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Kitting up for the common musketeer or dragoon

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The Huntsman of Soest

Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 68
Location: Somerset

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:00 pm    Post subject: Kitting up for the common musketeer or dragoon Reply with quote

I promised a new member at Basing that I would put up some info. on kit and where to source it. This is based entirely on my own research and interpretations of illustrations etc. so ther members may not agree with everything stated below.

Firstly I had better say that many of the suppliers I mention are by no means the cheapest, but I think they are the best AND most realistic, so I would say to any new member it is better to buy good kit once than cheap kit and have to replace it because it is not authentic or it has fallen to bits. BE WARNED that there is an awful lot of tat on sale at musters and re-enactors fairs. If you are not sure, then do some primary research by finding a picture or actual artifact to match up the repro with. The really good craftsmen often don't attend shows because they don't need to tout for business, serious re-enactors are beating a path to their doors.

Right, assuming we are lodged in October 1642 at Edgehill we can base the kit on an early style, possibly incorporating some old fashioned bits of clothing (which at the time was a valuable resource, often handed down in wills or given as gifts).

1. Hat- Broadbrimmed felted hat in brown, grey, beige, green, blue, but not black. There are next to no extanct illustrations of ECW soldiers, but many paintings of continental ones, all wearing floppy felted hats. It is quite easy to felt wool and many of these hats were no doubt home made.
In my opinion Rolling Eyes woolen hats (monmouths, holbeins and brimmed pound hats) or either non contemporary or re-enactment inventions, and monteros Twisted Evil are an invention of The Divell.
Best source http://www.noctule.co.uk/ or http://www.tabulae.org/tudor/the-crafty-beggars

2. Shirt- Pattern from Common Soldiers Clothing Peacy and Turton Page 27 http://www.stuart-hmaltd.com/clothes_textiles_1580_1660.php linen from many sources. Goodman linens, Cloth Hall etc)

3. Doublet- Pattern from same as above or http://www.amazon.co.uk/Patterns-Fashion-1560-1620-v-3/dp/0333382846/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284063291&sr=1-4 Designed to hold your hose/britches up. Should be worn at all times, including under your soldiers coat. Use pewter buttons from our friend Christophus Leatherworks, line with fustian (cheapest from Cloth Hall). Best wool from http://www.tudortailor.com/ or http://www.stuart-hmaltd.com/ or http://www.mulberrydyer.co.uk/ (they will dye your wool properly, it looks superb!!)

4. Soldiers coat- often called a doublet (tut tut). Use pattern from same book as in 2. and pewter buttons from Christophus. Not as important as getting your doublet as we don't know how many( if any) soldiers had issued coats.

5.Hose (breeches), again pattern from same book as above. Any colour except black (grey or brown best, or buy undyed wool cloth if your persona is really low status). They should hook or point onto the doublet, although this can be a real faff if you are caought short after a curry Embarassed

6.Stockings (often called hose by mistake). Any natural dyed colour or undyed. Paul Meekins http://www.bandoliers.co.uk/stockings/stockings2009.html

7. Shoes- here is the show of commitment. There is only one supplier worth buying from http://www.sarahjuniper.co.uk/ . 160 plus, but they last for ever, and Sarah will repair or reheel them if you need it. Startups are a re-enactment invention invented by pikemen fed up with their shoes coming off in a pike press.

8.Belt and pouch. Good copies with CORRECT BUCKLES are available from http://www.karlrobinson.co.uk/Belts_stuart.php

9.Baldric http://www.karlrobinson.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=8373 Karl is a very nice chap and will make anything for you that is out of stock on his site. Black is the least likely colour to fade or leach so I understand it was often used for military belts etc.

10. Sword- re-enactment blades (and sharps) from http://www.armourclass.co.uk/Data/Pages/17Century_Main2.htm
Scabbards should be wooden, but break easily in SK battles so Iain from Armour Class will make a leather one, or he can do a wooden one you can get Karl Robinson to cover for you to match your baldric.

11. Bandolier-http://www.bandoliers.co.uk/bando/bandoliers2009.html
The pewter topped ones seem to work best. Powder flasks don't seem to have been issued widely and nobody makes good copies.

12. Snapsack- The duffle bag variety seems to be the issuedmilitary style, and the satchel used by lower orders. http://www.karlrobinson.co.uk/other_bags_sausage_bag.php

13.Musket. Here is a poser. As early dragoones I feel we should carry normal Matchlock muskets, which we could then use as normal musketeers or at Thirty Years Warevents, However it seems that Wardlawes (and Browns) were issued with short or bastard muskets before Edgehill (Edgehill-the battle reinterpreted Scott. Turton and Von Arni 2006 p.1Cool . http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edgehill-Reinterpreted-Christopher-L-Scott/dp/1844152545/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284065345&sr=8-1
Certainly by requipping with these or even earlier petronels we would look more dragooney (apart from the horses or course).

14. Bill hooks and axes. I havn't looked into this yet but if we can find a contemorary piccy then Mark Routledge can make them http://wessexwildcraft.com/

15. Eating knives. We should all carry them at LH events again http://wessexwildcraft.com/

16.Snapsack fillers. Cards (without numerals), bone or lead dice, chapbooks, soldiers pocket bible (1643 so a year too late) etc.

Please be aware that the above is only my opinion (based on, hem hem 25 years of re-enacting). However it would be nice to see Wardlawes really striving to catch up with some of the other regiments in the SK and re-enactment societies who are committed to their hobby. Also, being accurate is the best way I feel, to honour the poor sods who had to fight the war first time round.
"...I've seen a lot fierce battles in my time, but I've seldom seen a pikeman actually kill someone." - Johann Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen
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Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for this. Coming in 'blind', this ought to be a sticky I think.

