Leeds Castle is a castle in Kent, England, 5 miles southeast of Maidstone. It is built on islands in a lake formed by the River Len to the east of the village of Leeds. A castle has existed on the site since 1119, the first being a simple stone stronghold constructed by Robert de Crevecoeur which served as a military post in the time of Norman intrusions into England. In the 13th century it came into the hands of King Edward I, for whom it became a favourite residence; the present castle dates from the 19th century. It has been open to the public since 1976. From 857 the site was owned by a Saxon chief called Led or Leed who built a wooden structure on two islands in the middle of the River Len. In 1119 Robert de Crevecoeur rebuilt it in stone as a Norman stronghold and Leeds Castle descended through the de Crevecoeur family until the 1260s. What form this Norman stronghold took is uncertain because it was rebuilt and transformed in the following centuries. Adrian Pettifer speculates that it may have been a bailey.
In 1278, the castle was bought by King Edward I's Eleanor of Castile. As a favoured residence of Edward's, it saw considerable investment; the king enhanced its defences, it was Edward who created the lake that surrounds the castle. A barbican spanning three islands was built and a gloriette with apartments for the king and queen was added. In the Late Middle Ages, the growth of the royal household meant fewer residences could accommodate the monarchy when they visited; as a result, expenditure on royal residences in south east England decreased except for the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. The activity at Leeds Castle during the reign of Edward I was a notable exception to this pattern; the castle was captured on 31 October 1321 by the forces of Edward II from Margaret de Clare, Baroness Badlesmere, wife of the castle's constable, Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 1st Baron Badlesmere, who had left her in charge during his absence. The King had besieged Leeds after she had refused Edward's consort Isabella of France admittance in her husband's absence.
Lady Badlesmere was kept prisoner in the Tower of London until November 1322. After Edward II died in 1327 his widow took over Leeds Castle as her primary residence. Richard II's first wife, Anne of Bohemia, spent the winter of 1381 at the castle on her way to be married to the king. In 1395, Richard received the French chronicler Jean Froissart there, as described in Froissart's Chronicles. Henry VIII transformed the castle in 1519 for Catherine of Aragon. A painting commemorating his meeting with Francis I of France still hangs there. In 1552 Leeds Castle was granted to Sir Anthony St Leger of Ulcombe, whose grandfather Ralph I St Leger, of Ulcombe, Sheriff of Kent in 1467/8, had been Constable of Leeds Castle; the castle escaped destruction during the English Civil War because its owner, Sir Cheney Culpeper, sided with the Parliamentarians. The castle was used as a prison during the war. Other members of the Culpeper family had sided with the Royalists, John, 1st Lord Culpeper, having been granted more than 5,000,000 acres of land in Virginia in reward for assisting the escape of the king's son, the Prince of Wales.
This legacy was to prove vital for the castle's fortunes. Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron was born at the castle in 1693 and settled in North America to oversee the Culpeper estates, cementing an ongoing connection between the castle and America. There is a commemorative sundial at the castle telling the time in Belvoir, Virginia and a corresponding sundial in America. Fairfax was the great grandson of Thomas Fairfax who led the parliamentarian attack at the nearby Battle of Maidstone in 1648 and whose doublet worn during the battle is on display. Robert Fairfax owned the castle for 46 years until 1793. Sale of the family estates in Virginia released a large sum of money that allowed extensive repair and the remodelling of the castle in a Tudor style, completed in 1823, that resulted in the appearance today; the last private owner of the castle was the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie, daughter of Almeric Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough and his first wife, Pauline Payne Whitney, an American heiress.
Lady Baillie bought the castle in 1926 for £ 180,000. She redecorated the interior, first working with the French architect and designer Armand-Albert Rateau, who oversaw exterior alterations and added interior features such as a 16th-century-style carved-oak staircase with the Paris decorator Stéphane Boudin. During the early part of World War II the castle was used as a hospital where Lady Baillie and her daughters hosted burned Commonwealth airmen as part of their recovery. Survivors remember the experience with fondness. Upon her death in 1974, Lady Baillie left the castle to the Leeds Castle Foundation, a private charitable trust whose aim is to preserve the castle and grounds for the benefit of the public; the castle was opened to the public in 1976. On 17 July 1978, the castle was the site of a meeting between the Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Ibrahim Karmel and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Cyrus Vance of the USA in preparation for the Camp David Accords; the castle hosted the Northern Ireland peace talks held in September 2004 led by Tony Blair.
