The Essex Militia Homepage
Essex Militia Homepage

What The Essex Militia does

Events past present and future

Civil War Living History

Restoration Living History

Portraits of the Militia at Events

How to Contact us

Use the quill to sign the Guestbook

Favorite Links

Essex Militia on Tour

The Essex Militia Homepage,
Welcome to The Essex Militia Homepage.
We are, an English based Historical Living History group, that covers the time period from James I through to James II, (the years 1603 to 1703).
This means we do not, as a group, provide the well known large battle displays.

We instead provide the chance for the public to gain a "hands-on" experience of the life and times of this period. With Members taking on roles of Soldiery, Gentry, Tradesmen, Civilains and Beggars to "bring to life" the event.

We are finding that most of the events we are booked for are for the mid years, 1642 to 1675, the years of the English Civil wars and the Restoration of the King.

As you read through this page, why not go to my guestbook, grab your quill and "make your mark",or sign in. Your comments would be helpful to improve this site.
The above picture shows one of the group clothed in the period of the 1640's, relaxing outside the tent of one of the officers of the Essex Militia, Col. Sir Thomas Honywood.
The Essex Militia was set up in 1997, by Mr Dennis Ward.
Dennis has over Twenty years of re-enactment experience gained from other groups. All other members have both the deep love of history as well as experience of re-actctment.
All members enjoy working along side the public as we bring to life the past. We are also all trained, or being trained, from the youngest to the not so young, in the art of handling the weapon's we show. These being, the use of the English pike and half-staff, the Art of Swordmanship, Musket handling & firing, cannonary, as well as the infamous English Long bow.
At our displays, according to the period we portay, you will see most if not all of the above being demonstated.

Where does the Militia fit in the History of England?

Well, the orgins of the militia is lost in time but is believed to have come into England with the Vikings to have a fighting force available for use in times of invasion without the need to pay for a standing army.

Up to 1645, there was no standing army in England, the Ruler relied on the support of his Gentry and their paid retainers and workers. As the Fedual Lord of the land, whenever trouble was brewing, the Ruler would raise his standard (flag) and command "All true and loyal subjects to follow".
This meant an armed force raised for each campaign. Henry VIII went one step further with his Militia orderances which called all Yeoman (lower to mid class gentlemen with land and income)to muster (meet) at least once a month to train in the art of warfare. To learn the art of the Pike and Longbow. Thus provide a Trayned Bande or Militia who could be called out in defensive of this land (assisted by the common or untrayned bandes). This law was used by Elizabeth I and was kept on the statute books until recent times.

By the 17th Century, the Militia or trained bands still met for drill but it had turned into a social rather than military event. That said there were still pockets of trained Yeoman around, mainly in London & the Home Counties.

When the War of the Three Kingdoms (The English Civil Wars, 1642 -1653) erupted, both the King and Parliament claimed the trained bands for the bases of their Armies. We find the Essex Militia in 1642 being split in their loyality, to the King or to the Paymaster, Parliament. From the records kept, The Essex Militia declared for Parliament but some members declared for and joined the King. Throughout the conflict, the Militia of most Counties, trained men in the art of warfare, for the main field armies of both sides.
When England (and Europes), first standing army was created in 1645, The New Model Army (or to give its correct name The Remodelled Army of Parliament under Sir Thomas Fairfax), once again the Militia was called upon to supply men to bolster the ranks when needed.

When Charles II returned to the throne in 1660, again he used the Militia to bolster his armed forces, which were created from Europes most succesful army, the New Modelled Army, which paved the way for the armed forces of todays England.

To e mail me, click here

your number:564146

The Yellow coated soldiers of the Lord High Admirals Regiment act as a guard of honour for Charles II and Nell Gwynne during a visit to Newmarket.