I did watch Andy Burke making some latchets at Basing House, which was very interesting, how he makes his stitching so neat is a mystery.

Huntsman of Soest? I spent 5 years at Buende (just up the road) I do like the area (and the bier!)


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Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 130
Location: Plymouth

PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kit can be a really tricky subject. Although there are plenty of illustrations and surviving clothes of the rishest in society, there is relitively little left of what the ordinary man (or woman) wore and so it is open to (often heated) debate.

In my opinion there is real danger in looking for THE authentic way to dress. It is just as inauthentic for us to all to be wearing identical "authentic" kit as it is for some of the anachronisms (sorry, spelling not my strong point! Ed-Gareth) that you see. Which does not mean that I advocate sloppy dress or that I don't spend my time quietly seething at some of the things that I see!! While I have not been re-enacting for anywhere near as long as Mike (cue usual comments about my youthfulness!) I am a trained historian and historical fashion is my passion. Hopefully these few comments will be useful.

Mike's kit is beautiful!! I will often be caught drooling over it! but while it is lovely to do things properly I think that it is important that we don't price our hobby out of the reach of some people. It is important to think about the level that is important to us. I personally don't have a problem with machine stiching on kit or on shoes as long as it is not obvious, there is a difference between re-enactment and re-creation. It is possible to get some decent stuff at traders as long as you are a little diserning. Take someone along with you who knows what they are talking about. There are plenty of us about in the regiment but be aware that a lot of traders that sound like they know what they are talking about can be recycling things that they have been told that can be wildly out of date (like 100 years!) or indeed, just making it up!!

A few of my own opinons:

Hats: certainly the most common seen on paintings and woodcuts of soldiers is broad-brimmed felt (although they appear to be most often stiff in the English woodcuts) but it is important to remember that these would have been likely to have been the best dressed. The majoriy of soldiers would have been given little or no kit and most of what they wore would have been their own clothing. It is my understanding that almost everyone (apart from the very richest in society) would have owned a simple knitted and felted cap of the kind that we call a Monmouth or a Holbein (Holbeins would have been considered quite old fashioned but would probably have still been widely worn, particularly in the countryside and away from the south east). It was certainly the law into the early Stuart period that everyone had to have one in order to keep the woollen and capping industries going. Monteroes seem to have been hunting wear and so probably would not have been worn by ordinary working people. The drummer on the often cited Farndon window apears to be wearing one and so they must have been familiar enough. I think that a mixture of headwear looks best in a block.

Buttons: There is a lot of debate about buttons. Certainly many people believe that pewter would have been too expensive for many people (sorry, no-one can prove one way or the other!) Buttons made of stuffed cloth are certainly right for the period and would have been cheaper to produce. I personally don't have a problem with wood (it would seem strange for them NOT to use it) as long as they are shanked buttons rather than flat ones with holes. Tapes also seem to have been a common way to fasten clothing. For fancy wear you can't beat thread covered buttons! Whatever you choose you should have as many of them as possible!

Breeches: The Tudor/Stuart fashion was for these to be laced to the doublet but by the 1620-30s this has been replaced by purely ornamental rows of bows on fancier clothing. Some of them were hooked to doublets with iron hooks and eyes but by no means all. By the Civil War a belt was a perfectly acceptable way of keeping them up. They can be tied or buttoned below the knee or open at the bottom and should be full but not enormous.

Doublet: For the purposes of the SK this should be made of the Wardlaw's blue material which you are issued with. There are plenty of patterns about in the regiment too.

Footwear: Boots were worn by working men but were never issued to soldiers. However, this does not meen that they were not worn as not everyone would have been issued with shoes.

If you have a spare hour or are having trouble sleeping at any point, ask me about the SK tradition that only the rich wore black!!

Whever kit you end up with it should be well maintained (The English were known throughout Europe for their care in the way they dressed) Not immaculate but carefully patched or repaired after any accidents and brushed to get rid of any large amounts of mud.

Hopefully this is useful.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have a spare hour or are having trouble sleeping at any point, ask me about the SK tradition that only the rich wore black!!

And smelled faintly of urine (so I understand from a programme about early police uniforms, the dye was used with urine as a moderator - lovely).
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The Huntsman of Soest

Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 68
Location: Somerset

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah ha, some answers! Hurrah. I didn't know you secretly drooled over my kit Abs , I must get it waterproofed. Ok, when people start quibbling over buttons/hats etc, then we know it's time to start a new hobby, the main thing is we are starting to row in the same direction and new hands on deck get the right idea. The most important thing Dannolad, is we have a blast doing this crazy hobby of ours.

Abs makes a good point about re-enactment and recreation, and I suspect that doing 7th century reconstructions for the past 4 years has made me a bit retentive. One useful lesson it has taught me is to approach historical reconstruction from scratch, using extanct clothing and illustration, rather than relying entirely on written sources too much (which can sometimes be ambiguous) and re-enactment traditions. It's that old historian v. archaeologist thang again. eg. I would prefer to use pewter (or lead) buttons because original ones exist and we know what they look like, rather than use conjecture (however well informed) to reproduce a 'this is what they COULD have had' button.

What we could do with is a set of dress regulations (citing sources for each piece of kit) and approved suppliers, which all musketeers are encouraged to follow (on pain of buying a round). It would be good to get a degree of uniformity in the Regiment, or go to the other end of the scale and intentionally go UNuniformed but do it well, rather than hovering somewhere inbetween. Assuming our CO approves would you be able to fit this in in your schedule Abs?
"...I've seen a lot fierce battles in my time, but I've seldom seen a pikeman actually kill someone." - Johann Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen
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