Home Forums Renaissance Composition of the clubmen

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  • #103179

    Ive got a line on some vintage Warrior figures armed with scythes and flails who might make up a useful ECW clubmen unit. Using Event Cards, such a unit could join either side or neither. This would add to the frisson of a game. I’d like to find a bit more about them though I have done some research.

    Some clubmen were raised by the local gentry. Does this mean a unit could contain a figure wearing finer clothes? Could I supplement my agricultural workers with the odd musketeer or pikeman?

    Was the wearing of white ribbons as a field sign universal? Would they carry flags? If so, what did they look like?

     

    donald

     

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Deleted User.
    #103186
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I have some Museum Miniatures that are poorly armed peasants that I use as Clubmen, I’ve not used them yet but they should be fun.

    #103275
    Radar
    Participant

    We know even less about the clubmen than we do about the ‘proper’ military units of the civil wars. So in other words you can do what you want. As for military types in clubmen bands, unlikely unless they were invalided out. Possibly deserters, but having seen the Royalist branding iron ‘mittens’ on display at Newark I think they’d keep a very very low profile.

    I know this is the wrong size of figure for you but the Matchlock 15mm one legged musketeer with pig, would be an ideal candidate to bolster a clubmen band.

    The only time I have come across anything in detail about clubmen was their support for Parliament at Adwalton Moor (in other words to protect their homes in Bradford); and a similar example from the Royalist defence of Newark. Although they were pressed to shore up the defences initially.

    As for white ribbons, the only mention I’ve seen of that is on Wikipedia.

    #103285

    Thanks for your response. My “big” 20mm figures would tower over 15mm figures but even worse, I’ve found, is the discrepancy in heft.

    It appears they weren’t much written about? That’s not surprising given the patchy nature of sources on the era. My idea of using them via a “Chance” system seems to be as valid as anything.

     

    I’ll leave off the white ribbons then, if Wikipedia is the only support.

     

    donald

    #103326

    Information on the Clubmen is definitely thin on the ground.

    A somewhat less than scholarly source (Pike & Shotte Games) who write this:

    “The war dragged on and on and, as usual, it was the common folk who suffered the most. Raiding parties from both sides waged a small war as a fight for supplies and personal plunder took hold of the soldiery who were, it is fair to say, often poorly provided for. This became too much for the good yeoman people of the midlands, and firstly in Worcestershire, then the West Country, the locals organised…
    Led most often by their social betters, the villagers and small townsfolk formed associations, or ‘Clubs’, sworn to defend their livestock, beer and persons from any marauding soldiery whomever they were. They armed themselves from whatever were available, largely agricultural tools, and with whatever other weapons the local squirearchy could avail himself of. Some Clubmen groups even fielded cavalry!
    They fought a few actions, seeing off small raiding parties, and even sometimes allied with an army for temporary advantage, though no general could count on the goodwill of these bands for long.”

     

    This just about gives you carte blanche for anything. Cavalry??

     

    donald

    #103332
    Etranger
    Participant

    I’ve got a couple of units of clubmen, who can double up as poorly equipped new recruits to bulk up the ‘regular’ ECW armies. They get equipped with any old rubbish, farm implements, old fowling pieces, bits and pieces of armour & civilian clothes, with perhaps an occasional old uniform jacket. I haven’t seen references to cavalry before but it’s hard to imagine that they had any real fighting ability.

    Thinking about it, your reivers could do double duty!

    #103346

    . Thinking about it, your reivers could do double duty!

    Because I need them for a game in less than 2 weeks, they’re on Priority Paint. And, I think they’re already bloody beautiful.

    For certain they’ll end up as one of those units you love but break & rout every game, taking half your army with them.

     

    Love is difficult….

    donald

    #103361
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Clubmen were clubmen for many varied reasons depending on locality.

    Many such groups weren’t even called ‘clubmen’ at the time and some who were, weren’t what we think of as ‘clubman’. Many  were labelled as Royalist or Malignants depending on who controlled the area they were in. If there was a unifying theme it was a reactive one to the presence and activities of military forces in their areas. They mostly wanted to be left alone and the ‘strategic’ aim, in as much as there was one, was to make such a nuisance of themselves that the armies would go and fight elsewhere.

    As for their military prowess, it was generally not great, especially against experienced well commanded troops. Hambledon Hill is usually quoted as both the most serious resistance by them and as evidence of their easy dispersal. Away from the main armies however they could be more difficult to contain – the 4,000 strong Peaceable Army from  Glamorgan caused Charles severe problems at Cardiff in 1645, although they WERE the army he was expecting to lead. (Recruited supposedly for the Royal army they rebelled before they did any fighting and had not yet been soldiers). Whether they forced the local leaders to rebel or were used by the disaffected leaders to force through Royal withdrawal is still disputed. Parliament claimed it was in reaction  to Royalist atrocities but they blamed Royalist trouble makers in its ranks the next year when the Peaceable army turned against Parliament.

