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The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Foot

Flag Illustration 1
Flag Illustration 2
Flag Illustration 3
Flag Illustration 4
1)
Active1642-1645
CountryEngland
AllegianceRoyalist
ConflictsFirst Civil War
TypeFoot
ColonelKing Charles I
Lord Willoughby D'Eresby
Area RaisedDerbyshire
Coat ColourRed
Flag ColourRed
Flag DesignKnown
Field ArmiesOxford 1642-1645

The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Foot, serving with the Oxford Army throughout the First Civil War

Service History

1642

  • October: Quartered at Yeaton, Walson (?), Oldbury and Morville in Shropshire
  • October: Battle of Edgehill
  • October: Siege of Banbury
  • November: Standoff at Turnham Green
  • December: Garrison of Oxford

1643

  • February: Storm of Cirencester (det)
  • April: Skirmish at Little Dean (det)
  • April: Battle of Ripple Field (det)
  • April: Skirmish at Dorchester-on-Thames
  • April: Battle of Caversham Bridge
  • August to September: Siege of Gloucester
  • September: First Battle of Newbury

1644

  • June: Battle of Cropredy Bridge
  • August: Battle of Lostwithiel
  • August: Skirmish at Caradon Down and Saltash
  • October: Second Battle of Newbury
  • November: Relief of Donnington Castle

1645

  • May: Storm of Leicester
  • June: Battle of Naseby

Notes

The Lifeguard of foot absorbed William Legge's company of firelocks that had fought as an independent unit at Edgehill.

Coats, Flags and Equipment

The regiment are noted as 'red', probably referring to flag colour, by Edgehill 2). They were noted dressed in red coats and Montero caps in 1643 and 1644 3).

The King's Lifeguard carried a unique pattern of red colours with large St George crosses rather than the usual small cross in a canton. The Colonel's colour (Illustration 1) featured a crown over a motto DIEU ET MON DROIT over a gold lion passant. The Lieutenant Colonel's colour had a crown over a gold dragon rampant (Illustration 2). The Major's colour had a crown over a golden portcullis (Illustration 3) and the captains' colours were distinguished by varying numbers of crowned Tudor rose devices (Illustration 4). Only three of the captains' colours were recorded. There is some variation in the depictions of the flags of the Lifeguard, including possible use of a lion rampant and a gryphon on the field officers' flags, these are detailed by Peachey and Prince 4).

A letter from early 1643 by Sir Jacob Astley’s states Sir John Heydon may be pleased to take notice that the regiment of the King’s guards being very weekly Armed; as the last time his Majesty saw this garrison in Armes, where they appeared 190 armed and 210 unarmed wherefore I pray as many Armes shall be brought into the Magazine let some especial care be taken first to furnish the King’s guards before any other regiments with the number of 110 Armes or some sufficient supply5).

From February to April 1643 110 muskets and 212 pikes were issued to the Lifeguard.

Notable Officers

King Charles I

Lord Willoughby D'Eresby

Montagu Bertie, Lord Willoughby d'Eresby at the start of the war, succeeded to the Earldom of Lindsey on the death of his father who led the Lord General’s Regiment of Foot at Edgehill.

Lt. Col. Sir William Leighton

Lt. Col Sir William Vavasour

Strength

See Also

The King's Lifeguard are re-enacted by The King's Lifeguard of Foote of the Sealed Knot and the King's Life Guard of Foote of the English Civil War Society of America.

1) Flag images by kind permission of Wargames Designs
2) , 3) , 4) ECW Flags and Colours 1: English Foot, Stuart Peachey & Les Prince 1990, Partizan Press ISBN:0946525846
5) Ian Roy edition, Royalist Ordnance Papers, 1642-46, Pt. I, 1964, p.195