Wednesday 31 December 2008

Monmouth Rebels

As it's the time of year for starting new projects I thought I'd maybe try and sculpt some Monmouth Rebels in 28mm. Why? Well I'm not that keen on what's available...Dixons do some figures in shirtsleeves which are not any use at all. The coats and hats would be more like the military as clothing styles were identical but with less equipment like swords and belts. These figures could also be used as New England militiamen of the 1690s or also for the Williamite wars. This photo of my old 1685 Society at Lyme gives an idea of what they were like, these civilian soldiers. Of course there were professional soldiers with them, officers and the like...the odd Crowellian sword or even some military uniforms brought over by Monmouth. Looking more like Militia than a peasant rabble, methinks.

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Battle of the Boyne wargame

Film about the recreation of this famous battle by the League of Augsburg club (publishers of Beneath the Lily Banners rules) at Partizan 2008.

Williamite Wargames

Below article is worth reading if you are interested in taking up wargaming this period. It has to be said that most people who wargame this period use these figures and scales. Contains free download of a set of rules Lillibulero by Angus Konstam which look excellent and surely worth a moment to acquire. Recommended.

Narva 2008

A couple of films showing some of the best European groups of the 18th century period. This is shot earlier this year in Estonia and features Great Northern War reenactors from different Baltic countries. Impressive stuff.

Almansa 1707-2007

Had a nice e-card from Gabriele of the Garde Francoises today and it made me think I haven't featured them on this blog. Based in Milan, Italy technically they are a Seven Years War unit but they do participate in earlier events like this one in Spain. Alongside them is the French group Royal Ecossais also of the mid-18th century but I am sure you don't mind as both of these groups are exceptional in their depictions of the French army. There has been a lot of work and research going on behind the scenes to get this good. This is a great little film anyway and it does make me wish I was there.

Monday 29 December 2008

Charles Fort, Kinsale Ireland

Apologies for the image overload but I thought wargamers might appreciate the various plans as this would make a great model star fort but I digress....
This fort on the coast of County Cork is a bit of a neglected jewel of military fortifications. Built in the 1670s by William Robinson and named in honour of Charles II to protect against a possible French invasion. It's been modified since it fell in 1690 with the usual improvements. Whenever I visited it I was reminded of the Lakeside forts of America and how popular they were and how much interpretation there was going on but at Charles Fort there's simply a room with some pictures in it. It's not a neglected site and it is being interpreted well enough it's just it could be much more - it is such a great Fort. Being a keen reenactor at the time I visited I talked to the staff about putting on a reenactment of the siege of 1690 when the Duke of Marlborough reduced the Jacobite garrison in 13 days after having discovered the fort was overlooked by hills on the land side and placed his guns there. But of course Ireland isn't America as far as politics go, but that was then and now they have a successful Boyne visitors centre and a high profile reenactment behind their belts there so anything is possible. A Living History siege is something that interests me as the static element can allow for interaction between combatants and the public. Image search Charles Fort Kinsale

Sunday 28 December 2008

Sedgemoor 1975

Here's a vintage photo of the first ever reenactment of the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1975 by the Sealed Knot ...Chris Scott (author of the latest book on the Armies of the Monmouth Rebellion) was probably there. This group was led by Bath-based artist Stephen Beck whose artwork can be seen in David Chandler's Sedgemoor Anthology. If you are wondering how the SK managed to look so good in 75 it was partly as they were using cast-off Chelsea Pensioner uniforms - something that was quite a bonus for the period at the time as they were made of decent wool, however I think nowadays the practice of selling them on has stopped more's the pity.

New Monmouth Rebellion book

I haven't seen this book but it looks great. I know Chris Scott - he was 'Colonel' of Trelawney's regiment at my first ever Monmouth reenactment in 1985 and I have even had a few Monmouth rebellion wargames with him - he knows his subject and I am greatly looking forward to getting a copy of this book.

From Caliver Books
The Armies and Uniforms of the Monmouth Rebellion
Chris Scott ISBN: 1-85818-578-1128 pages (colour throughout) 168mm x 248mm £15.99

With more than 50 colour illustrations and line drawings, plus maps and charts, this volume provides details of weapons, uniforms, flags, organisation, strengths, battle orders and battlefield roles of the units that took part in the campaign known as The Monmouth Rebellion

Saturday 27 December 2008

Huron Carol

Got this link from the Nativelist the best place to study Indians of the period. Hope you enjoy it.

