chose to ‘trail a pike’, you will be armed with a pike some 16 feet in length, and protected by armour and a helmet. The regiment supplies both pikes and armour.
The Musket Division
By the time of the Civil Wars of the mid 1640s, the matchlock musket was well-established and the principal infantry weapon. The musketeer was easy to train, faster on the march than the armoured pikeman, and could kill at a greater distance. Named after the lit match that ignited the black powder that fired the lead ball projectile, the matchlock musket had a rate of fire of up to three shots a minute.
Being part of the musket division will require you to have a shot gun certificate and a black powder certificate. Members of the regiment can help you with your application. The regiment holds a number of muskets which can be loaned out to new recruits.
Re-enacting the Civilians of the Regiment
Devereux’s also has a civilian ‘baggage train’ that depicts life in the regimental encampment. The regimental sutlers are perhaps the main hub in our living history encampments; they often generate the greatest interest in their displays, and food preparation and cooking demonstrations. Don’t forget, at many events, the regiment gets fed by the sutlers too.
Devereux’s is recruiting for the 2017 season now! What can we offer new recruits?
Re-enacting can be an expensive hobby and it can be very daunting to know where to start. A recruit isn’t expected to get all the required equipment prior to their first weekend with us. Nor do we expect them to have an ‘expert’ level of knowledge of the Civil Wars or of the military history and detail that goes with it.
The development of a suitable role within the regiment is helped along by a mentor who will be able to advise on clothing and equipment purchase too. They will be able to help put you in touch with our list of recommended suppliers. The regiment can also support the new recruit with an initial loan of spare kit to get you started and help you get on your feet. The regiment will supply pikes, and help you apply for a shotgun licence and black powder certificate should you wish to be a musketeer.