The “Sealed Knot” was a 17th Century clandestine (Secret) Organization, created and funded by exiled Heir Presumptive to The Throne of England – Charles II. With death of his Father (Charles I) and the dissolution of The Monarchy, England was under The Protectorate of English Civil War Leader and Victor Oliver Cromwell. Despite this, a vocal minority still existed within England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland which was favorable to re-establishing The Monarchy. No real Loyalist Army existed anymore. However, it was determined that a funded Group of Royalists could still raise such an Army and defeat Cromwell. It was the position of The “Sealed Knot” to facilitate this.
Both politically and militarily viable, The “Knot” was administered within England by 6 Noblemen. Using their positions, they created dissention within Protectorate Government. Feeling that they had a majority of support, plans were laid to raise a Rebel Loyalist Army. Sufficient equipment and materials were gathered and stashed (at great risk). A debated fact, the term “Sealed Knot” may have derived from the colored bits of knotted ribbon worn as an identifying sign/insignia on the Uniforms and clothing of Knot Members.
From a military standpoint, The “Knot” had problems recruiting Soldiers. Although many Englishmen were against The Protectorate, few wished to risk their lives (especially after 3 concurrent Civil Wars). It was not until 1655 that a Force could be raised by Knot Leader John Penruddock. Roughly 400 Men, battle plans were made for the Force to march and take The Cities of Salisbury, Newcastle, York and Winchester. However, outside of The City of Devon, The “Sealed Knot” Force was decimated by a surprise Protectorate Army. Many were killed, captured or ran away. Penruddock himself was captured and eventually tried and executed for Treason.
Unbeknownst to Knot Commanders, one of their own was an Informer for Cromwell. Richard Willis (one of the original 6 Knot organizers), was supplying information to Cromwell. He was well prepared for the attempted coup. In all, 8 attempts were made to unseat The Protectorate and re-establish The Monarchy from 1652 to 1659. Although militarily unsuccessful, The Knot did help influence the collapse of The Protectorate and the placement of Charles II back on The Throne of England.