Trayned Bandes

These photographs show "shot" of the Tower Hamlets Trained Bands, SK, during a muster at Weston Super Mare. The Trained Bands were local militias first raised in Queen Elizabeth's reign, which by 1642 varied widely in strength, equipment and preparedness; but they were the nearest thing England had to a standing army, and both sides tried to get control of them (and their armouries) by selective appointment of officers. Most Trained Bands refused to serve outside their counties. Notable exceptions were those from Cornwall, who were among the King's best infantry; and the London Trained Bands, who were from the first among

Parliament's most valuable assets. The Bands of the city and suburbs totalled, by 1643, nine very strong regiments (averaging about 1,200 men each) and nine new Auxiliary regiments of 1,000 each. A reliable Parliamentary defence force for the capital, the London Trained Bands were also persuaded to supply large field brigades for campaigns further afield in 1643-44.

(Left) Note the pronounced "hatchet" shape of the musket stock; the cloth field sign tied around a sleeve, left; and this re-enactor's basket-hilted sword, rather more elaborate than would normally be seen at the hip of a simple soldier.

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