Sir John Gell’s Regiment of Foot

Flag Illustration 1)
Active1642 to 1646
ConflictsFirst Civil War
ColonelSir John Gell
Area RaisedDerbyshire
Coat ColourGrey
Flag ColourYellow
Flag DesignBlue Mullets
Field ArmiesGell

Regiment of foot raised by Sir John Gell, commander of Parliamentarian forces in Derbyshire

Service History


  • September: Gell commissioned Colonel by the Earl of Essex
  • October: Company of greycoats raised from Hull
  • October: At Wirksworth
  • October: In garrison at Derby
  • November: Initial recruiting completed
  • December: Taking of Bretby House
  • December: Detachment at Nottingham


  • January: Skirmish at Swarkestone Bridge?
  • February: Plunder Elvaston Manor
  • 28th February: First siege of Newark
  • 4th March: Siege of Lichfield
  • 19th March: Battle of Hopton Heath
  • May: Promenade in the Vale of Belvoir
  • July: Skirmish at Wootton Lodge?


  • February: Storm of King's Mills
  • March: Skirmish at Eggington Heath
  • July: Storm of Wilne Ferry
  • July: Siege of South Wingfield
  • August: Take Burton on Trent?


  • July to September: Siege of Hereford?
  • November: Siege of Belvoir Castle


  • January: Skirmish at East Stoke
  • April: Siege of Tutbury Castle?
  • October: Disbanded


Coats, Flags and Colours

Sir John Gell's foot wore grey coats. His descendants still possess a foot ensign that is highly likely to be one carried by the regiment. It is golden-yellow with five blue stars, probably belonging to the fourth or fifth or captain's company. The flag is now displayed at the National Army Museum in London. Another colour of this type survived until the 1800s but has been lost2).

It is possible that only Gell's own company (and possibly that of his brother and Lieutenant Colonel) were uniformed. The draft of 120 men he received from Hull had been issued with uniform from the Irish stores before they left London. The arrival of one of these men is noted in a later petition. “your peticoner comeing from Hull with that Company of ffoote, called Grey coates”. 3) Other men joined the Company later “That your peticoners husband Thomas Milnes was a souldier under Sr William Waller for a certayne time, and after was under Colonell Gell of the grey Coates company.” 4). The unit still maintained it's identity in 1645 when a bill recorded the making of “Shooes for Grey Coates” 5)

An undated bill 6) records the making of suits for 4 of the Colonel's and 1 of the Lieutenant Colonel's soldiers unfortunately no colour was recorded, but those for the Colonel's men had 21 buttons each as well as lace. This contrasts with what we know of soldiers from other companies who seem to have been issued with cloth. For example William Hitch a private soldier under Major Mollanus between January 1643 and October 1646 received only 3 1/2 yards of cloth and a pair of coarse stockings and had his shoes repaired. 7)

The Victorian romance “Master Dod's Blessing” makes specific reference to “Sir John Gell's grey coats, [and] some of my Lord Grey's own blues”, although a 19th-century children's story might not be considered a reliable source.8)

Notable Officers

Sir John Gell

Officer List

  • Colonel Sir John Gell
  • Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Gell (10/11/42 - 01/10/46)9)


See Also

Gell's are re-eancted by Sir John Gell's Regiment of Foot of the Sealed Knot.

1) Flag image by kind permission of Wargames Designs
2) ECW Flags and Colours 1: English Foot, Stuart Peachey & Les Prince 1990, Partizan Press ISBN:0946525846
3) , 5) , 7) N.A. SP28/226/pt3
4) , 6) N.A. SP28/226/pt2
8) Anon., “Master Dod's Blessing”, in: Friendship's Offering (London: 1844), 185, 187
9) N.A. SP28/40/170