The Sealed Knot
English Civil War Re-enactment

Col James Wardlaw's Dragoones

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The Sealed Knot Coat of Arms
...part of The Western Association in the Army of Parliament
Uniform Uniform Where two pictures are shown the second is an alternative
such as the New Model Army (NMA) uniform

Coat Colour: blue,powder,
Coat Colour: red (nma),venice,grey-blue facings
We recruit primarily in the south-west of England, but also north into Shropshire and east into Hampshire. Our sister company, Laugharne’s Company, recruit in Pembrokeshire.

This unit of mounted infantry was formed at the start of the Civil War by the Scottish-born soldier James Wardlaw and some fellow veterans of the Thirty Years’ War in Germany. The Regiment acquitted itself less than meritoriously at Edgehill, where it ran away from a charge of Royalist horse and sacked its own army’s baggage train. Wardlaw went on to become governor of Plymouth, commanding during the famous victory of the Sabbath Fight and commemorated on the memorial on Freedom Field, and the Regiment vanishes into the mists of time. A group originating in Prince Maurice’s Regiment revived the name amongst the re-enactors of the Sealed Knot. It went on from strength to strength, becoming well-known for the accuracy and quality of its dress and drill, as well as its skill in skirmishing. In the early nineties the Regiment formed the core of the Society’s first mounted dragoon actions.
As a part of the Parliament army, Wardlaws’ Dragoons have a second identity for those musters where the New Model Army is being portrayed. (The New Model Army was created in 1644 by Parliament, as a way of drawing disparate forces together into a single field army. It had a common coat colour – Venice red – and was renowned for its professionalism. It was the New Model Army that defeated Charles at Naseby, and saw the end of the war.) In this guise the Regiment becomes Colonel Okey’s Dragoons. These troops appear to have acted as the scouts and sentinels of the New Model Army for most of the 1645-6 campaign. At Naseby it lined hedges on the Royalist right flank and, towards the end of the battle acted as cavalry, charging the broken Royalist troops. Elements of Okey’s Dragoons went on to serve in all of the New Model’s campaigns up until its conversion to a cavalry unit for the later campaigns in Scotland and Ireland.
The role of the dragoon is to act as fire support for the cavalry in battle, to ride ahead of the army ass pickets and scouts. They were widely favoured by garrison commanders as their mobility and firepower enabled them to control an area very effectively. However, not everyone liked them. One early seventeenth-century French general said that ‘Dragoons spoil the infantry, every man now desiring a nag that he might be better able to plunder.’ When horses became scarce, as they often would in a campaign, the dragoons would have had to give up their mounts to the cavalry, and become in effect units of musketeers. Our role within the Sealed Knot reflects this latter aspect of the dragoon. Although we have on occasion ridden as part of the display, dismounting in front of the enemy to engage them, whilst the horses went back to be recycled as cavalry mounts, more often we are on foot. Without our own body of pike, and with our relatively small numbers, we tend to skirmish, avoiding hand-to-hand combat where possible. When there is not the space for our tactics, or when the script does not call for it we join up with the other musketeers of the Western Association and fight as regular musketeers.

If you want to speak to the regimental contact (for either recruitment or public relations matters), please contact the following person:

Contact: Rob Jones
Email Address:
Telephone: 01225 421704

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