The seventeenth century was a period of great social, political and scientific upheaval, with changes to society, politics, religion, business and science which still affect our lives today. For anybody interested in social or military history, membership of the Fairfax Battalia offers a fantastic way to learn about life during the middle of the seventeenth century. How better to do this than to live it: gain an insight into the lot of soldiers and civilians of the period, taste the food of the time, wear the clothes and live as they did for a short time.
We are a society of friends, drawn together from disparate walks of life by a shared interest. Membership of the battalia is a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends while taking part in an exciting and interesting activity. We are very family oriented, and welcome members of all ages.
Our re-enactment activities are only part of what we do - socialising together an equally important aspect of all that we do. Time and again at events we take the opportunity to gather together for a barbecue, a ceilidh or just to relax and enjoy a glass of wine or beer around a roaring fire. Outside the summer event season we frequently flock together for banquets, 'make and mend' and training weekends. Friendships formed within the battalia are often extremely close and durable (and have been known to frequently end in marriage).
We have no geographical bias - we have events in all parts of the country, so if there is not an event nearby at once, there will be one soon. There is no commitment to attend events - you can come to as many or as few as you like.
Taking part is not as difficult as you might imagine. The battalia has a supply of equipment and clothing which can be borrowed until you can provide your own (not everybody has a doublet and breeches hanging in the wardrobe), but the clothing is of simple design and many members make their own from original patterns. Assistance and advice is always gladly given, and a wide range of traders are available offering clothing and equipment for purchase.
These are just a small fraction of the skills that members of the Battalia have learnt and practice regularly. Membership of the Fairfax Batallia offers the opportunity to learn a vast range of new skills in both the military and civilian arenas.
For those interested in the military, equipment and training is provided by our experienced members, so that you can truly experience what it would have been like to be a soldier in the civil wars. However, military skills are only a small part of what we can offer.
Over the years, members of the Battalia have developed an astonishing array of other skills, painstakingly researched from period references and using appropriate materials and techniques. Moreover, if anybody is interested in learning a new skill, members are always pleased to pass on their skills, offer advice on research or help with sourcing materials. You don't need to already be an expert, or even know very much about the period at all. They say that the best way to learn is by doing, and we can certainly help you do that!
The Fairfax Battalia takes part in events all over the country, and through links forged with like-minded groups, such as our friends in 'De Bergsche Battery' in The Netherlands we are often invited to participate in events in Europe. Many of our events are held in fascinating historic locations such as Bolsover Castle (an almost untouched example of a grand noble house), Basing House (the largest private house in the country at the time) or Oakwell Hall (a beautifully preserved example of a period manor house).
Membership of the Battalia offers the opportunity to visit locations like these, to explore them at your leisure (often including parts which members of the public would never see) and bring them to life. The insight into seventeenth century life that membership can offer can greatly increase your enjoyment and appreciation of these fantastic locations. Past events have given members the opportunity to spend the night in a ruined castle, perhaps with a spot of night-time ghost hunting, or camp on a historic battlefield.
As one of the premier seventeenth century re-enactment groups in the country we are also frequently invited to take part in major events such as English Heritage's 'Festival of History' and the Military Odyssey at Detling. These are a fantastic opportunity not only to take part, but also to see thousands of re-enactors bring to life history from the Romans to the Second World War.
Below are some reviews from members of 'Spice', a 'social adventure group for ordinary people who want to do extraordinary things', who joined us at a recent event:
The English Civil War re-enactment weekend was, without a doubt, the best weekend activity I have done with Spice. The members of the Fairfax Battalia were amazingly welcoming, friendly, keen to make sure we enjoyed ourselves and helpful. We were free to choose what we wanted to be (pikemen or musketeers) and they took time to show us what we were supposed to do.... Being part of a performance that involves people around you firing muskets, others off to the side firing cannon, groups of people with 16 foot long pikes and mounted cavalry charging around was extraordinary. Then, at the end of Saturday, marching as a full battalia through the crowds with thousands of people taking photographs was the type of experience that comes to most of us only occasionally.
I am dressed in red, given a musket, sword and bandoliers and suddenly I am transported back in time. I am musketeer of the Fairfax battailla, 1645, re-enacting the English Civil War with a cast of hundreds. It's mad that I am there! I'm grinning continually. I am hypnotized by the magic of the drums banging out their melodic beat as the unit marches and drills in perfect time. In no time flat we are off to battle!...Though my 'side' lost the battle to the Royalists, I rub down my civil war uniform and return to my regiment. Everyone babbles with excited stories of what just happened. It was terrific and everyone is buzzing!
The English Civil War Weekend was absolutely brilliant. The Fairfax Battalia made us very welcome. We had a choice between muskets and pikes and they trained us on drill and how to handle the weapons... Fairfax were very sociable and friendly and invited the Spice members to their BBQ on Saturday night, after which we all headed off to the beer tent, most still in their period clothes.
To give you an opportunity to see what it is really like, we'd like to invite you to join the Battalia at an event and see for yourself. Simply complete the membership enquiry form to give us some idea of what you like and we'll invite you along to the next event that meets your requirements. We'll kit you out, give you some preliminary tuition and set you about your day.Click here to fill out the form