The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Christmas hymn, written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Christian missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.

This version performed by Heather Dale, and sung in Wendat (Huron), French and English

Friday 26 December 2008

Richard Kane (1662–1736). biography

Richard Kane wikipedia entry
Richard Kane
Governor of Minorca

By Janet Sloss
This book looks worth having if you are interested in the British/Marlburian side of things... and it's reasonably priced. You can download for free the foot drill A New System of Military Discipline for a Battalion of Foot on Action from the publisher's website here
I highly recommend it - it has some real insights into the nature of warfare at the time.
This biography of Brigadier General Richard Kane covers his early life in Ulster, his military career under William III and Marlborough, and his long governorship of Minorca, ceded to Great Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht. The expedition to Canada in 1711, the takeover of Dunkirk in 1712, and the defence of Gibraltar in 1725 are covered in detail.

Includes his "Discipline for Batallion of Foot." and his "Discipline for a Regiment upon Action and the Most Essential Discipline of the Cavalry".352 pages, with illustrations (20 B/W, 2 full colour)

Get it from here

Compagnies franches de la Marine officer 1718

Pic by me. I doubt if they would have dressed like this on campaign in the American wilderness and the half-pike would probably be replaced by a fusil.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Season's Greetings

Couldn't think of any appropriate pictures to wish you a Merry Christmas with so instead here's a picture of me as a schoolboy in Frome Somerset. See ya soon and keep dropping by...

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Donnington Miniatures Wars of Louis XIV range

Yesterday I took delivery of one each of all the figures in Donnington Miniatures 15mm range of Wars of Louis XIV and Late 17th Century wargames figures - the purpose to photograph them and review them for this blog. I remembered these figs from the late 80s and I wanted to see them again to see if they would be useful for the campaigns of Turenne etc in the 1670s. I was not disappointed. The Wars of Louis XIV range - some 30 casts of foot and horse are excellent - finely detailed and well sculpted - everything one needs is there - only one gunner but these can be imported from the late 17thc range. Costs are 25p per foot figure. I will photograph them soon as there are no images on their website but if you fancy some 1670s figures trust me these modest 15s might be just what you are looking for.
You'll have to wait for the photos though as I haven't been able to do it properly yet - in the meantime here's an image by me of a pikeman and musketeer of the 1680s.

Monday 22 December 2008

The Draughtsman's Contract (1982) opening scene

This film when it came out in 1982 really made an impression on me and was probably responsible for me liking this period - though its not an accurate historical movie though it is well researched and bang on with the politics of the time, its more a clever pastiche, an arthouse exaggeration. Having said that it should still be on your list of films to see if you have not had the pleasure. The music by Michael Nyman is an amazing tribute to the likes of Purcell and is worth having on cd for its bold crossover between rock and baroque. The plot is twisted and sometimes unfathomable but that doesn't detract from the charm of this devilishly clever British country house movie. Wiki on the movie


Who remembers these rules covering the period 1420-1700 by George Gush? Are they really from 1979? I imagine they're really unfashionable nowadays but I used to like them - that's why they're coffee stained and well thumbed. Famous for enabling Samurai to fight Landsknechts and so on but I thought the mechanisms pretty good for the late 17th century having a comprehensive points system for covering all the weapons and training variants of the time. You probably can't buy these rules nowadays - maybe it's time to start a revival.

More Van der Meulen

Haven't had any of this for a while. Detail showing camp followers and wagons.
Prise de Besançon par les armées du Roi, 15 mai 1674

Friday 19 December 2008

Northern wars in the flintlock era

There are visual similarities between the Great Northern War and the various French and Indian wars. Two empires fighting it out over a wintry landscape - this image underlines some of those connections. Don't think Canadians used skis but I might be wrong. I am going to try and persuade my wife Susan to make me a karpus/tapabord so if it snows here I can make a photo reconstruction but if any of you have any winter warfare photos feel free to send them in.
The image is from Acedia Press - people who publish a great range of titles on the Scanian Wars and GNW.

