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Pikes, plunder and mayhem return to Newark for major civil war festival

10 January 2017

Over 300 civil war re-enactors will descend on Newark, Nottinghamshire, during early May Bank Holiday as the clock is turned back to the mid-17th century.

The National Civil War Centre has confirmed that the 3rd Pikes and Plunder annual civil war festival will take place on 30 April and 1 May 2017.

So far 14 regiments have signed up to take part, along with two artillery companies, a baggage train and scores of living history exponents, making it a much bigger event than last year.

The historic Queen's Sconce fort – built in 1644 - will be the stunning venue for musket fire and fighting, whilst Newark Castle hosts major living history displays, recreating the dark days when the besieged citizens of Newark struggled to cope with food shortages. The National Civil War Centre will also stage exciting demonstrations to bring the period vividly back to life.

“We are working closely with the English Civil War Society to stage this major event,” explained Michael Constantine, manager of the National Civil War Centre.  “Their expertise will make it an unforgettable weekend with musketeers, pikemen, cannons and colour.”

Jo Sarney, Commanding Officer of Robert Overton's Regiment, who is co-ordinating the re-enactors, added:

“The chance to use the Queen's Sconce in particular is an unmissable opportunity for re-enactors.  It's by far the best preserved earthen fort of its kind anywhere in Britain, providing an atmospheric setting with excellent viewing points for the public.”

Newark was a Royalist stronghold during the war between crown and parliament and during the last of three sieges over the winter of 1645/46 it was assailed by 16,000 English and Scottish troops.  The ordeal lasted until 8 May 1646 when it was ordered to lay down its arms by King Charles.  With the plague rampant, one in five buildings destroyed and turf stripped from surrounding pasture land to build fortifications, it took Newark 100 years to recover.

Regiments and groups set to appear at Pikes and Plunder include: 

Colonel Robert Overton’s Regiment of Foote

Colonel John Hampden’s Regiment of Foote.

The Earl Of Loudoun’s Regiment of Foote

Earl of Essex Regiment of Foote

Col. George Fenwick’s Regiment of Foote

John Bright’s Regiment of Foote

Colonel Edward Montagu’s Regiment of Foote

Norfolke Trayned Bandes

Colquhoun’s Company of Artillery

Deane’s Company of Artillery

Baggage Trayne

Lord Hopton's Regiment of Foote

Sir Thomas Tyldesleys Regiment of Foote

Sir Marmaduke Rawdon's Regiment of Foote

Sir Thomas Lunsford's Regiment of Foote

The Marquess of Winchester's Regiment 

Sir Thomas Blackwell's Regiment of Foote

The National Civil War Centre is a flagship £5.4m projected by Newark and Sherwood District Council and was supported by £3.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund