Colonel Richard Fielding’s Regiment of Foot

Flag Illustration 11)
Active1642 to 1646
CountryEngland
AllegianceRoyalist
ConflictsFirst Civil War
TypeFoot
ColonelsRichard Fielding
Sir Jacob Astley
Area RaisedHerefordshire
Coat ColourRed or Blue?
White or Grey?
Flag ColourWhite or Blue
Flag DesignCinquefoils?
Field ArmiesOxford 1642-45
Astley 1646

Later, Jacob, Lord Astley’s Regiment of Foot

Royalist infantry regiment of the Oxford Army given to Sir Jacob Astley after Fielding’s disgrace at Reading

Service History

1642

  • Raised in Herefordshire
  • October: Quartered at Wornill (near Bridgenorth), Shropshire
  • October: Battle of Edgehill
  • 13th November: Standoff at Turnham Green
  • 9th December: Garrison of Reading

1643

  • 13th - 27th April: Besieged st Reading
  • 27th April: Surrender of Reading
  • May: Command passed to Astley after Fielding's court-martial
  • May: Quartered at Culham Camp
  • 26th July: Storm of Bristol
  • August-September: Siege of Gloucester
  • 20th September: First Battle of Newbury
  • October: Re-occupation of Reading?
  • December: Battle of Alton (det)

1644

  • April: Mustered at Aldbourne Chase
  • May: Skirmish at Gosford Bridge
  • June: Battle of Cropredy Bridge
  • August: Battle of Lostwithiel
  • September: Second Battle of Newbury

1645

  • April: Storm of Ledbury
  • May: Storm of Leicester
  • June: Battle of Naseby
  • June: Besieged at Leicester?
  • July: Recruited in Wales

1646

  • March: Captain Ashmole commissioned at Worcester
  • March: Battle of Stow on the Wold
  • March to April: Captain John Blythe surrenders after the siege of Pendennis

Notes

Fielding’s Regiment was one of the first raised for the King, serving at the Battle of Edgehill in the brigade led by Fielding himself. In 1643 they formed part of the large garrison of Reading that was besieged by the Earl of Essex, with substantial reinforcements, in April. The Reading garrison was initially led by Sir Arthur Aston but after he was apparently rendered incapable after being hit on the head by a falling roof tile during a bombardment, command passed to Fielding. In desperate straits after two weeks siege of the town, Fielding entered into surrender negotiations, despite the King’s Army marching to his relief from Oxford. When the Royalists arrived and joined battle with Essex’s men at Caversham Bridge Fielding failed to support them, considering any action a breach of the truce he’d agreed with Essex. This resulted in defeat of the relief attempt. By the terms of the surrender the Reading garrison were allowed to march back to Oxford with colours flying, but were thoroughly plundered by the Parliamentarians as they set off. On his return to Oxford Fielding was court-martialled and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted at the last minute when Prince Charles pleaded with his father, as suggested by Prince Rupert.

With Fielding in disgrace, in May the regiment was given to Sir Jacob Astley, Sergeant-Major General of the Oxford Army infantry, and a very experienced old soldier indeed. Usually they were commanded by Lt Col Coningsby or Major Toby Bowes in the field as Astley had other duties to perform. They took part in the Oxford Army campaigns of 1643. In December 1643 a detachment was made to the composite musketeer battalion under Colonel Richard Bolle that was sent south to reinforce Hopton. Trapped by Sir William Waller at Alton Church they fought stoutly but were forced to surrender after Bolle was killed. The rest of the regiment continued with the Oxford Army through 1644 and 1645, until defeated and mostly captured at Naseby. It’s possible that some of the regiment were also in Leicester, surrendering a few days later.

Quite a few foot Regiments that fought at Naseby were subsequently re-recruited in Wales from July 1645, including William Murray’s, Appleyard’s Tillier’s, John Pawlett’s, Sir Jacob Astley’s, Duke of York’s, King’s Lifeguard, Sir Henry Bard’s, Sir Bernard Astley’s, Robert Broughton's and Lisle’s2). Astley's regiment appear to have fought at Stow on the Wold, although one officer at least went into Pendennis garrison in Cornwall.