An aviary was added in 1980 and by 2011 it contained over 100 species, but it was decided to close it in October 2012 as it was felt the foundation could make better use of the £200,000 a year it cost to keep the aviary running. The
Rochester is a town and was a historic city in the unitary authority of Medway in Kent, England. It is at the lowest bridging point of the River Medway about 30 miles from London. Rochester was for many years a favourite of Charles Dickens, who owned nearby Gads Hill Place, basing many of his novels on the area; the Diocese of Rochester, the second oldest in England, is centred on Rochester Cathedral and was responsible for the founding of a school, now The King's School in 604 AD, recognised as being the second oldest continuously running school in the world. Rochester Castle, built by Bishop Gundulf of Rochester, has one of the best preserved keeps in either England or France, during the First Barons' War in King John's reign, baronial forces captured the castle from Archbishop Stephen Langton and held it against the king, who besieged it. Rochester and its neighbours and Gillingham, Strood and a number of outlying villages form a single large urban area known as the Medway Towns with a population of about 250,000.
These places nowadays make up the Medway Unitary Authority area. It was, until 1998, under the control of Kent County Council and is still part of the ceremonial county of Kent, under the latest Lieutenancies Act; the Romano-British name for Rochester was Durobrivae Durobrivis c. 730 and Dorobrevis in 844. The two cited origins of this name are that it either came from "stronghold by the bridge" or is the latinisation of the British word Dourbruf meaning "swiftstream". Durobrivis was pronounced'Robrivis. In times, the word cæster was added to the name and the city was called Robrivis Cæster. Bede mentions the city in ca. 730 and calls it Hrofes cæster, mistaking its meaning as Hrofi's fortified camp. From this we get 811 Hrofescester, 1086 Rovescester, 1610 Rochester; the Latinised adjective'Roffensis' refers to Rochester. Neolithic remains have been found in the vicinity of Rochester. During the Celtic period it was one of the two administrative centres of the Cantiaci tribe. During the Roman conquest of Britain a decisive battle was fought at the Medway somewhere near Rochester.
The first bridge was subsequently constructed early in the Roman period. During the Roman period the settlement was walled in stone. King Ethelbert of Kent established a legal system, preserved in the 12th century Textus Roffensis. In AD 604 the bishopric and cathedral were founded. During this period, from the recall of the legions until the Norman conquest, Rochester was sacked at least twice and besieged on another occasion; the medieval period saw the building of the current cathedral, the building of two castles and the establishment of a significant town. Rochester Castle saw action in the sieges of 1215 and 1264, its basic street plan was set out, constrained by the river, Watling Street, Rochester Priory and the castle. Rochester has produced two martyrs: St John Fisher, executed by Henry VIII for refusing to sanction the divorce of Catherine of Aragon; the city was raided by the Dutch as part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The Dutch, commanded by Admiral de Ruijter, broke through the chain at Upnor and sailed to Rochester Bridge capturing part of the English fleet and burning it.
Rochester has for centuries been of great strategic importance through its position near the confluence of the Thames and the Medway. Rochester Castle was built to guard the river crossing, the Royal Dockyard's establishment at Chatham witnessed the beginning of the Royal Navy's long period of supremacy; the town, as part of Medway, is surrounded by two circles of fortresses. The outer line of Palmerston Forts was built during the 1860s in light of the report by the Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom and consists of Fort Borstal, Fort Bridgewood, Fort Luton, the Twydall Redoubts, with two additional forts on islands in the Medway, namely Fort Hoo and Fort Darnet. During the First World War the Short Brothers' aircraft manufacturing company developed the first plane to launch a torpedo, the Short Admiralty Type 184, at its seaplane factory on the River Medway not far from Rochester Castle. In the intervening period between the 20th century World Wars the company established a world-wide reputation as a constructor of flying boats with aircraft such as the Singapore, Empire'C'-Class and Sunderland.
During the Second World War, Shorts designed and manufactured the first four-engined bomber, the Stirling. The UK's decline in naval power and shipbuilding competitiveness led to the government decommissioning the RN Shipyard at Chatham in 1984, which led to the subsequent demise of much local maritime industry. Rochester and its neighbouring communities were hit hard by this and have experienced a painful adjustment to a post-industrial economy, with much social deprivation and unemployment resulting. On the closure of Chatham Dockyard the area experienced an unprecedented surge in unemployment to 24%. Rochester was recognised as a City from 1211 to 1998; the City of Rochester's ancient status was unique, as it had no formal council or Charter Trustees nor a Mayor, instead having the office of Admiral of the River Medway, whose incumbent acted as de facto civic leader. Since Norman times Rochester had always governed land on the other side of the Medway in Strood, known as Strood Intra.
