Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sir John Byron's Regiment of Horse

The man himself.. stunning picture - fans of Stuart Reid
may recognise this from the cover of his book..
the scar on his cheek was a legacy from a skirmish in
January '43, when he was wounded by a halberd
More cavalry joins the project..  and thereby hangs a tale..  or should that be tail?

While talking to ex-pat Lee [clicky], about the progress of the English Civil war project (which Lee has some experience of, having painted an astonishingly good collection you can drool over here [clicky]) he mentioned that he would quite like to paint up a couple of regiments of horse, as I was using Peter Pig, and he loves the sculpts (as do I).. It didn't take 30 seconds for me to get an order in to Mr. Pig and soon enough, there were enough figures for two regiments on their way to deepest darkest sunny and brightest Spain...  and back, stupidly quickly considering, came this bunch (half of the haul!) - absolutely exquisite....

There's not a huge amount of information on the regiment itself as they are kind of overshadowed by their commanding officer, but the Byron in question was the eldest of seven sons of Sir John Byron (who died in 1623) - somewhat interestingly (ie. I am a geek and found it fascinating) I read somewhere that all seven of them were present and fighting for the King at Edgehill...

Potted CV. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was elected as MP for Nottingham in 1624 and 1626. He was knighted in 1626 and was then elected as knight of the shire (MP) for Nottinghamshire in 1628. Charles created him Baron Byron in October 1643 after he'd distinguished himself at the First Battle of Newbury.

Byron was a Royalist from the very beginning of the First Civil War. He was commissioned colonel of this, the first Royalist cavalry regiment to be raised, in August 1642, and was sent with it to secure the city of Oxford in the King's name - which he did.

For the lack of anything to say otherwise I agreed with Lee we would go mix of red coats and buff for this regiment..
 At the approach of superior Parliamentarian forces, Byron, whose force was loaded up on looted college silver and plate, retreated to Worcester with the aim of getting to Shrewsbury to rejoin the King and the army mustering there, where the cash would undoubtedly have been welcomed. Rupert covered Byron's withdrawal from Worcester, resulting in the first significant skirmish of the English Civil War at Powick Bridge.



The following month, Byron's regiment took part in the battle of Edgehill - their strength is noted as 250 men in 6 troops ("Edgehill: The Battle Reinterpreted By Christopher L. Scott, Alan Turton, Eric Gruber von Arni").

The regiment was posted in the second line of Prince Rupert's (cavalry) command, on the right of the Royalist line, where they were in line with the Lifeguards and behind Rupert's regiments in th first line...  a number of sources I have read indicate that Byron could be held partly responsible for the Royalists not winning this battle, as during the initial opening moves of the battle when Rupert charged, Byron and the second line went with him rather than holding back as the reserve they were meant to be..  OK Rupert might also be held accountable for not having good instructions, but Byron was no new'by and should have known.. it looks like either he got carried away, or the Royalist horse under his command got carried away, and an opportunity to have had a good  reserve of horse for the later stages of the battle was lost...  lessons learned by both sides, and notably Byron, in time for Roundway...



The regiment (under Byron) went on to serve throughout the war before eventually surrendering at Carnarvon Castle in 1646 - they were present at Roundway Down, 1st Newbury, Marston Moor, and Rowton Heath, but were involved in and present at a score of other smaller actions and less well known battles...  true veterans.



Lord Byron died in 1652, childless, in exile in Paris, and was succeeded by his next eldest brother.

Figures Peter Pig - painted March '19 (but not by me - as can clearly be seen!) - love them, cheers, Lee!

10 comments:

  1. Really pleased that you like them Steve, the dullcoat has finished them off nicely. I went with buff coats and sleeveless buff coats, if I did more I would possibly go with a couple wearing just the plain coat to represent the less well off retainers too.

    Thank you for the reciprocal beers, they were very much appreciated and enjoyed :) Look forward to seeing the whole collection together so far.

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    1. LOL.. thanks Lee... hoping the weather has improved over there.. like that idea about the plain coat, I'll use that for the next horse regiment when they arrive.. I also have a bit of a fun idea for the second/next regiment but i'll email you before I post.. he said cryptically.. :o))

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  2. Interesting post, as ever Steve, and natty little chaps too.

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    1. Thanks David.. natty describes them to a tee..

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  3. Portrait painted by William Dobson - "serjeant -painter" to Charles 1 One of a number he did whilst in Oxford during the war

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    1. Andy - one of the joys of the project (and hobby) is the stuff you find out while doing the research, and Mr Dobson is one of them.. this portrait is fantastic, I also particularly liked his self portraits..

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  4. Lovely looking unit! Great potted history and a Dobson portrait, one of my favourite painters, great post!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain.. have to say I m enjoying this project as much as I thought I might

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  5. Lovely unit and great history.

    I also love the Byron portrait. What a picture!

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    1. Thanks FoGH, it's a cracker.. well worth checking some of his others as well as he is definitely a premier league painter in my view.. now the question, as ever, is whether the unit will perform as well on the table! :o)

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