Lady Eleanor was most excited. Her father, the Duke, had earlier in the year agreed to her suggestion of hosting a celebratory ball on New Year’s Eve. And now the time was almost upon them. Being only ten years old, Lady Eleanor would not be formally taking part in the evening’s events but she would greatly enjoy the whole occasion nonetheless, watching from the wings under the care of her governess, Miss Browne.
With just a day to go, food and drink was being stockpiled at Gracedieu Hall, extra serving staff had been arranged, and the stable block was being made ready for all the expected guests and dignitaries. Amongst those expected would be Lord Welby and his eligible young daughters from Ragdale Hall in the Wolds; also corpulent Sir John Garendon, Lady Garendon and his dashing young son (an Ensign in the Swithland Fusiliers); from the northern reaches of the Duchy was the inscrutable Lord Castledine and party; and not forgetting the dependable old soldier General Sir Henry De Soar, 6th Baronet of Mountsorrel.
Of greatest interest to young Lady Eleanor was the news that a party from the Marquisate of Bosworth, ever-dependable ally of the Duchy in times of war, would be attending. The Marquis himself was due to attend with a considerable entourage.
To Lady Eleanor’s disdain, dull and haughty Lord Ulverscroft would also be there with a detachment of his newly raised regiment, the Charnwood Grenadiers. The newly recruited Grenadiers were nearly fully equipped with their new uniform and much was expected of it. A rumour had reached her ear that the Marquis of Bosworth was to grant a special honour upon the new regiment. As servants scurried about making ready the guest’s rooms around the Hall, she idly wondered what it might be…
More pictures of the first batch of Charnwood Grenadiers to follow in another post…
The recruiting sergeants have done their work and the drill sergeants are beginning theirs. The very first regiment in the Duchy Of Charnwood army is being primed and painted, so let me tell you about it…
The first regiment will be known as the 1st (Charnwood Grenadiers) Regiment of Foot. Being numbered as the first regiment, it enjoys the most prestigious position in the infantry’s order of precedence. These grenadiers will be the pride and joy of Francis Gracedieu, the Duke.
The figures are 28mm scale and made of metal, all being designed and sculpted by Mark Sims of Crusader miniatures. These are actually their Prussian Grenadiers I’m using (only the best for Duke Francis). I must say that I’m very impressed with the sculpting and intend to use other figures from their extensive Seven Years War range.
The Duke and his advisors have spent days prevaricating over plans for the Charnwoodian infantry uniform. The Duke variously requested lucious greens, shocking reds, rich blues and stark yellows… but he couldn’t decide upon a main one. Eventually, his wise and patient Field Marshall, Lord Ulverscroft humbly proffered a suggestion. If His Grace simply couldn’t decide on a colour, perhaps he might consider neutral white? With such a bright uniform, His Grace then might enjoy a range of starkly contrasting colours used as regimental facings. The Duke, at first taciturn, slowly came to concur. “Ulverscroft, I do declare that the Duchy’s enemies will soon learn to fear ‘the men in white coats’!” he averred. Ulverscroft barely suppressed a smirk.
The inspiration for the uniform of the Charnwood Grenadiers are the Prinz Maximilian Infantry Regiment of Saxony, details taken from the excellent Kronskaf website. I envisage therefore that much of the infantry will look like Saxons!
On Christmas Eve, the Duke took a trip out into the Charnwood Hills with the Duchess, Lady Eleanor and a small escort. The trip is a traditional annual affair to gather holly, bracken and pine branches with which to decorate the Ducal residence.
The party arrive at Broombriggs Farm, which is overlooked by the 2nd highest peak in Charnwood; Beacon Hill. From there, they walk up to Windmill Hill from where magnificent views over the Duchy can be enjoyed. Beyond in the hazy distance, on a clear day, the menacing Electorate of Belvoir can just be discerned…
Then it was time to return home to decorate the Duke’s household within the Grace Dieu Estate with all the gathered greenery. Grand families from across the Duchy attended a very fine banquet which ended in a rousing game of “Up, Jenkins!” followed by hearty carol singing.
The festivities concluded with a short toast by the Duke in which he warmly declared “God bless us, every one!”
Welcome to the Duchy of Charnwood, a fictional land (or so called “imagi-nation”) set in an alternate mid-18th century England. In this counter-factual vision, the British Isles are a patchwork collection of competing tiny kingdoms, dukedoms and principalities, much like Germany during the same time period. The Duchy of Charnwood is one of the smaller of these nation states, nestled in the region of north Leicestershire between other rival domains such as the hated Electorate of Belvoir and the conniving Bishopric of Cannock.
The duchy is protected from threats posed by neighbouring principalities, grand duchies and bishoprics by its small but redoubtable army. The Charnwoodian Army is the pride and joy of its noble (if eccentric) Duke, Francis Gracedieu.
This is not a wargaming blog (yet). The aim of this blog is to detail my painting efforts as I create the regiments in the fictional Charnwoodian army, and possibly in the future their enemies too, using 28mm metal 7 Years War figures. I envisage it will be a slow-burn project as split my attention between these figures and my more general painting efforts at other scales in my other blog, Suburban Militarism.
The recruits for the very first regiment, the prestigious 1st (Charnwood Grenadiers) Regiment of Foot, have arrived and are awaiting brushwork. More on these in the next blog post.
Wish me luck!
The REAL Charnwood…
The real Charnwood is both the name of a forest and an administrative district which lie in northern Leicestershire. Two thirds of the forest area lies within the administrative boundary.
The Charnwood Forest region is distinguished by its craggy hills and extensive woodland. It is largely a rocky, wild and picturesque landscape amongst which are to be found scenic villages and former hosiery, mining and quarrying towns.The electoral borough of Charnwood lies in the triangle between the cities of Leicester, Derby and Nottingham.
Charnwood’s wild and rugged beauty most assuredly deserves a tough and beautifully uniformed army to protect it…
This blog will detail the development of its fictional army as figures are acquired and painted.