|Keith Dowden at the Wallace Collection|
A talk by Keith Dowden of the Wallace Collection last Saturday focussed on the life of the English Civil War soldier.
The entertaining, hour-long lecture gave an overview of all aspects of a regular trooper's lot, while also throwing up some fascinating details for those with more than a passing interest ...
Some interesting asides:
- Cheese eaten in camp would have most likely resembled modern-day Wensleydale or Caerphilly.
- At the sack of Leicester marauding Royalist troops came away with an average of 45 shillings each (pay at the time was meant to be four shillings per week).
- Those exempt from serving after being called up through militia ordinances included sons of a widow, clergymen and students at the inns of court.
- Pairs of shoes were often identical, with no left or right foot; the solider swapped shoes between feet as they became worn in the field.
We were also given the opportunity to handle original 17th century arms and armour, including a sword, cannon shot and musket balls. The weight of a replica matchlock musket brought home how energy-sapping it would be to have to carry the weapon day-after-day.
|Some of the 17th century objects on show, including an original sword and musket shot|
The 18th century Wallace building houses a vast collection of Old Masters from the 15th to 19th centuries, as well as a huge collection of European arms and armour.
The most famous work on show is - ironically - Frans Hals' The Laughing Cavalier (1624).