This is the webpage of a group whose aim is to improve the kit and clothes of a UK seventeenth century Civil War reenactment group, using the most up to date references and research. Feel free to comment on any of the subjects raised here and return often as I want to keep the discussion lively and ongoing.

Please look at the extra tabs on the right hand side. The newbie section is the place for basic kit if you're just beginning to reenact the 1640s. Haberdashery has lots of detail about colours, buttons, tapes etc.

Thursday, 30 December 2010


A snapsack is an important piece of equipment for a 1640s soldier, as it provides a means of carrying food, any spare clothing and personal items. The armies usually carried additional equipment in a baggage train. This meant the troops were not encumbered, though this probably had something to do with the meagre amount of possessions a common soldier would own. Snapsacks were issued and they may have been provided when other items, like coats and breeches, were not.

When Parliament raised an army to fight the Irish rebels, before the outbreak of the War, contract clothing was shipped, wrapped in canvas which was then made into snapsacks. Others were made up and placed into store in London and Portsmouth. Some of these were used to equip the survivors of the Lostwithiel campaign.

These images from Stuart Peachey & Alan Turton's book Common Soldier's Clothing in the Civil Wars

Royalist troops were also issued with them. In some cases these were acquired from captured Parliamentarian supplies. A list in the Royalist Ordnance papers dated October 1643 details:
'Stores ... at Dartmouth at the Surrendering of the Towne to Prince Maurice'.
These included '350 snapsacks' of which 44 had been issued to the Royalist Army.

Illustrations show that the snapsacks were of a standard pattern, consisting of a tube of canvas or leather closed by cords at each end like a duffle bag. The cords also served as a carrying strap.  It is quite easy to reproduce a period snapsack. The size can be varied, but all you have to do is be able to sew together the edges of a rectangle. A snapsack can be of leather or linen canvas. The cords can be made up from sash cord. A leather or linen piece sufficient to make one snapsack can be picked up quite cheaply if you look around. A few traders sell readymade examples. 

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