Alexander Leslie’s Lifeguard of Foot

Active1639
1640 to 1641
CountryScotland
AllegianceCovenanter
ConflictsFirst Bishops’ War
Second Bishops' War
TypeFoot
ColonelAlexander Leslie
Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie
Sir Thomas Hope of Kerse
Area RaisedEdinburgh
Coat Colour
Flag Colour
Flag DesignSee below
Field ArmiesLeslie 1639
Leslie 1640

Leslie’s Lifeguard of Foot during the Bishops’ Wars, also known as the College of Justice Regiment

Service History

1639

  • March: Raised by the College of Justice in Edinburgh
  • May: Accompany Leslie to Aberdeen?
  • June: Holding of Kelso?
  • June: Standoff at Duns Law
  • June: Disbanded following the Treaty of Birks

1640

  • June: Raised from volunteers by the College of Justice in Edinburgh
  • Part of Leslie's army at Duns
  • August to August 1641: Occupy Newcastle

1641

  • August: Return to Scotland and disbanded after the Treaty of London

Notes

A history of the unit is shown in Edward M. Furgol’s A Regimental History of the Covenanting Armies 1639-1651 Edinburgh, 1990. ISBN 0 85976 194 0

In October 1640 at Newcastle the Ministers accused the regiment of visiting bawdy houses where they spoyled their bodies.

Coats, Flags & Equipment

Armed with 270 muskets and 160 pikes in 1639.

An English cavalryman, John Aston, described Leslie's ensign at Duns Law in 1639, this probably represents the Colonel's colour of the regiment, which usually had a white field1). Other companies of the regiment likely carried the white saltire on blue with the motto Covenant for Religion, Crowne and Country:

“The Generall Lessley's ensigne had for his device a bible, crossed through with two scepters, and a crowne set upon it, with this word, Tuemur legibus et armis jure divino et civili”.

Aston also described the arms of the Scots foot in general:

“for of their 12,000 souldiours theire was not one that had any defensive armes, not soe much as a head peice, and as for their offensive weapons, their musquetts were many of them burding peeces, and their pykes but halfe ones, and very many young boyes amongst them to mannage them.” and “the generall caused every musquetier, instead of a rest, to carry a short staffe shod with iron at both ends to stick sloaping into the ground for pallisadoes against our horse”.

Notable Officers

Alexander Leslie

Better known as the Earl of Leven, he was the foremost Covenanter general of the Civil war period.

Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie

Joint Colonel with Hope

Sir Thomas Hope of Kerse

Joint Colonel with Gibson

Strength

  • March 1639: 270 musketeers and 160 pikemen
  • August 1641: 3 officers, 10 NCOs, 5 others, 194 privates

See Also

1) Six North Country Diaries by John Crawford Hodgson. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. CXVII, Durham, 1910. available online via Archive.org