This week, my English Civil War re-enactment unit, Sir Richard Grenvile’s Troop of Horse have been working with the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry.
On Tuesday we were invited to tour their barracks, including the kit store, forge, saddlery and stables, and four of our number took the riding assessment test in their school. Photographs from the barracks visit may not be shared publicly, but it was a very interesting visit. We got to handle Princess Anne’s Gold Stick, with the arms of King William IV engraved thereon and various other priceless pieces of kit.
A piece of trivia. The kettle drums borne by the drum horses are cast as a single piece of about 100Kg of silver. One set, cast in the reign of William IV, has a fault in that part of the V in the royal cypher is missing. It was not noticed until after the moulds were destroyed, and so remains missing until this day.
More trivia. The Household Cavalry band uniform has three large cloth spherical buttons on the cuff. These are said to date from when Queen Victoria spotted a bandsman with a blemish on his cuff from where he had wiped his nose. The buttons inhibit similar activity.
For my Napoleonic friends, I enquired why the kit store contains a French Napoleonic sabre-briquet. Our guide said it was a personal gift to him as a champagne bottle-opener.
In the afternoon we presented to some of the troopers of the Life Guards a brief history of the English Civil War, how we re-enact it as cavalry, their regiment’s role in the battle of Roundway Down, and the uniform, arms and equipment of the 1640s.
On Thursday we met again at the battlefield of Roundway Down. Three of our number, in full C17th uniform and on Household Cavalry horses, led a dozen Life Guards in “country riding kit” around the battlefield for about four hours, showing them the important sites. Afterwards the Life Guards troopers were instructed by me in loading and firing C17th pistols with blank re-enactment cartridges.
A few pictures of the day’s activities below.
Ready to go
Video of the troop returning to the stables:
C17th Pistol training
One man who you would never challenge to a duel.
With grateful thanks to the Life Guards for a wonderful experience, and one upon which we hope to build for the future.