Arthur Henry Mee was a British writer and educator. He is best known for The Harmsworth Self-Educator, The Children's Encyclopædia, The Children's Newspaper, The King's England, he produced other works with a patriotic tone on the subjects of history or the countryside. He was born on 21 July 1875 at Stapleford near Nottingham, the second of the ten children of Henry Mee, railway fireman, his wife, Mary; as a boy he earned money from reading the reports of Parliament to a local blind man. Mee left school at 14 to join a local newspaper, where he became an editor by age 20, he contributed many non-fiction articles to magazines and joined the staff of The Daily Mail in 1898. He was made literary editor five years later. In 1903 he began working for publisher Alfred Harmsworth's Amalgamated Press, he was appointed general editor of The Harmsworth Self-Educator, in collaboration with John Hammerton. In 1908 he began work on The Children's Encyclopædia; the series was published and bound in eight volumes soon afterwards, expanded to ten volumes.
After the success of The Children's Encyclopædia, he started the first newspaper published for children, the weekly Children's Newspaper, published until 1965. Mee wrote London – Heart of the Empire and Wonder of the World, which became a popular book. Although he made money from these works, he did not receive a fair share, he had a large house built overlooking the hills near Eynsford in Kent. Its development from design to the final building was depicted in editions of The Children's Encyclopædia. Mee had one child, despite his work, declared that he had no particular affinity with children, his works for them suggest that his interest was in trying to encourage the raising of a generation of patriotic and moral citizens. He came from a Baptist upbringing, supported the temperance movement, he died in London aged 67. His books continued to be published after his death, most notably The King's England, a guide to the counties of England, being progressively republished. Mee's works were successful abroad.
The Children's Encyclopædia was translated into Chinese and sold well in the United States under the title The Book of Knowledge. List of children's non-fiction writers Gillian Elias Arthur Mee – Journalist in Chief to British Youth Maisie Robson Arthur Mee's Dream of England Enchanted Land: Half-a-Million Miles in the King's England, Introductory Volume to the UK series known as The King's England –. Stapleford Website Works by Arthur Mee at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Arthur Mee at Internet Archive The Children's Encyclopedia – Online Complete Digital Copy of Volume 1 Arthur Mee Brief biography and some criticism Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 2 Jan 2008 Arthur Mee: Encyclopedist BBC Radio 4 biography
Sir William Brockman
Sir William Brockman was an English landowner and military leader. He is best known for his staunch, if unsuccessful, defence of Maidstone in the Royalist cause, during the English Civil War. William Brockman was born in England in 1595, at Lyminge in Kent, the son of Henry Brockman and Helen, he was educated at Oxford University and married an heiress: Anne, the only daughter of Simon Bunce, Esq. of Lynsted. The couple had the elder of whom died in infancy. In 1632, William Brockman, Esq. was knighted by King Charles I. On the outbreak of the Civil War, the recently-knighted Sir William Brockman remained loyal to King Charles I and the Royalist cause. In 1642, Sir William was appointed High Sheriff of Kent by the King, but immediately he was arrested and imprisoned in Winchester Palace in Southwark, in London; the action seemed to have been a tactic to remove influential Royalist supporters from the scene, Brockman was replaced as Sheriff by Sir John Honeywood. William remained in custody until August 1645, although from June 1644 he transferred back to Kent, on the grounds that his health was deteriorating in the squalid London prison, to the fortified manor house known as Westenhanger Castle, only a couple of miles from his home at Beachborough.
In 1648, when the second period of conflict flared up, Sir William became directly involved in the fighting for the first and only time, under the command of Sir John Mayney. Separated from the main loyalist forces, the detachment in Maidstone had to fight unsupported against a large force of the New Model Army, under Sir Thomas Fairfax, or Lord Fairfax of Cameron as he had just become, having inherited the family peerage from the Kingdom of Scotland. Fairfax marched on Maidstone, with his division of veteran troops, numbering 6, 000 men; the garrison comprised 1, 000 men, but some of these were sailors and some were raw recruits. Lord Fairfax prepared to storm the town. Meanwhile, the Royalist strength had been boosted by Sir William, who had managed to bring in a large force of reinforcements, numbering about 800 men, during the preliminary skirmishing; the assault began about seven o'clock that evening, in driving rain. The resistance of the townsmen was determined and the battle spread out into every street.
