Colonel Thomas Ayloffe’s Regiment of Foot

Active1643 to 1645
CountryEngland
AllegianceParliamentarian
ConflictsFirst Civil War
TypeFoot
ColonelsThomas Ayloffe
Area RaisedHuntingdon
Coat ColourRed?
Flag ColourUnknown
Flag DesignUnknown
Field ArmiesGarrison
Waller 1644 (det)

Parliamentarian infantry regiment of the Eastern Association that garrisoned Newport-Pagnell and Abingdon

Service History

1643

  • March: Ayloffe commissioned Colonel and the regiment raised in Huntingdonshire
  • June to September: Ayloffe governor of Boston, the regiment likely in garrison
  • October to December: Quartered in and paid by Hertfordshire, 300 men added to regt.1)

1644

  • Garrison of Newport Pagnell
  • June: Detachment sent to reinforce Sir William Waller
  • June: Detachment at Battle of Cropredy Bridge?
  • August: Garrison of Abingdon

1645

Notes

Despite being raised as a regiment of the Eastern Association, Ayloffe’s never served as part of the Earl of Manchester’s field army. Newport Pagnell had been seized by Sir Lewis Dyve for the Royalists in early October 1643, threatening Parliamentary lines of communication, but the town was re-occupied by Sgt. Maj. General Skippon after Dyve’s withdrawal at the end of October. It’s uncertain whether Ayloffe’s accompanied Skippon, but by 1644 they formed part of the garrison under the overall command of Sir Samuel Luke. In June the Committee of Both Kingdoms ordered Luke to send 400 foot to reinforce Sir William Waller, they may have arrived in time for the Battle of Cropredy Bridge.

Having moved to garrison Abingdon, the regiment appears to have been involved in fighting off Prince Rupert’s attack on the town in January 1645, with the regiment’s Sergeant Major Francis Bradbury being killed in action. The regiment was broken up to form New Model Army regiments in April and May 1645, with 174 men reinforcing Col. John Pickering’s regiment of foot, while the remainder were sent to Col. Thomas Rainsborough’s regiment of foot, or disbanded.

Coats, Flags & Equipment

On the 16th October 1643 an order was issued in Hertfordshire for the payment of 53 pounds 6 shillings and 8 pence to buy couleurs and drums and all other imployments for ye arraying of the foote to be raysed in or County payment to be made to Colonell Ayliff's Quartermaster 2). This would seem to indicate a major addition of new companies to the regiment (The original regiments of Essex's army were given £80 for colours, drums, partizans and halberds) and that the regiment was in Hertfordshire before the re-occupation of Newport Pagnall.

Laurence Spring has identified Ayloffe’s as likely red-coated in April/May 1645 3), although the reference is a little confusing as it refers to Rainsborough’s who were not at Abingdon then. Likely this refers to a combination of Ayloffe's Crawford's and Russell's that were in the process of being New Modelled into Rainsborough's New Model Army regiment 4).

Notable Officers

Lists of the regiment's officers and NCOs are shown in Laurence Spring’s Regiments of the Eastern Association5) and in Waller’s Army also by Laurence Spring (The Pike and Shot Society).

Colonel Thomas Ayloffe

Thomas Ayloffe was from Essex and was commissioned Colonel in March 1643. In January 1645 he was proposed as a colonel for the planned New Model Army but was not eventually chosen, due to objections from the House of Lords.

From The Cromwell Association Online Directory of Parliamentarian Army Officers 6)

Thomas Ayloffe Son of Sir William Ayloffe of Bretons and of Broxted, Essex, and his second wife Barbara Sexton. Identified by Holmes as coming from a lesser gentry family in financial difficulties. By 1634 he had married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Wentworth of Bocking, Essex.

A captain in Sir John Seaton’s regiment of dragoons, presumably joining when Seaton brought his regiment into the earl of Warwick’s short-lived army in late Oct./Nov. 1642. He continued in the regiment after it became part of Essex’s Army under Seaton and then under its new colonel George Melve, by or from 30 Nov. 1642 to at least Mar. 1643.

Commissioned colonel of a regiment of foot in the Eastern Association Army raised in Huntingdonshire on 25 Mar. 1643. The regiment never formed part of Manchester’s marching army, serving instead in the garrisons of Boston, Lincolnshire and later in the Newport Pagnell garrison; in consequence, he and his men are frequently referred to in Sir Samuel Luke’s letter books. Ayloffe was governor of Boston by 22 June 1643, until 6 Sept. He continued colonel until the regiment’s reduction on 2 Apr. 1645. In summer 1644 a detachment of the regiment served with Sir William Waller and on 15 Aug. the regiment was sent to reinforce Abingdon, where it remained until its reduction; it was disbanded with the formation of the New Model Army, with contingents going into Pickering’s and Rainsborough’s regiments.

The Commons had resolved on 21 Jan. 1645 that Ayloffe be made a colonel of foot in the New Model Army, but his name does not appear either on Fairfax’s lists or the Lords’ attempts to amend them. Ayloffe was appointed to various administrative positions in Essex: subsidy commissioner in 1640; deputy-lieutenant and county committeeman in May 1645; militia commissioner in Dec. 1648; assessment commissioner in Jan. 1660. In June 1649 he submitted his accounts, which the Commons referred to the committee of accounts.

References: Spring, Eastern Association, 1.7; Vis. Essex, 1.340; JHC, 4.26, 149, 6.239; JHL, 7.354; TNA, SP28/4/362, SP28/5/204, 205, 206, SP28/211, SP28/18/208; Holmes, Eastern Association, 176, 236.

Officer Lists

In addition to the officers noted by Spring the following may have been in the regiment in Nov/Dec 16437)

  • Captain Heath
  • Captain Hemings
  • Captain Leigh

Strength

  • In January 1645 company strength varied between 35 and 72 rank-and-file 8)

See Also

1) , 7) N.A. SP28/156/n.f.
2) N.A. SP28/10/333
3) Laurence Spring The Regiments of the Eastern Association Stuart Press 1998 ISBN 1 85804 119 8
4) ECW Flags and Colours 1: English Foot, Stuart Peachey & Les Prince 1990, Partizan Press ISBN:0946525846
5) The Regiments of the Eastern Association Vol. 1, Laurence Spring, Stuart Press 1998 ISBN 1 85804 119 8
6) 'Surnames beginning 'A'', in The Cromwell Association Online Directory of Parliamentarian Army Officers , ed. Stephen K Roberts (2017), British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/cromwell-army-officers/surnames-a [accessed 1 June 2022].
8) Laurence Spring Waller's Army The Regiments of Sir William Waller's Southern Association The Pike and Shot Association 2007 ISBN 978-1-902768-34-2