Sir Thomas Fairfax’s, The General’s Regiment of Horse

Active1645 to 1661
CountryEngland
AllegianceParliamentarian
ConflictsFirst Civil War
Second Civil War
Third Civil War
Restoration
TypeHorse
ColonelSir Thomas Fairfax
Oliver Cromwell
Richard Cromwell
William Packer
Sir Arthur Hesilrige
Lord Fauconberg
The Duke of York
Area RaisedEast Anglia
Flag Colour
Flag Design
Field ArmiesNMA 1645-6
Fairfax 1648
Cromwell 1650-51

Later Oliver Cromwell’s, Richard Cromwell’s, William Packer’s, Sir Arthur Hesilrige’s, Lord Fauconberg’s and the Duke of York’s Regiment of Horse

The General’s Regiment of the New Model Army, formed from Cromwell’s Ironsides

Service History

1645

  • April: Formed from six troops of Colonel Oliver Cromwell’s Regiment of Horse
  • April: Skirmish at Islip
  • April: Taking of Bletchington House
  • April: Storm of Bampton in the Bush
  • April: Repulsed from Faringdon House
  • May: Skirmish at Radcot Bridge
  • June: Battle of Naseby
  • June: Siege of Leicester
  • July: Battle of Langport
  • August: Suppress clubmen at Hambledon Hill
  • August: Siege of Bristol

1646

  • February: Skirmish at Burrington
  • February: Battle of Torrington
  • May to June: Siege of Oxford

1647

  • May: Refuse to disband
  • July: Skirmish with Sir Robert Pye’s horse at Deptford?

1648

  • May: Suppress rising at Bury St Edmunds (2 troops)
  • May: Taking of Dartford
  • June: Battle of Maidstone
  • June: Battle at Colchester
  • June to August: Siege of Colchester (4 troops led by Desborough)

1649

1650

  • June: Fairfax succeeded by Cromwell
  • Serve under Cromwell in Scotland
  • July: Skirmish at Musselburgh
  • September: Battle of Dunbar
  • October: Taking of Dalhousie Castle

1651

  • September: Battle of Worcester

1652

1653

1654

1655

  • Quartered in the West Country

1656

  • Serving in Scotland

1657

  • Returned to England

1658

  • September: Regiment passes to Richard Cromwell on the death of his father

1659

  • May: Packer becomes Colonel
  • October: Support Lambert
  • November: March North with Lambert (3 troops)
  • November: Packer remains in London (3 troops)

1660

  • January: Sir Arthur Hesilrige appointed Colonel
  • February: Redeployed out of London on Monck’s orders
  • April: Lord Fauconberg replaces Hesilrige as Colonel
  • April: Robert Heslirige’s troop follows Lambert
  • April: Robert Heslirige’s troop surrenders with Lambert's force at Daventry
  • June: The Duke of York becomes nominal Colonel

1661

  • February: Disbanded

Notes

A history of the regiment is given in The Regimental History of Cromwell's Army by Sir Charles Firth and Godfrey Davies, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1940.

The regiment was formed from six troops of the Ironsides, Lt General Oliver Cromwell’s Regiment of Horse as the General’s Regiment of the New Model Army, and accompanied Cromwell on his raid into Oxfordshire. At Naseby Fairfax notably led the regiment to break one of the last standing Royalist infantry regiments. Three troops of the regiment, together with troops of Whalley’s regiment (also previously Cromwell’s horse) distinguished themselves by playing the major part in defeating Goring’s army at Langport.

In 1647 the regiment was caught up in Army politics, and Major John Desborough was accused of attacking a detachment of Sir Robert Pye’s horse at Deptford. Trooper Edward Sexby was a notorious agitator from the regiment. In the Second Civil War Desborough led two troops to suppress a rising in Norfolk. The regiment were under Fairfax’s command at Maidstone and Colchester. With Fairfax’s resignation in 1650, Cromwell led the regiment into Scotland, where it served with distinction at Dunbar and later at Worcester.

During the restoration crisis Monck arranged for the regiment to be moved out of London and dispersed. One troop each was quartered at Reading, Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford and two at Oxford. Robert Hesilrige’s troop joined Lambert, but surrendered at Daventry with no bloodshed. After the restoration the regiment was one of the last four to be disbanded, probably in February 1661.

Flags and Equipment

Notable Officers

Sir Thomas Fairfax

Sir Thomas Fairfax commanded as lord-general from the formation of the New Model Army until his resignation in 1650 after he refused to lead a pre-emptive invasion of Scotland, which was still allied with England under the Solemn League and Covenant.

Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell led the army to victory at Dunbar and Worcester and remained commander-in-chief until his death in 1658.

Richard Cromwell

Richard Cromwell was nominally Colonel after the death of his father.

William Packer

William Packer was previously Major of the regiment. He was appointed deputy to Major General Fleetwood in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and was notorious for his severity as a 'Major General'. He was dismissed from command in 1658 then re-instated as Colonel in May 1659 before being replaced again by Hesilrige in the same October.

Sir Arthur Hesilrige

Sir Arthur Hesilrige briefly commanded the regiment during the final revival of the Commonwealth before Monck initiated the Restoration.

Lord Fauconberg

Thomas Belasyse, Lord Fauconberg was son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell but later in favour of the Restoration.

The Duke of York

Major John Desborough

John Desborough Oliver Cromwell's brother-in-law who with Fleetwood was instrumental in bringing down the Protectorate.

Trooper Edward Sexby

Edward Sexby (c1616-1658) was an agitator from the regiment who rose to be governor of Portland in 1649, Colonel of his newly-raised regiment in 1650, was cashiered in 1651, became a prominent Leveller and plotted to kill Oliver Cromwell, he died as a prisoner in the Tower of London in 1658.

Officer Lists

More detailed lists of officers for April and May 1645, December 1646, May and August 1647 and May 1649 are shown in Reconstructing the New Model Army. Volume 1, Regimental Lists April 1645 to May 1649 by Malcolm Wanklyn, Helion & Co. 2015. ISBN 978-1-910777-10-7.

May 1645 and December 1646

From Anglia Rediviva1)

  • Colonel: Sir Thomas Fairfax, His Excellency's Troop commanded by Captain-Lieutenant John Gladman
  • Major: John Disbrowe
  • Captain: Adam Lawrence
  • Captain: John Browne
  • Captain: William Packer
  • Captain: James Berry

1656

The Lord Protector's Regiment of Horse2)

  • Colonel's troop at Paisley & Irwin
  • Major William Packer's troop at St Johnstons, “6 and a corporal” at Sinclair Castle
  • Captain John Gladman's troop at Stirling
  • Captain William Malin's troop at Kilmarnock & Maibold
  • Captain William Barrington's troop at St Andrews “of which twelve” at Ruthin Castle
  • Captain Anthony Spinach's troop at Sterling Down & Cardross

Strength

  • 1645: Established at six troops

See Also

1) Sprigge, Joshua, Anglia Rediviva, London 1647
2) Worcester College Oxford, Clarke Manuscripts