Royalists fought from hasty barricades from the houses on either side. The conflict degenerated into house-to-house fighting; the battle continued in this way until midnight, still in rain, around which time the surviving Royalists were driven into a churchyard where they regrouped and prepared for the next phase. They were persuaded to surrender on conditions that guaranteed their personal safety. Fairfax's report to Parliament confirms that Sir William and the other leaders were captured, so began Sir William's second period of imprisonment. In somewhat flowery prose, the 1836 edition of Burke's Commoners summed up the Battle of Maidstone as follows: "Few actions displayed more of that chivalric courage and devoted resolve which characterised the adherents of the King during the civil wars than this. Lord Clarendon terms it a sharp encounter bravely fought with the general's whole strength". Letter from L. Fairfax, with an Account of the Victory over the Kentish Forces at Maidstone: To the Right Honourable the Earl of Manchester, Speaker of the House of Lords, pro Tempore, at Westm'r.
My Lord, It having pleased God to give us a Victory against those who without and against the Authority of Parliament raised an Army, I held it my Duty to give your Lordship an Account thereof, Time not permitting me at present to give the Particulars at large. The Engagement with them began the last Night, about Seven of the Clock, near Maydstone, continued a fierce and hot Dispute until after Twelve, before we could be Masters of the Town: The Enemy, by reason of the continued Supplies which they received from their Forces by the Passage over Alesford, were enabled to dispute every Street and Passage; the choicest of their Forces were appointed for this Service. There was about Two Hundred of the Enemy slain, many wounded, about Nine Hundred Prisoners, Four Hundred Horse, Eight Pieces of Cannon, great Store of Arms and Ammunition taken. Sir William Brockman and others of the Gentlemen are Prisoners; as God hath been pleased in Mercy to give you this Victory, so I desire that we may return all Thankfulness unto Him for it.
I shall improve this Advantage. Your Lordship's T. Fairefax. Records show that William was still a prisoner in 1651, when he, his brother Zouch and many other Royalists were declared delinquents and had heavy fines levied against them: Sir William was fined £500 and Zouch £350, it is not known. However more Sir William was able to avoid the sequestration of his estate during his two periods of imprisonment and was able to pass this on intact after his death in 1654. Sir William's burial took place on 6 December 1654 and the estate was inherited by his heir, James. Sir William came from a family long-established in Kent, which possessed a number of properties in Kent at that time. Around 1500, William's great grandfather Henry Brockman bought Cheriton Manor, Newington Manor and Beachborough Manor. Henry Brockman's grandson was called Henry, was the father of Sir William, he is commemorated by a tablet in Newington. As one of few notable and documented Kentish Englishmen from his era, Sir William is o
Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, London to the south-west; the county town is the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region. Essex occupies the eastern part of the ancient Kingdom of Essex, which united with the other Anglian and Saxon kingdoms to make England a single nation state; as well as rural areas, the county includes London Stansted Airport, the new towns of Basildon and Harlow, Lakeside Shopping Centre, the port of Tilbury and the borough of Southend-on-Sea. The name Essex originates in the Anglo-Saxon period of the Early Middle Ages and has its root in the Anglo-Saxon name Ēastseaxe, the eastern kingdom of the Saxons who had come from the continent and settled in Britain during the Heptarchy. Recorded in AD 527, Essex occupied territory to the north of the River Thames, incorporating all of what became Middlesex and most of what became Hertfordshire.
Its territory was restricted to lands east of the River Lea. Colchester in the north-east of the county is Britain's oldest recorded town, dating from before the Roman conquest, when it was known as Camulodunum and was sufficiently well-developed to have its own mint. In AD 824, following the Battle of Ellandun, the kingdoms of the East Saxons, the South Saxons and the Jutes of Kent were absorbed into the kingdom of the West Saxons, uniting Saxland under King Alfred's grandfather Ecgberht. Before the Norman conquest the East Saxons were subsumed into the Kingdom of England. After the Norman conquest, Essex became a county. During the medieval period, much of the area was designated a Royal forest, including the entire county in a period to 1204, when the area "north of the Stanestreet" was disafforested; the areas subject to forest law diminished, but at various times they included the forests of Becontree, Epping, Hatfield and Waltham. Essex County Council was formed in 1889. However, County Boroughs of West Ham, Southend-on-Sea and East Ham formed part of the county but were unitary authorities.
