The Clubmen

As the wars raged on many people simply wanted to be left alone. War, and Civil War in particular, are hard to ignore however, particularly when your locality is being harassed and plundered by both sides ( although the Royalists may have had the edge). As the depredations grew more frequent and more heinous (physical assault of the men and sexual assault of the women), mutual defense bands began to arise among the outraged population:

Two band of Clubmen "club" together

Two bands of Clubmen
“club” together

These groups became known as Clubmen (although women were certainly involved at some level also). The photo shows the current two groups (intermingled) with some local gentry acting in a leadership capacity along with hastily made banners with a motto appropriate to the occasion. I am considering adding a third group that will be lead by the local clergy. Some of the figures sport white armbands which is believed to be the field sign of some Clubmen groups.

The origin of the term “clubmen” is unclear. The simplest explanations are that many were armed with clubs or they had “clubbed together”. The term “club” ( as in social club) apparently did not enter the lexicon until the late seventeenth century ( and the origin could be from the clubmen themselves). More detailed etymological information can be found here

If I extend to gaming the Monmouth Rebellion (1685) these figures will also become the”scythmen” at Sedgemoor.

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