AS he watched the defeated Royalist soldiers seek
permission to leave the battlefield from the highest authority in the vicinity
(the Mayor of Crewe and Nantwich, Cllr Maurice Jones), Nantwich's senior
Royalist soldier, Colonell Generall (Retired), Andrew Gillitt, commented:
"That's my regiment".
"Why don't you step a little closer and I'll take your
them," I suggested.
In the event, Andy stepped all the way
forward, only to be greeted by the soldiers' commanding officer and finished
joining them in a line-up. Meanwhile, the soldiers gave three hussars (cheers)
to their colleague. "That's
just for you," the commanding officer told Andy.
By "my regiment", he had meant the No 3
(Prince of Wales) Company of the King's Lifeguard of Foote, based in Nantwich, of which he used to
be the commanding officer.
The time was when Andy, who is 92 (in
in charge of the Sealed Knot's role in the Holly Holy Day
commemorations in Nantwich each January, but he handed over control to Colonell Colin Bissett, of
Willaston, who is now in charge of a Tertio or Brigade. (A
brigade comprises four to six regiments). Capt Jez Harper of Nottingham is now
the company commander of the Prince of Wales Company, succeeding
Andy was responsible for getting the
Sealed Knot involved in the Holly Holy Day commemoration, which
started with a wreath-laying ceremony on Tuesday, January 25, 1972, at the instigation of
Nantwich historian, Percy Corry.
A keen Sealed Knot member, Andy had just moved
to Nantwich and read (in the Nantwich Chronicle) about the wreath-laying
ceremony. He suggested to
Herbert Rowsell, Chairman of Nantwich Historical Society, that he should try to get some
Sealed Knot members involved.
Mr Rowsell agreed and Andy managed to get three
Royalists, three Roundheads and three ladies (one of whom was his wife) to
attend the ceremony.
The following January, Andy wrote a
script about the Battle of Nantwich and Sealed Knot members
re-enacted it on Barony Park on the Saturday nearest
to the 25th. The battle was re-fought once more on
the Barony before moving for two years to Brookfield Park, and then
Andy discovered Mill Island for the 1977 event, where it has been staged ever
Andy still takes part in the annual
January event and was "on duty" over the August Bank Holiday weekend for the summer
muster special. He was one of a number of Sealed Knot members patrolling the gap
between two sets of ropes all round the battlefield, making sure no one got too
close to the battle.
Sadly, Andrew died, aged 100, in
November 2015. A tribute from the Sealed Knot on Twitter said: "He
was the driving force behind our annual event in Nantwich for many years
and was CO of Number 3 company (Prince of Wales) of the King's
Lifeguard. He generated the stories that many will pass down over
campfires for years to come."