12 boroughs and districts provide more localised services such as rubbish and recycling collections and planning, as shown in the map on the right. A few Essex parishes have been transferred to other counties. Before 1889, small areas were transferred to Hertfordshire near Bishops Stortford and Sawbridgeworth. At the time of the main changes around 1900, parts of Helions Bumpstead, Sturmer and Ballingdon-with-Brundon were transferred to Suffolk. Part of Hadstock, part of Ashton and part of Chrishall were transferred to Cambridgeshire and part of Great Horkesley went to Suffolk; the boundary with Greater London was established in 1965, when East Ham and West Ham county boroughs and the Barking, Dagenham, Ilford, Romford and Wanstead and Woodford districts were transferred to form the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Waltham Forest. Essex became part of the East of England Government Office Region in 1994 and was statistically counted as part of that region from 1999, having been part of the South East England region.
In 1998, the boroughs of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock were granted autonomy from the administrative county of Essex after successful requests to become unitary authorities. Essex Police covers the two unitary authorities; the county council chamber and main headquarters is at the County Hall in Chelmsford. Before 1938, the council met in London near Moorgate, which with significant parts of the county close to that point and the dominance of railway travel had been more convenient than any place in the county, it has 75 elected councillors. Before 1965, the number of councillors reached over 100; the County Hall, made a listed building in 2007, dates from the mid-1930s and is decorated with fine artworks of that period the gift of the family who owned the textile firm Courtaulds. The highest point of the county of Essex is Chrishall Common near the village of Langley, close to the Hertfordshire border, which reaches 482 feet; the ceremonial county of Essex is bounded to the south by its estuary.
The pattern of settlement in the county is diverse. The Metropolitan Green Belt has prevented the further sprawl of London into the county, although it contains the new towns of Basildon and Harlow developed to resettle Londoners after the destruction of London housing in the Second World War, since which they have been developed and expanded. Epping Forest prevents the further spread of the Greater London Urban Area; as it is not far from London with its economic magnetism, many of Essex's settlements those near or within short driving distance of railway stations, function as dormitory towns or villages where London workers raise their families. Part of the s
Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west; the county shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone. Canterbury Cathedral in Kent has been the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England, since the Reformation. Prior to that it was built by Catholics, dating back to the conversion of England to Catholicism by Saint Augustine that began in the 6th century. Before the English Reformation the cathedral was part of a Benedictine monastic community known as Christ Church, Canterbury, as well as being the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury; the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury was Reginald Pole. Rochester Cathedral is in Kent, in Medway, it is the second-oldest cathedral in England, with Canterbury Cathedral being the oldest. Between London and the Strait of Dover, which separates it from mainland Europe, Kent has seen both diplomacy and conflict, ranging from the Leeds Castle peace talks of 1978 and 2004 to the Battle of Britain in World War II.
England relied on the county's ports to provide warships through much of its history. France can be seen in fine weather from Folkestone and the White Cliffs of Dover. Hills in the form of the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge span the length of the county and in the series of valleys in between and to the south are most of the county's 26 castles; because of its relative abundance of fruit-growing and hop gardens, Kent is known as "The Garden of England". Kent's economy is diversified. In northwest Kent industries include extraction of aggregate building materials and scientific research. Coal mining has played its part in Kent's industrial heritage. Large parts of Kent are within the London commuter belt and its strong transport connections to the capital and the nearby continent makes Kent a high-income county. Twenty-eight per cent of the county forms part of two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the North Downs and The High Weald; the name Kent is believed to be of British Celtic origin and was known in Old English as Cent, Cent lond, Centrice.
In Latin sources Kent is mentioned as Canticum. The meaning is explained by some researchers as "coastal district," or "corner-land, land on the edge". If so, the name could be etymologically related to the placename Cantabria a Celtiberian-speaking coastal region in pre-Roman Iberia, today a province of Spain; the area has been occupied since the Palaeolithic era, as attested by finds from the quarries at Swanscombe. The Medway megaliths were built during the Neolithic era. There is a rich sequence of Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman era occupation, as indicated by finds and features such as the Ringlemere gold cup and the Roman villas of the Darent valley; the modern name of Kent is derived from the Brythonic word kantos meaning "rim" or "border", or from a homonymous word kanto "horn, hook". This describes the eastern part of the current county area as coastal district. Julius Caesar had described the area as um, or home of the Cantiaci in 51 BC; the extreme west of the modern county was by the time of Roman Britain occupied by Iron Age tribes, known as the Regnenses.
