The Sealed Knot
English Civil War Re-enactment

Becoming a Drummer

The Sealed Knot Coat of Arms
Drummers of Skippons Regiment

Photo by Clive Robinson

The Drummer - Educated and often linguists, drummers were highly regarded and paid the same rate as officers. Drums were used to relay orders on the battlefield and to lead the way when marching. They were also sent to parley with the enemy, often going into their camps and returning with vital information about supplies and numbers.

Drumming is a very honourable and rewarding role; you are the focal point of the regiment when marching, keeping up the morale on marches and ensuring that manoeuvres are done to exact timing. You do not necessarily need to be musical - the beats are easy to learn, and full training will be given. Although the drummer's role is non- combatant, during battles they are situated behind the pike & musket blocks to beat encouragement and convey atmosphere, so you experience the tension and excitement of the battle as much as anyone else.

Many regiments have special uniforms for their drum corps, which are distinctive and reflect the importance of the drummer's role and the regiment's image. These uniforms will have to be made especially. Some regiments provide a limited number of drums for their members, but most end up buying theirs to ensure they always have an instrument to play.

Below is a breakdown on the equipment worn or carried and the approximate costs involved. Please keep in mind that some items will cost less if, under direction, a new member shops around, and that some items can be supplied or purchased through the Regiment direct.

The basics.

Shirt - a plain calico or cotton shirt, with drawstring cuffs, small collar and no yoke. For those wishing to portray a wealthier "citizen-soldier" lace around collar and cuffs can be added according to price and taste.

Breeches - plain colours and designs are best, and lined breeches last longer. The material can be wool, with wool mix best for cleaning.

Hose & Socks - some thick stockings, made from jersey cloth, although seaboot socks are reliable alternatives from camping shops.

Coat - this is made in the regimental shade and as such is supplied by the Regiment to all members as one of the major parts of uniform. The coat is cut and made to the appropriate design, and lined with calico for strength and durability. Most members consider dry-cleaning the best option for preserving the colour, which can make for an interesting conversation point with your local dry cleaner, but otherwise a cool wash is advised.

Shoes - by far the best type that can be purchased for use are the current day designs of desert-style boots, always in a tan/mid-brown colour. Leather laces can replace any modern nylon fibre ones, and some members have been known to "convert" their footwear so that it resembles latchet shoes of the period. Shoes can be obtained from most high street shoe shops.

Belt - a good strong black or brown leather belt, available at markets or at our musters, to support your money pouch and your breeches.

Snapsack - either made out of leather, or hessian/calico material, this is the seventeenth century soldier's rucksack, and is valuable for carrying all manner of things.

Helmet or Felt Hat - The choice of headwear is completely yours, though headwear must be worn. Our helmet design is available from a trader within the Society, and will require padding and lining. All helmets are "blacked" to complete the uniform style, and the cost is round the 30 mark. Felt hats are the prefered headwear by many.

Patterns are available to make your own, or you can often buy second hand items either from your Regiment or on "Traders Row".

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