Colonel John Butler’s Regiment of Horse

Illustration 11)
Illustration 22)
Illustration 33)
Illustration 44)
Illustration 55)
Illustration 66)
Active1645 to 1659
ConflictsFirst Civil War
Second Civil War
Irish Confederate War
ColonelJohn Butler
Thomas Horton
Jerome Sankey
Area RaisedLondon
Southern Association
Flag ColourGreen
Flag DesignSee below
Field ArmiesNMA 1645-6
Horton 1648
Ireland 1648-59

Later Colonel Thomas Horton’s, then Colonel Jerome Sankey’s Regiment of Horse

New Model Army regiment of horse serving in the First and Second Civil Wars then mainly in Ireland

Service History


  • April: Formed from Sir Arthur Hesilrigge’s Regiment of Horse of Waller’s Army
  • 14th June: Battle of Naseby
  • June: Siege of Leicester
  • June: Siege of Berkeley Castle
  • July: Skirmish at Dursley
  • July: Skirmish at Highworth Church
  • July: Battle of Langport
  • August to September: Siege of Bristol
  • September: Storm of Berkeley Castle?
  • October to April: Siege of Exeter


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


  • June: Butler replaced by Horton


  • April: Taking of Brecon
  • April: Skirmish at Llandeilo Church
  • May: Battle of St Fagans
  • May: Siege of Tenby
  • May to July: Siege of Pembroke Castle
  • July: Detachment sent to reinforce Chester (1 troop)
  • July: Skirmish at Presteign


  • April: Selected by lot for service in Ireland
  • August: Shipped to Ireland
  • September: Arrive at Dublin while Cromwell is campaigning against Drogheda
  • October: Horton dies in Ireland and is replaced by Sankey
  • December: Skirmish at Passage Fort


  • 27th April - 18th May: Siege of Clonmel
  • Serving in Ireland


  • Serving in Ireland


  • March: Take surrender of Waterford and Tipperary
  • August: Take surrender of Colonel John Grace


  • Garrison of Clonmel?


  • Serving in Ireland


  • Serving in Ireland


  • Serving in Ireland


  • Serving in Ireland


  • Serving in Ireland


  • August: Return to England as part of the ‘Irish Brigade’
  • August: Siege of Chirk Castle
  • March to London
  • November: March North with Lambert
  • December: Join Monck, Sankey dismissed


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 Sir Arthur Hesilrigge’s Regiment of Horse of Waller’s army. At Naseby it was broken by the charge of Rupert’s wing, but went on to do good service in Fairfax’s western campaign. In 1647 Butler supported Parliament over the Army and in June he left the Army, being replaced by Horton.

In the Second Civil War Horton led a small force to South Wales, and the regiment were distinguished in his defeat of Laugharne’s larger force at the Battle of St. Fagan’s. They were then joined by Cromwell and participated in the sieges of Tenby and Pembroke. In 1649 the regiment were ordered to Ireland, sailing from Milford Haven. Horton soon died from a fever and was replaced by Jerome Sankey (or Zanchy).

During Booth’s rising of 1659 Sankey returned to England with the ‘Irish Brigade’ of 1000 foot and 500 horse, but arrived too late for Winnington Bridge, accepting the surrender of Chirk Castle instead. During the Restoration crisis Sankey marched the brigade to London, then to the North in support of Lambert, where in December they changed sides to Monck. Sankey was dismissed and the brigade put under the command of Colonel Redman.

Flags and Equipment

Butler's regiment were equipped as harquebusiers, not cuirassiers, in contrast to their earlier career as Hesilrigge's 'London Lobsters'.

It appears likely Butler's regiment retained green cornets they'd carried in Hesilrigge's regiment. Under Horton the cornets were replaced with a matching green set. Colonel Thomas Horton (Illustration 1) had a plain green cornet with green and white fringing. The troop cornets were green with the common theme of a armoured sword-wielding arm emerging from a cloud and a scroll but with additional individual devices and motto. These are illustrated above for Major Thomas Pennyfeather (2), Captain Essex (3), Captain John Godfrey (4), Captain Elijah Greene (5) and Captain Arnall (6).

Notable Officers

Colonel John Butler

Captain and later Major of Sir Arthur Hesilrigge’s regiment of horse, he was appointed Colonel to take the regiment into the New Model Army after Lt Gen John Middleton declined the position. In 1647 Butler supported Parliament over the Army and in June he left the Army.

Colonel Thomas Horton

Thomas Horton (1603-1649) served in Hessilrigge's Regiment of horse, then as Major under Butler, replacing him as Colonel in 1647. He comprehensively defeated the South Wales Royalists in 1648, then took the regiment to Ireland where he died ‘of the country disease’ according to Cromwell, in October 1649.

Colonel Jerome Sankey

Jerome Sankey (d 1687) (or, variously Hierome Zanchey) originally from Shropshire was educated at Cambridge but excelled mainly in cudgelling and foot-ball-playing. He served in Sir William Brereton’s regiment of horse, leading the Colonel’s troop in 1645. Replacing Horton in Ireland he captured the renegade Colonel Edward Wogan near Cork and was later governor of Clonmel where he was accused of various cruelties. He returned to England in 1659 and supported Lambert, but was removed from command by Monck. He quarreled with Sir William Petty in 1659 and, on challenging the notoriously short-sighted Petty to a duel, was accepted with the conditions stipulated being a dark cellar and both parties armed with a carpenter’s axe. The situation was considered so ridiculous that the matter came to nought.

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 Rediviva7)

  • Colonel: John Butler
  • Major: Thomas Horton
  • Captain: Edward Foley
  • Captain: Thomas Pennyfeather
  • Captain: Samuel Gardiner
  • Captain: Walter Perry, replaced by Walter Bethel by Dec 1646

Post-1647 under Horton

  • Colonel: Thomas Horton
  • Major: Thomas Pennyfeather
  • Captain: Essex
  • Captain: John Godfrey
  • Captain: Elijah Greene
  • Captain: Arnall


  • 1645: Established at six troops

See Also

1) , 2) , 3) , 4) , 5) , 6) Original artwork by Tony Barton, shown by kind permission of Tony Barton and Charles Kightly. Previously published in Military Modelling magazine
7) Sprigge, Joshua, Anglia Rediviva, London 1647