Caesar wrote that the people of Kent are'by far the most civilised inhabitants of Britain'. East Kent became a kingdom of the Jutes during the 5th century and was known as Cantia from about 730 and recorded as Cent in 835; the early medieval inhabitants of the county were known as the Kent people. These people regarded the city of Canterbury as their capital. In 597, Pope Gregory I appointed the religious missionary as the first Archbishop of Canterbury. In the previous year, Augustine converted the pagan King Æthelberht of Kent to Christianity; the Diocese of Canterbury became England's first Episcopal See with first cathedral and has since remained England's centre of Christianity. The second designated English cathedral was in Kent at Rochester Cathedral. In the 11th century, the people of Kent adopted the motto Invicta, meaning "undefeated" or "unconquered"; this naming followed the invasion of Britain by William of Normandy. The Kent people's continued resistance against the Normans led to Kent's designation as a semi-autonomous county palatine in 1067.
Under the nominal rule of William's half-brother Odo of Bayeux, the county was granted similar powers to those granted in the areas bordering Wales and Scotland. Kent was traditionally partitioned into East and West Kent, into lathes and hundreds; the traditional border of East and West Kent was the Medway. Men and women from east of the Medway are Men of Kent, those from the west are Kentishmen or Kentish Maids. During the medieval and early modern period, Kent played a major role in several of England's most notable rebellions, including the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, led by Wat Tyler,Jack Cade's Kent rebellion of 1450, Wyatt's Rebellion of 1554 against Queen Mary I; the Royal Navy first used the River Medway in 1547. By the reign of Elizabeth I a small dockyard had been established at Chatham. By 1618, storehouses, a ropewalk, a drydock, houses for officials had
The Sealed Knot (reenactment)
The Sealed Knot is an English historical association and charity, dedicated to costumed reenactment of battles and events surrounding the English Civil War. The Sealed Knot takes its name from the original Sealed Knot, a secret association aimed at the restoration of the monarchy, although the modern incarnation has none of the political affiliations of its namesake. Apart from reenactment, it is involved in research into the history of the Civil War, education about the same; the Sealed Knot was founded by Brigadier Peter Young, a military historian and a Second World War veteran. The idea of the Sealed Knot re-enactment group started at a dinner party with a small group of friends on 28 February 1968 following the publication of "Edgehill 1642 – the Campaign and the Battle". Within a few months it had 200 members and today has a membership of several thousand, making it the largest re-enactment society in Europe; the group is a registered charity, has its own coat of arms. With its large membership and high profile the Sealed Knot is the largest and best known of all the many re-enactment and historical groups and societies in the UK.
Its official journal, Orders of the Day, is sent to all members. It contains information about forthcoming events. Copies of every issue are lodged with the British Library; the Sealed Knot comprises a number of regiments split into Parliamentarian and Scots armies. The group was responsible for the first commemoration in 1971 of the Battle of Nantwich and in 1973 the Sealed Knot staged the first re-enactment of the battle, which has now become an annual event at the end of January and is known as "Holly Holy Day"; the Sealed Knot is made up of smaller groups, each run semi-autonomously, known to their members as "regiments", their names and identities linked to regiments that took part in the English Civil War. Each of these regiments falls under one of the armies of the society: the Royalist Army, the Army of Parliament and the Army of Ireland and Scotland; the other sections are those who deal with pyrotechnics, the medical service, the living history group and Friends of the Knot. There are two different types of regiment – "foote" are infantry with pikemen and musketeers, while "horse" are regiments of cavalry.
The Thomas Rainsborough Company took part in the opening ceremony for a plaque commemorating the burial of Thomas Rainsborough in Wapping on 12 May 2013. The Sealed Knot is parodied as "The Peeled Nuts" in the Discworld series of novels by Terry Pratchett, it has been parodied in Chris Morris' On The Hour, where it is referred to as "The Soiled Nut". Half Man Half Biscuit's song "Uffington Wassail" on their 2000 album Trouble over Bridgwater challenges the Society to re-enact "Luton Town – Millwall, nineteen eighty-five", a notorious incident of football hooliganism involving rival supporters. List of historical reenactment groups English Civil War reenactment English Civil War Society Official website National Association of Re-Enactment Societies