Coats, Flags and Equipment

Clad in either all red or all blue suits of coats, breeches and montero hats in July 1643 along with the other Royalist foot regiments then in Oxford 3).In September 1644 they received another issue, but of unknown colour. In 1644 they are mentioned with Pennyman's as the white and grey regiments. Whether this refers to coat colours or flags is uncertain. A new clothing issue seems more likely than a change of flag designs.

Astley's regiment's flags aren't known for certain, but one possibility is shown above at Flag Illustration 1. At the surrender of Reading white, red and blue flags were carried by the eight regiments of the garrison. At the Aldbourne Chase muster in 1644 Symonds noted that Astley’s and Stradling’s regiments combined had 5 blue colours differenced by white cinquefoils and one plain white colour. Both the Astley and Stradling families used cinquefoils as devices, so which flags belonged to which regiment is rather unclear, though Stradling’s regiment was the larger. A similar blue flag with cinquefoils was captured at Edgehill, so is more likely from Stradling’s. However, a blue flag with a pierced ermine cinquefoil was captured at Naseby, which muddies the waters somewhat, this is illustrated above. Sir Jacob Astley’s regiment raised for the First Bishops’ War of 1639 had sky-blue and white colours, design unknown4).

The regiment seems to have been conventionally equipped with pikes and muskets; several muskets, bandoleers, pikes, 'long pikes' and a halberd were delivered from stores in Oxford in June and July 1643 (see below).

Notable Officers

Colonel Richard Fielding

Richard Fielding (also spelt Feilding) was appointed a Colonel of Foot for the Second Bishops' War of 1640, raising his men from Essex, Huntingdon and Bedfordshire. In the First Civil War he served as a brigadier at Edgehill, where he was captured but soon exchanged, then as second in command to Sir Arthur Aston at Reading. After the debacle resulting from his surrender to the Earl of Essex he was court-martialled and sentenced to death, but was reprieved at the last minute following pleas by Prince Charles supported by Prince Rupert. He was stripped of his command, but not his rank, and went on to fight for the Royalists as Master of the Ordnance at Cheriton under Hopton and Forth.

Jacob, 1st Lord Astley of Reading

Sir Jacob Astley (1579-1652) was a highly-experienced professional soldier who served as Sergeant-Major General of the infantry of the Oxford Army during the First Civil War. Biographies can be found online at British Civil Wars, Wikipedia and Wikisource DNB . He served as a soldier from the age of 18 beginning with an expedition to the Azores under Sir Walter Raleigh and the Second Earl of Essex, then on the continent for Prince Maurice of Nassau, Frederick V the ‘Winter King’ of Bohemia (brother in law to King Charles I and father of Prince Rupert), Christian IV of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus and is said to have tutored Prince Rupert.

He was appointed Sergeant Major General (commander of the infantry) and raised regiments of foot for both Bishops’ Wars. In the First Civil War he again led the King’s Infantry, from Edgehill where he prayed “O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me.” and promptly followed with the order “March on, boys!” to the defeat of the ‘Old Foot’ at Naseby. He was created 1st Baron Reading in November 1644. Clarendon noted that he contributed little to the Royalist Councils, possibly due to deafness, but remarking on his appointment as Sgt Maj General thought him ”a man as fit for that office as Christendom yielded”.

After Naseby, Astley was sent to Wales and the Marches, replacing the unpopular Charles Gerard. In September 1645 his son Sir Bernard Astley, a brigadier of the Oxford Army, was mortally wounded at Bristol. By March 1646 Astley had somehow managed to raise an army of 3000 out of remnants of regiments, reformados and garrison troops. In the final battle of the First Civil War he was defeated at Stow-on-the-Wold by Brereton and Morgan. Sitting down on a discarded drum he told his captors “You have now done your work and may go to play, unless you will fall out among yourselves”. After a short imprisonment at Warwick Castle he retired to Kent, taking no part in the Second or Third Civil Wars.

