History and Formation
The Company of Musket is named after Sir Charles
Compton, second son of the 2nd Earl of Northampton Spencer Compton.
Sir Charles Compton served as a Cornet in his father's Troop of
Horse at the battle of Edgehill, and following this was knighted
along with his elder brother James. You can see the personal
standard of Sir Charles Compton in the page about the Regiment, a
replica of which the current Regiment carries.
The Company is divided into three squadrons, each named
after a notable figure in the Northampton's 17th Century Regiment:
- Captain Flamock Colbourne's Squadron: a veteran of Edgehill, was
taken prisoner at Rowton Heath on 24th September 1645.
- Captain John Moore's Squadron: was a Captain of the Banbury garrison
and famous for waylaying a Parliamentarian baggage trayne bound for
Warwick. Bolts of red cloth were liberated from the baggage by
Captain Moore which the Earl then used to clothe his soldiers -
hence the red breeches our Regiment wears today.
- Captain John Clark's Squadron: killed at Hopton Heath 19th March 1643
with the 2nd Earl Spencer Compton.
Musketeers were foot
soldiers and would
generally outnumber the Pike two to one. The musket itself could be
up to 48 inches in length. It fired a small
ball and as the barrel was smooth bored, i.e. not rifled, it was not
accurate. Therefore from a distance they would fire by ranks giving
more chance of the target being hit. Early muskets would need a rest
to support the musket when firing, but later in the war shorter,
lighter muskets became more popular so the rest was not needed. Musketeers
also carried a bandolier across the body with wooden apostles strung
from it, each containing a charge of black powder. Early muskets were fired using a
piece of slow burning 'match' cord. Later in the Civil War flintlocks
were more in use which produced sparks with a piece of flint
instead. We have a combination of both in the Company.
Equipment and Training
Musketeers carry swords, providing they have passed their sword test, which is essential for
safety. Other necessary equipment other than regimental dress are
powder horn, leather gloves and authentic leather shoes: either
latchets or startups. We encourage members to buy
their own muskets and swords, so there can be more of a
financial investment when joining the Musket Company. However, we do have
limited amounts of dress, swords and muskets which we can lend new
members until they are able to buy their own.
We encourage everyone who joins the Musket Company to get appropriate
licences, which will enable them to draw black powder and fire a
musket. We offer full training in both musket and sword, as you will
not be able to use either on the field without passing a Sealed Knot
test. New members can however take a 'dummy' musket on the field so
they can familiarise themselves with the drill and firing procedure.
Safety is paramount and we take pride in our level of training and
skill at arms that we achieve. We use proper 17th Century drill in
order to have the highest standards of authenticity.
Action in the Company of Musket
The Musket Company starts work early in the
battle with skirmishing action and ambushing on foot. We may then
rejoin the main army and fire mass volleys with the rest of the
infantry into the opposing army. When the enemy is closer we work
with the Pike Company who protect the shot whilst we are loading,
and also 'charge for horse' to protect us and the rest of the
regiment when we are attacked by cavalry. When we can see the whites
of their eyes, we draw our swords, 'club' our muskets and fall on!
Some members enjoy this part more than volley firing, whilst others
prefer the skirmishing and firing action. However everyone is
expected to participate in all aspects of the Musket Company, so we
now have one of the largest live firing blocks in the Sealed Knot.
How the Musket Company works with
the rest of the Regiment
As well as the Pike Company we also work closely
with other companies in the Regiment to produce an enjoyable
- The Baggage Trayne provide water carriers and match holders or 'mattross'
who collect and distribute burning match to the live firers. Members
of the Trayne also work with the Company on cameos such as pilfering
the dead (you always get your weapons back afterwards!)
- The Artillery support us on the field and are able to run the
smaller guns about the field alongside the Company, providing us
with even more fire power.
- Drums and Colours (flags) lead us onto the battlefield and stay
with us during the battle. The drums can convey orders, keep us
marching together and generally keep up morale! The Colours are used
as a rallying point for the Company when reforming into rank and
Our Company Commander is a Lieutenant, and he is supported by a
Sergeant who ensures no-one runs away in the face of the enemy, and
four Corporals responsible for training, discipline and order within
Colonel Sir Charles Compton's Company of Musket
is the largest fighting company in the regiment. It currently has 26
members, usually with up to 20 regularly turning out for musters.
Ages range from 20 to 60 and we have both men and women in the
Musket Company, each playing an equal role. Members come from all
walks of life from students, civil servants and consultants to
retirees! We are a lively, enthusiastic and friendly group of people
who have fun both on and off the field. So if you fancy some
swashbuckling action, Colonel Sir Charles Compton's Company of
Musket needs you!
If you are interested in joining Colonel Sir
Charles Compton's Company of Musket please contact the Company
Tel. 01745 888580
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