Ft. Pontchartrain at Detroit:

Ft. Pontchartrain at Detroit: A Guide to the Daily Lives of Fur Trade and Military Personnel, Settlers, and Missionaries at French Posts
By Timothy J. Kent
If you have an interest in recreating a persona for New France in the age of Louis XIV I would heartily recommend you check out this book. It has the chapter on clothing online as a preview and it is pretty comprehensive. Covers all aspects of dress of the habitant, voyageur whatever.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Tous les matins du monde

If you like Louis XIV music and you enjoyed Vatel maybe you'd like this movie from 1991 also starring Depardieu. Wiki on it here. This excerpt contains the famous Lully tune Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs by J B Lully. It's a great tune and it is almost becoming the theme song of the age.

Danish army of 1700

Had a quick look to see what information was available on the Danish army of the early 1700s and found some great stuff on Dan Schorr's site including this (b/w pic) - from a frieze in a loft - the figures of which are 2 metres in height and look invaluable - someone should go to Rosenberg castle and photograph them - anyone live in Copenhagen?

Monday 15 December 2008

Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre

Next year sees the tercentenary of the great Pyrrhic victory of the Allied army - Malplaquet. Supposedly the 18th centuries bloodiest battle it also gave rise to the century's biggest songs. Apparently based on a false rumour that Marlborough was killed in the action this folk song was revived in the 1780s when it became a rage - read the Wiki on this famous song here - it's fascinating stuff.

Magnificence of the Tsars

There's a great looking exhibition at the V&A Museum London that might be of interest to you lot. It's called Magnificence of the Emperors: From The Moscow Kremlin Museums Collection it's on from 10 December 2008 - 29 March 2009. Book tickets and read about it here

Friday 12 December 2008

Royal Ship Kronan

During the Scanian war in 1676 this ship sank (see wiki) but subsequently this ship has been most fruitful for archaeological finds of that era like this remarkable jacket. Official website

Fusil Boucaniers

If you are looking for a New France musket for the late 17th century - maybe for a Coureur de Bois persona and you don't want a Tulle Fusil de Chasse maybe consider a Fusil Boucanier - here's a custom made one with a 60 inch barrel.
More photos from the Gunmaker here
Chronology of fusils in New France

Thursday 11 December 2008

Laroon Snr's Street Cries of London

These images of the citizens of London going about their daily business in 1688 by Marcellus Laroon Senior (British, b. 1653 - d. 1702) are well worth studying for costume detail of the 1680s - and they have a slightly festive feel to them or is that just me? Well this one is a Merry Fiddler so that one is sort of seasonal...

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Firearms, Trade Goods and Weapons of New-France

This site is an depth look at the material culture of New France - ideal for reenactors of the Louis XIV period whether a new world or old world interest. Certainly anyone recreating a milicien, Marine, Native or Coureurs de Bois would find this webpage essential.

Tuesday 9 December 2008

More 1685 Society nostalgia

I bet you're getting bored with my old reenactment photos already aren't you? These photos by John Norris are interesting in that they were in Issue 1 (1999) of Skirmish magazine - quite a coup for us at the time and we didn't exactly get overwhelmed with enquiries but I think it was in its own way influential. I'm the one with the half pike. What do you think of the length of the Rebels musket on the left? It's a fowling piece and they were often that long.

1685 Society at Lyme Regis

Reenacting the landing of Monmouth for a tv programme in the late 90s. The cameras were filming us come in and I had one chance to leap out the boat and fall down on my knees and make some sort of gesture. I was petrified I'd fall on my arse. If I remember rightly everyone wanted to be in the boat and those on the beach got a bit grumpy waiting for us to row ashore as it was a little dull as these things are. Happy days.

Late 17th century Compagnies franches de la marine

I got my old scanner working and scanned these images of cfdlM in the late 17thc. Also here is an interpretation of the ceinturon with plug bayonet and sword set-up. The image is from the Wursthorn collection and reproduced in Neptunia.
It's a rare and detailed look at the subject and well worth looking at in close-up. The fusil looks like the Marine musket repro I blogged before. Of course this set-up may have been modified for winter warfare with capot and tapabord.
See a colour scan of the cfdlM here

Monday 8 December 2008

Gentlemen of Fortune

If I say 'pirate' to most of you you'll probably shudder at the thought of it but this website manages to get behind the myths and present some useful information. For example the types of pistols available or things like monmouth caps and so forth. Worth a gander, as we sometimes say as this is probably the War of Spanish Succession in its most popular form.

