Company of Pikemen & Musketeers to entertain at Chirk Castle
The Company of Pikemen & Musketeers, well known for taking part in the Lord Mayor's Show in London, will be entertaining visitors to Chirk Castle this weekend.
Apart from the colour and pageantry, organisers say poeple be prepared for a few loud bangs of musket fire as they demonstrate how an army fought at the time of the Civil War!
The Company will be parading on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 1pm both days. The company will be on site until around 2:30pm, and there will be plenty of opportunity for visitors to meet members of the Company after the display.
The Pikemen & Musketeers are a ceremonial unit of the Honourable Artillery Company , the oldest regiment in the British Army, which traces its origins back to a charter granted by King Henry VIII in 1537.
The group is governed by a Royal Warrant, and tasked with providing a ceremonial bodyguard for the Lord Mayor of the City of London. This includes escorting his State Coach during the Lord Mayor’s Show each November, providing honour guards for state banquets and dinners at Guildhall, Mansion House and for other occasions in the City.
There is an historic connection with Sir Thomas Myddelton who bought Chirk Castle in 1595 and was Lord Mayor of London in 1613.
Also present on both days will be Brian Godwin, the National Trust firearms advisor who will be taking some of Chirk Castle’s historic Civil War musket collection down off the walls to show them to visitors. Brian will be on hand both days to answer questions and share his knowledge.
The uniform that members of the Company wear is identical to that worn by the musketeers during the reign of Charles I - Venetian red tunics with white linen collars and cuffs and knee-length breeches. The seniority of officers and non-commissioned officers is signified by the amount of lace worn on collars and cuffs; the more lace the more senior the rank. Officers wear thigh boots and spurs.
Pikemen wore armour and were armed with swords and pikes. The latter would originally have been 18ft long but for reasons of practicality 12ft pikes are used today.
Musketeers wore a buff sur-coat and wide-brimmed black felt hat and are armed with a match-lock musket.
Members are unpaid, but give freely of their own time for drill practice and rehearsals as well as the parades ad guards themselves. All are expected to clean and look after their armour, muskets and other kit and maintain the highest standards of turnout for the many prestigious occasions they parade for. They must be fit enough to competently complete the march of the Lord Mayors Show.
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