Prince of Wales' Lifeguard of Firelocks

ConflictsFirst Civil War
ColonelPrince of Wales
Area RaisedIreland
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Flag Design
Field Armies

Firelock Lifeguard of Prince Charles when in command at Bristol in 1645

Service History


  • March: Prince Charles requests 200 firelocks from Ormond
  • March: Orders given for quartering the firelocks on their march to Bristol


This small unit was created for Prince Charles while he was in the West of England. He requested Ormond for 2 Companies to be formed and shipped over from Ireland to act as a Lifeguard of Foot and to be armed with Firelocks 1)

Coats and Flags


Notable Officers

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales

Prince Charles (1630-1685), in addition to his firelock Lifeguard of Foot, appears to have been honorary Colonel of the Regiment of Foot led by Sir Michael Woodhouse on the Welsh borders, as well as Colonel Ackland's West Country Regiment. Later King Charles II, biographies can be found online, at BCW, Wikipedia, Britsh Royal History amongst many others.

At the age of 12 Charles and his younger brother James were present at the Battle of Edgehill, where they amused themselves shooting toy pistols in the direction of Essex's army and Charles had to be dissuaded from charging the enemy himself. Parliamentarian cuirassiers broke through the Royalist infantry causing havoc at the rear of the army and the Princes were saved from capture by the efforts of the Gentlemen Pensioners. The young Prince of Wales visited Raglan Castle to raise support, charming the proud Welsh, but spent most of the war together with his father at Oxford or on campaign. In March 1645 at the age of 15 he was appointed nominal Captain General of the West Country Royalists with a headquarters at Bristol, but despite the advice of Clarendon and Hopton the West Country forces fell apart in the face of the New Model Army. After the fall of Bristol Charles fled to the Scilly Isles, the Jersey, then joined the Queen at St Germain in France. His father was executed in 1649. Desperate to gain the support of the Scots Covenanters he signed the Treaty of Breda, and landed in Scotland in 1650, was crowned King of Scotland in 1651, then marched South on the fateful Worcester campaign. Soundly defeated by Cromwell, Charles spent six weeks on the run, aided and unintentionally hindered by Henry Wilmot Earl of Rochester, before escaping to France again. In 1654 Charles was forced to move to Cologne then Bruges and allied with Spain against Parliament and the French. By 1658 he had raised a small army of English and Irish exiles allied to the Spanish, which was defeated by Turenne and Protectorate forces at the Battle of the Dunes. As the Protectorate collapsed after the death of Cromwell, General Monck organised Charles' return to England in 1660. He landed at Dover on 25 May. Amid wild rejoicing across the nation, Charles made a triumphal entry into London on his 30th birthday, 29 May 1660. His coronation at Westminster Abbey took place on St George's Day, 1661.

Officer List

Original Research by victor Judge aka '1642'

  • Lieutenant Colonel Dolly Dyer
  • Captain Allen
  • Captain Doyley Dyer
  • Lieutenant William Power


  • 200 requested, though 100 were to be sent if all could not be quickly raised

Contemporary References

Victor Judge writes: Below are the extracts here given I believe for the first time.

Council of War at Bristol

Counsell of Warr Bristol 9th March 1644/5 Mr Hinton thought a fitt person to goe into Cornwall and in ye nature of an agent from thence to desire 100 or 200 Firelocks for ye Prince Lifeguarde. Letter to be written from the Prince to ye Marquess of Ormond to desire 200 firelocks for his Highness Lifeguard and because of (?) 100 to be sent first if the other can not be ready so soone.

Prince Charles to Ormond

Charles Prince of Wales to Marquess of Ormonde My Lord, Being of my Fathers appointment come hither to encourage, and unite the affection of the Western parts, the first thing I am intent upon is the speedy raysing my gards towards which I have a suite to make to your Lordship that you will (if with convenience you may ) assist me with two Companies of 100 in each Company of Firelocks of the lightest marching men you have, or can procure, who may be fittest to go on parties with Captains and all other Officers to each Company. They shall serve only in my Regiment of Gards and shall be well paid. If your Lordship cannot speedily send so many, I desire one Company be sent as soone as may be, and the other after. I shall be glad to heare often from your Lordship, who am your most affectionate friend, Charles P. Bristol 11.3.1644/5.’ Rec’vd 6.4.1645

Quartering the Prince's lifeguards

Orders for the Quartering of his Lifeguards by the Prince whereas we have earnestly requested the Lord Marquess of Ormonde, Lieutenant General of Ireland, to send unto us out of Ireland 200 Foote with Firelocks, to be of ye Lifeguard under ye command of [ Blank ] These are therefore to require all Commanders, Bayliffes and Constables as well in the Principality of Wales, as elsewhere to give them all assistance for there landinge and march to us, unto Bristoll, and not to disturb them but suffer them to quarter in any place where their said officers shall thinke convenient. They not continuing above two nights in any one place,and behaving themselves orderly, Given at ye Court at Bristoll this 19th March 1644/5 Charles P.’

See Also

1) Original Research by Victor Judge aka '1642'