Music for the Coronation of James II

This album looks like its worth tracking down if you're a fan of the period - composers include Purcell naturally.

Francis Hawley 1685

Thought it was time for more of my artwork - this is Francis Hawley who led the attack on the barricade at Phillips Norton during the Monmouth Rebellion. The original portrait is in the National Army Museum and is of interest in that it shows a grenadier officer of the time.

Peter the Great miniseries (1986)

I am old enough to remember this being screened on tv. It's now available on dvd for the movie fans among you. The Great Northern War battle scenes were a little disappointing (if only they could have filmed what I was expecting!) but the casting was good - Laurence Olivier as William III was particularly inspired. Plagued by freezing temperatures in St Petersburg (it was quite a big deal filming in Russia in 86) and having to use a stand-in for Schell in some scenes it also suffered at the hands of another miniseries 'Sins' starring Joan Collins which was screened in the USA at the same time ...but that's showbusiness. Wiki on the series
NY Times review Peter the Great is very, very clean.

Carl XII (1925)

A subject for a few movies, Charles XII still holds a fascination - there's a recent news item about his grave being reopened to find out more about his death. These posters for a silent film from 1925, director John W. Brunius, look very interesting...anyone seen it?
It might be here on a database of Swedish films.
See more of Carl XII's skull and deathmask here
See his uniform here

Karoliner movie

Short movie - no idea what they're saying though - it's from Swedish tv - I think it's about Jan Stahlhammer a man whose letters to his wife have become a prime source of information on the campaigns of Karl XII. It's on quicktime - go here to see it

Woods Runner Diary

You might think that an interest in historical wilderness trekking and so forth is limited to North America - in which case you'd be wrong as this blog of the New England Colonial Living History Group testifies. It's in Australia of all places. Check it out - it's a great blog with lots of interesting pieces of use to anyone interested in the period 1680-1760. Historical trekking, living history, experimental archaeology, period living skills, primitive wilderness survival skills are all in this blog and it's a great place to learn the skills to be a 21st century Coureur de bois.

Saturday 6 December 2008

Garrison Houses of New England

A feature of colonial warfare in the late 17th/early18th century is the Garrison House. Usually there would be at least one per settlement and they would offer collective protection in times of French and Indian attack. They were generally strong enough to resist attacks though those outside of the relative safety could expect little help. Garrison Houses of New England tells you how many are still standing and those open to the public.
More info here
Deerfield 1704 site - much explanatory information and images about the whole business of raids .


These weapons are from the Royal Armouries collection and are purported to be two of the weapons used by Monmouth's forces in 1685. Mounted on 8 foot poles they bear the armourer's marks and are about 29-30 inches long. These were issued to special scythe companies of a hundred men but their use gave rise to a legend that the Rebels were armed with agricultural implements which in turn gave rise to the term 'Pitchfork Rebellion'. In fact there were very few farmers or labourers amongst the ranks of the rebels - they were mostly clothworkers and the war-scythe was a commonly used weapon in the 17thc in sieges.

Queen Dowager's Regiment Of Foot

One of the best British redcoat groups for the period the Queen Dowager's recreate a battalion gun and encampment for the period 1686-1700. I am probably a bit biased in that judgment as they're old friends from the 1685 Society, but they do what they do extremely well
Article on the recreated regiment

Thursday 4 December 2008

Figures from 1690

These images from 1690 are a little enigmatic. Thought to be Dutch soldiers noone really knows what they represent - probably part of William III's forces. The figure on the left could be wearing a tapabord or karpus. This modern reconstruction by G Embleton gives a good interpretation of what they're trying to show.

Sir William Phips' 1690 attack on Quebec

Although they got there more through luck than judgement Phips' attack on Quebec was a defining moment in Anglo-French warfare. This clip tells the tale of the famous response from Frontenac (French Language) "I have no reply to make to your general other than from the mouth of my cannons and muskets." .

New Englanders from the National Geographic magazine by Francis Back - based on wreck finds - for more on the shipwreck and is discovery go here. The map is worth seeing full scale too.

Canadians by Francis Back

Townspeople of the 1690s. Not the sort of things worn on campaign but many of the Miliciens who would have defended Quebec against Phips attack in 1690 would have looked like this.