    So if you want any ‘clubmen’ involved in battle I’d have them as an awkward squad (usually much smaller than the ‘Peaceable Army’ or the Dorset Clubmen at Hambledon) hovering on the edge of the battle and have them attack one side or the other almost at random, unless you want to go to the bother of deciding which side is in control of the area you are in and then they are the ones to be attacked. Groups like this were usually against the armies as a whole and not in favour of either side.

    No uniforms. No flags. It would make sense to have field signs (ribbons etc) but I haven’t seen any examples recorded. Sometimes local gentry and minor aristocracy tried to use them for their own ends but most often they were just groups of ****ed off agrarian workers.

    #103381

    Thanks for the information, Guy.

    Evidently, there was at least one flag, carried at Hambledon:

    http://dux-homunculorum.blogspot.com/2010/05/english-civil-war-clubmen.html

     

    donald

    #103420
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Yes, I always think of this as a banner or slogan rather than a flag, but I suppose the source calls it an ‘ensign’ so fair enough. 

    As someone said above – you can pretty much do as you like with them , but don’t believe any stories about them being united across areas or having a common theme beyond not liking any ‘outsiders’ – a local club for local thugs.

    #103434
    Brendan Morrissey
    Participant

    http://bcw-project.org/military/english-civil-war/clubman-uprisings

    This article has a little more detail, including how 12,000 (some of them “well armed and mounted”) besieged Hereford for several days.  Increasingly, they seem to have supported Parliament, probably because the New Model was better supplied and paid than the Royalists.

    #103437
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Many thanks to Ochoin for starting this thread, and for all the great postings since – I am going to raise a few units of clubmen in the near-ish future and all this is very useful.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #103455

    Many thanks to Ochoin for starting this thread, and for all the great postings since – I am going to raise a few units of clubmen in the near-ish future and all this is very useful.

    TWW certainly is building a core of knowledgeable members, some seen in this thread. They give substance to the bletherings of people like me & make all the difference. Thanks really go to them.

     

    donald

    #103773
    Ian Bailey
    Participant

    Hi

    A new theory on Clubmen (note, “theory”, ie <u>not</u> proven!) is that we’ve misunderstood what “club” means. We (wargamers, re-enactors and other ner-do-wells) have interpreted this as “men with clubs”, ie a load of blokes in a mob with C17th base ball bats.

    Another possible interpretation is that they are “men in clubs”, ie members of a local organisation, perhaps not too dissimilar to Trayned Bandes? If so they may even be armed in a similar fashion (ie Pike and Shot etc.). It may explain their role in several actions (I think particularly of their role in the Fairfax’s Northern Association in 1642/3 and the 1645/46 campaigns in the West Country?).

    An interesting thought……

    #103778
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Hi A new theory on Clubmen (note, “theory”, ie <u>not</u> proven!) is that we’ve misunderstood what “club” means. We (wargamers, re-enactors and other ner-do-wells) have interpreted this as “men with clubs”, ie a load of blokes in a mob with C17th base ball bats. Another possible interpretation is that they are “men in clubs”, ie members of a local organisation, perhaps not too dissimilar to Trayned Bandes? If so they may even be armed in a similar fashion (ie Pike and Shot etc.). It may explain their role in several actions (I think particularly of their role in the Fairfax’s Northern Association in 1642/3 and the 1645/46 campaigns in the West Country?). An interesting thought……

    I am intrigued by the idea that this is ‘new’; what time frame is meant by this?  I have taken an interest in ECW matters for 35 years and this was the normal explanation I was given from my first encounter with them as a concept at the beginning of my interest in this conflict.

    #103790

    Peasants banding together and  killing marauding soldiery is nothing new.

     

    https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.52054.html

     

    I believe such actions & the following retribution brought on the cycle of killing in the TYW.

     

    donald

    #103793
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Yes, What Hammurabi70 said: not new. It has been around at least as long as I have been reading/studying the period (A Level Special Subject 1973?) and I am sure a lot longer. In fact, I thought nobody believed they were named after the implement any more which is why I didn’t bother mentioning it!

    But the clubs/groups/bands/associations were probably (I’d say certainly, but that would betray my prejudice!) not anything like the Trained Bands. For a start they didn’t emerge until well into the conflict, and given the initial scramble between the armies to seize weapons stocks, and the later difficulties in maintaining supplies and replenishment, it seems highly unlikely they would have had easy access to kit with which to equip themselves.

