How historians celebrate Valentine’s Day and other historical goings-on

How does one spend Valentine’s Day? Sharing a romantic meal with one’s beloved? Staring at the sunset? Even a trip to Paris? No, I spend it dressed in seventeenth century costume, drumming my way through the streets, in the company of a regimental rabble, commemorating the Battle of Torrington, which effectively ended the first English Civil War in 1646. I don’t get to drum very often and my previous performances have been of the English March (affectionately known as ‘going to the shop’). This year there were only three drummers and the one of us who actually had half an idea of what was going on (that would not be me) decided that we would go for the Scottish March, on the grounds that it was slower and might be easier on the hangovers of members of our accompanying pike block. In fact the Scottish March is easier but it was of course different and when our leader put in twiddly bits, I was reduced to drumming randomly, smiling and hoping for the best. By the time we reached the town square though we were actually managing to pretty much keep together.

Drumming, even for less than a mile, makes you heartily sick of marching beats, be they English, Scottish or whatever. Goodness knows how troops coping with twenty miles a day put up with repetitive beats – they were probably all deaf from the constant noise anyway. Even with a small troop and three drummers it is pretty noisy, what with the drums and the soldiers hurling abuse at the enemy, especially when walking through the streets adds an impressive echo. Imagine how the inhabitants of small village would have felt when armies of up to ten thousand men marched through. This battle commemoration always gets the hairs standing up on the back of ones neck. Great to celebrate local heritage in this way.

2590261’Til Death us do Part is now on sale and will soon be an ebook. I have also been writing for the Worldwide Genealogy Blog and of course I am working my way through the chapters of my (still to be titled) book, based on the memories of some lovely ladies who are recalling the years from 1946-1969.

Mistress Agnes has been round and about a bit lately – apart from her drumming episode. She has being describing the duties of the seventeenth century housewife, accompanying Master Christopher, when he talks about the weaponry of the time and tomorrow her topic is ‘The Civil War in the South West’. There may be exciting times on the horizon for Mistress Agnes; I hope to be able to reveal more soon. This week is very much one of those, ‘It is Wednesday, I must be talking about writing up your family history’ weeks, with a day course and a half day course to deliver, as well as the individual sessions – heigh ho – at least I don’t get bored.

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2 comments on “How historians celebrate Valentine’s Day and other historical goings-on

  1. i wonder why they made so much noise, was it to announce their arrival or scare their enemy?

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