John Brights Regiment Today
Circa 1972 a re-enactment company was formed within Lilburne's Regiment of the "Sealed Knot". This company, consisting of a bunch of stout chaps from Sheffield University, cast around and discovered that not only had there been a commander of note local to the area but that what was left of his property had been turned into a public house. This last fact was to have a more than significant effect on what was to follow.
Regimental status was soon gained, as was a bit of a reputation. But soon the SK and Bright's parted company, and Bright's became part of the Roundhead Association within the English Civil War Society; (Some say this was in an effort, by Bright's, to increase the level of authenticity in their presentation of seventeenth century warfare, although it probably had more to do with a flock of ornamental ducks, a spit roast and a missing barrel of beer).
At sometime during this period, the coats of this august body changed from what has been called "lion tamer red" (including gold braid!) as worn by Lilburne's, into a far more practical and sober grey; (Rumours abound that this was because the then CO had come across a plentiful and cheap supply of army blankets).
As this is a concise history of the regiment, the acts of daring-doo that followed over the intervening years are not recorded here (if you are that desperate to be regaled with these tales of heroism above and beyond the call of truth, feel free to listen to some of the outrageous boasts that are told as the nights draw in, the beer flows freely and peoples hats take on a jaunty angle). Suffice it to say, Bright's very soon was to become known as the leper Regiment, cast apart from the clean living members of other ECWS regiments and at all costs kept as far from the crowd as was possible.
In an effort to increase the accuracy of their portrayal of seventeenth century warfare, Brights were brigaded with a bunch of similarly despised types. A bunch of itinerant Scots (The Earl of Loudoun's Regt), a large green object (John Hampden's Regt) and a now dis-banded regt. of old people (Sir William Waller's Regt); to form that top fighting formation known as "Crawford's Battalia"
Over the years, with the changing face of re-enactment, Blewe’s Regt and Sydenham’s Regt. have joined our happy band and become companies within Bright’s Regt.
The battalia, and the regiments that go to form it have worked very hard over the past ten years to vastly improve their authenticity and ability to recreate seventeenth century military formations. The drive for improvement has not been made at the cost of the battalia's fighting spirit; an advance of Crawford's on the field is an awesome and, I'm told, frightening sight. The regiments within the battalia are still very much individual units, not having subordinated their characters to the whole. The fighting men of the regiment are Bright's first, Crawford's second and Roundheads last; and no-one in the battalia would have it any other way.