    I think confusion sometimes arises because the term was used indiscriminately and was not at all precisely defined by those using it. The groups were disparate and their origins, aims and methodologies were individual to each group. They may have shared a common desire to move the armies out of their area but little else.

    #103870
    Ian Bailey
    Participant

    Hi – I said “new” as  from what I’ve read (over the last 35 years to! We must be the same age!)  the idea seemed to go quiet but I have seen it resurface again over the last 12 months or so (this may be more a comment on what I’ve been reading of course!).  Agree that the logistics of equipping with pike and shot would have been demanding – Interesting thought though…

    Re when they appear.  The first account I can recall is in the Fairfax’s Army in 1643 (though perhaps the term “clubmen” is being misused here?). 1643 isn’t that late in the war. I do suspect, as noted, that I’m possibly not comparing “like with like” here?

    #103886
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    The first appearance of clubmen as normally defined by later historians is usually credited to December 1644 in Shropshire and then in Worcestershire in 1645.

    The ‘Clubmen’ with Fairfax in Yorkshire 1643 are usually regarded as being outwith the ‘normal’ definition of clubmen as neutralist associations of local yeoman or agricultural workers (different groups but united in antipathy to military involvement and presence in their county areas).

    There was a strong wave of neutralism arising from a different higher social strata early in the lead up to war and the early stages of conflict – 1642 – for example the Cheshire Bunbury Agreement between middle ranking gentry wanting to keep the County out of the war. This failed, as it did in the other 21 counties where early attempts at neutralism were tried (John Morrill but I’m stuffed if I can find the reference off hand at this time of night – probably The Revolt of the Provinces – it usually is!). It isn’t a ‘clubmen’ thing though, as this was an attempt by the minor aristocracy and gentry to keep out of the fighting rather than a populist ennui.

    But as I said ‘clubmen’ encapsulates a multitude of sins (or virtues depending on your point of view) so maybe the Yorkshiremen were clubmen after all (Yorkshire has to have done something right in its history after all – doesn’t it?).

     

    #103888

    My packet of mainly Warrior figures representing the Sturdy Yeomanry (aka Unpleasant Peasants) arrived today so I can get stuck into my unit of clubmen.

    Brandishing hay forks & scythes, they look intimidating. I do notice, however, a dearth of footwear. Did the Vocal Yokels walk around barefoot?  Really?

    ….and all those animals…..

     

    donald

    #103890
    Ian Bailey
    Participant

    Cheers Guy, v much appreciated!  – will have to get around to having a good look into this. Delving into Eastern Assoc at the mo, though reading into Northern Assoc/Newcastle’s Army is an aim for 2019 so will probably find out more about so the 1643 “clubmen” (I agree, the term here is used VERY loosely) then.

    (Hi Ochoin – yes, shoes are the norm (in my opinion) ! As you point out, C17th people weren’t daft. I think most wargamers/sculptors/rule writers  often have a rather overly simplistic/“quaint” view of the ECW. As you can gather from the exchanges above it is a bit more complex, and fascinating!).

     

    #103891

    Thanks, Iain. I’ll just paint wing tips in…….

    Evidently, going barefoot was not uncommon in Scotland (but then again, we are a hardier breed)

    Scottish Bare Feet

     

    BTW a gripe of mine is how movies always portray people in the past with dirty faces as if personal cleanliness was only a thing of the C20th.

     

    donald

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Deleted User.
    #105141

    I think I’ve just finished the largest single unit I’ve ever painted: a 30 strong unit of ECW clubmen.With 6 bases each holding a crowded 5 figures, they actually look quite formidable. Classed as “mob” I suspect in a game they will simply get torn up & flee.Representing a peasant response to the ECW armies, ravaging the locality, this actually seems correct.

    The bulk of the figures are Warrior peasants (armed with scyths & pitchforks) who are dressed in breeches & shirts & sometimes are barefoot.

    There is a command stand with a modified & dandily dressed Hinton Hunt Parliamentarian general, who represents the local squire, a flag bearer carrying a representation of an actual Clubmen standard (“You take my Cattyl & I’ll offer you Battyle”) and a couple of henchmen. Other stands have a “personality” figure from the bare headed boy with a drum, to another figure carrying a cask of booze & a dragoon , representing a deserter (In reality, deserters would surely have assumed peasant garb to avoid being hanged if re-captured but this way has a presence in a unit). All these figures have been modified with head swops etc.

    To be honest, they weren’t hard to paint with their simple clothes but the number made the task seem interminable. They will be card activated &, of course, not appear in every game.

    Game 2 of my ECW project is on Friday week.

     

    donald

    #105157
    Etranger
    Participant

    Sounds good. Don’t forget that they can do double duty as new recruits to ‘strengthen’ existing regiments too.

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