Sir William Balfour’s Regiment of Horse

Flag Illustration1)
ConflictsFirst Civil War
ColonelSir William Balfour
Area Raised
Flag ColourRed2)
Flag DesignSee below
Field ArmiesEssex 1642-5
Waller 1644

Parliamentarian regiment of horse of the Earl of Essex’s army

Service History


  • October: Battle of Edgehill


  • September: Relief of Gloucester
  • September: First Battle of Newbury?


  • March: Join Waller's Army of the Southern Association
  • March: Battle of Cheriton
  • April: Return to Essex's army
  • August: Skirmish at Bodmin?
  • August: Battle of Lostwithiel
  • August: Skirmish on Caradon Down
  • September: Skirmish at Crediton?
  • October: Skirmish at Blandford?
  • October: Second Battle of Newbury


  • February: Quartered at Guildford, refuse to serve with Waller
  • April: Disbanded, with troopers likely reduced into the New Model Army


Lord Grey of Groby’s Troop of Horse formed part of Balfour's regiment during the Edgehill campaign but left to serve under Grey in the Midlands in 1643.

Flags & Equipment

Major William Balfour's cornet was red, decorated with gold laurels and showed a sun amongst clouds at the top right with a sundial at the bottom left. The motto on a three part scroll was ADSPICE UT ADSPICIAR translated as Look so that I might be looked at3).

According to Prestwich; Captaine Balfor, fonne to Sir William. Gules; in each of the four corners, as fpringing therefrom, three branches of laurel of gold; in the dexter canton, blue clouds, or the horizon, and therein the sun in his glory, darting forth a refplendent beam, all of gold ; in Bend, a label twifted around like a screw, in six folds, of filver, its ends terminating in a ribband of gold, the fcroll bearing thefe words, ADSPICE UT ADSPICIAR; beneath all, in the finifter bafe corner, an altar tomb Argent; thereon a sun-dial of gold, receiving on it the shadow and rays of the before-mentioned planet; fringed Argent and Gules4).

Captain (later Major) Balfour's cornet is depicted in Illustration 1.

Notable Officers

A list of officers is shown in Laurence Spring's Waller's Army, The Regiments of Sir William Waller's Southern Association The Pike and Shot Association 2007 ISBN 978-1-902768-34-2

Sir William Balfour

Major William Balfour

Son of the colonel, he previously served as captain then major of Sir James Ramsey’s Regiment of Horse, then transferred to his father's regiment as a captain, being promoted to major.

Officer Lists

March to April 1644

From the Nafziger Collection, file 644CAC.pdf

Sir William Balfour's Regiment of Horse

  • Colonel: Sir Williams Balfour
  • Major: William Balfour (jnr)
  • Sir Samuel Luke's Troop, commanded by Captain-Lieutenant Thomas Evans
  • Captain: William Rainborough
  • Captain: Semple
  • Captain: Boswell


July 1644

From Symonds' Diary5) Officers/Troopers

  • Sir William Balfour 14/100
  • Major William Balfour 9/77
  • Sir Samuel Luke 10/72
  • Captain William Rainborough 9/57
  • Captain Semple 10/61
  • Captain Boswell 10/65
  • Total = 432

See Also

1) Original artwork by Tony Barton, shown by kind permission of Tony Barton and Charles Kightly. Previously published in Military Modelling magazine
2) 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
3) The English Emblem Tradition, Vol 3 Emblematic flag devices of the English Civil Wars 1642-1660. Alan R. Young, Toronto 1995, ISBN 0-8020-5739-X
4) Prestwich's Respublica, London, 1787
5) British Library Additional Ms 17062