Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Horse..


"The troop of show"...

The regiment was one of the, if not the, first regiments of horse raised for the King, on May 20th in Yorkshire.

In July they were present at the siege of Hull, August they were at the (unsuccessful) siege of Coventry, and in October were at Edgehill before taking up garrison at Oxford over the winter. Over the years of the war they were present at nearly all the major engagements..  probably as you would expect being the King's Lifeguard, and effectively his representative on the battlefield.

The regiment comprised volunteers from the nobility and richer gentry - because of the amount of money, their equipment and horses were better than most, so stretching the truth a little (it is unlikely that the entire regiment would have been cuirassier armed but I am assuming a fair number of them would have been), I have chosen for purely "balance" reasons, to represent them as a cuirassier regiment.

Lord Bernard Stewart (right), pictured
with his elder brother Lord John
Stewart (1621-1644) c. 1638,by
Sir Anthony van Dyck.
Ordnance papers from the time indicate the regiment was re-equipped with harquebusier equipment in 1643 (ie, standard buff coat, pistols and sword) so it may not be too much of a stretch..

Being gentry of course they were somewhat prickly when it came to matters of honour and impugned lack of courage, and their somewhat derisive nickname of the "troop of show" didn't help. At Edgehill, they were about 300 strong, and their commander (Lord Bernard Stewart - right), requested  that they serve with Rupert in the place of honour on the far right of the first line - all well and good, but they had originally been ear marked as the reserve, and assuaging their honour had effectively left the King with no cavalry reserve.

Lord Bernard (as you can probably guess from the surname) was related to the King (he was his 3rd cousin). Like many other families, he and his family were to suffer significant loss - created Earl of Lichfield by King Charles I for his actions at the first and second Battles of Newbury and at the Battle of Naseby, he died of injuries received leading a sortie against besieging Parliamentary forces in the Battle of Rowton Heath in September 1645 before the charter was signed - it went to his 6 year old son instead. Bernard's elder brother George Stewart, was killed at Edgehill*, another older brother, John, was killed at Cheriton...  a heavy toll on any family.

Just to be different, and to stretch the truth even further I chose to make my regiment a prototype Scots Greys and mount the entire regiment on greys of various shades.  in truth it may have been because I was so impressed with Stokes's efforts at the Grand Duchy of Stollen [clicky]


A sombre crew, but lightened and glammed up a little with royal blue saddle clothes trimmed gold (again no basis in truth for this)..





*I tried to find out more about this and only came up with references in Clarendon's History of the Wars [clicky] (go to page 289), where it mentions he served as a troop commander of horse on the left wing, and was killed in the charge - Clarendon mentions that there were so few casualties it was believed he may even have been killed by one of his own officers, "a Dutchman" who he may have had "words" with previously about poor discipline/duty, and who had taken umbrage..

So - Peter Pig 15mm figures - painted May 2020

Sources:

  • Clarendon (as above)
  • http://wiki.bcw-project.org/royalist/horse-regiments/kings-lifeguard


11 comments:

  1. Nice addition there Steve.

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  2. Nicely represented Steve, I could well imagine lot's of 'old' armour in use in the regiment, let's face it if it's there hanging on the walls of your stately pile then why not wear it in battle, it certainly enhanced your chances of surviving.

    I'd have been tempted to have a standard bearer flying that eye catching flag!

    Great addition to the collection.

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    1. Thanks Lee... bit of a flight of imagination, but not too much of a stretch I hope.. I suspect that campaigning in that armour would be far from comfortable, and although it's protective, 99% of the time you aren't in close combat anyway, then there's the big horse issue.. I suspect that they would have been more than happy to switch to buff coats, with a breast and back, with the experience of 6 months campaigning behind them! :o)

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  3. Lovely unit! Impressive pose and so beautiful period!

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  4. Replies
    1. Ta Jonathan - purely down to the figure sculpts rather than my paint butchery...

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  6. A great addition to the collection Steve!

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