Sir Jacob Astley’s Regiment of Foot

ConflictsSecond Bishops’ War
ColonelsSir Jacob Astley
Area RaisedOxfordshire
Coat Colourunknown
Flag Colourunknown
Flag Designunknown
Field Armies1640

English infantry regiment that was raised for the Second Bishops’ War of 1640 1)

Service History


  • Raised in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire
  • August: In reserve at the Battle of Newburn Ford?


Astley was present at Newburn Ford with the foot in reserve at Stella Haughs, these may have included his own regiment.

Coats and Flags

Notable Officers

Sir Jacob Astley

Sir Jacob Astley, who served as Sergeant Major General of the English army in the Second Bishops’ War, was a highly-experienced professional soldier who later served as Sergeant-Major General of the infantry of the Oxford Army during the First Civil War. Biographies can be found online at British Civil Wars, Wikipedia and Wikisource DNB . He served as a soldier from the age of 18 beginning with an expedition to the Azores under Sir Walter Raleigh and the Second Earl of Essex, then on the continent for Prince Maurice of Nassau, Frederick V the ‘Winter King’ of Bohemia (brother in law to King Charles I and father of Prince Rupert), Christian IV of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus and is said to have tutored Prince Rupert.

He was appointed Sergeant Major General (commander of the infantry) and raised regiments of foot for both Bishops’ Wars. In the First Civil War he again led the King’s Infantry, from Edgehill where he prayed “O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me.” and promptly followed with the order “March on, boys!” to the defeat of the ‘Old Foot’ at Naseby. He was created 1st Baron Reading in November 1644. Clarendon noted that he contributed little to the Royalist Councils, possibly due to deafness, but remarking on his appointment as Sgt Maj General thought him ”a man as fit for that office as Christendom yielded”.

After Naseby, Astley was sent to Wales and the Marches, replacing the unpopular Charles Gerard. In September 1645 his son Sir Bernard Astley, a brigadier of the Oxford Army, was mortally wounded at Bristol. By March 1646 Astley had somehow managed to raise an army of 3000 out of remnants of regiments, reformados and garrison troops. In the final battle of the First Civil War he was defeated at Stow-on-the-Wold by Brereton and Morgan. Sitting down on a discarded drum he told his captors “You have now done your work and may go to play, unless you will fall out among yourselves”. After a short imprisonment at Warwick Castle he retired to Kent, taking no part in the Second or Third Civil Wars.

Officer List

The Names of all the Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, Sergeant Majors, Captains, Lieutenants, Ensigns, Preachers, Chirurgeons, Quarter-masters, Provost Marshals, under his Excellency the Earl of Northumberland, Captain General for this Expedition 1640. Taken according to the Muster Roll after the Armies Retreat from Newcastle into York. 2)

•Sir Jacob Ashley, Colonel •Sir Nicholas Selvin, Lieutenant Colonel •Bernard Ashley, Sergeant Major.

Captains. •Sir William Udall •Robert Townsend •James Baynton •William Bellowes •Robert Rushell •Edward Astley St. Johns.

Lieutenants. •William Lower •Michael Bedolph •Edward Fowles •George Slatford •Devereux Gibbons •John Haslewood •Isaac Cobb •Theodore Paleologus •Thomas Colbie •Henry Somerster

Ensigns. •Edward Courtney •Bray Knight •Francis Gay •Walter Neale •Peregrine Tasburgh •Hugh Pomeroy •Edward Nelson •Charles Thompson •George Fuller

•Preacher, John Kowland •Chirurgeon, John Austin •Quarter Mastrr, Rawlins •Provost Marshal, Paul Knight.


  • 1200 planned to be raised (600 Oxfordshire, 500 Berkshire, 100 Hampshire)
August 30th 1640

Mustered on return to Yorkshire 3)

  • Sir Jacob Ashley 133
  • Lieut. Col. Selvin 91
  • Serg. Maj. Ashley 99
  • Sir William Udal 88
  • Capt. Baynton 101
  • Capt. Townsend 90
  • Capt. Ashley 78
  • Capt. St. John 90
  • Capt. Russel 94
  • Capt. Bellasis 88
  • Total 952

See Also

1) A list of the colonels as also of the severall counties out of which they are to raise their men. Thomason / 669.f.3[1]
2) , 3) 'Historical Collections: 1640, August-September', Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 3: 1639-40, pp. 1221-1286. URL: Date accessed: 12 February 2014