After the exuberance of the 1980s, during the 1990s the Routiers became more focused on the English Civil War period of Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians versus King Charles’ Royalists. A decision was made to recreate the Green Band of the Trayned Bandes (Trained Bands) of London at the beginning of the English Civil War in 1642. Trained Bands were part-time militia units or garrisons that were important before the introduction of the New Model Army in 1645.
The Regiments of the London Trayned Bandes were named for various colours, ours is Green. The top left hand side of the flag is the flag of England, St. George’s Cross. We reenact the First Captain’s Company, represented by the two charges (the single charge being the Sergeant Major’s Colours). Our charges are white caltrops. The Green Regiment was recruited from the city wards of Coleman Street, Basinghall and Cripplegate.
During the 2010s the Routiers have adopted a broader policy of 17th Century living history and reenactment and cover a range of historical impressions. At the 2014 St Ives Medieval Fair we fielded a Thirty Years War contingent that included Scots, English, French, German and Polish soldiers.
While soldiers are a focus, we also pride ourselves on our recreation of non-military history and reenacting some of the finer parts of Stuart culture. Members of the Pike and Musket Society have branched out to form the Stoccata School of Defence, dedicated to the study of European Swordsmanship. Others are interested in music, dance, needlework, and much finer cookery than the average soldier’s rations (thank goodness).
17th century military encampment life was a little different than today. Women and children often accompanied the soldiers, the richer members of society brought along quite an encampment indeed. And as we have found in 17th century documents, some of the soldiers were cleverly disguised women – testified by our long-standing member ‘Pikeman Sue’.
The main soldiers’ weapons in the 17th Century were the musket and the pike, with a sword for backup. The musket used was an early form of firearm called a ‘Matchlock’ as it has a slow burning cord or ‘match’ to ignite the black powder. The pike was a 17 foot (5.5m) long length of wood with an 8 inch (200mm) steel head. These don’t seem very dangerous compared to today’s weapons, but were the height of military technology for the period.
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