Officer Lists

Colonel Richard Fieldings Regiment of Foot

Colonel Richard Fielding

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Coningsby (5)

Sargeant Major Toby Bowes (3) Sargeant Major Charles Norwood I.O. L + W Sargeant Major Walthall (2) + (6)

Captain Allen (3) Captain Thomas Conyngsby (1) + (5) Captain Jackson (1) Captain La Warr (1) Captain Thimbleby (1) Captain Walley (1) Captain Peter Walthall Ment. I.O. Captain Richard Walthall SEE MARROWS REGIMENT + burkes commoners

Lieutenant Salathiel Backster (4) to Capt. Walley Lieutenant Deane (6) Lieutenant Harrington (6) Lieutenant Randall Johliffe (2)

Ensign John Halley I.O. Bedfords. to Capt. Peter Walthall

(1) WO.55.1661. 23.5.1643

Coll. Fielding M(usket) B(andeleeres) P(ike) Bills

     distributed                               30                30                       40      00

To his owne Company 2 2 3 00 To his Lieut Col 10 10 13 00 To his Sgt Maior 3 3 2 00 To Capt Jackson 3 3 3 00 To Capt La Warr 2 2 6 00 To Capt Tho: Conyngsby 3 3 10 00 To Capt Walley 2 2 1 00 To Capt Thimbleby 5 5 11 00

                                                   30               30                       49       00

(2) Cheshire Record Office QJF 90/2 Trinity 1662 No. 169 Petition of Anne Chantler(P.Y) Chamberler(me) Her husband John served in Colonel Richard Fieldings Regiment under Major Walthall signed Randall Johliffe Lieutenant.

(3) WO.55.459.353 Toby Bowes Sargeant Major 4 muskets 2 long pikes Captain Allen. 7.7.1643

(4) WO.55.459.352 Lieutenant Salathiel Backster to Captain Walley 2 muskets,bandaliers and arms of Sir Jacob Astleys Regiment. 7.7.1643

(5) Harl.Mss.6802 f.9 To our right and welbeloved Lieutenant Colonell Coningsbie and Captaine Coningsbie of the Regiment of Colonell Fielding Our will and pleasure &e and wee are hereby gratiously pleased to give you and eyther of you your free leave and service to bee absent from eyther of your charges and commands under the Regiment of our trusty and welbeloved Colonell Richard Fielding and to repaire in to ye County of Hereford to recruit and compleat your Companies and to returne to your charges in our Army with such numbers as you shgall get before the first day of February next.and for your doeing this shall be your w(arran)t. Jan.12 (1643).

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Fielding was buried in St. Martins Oxford 18th July 1643.

(6) Shropshire Record Office Shrewsbury billetting documents 3365/2570/184 Quartered at Adam Webb his house at his Majesty being in Shrewsbury Sargeant Major Wauthall his Liftennant and ancient for 3 weekes

£3 3sh 00d More for 4 men at 4sh a weeke 2 8 00 More for 4 men at 4sh a weeke 2 8 00 More for Collonell Feeldings entertainment with divers Captaynes and Commanders for beere and other charges of souldiers during his Majesties being here 5 10 00 More for Liftennant Harrington and Liftennant Deane with divers others that have bin quartered and entertayned with mee both horses and men 5 0 00

  1. —————-

17 09 00* More for his Majesties horses being in my grounds 3 0 00

  1. —————-

20 9 00

* This miscalculation benefitting the King £1 !!

Colonel Richard Fielding was captured in June 1644 and was still attempting to obtain his release by way of prisoner exchange in June 1645

Add.Mss. 46500 f.98 To his ever honored freind Col. George Thomson in Southwarke

Noble Colonel, I shall endeavour to observe the order you sent mee,since I wrote last to you wee have had a very tedious march,wee marched allmost 40 miles in one march: wee were within ten miles of Salisbury,neare Wallop,where wee met some straggling fellows of the Kings forces,which being taken told us their Army was about 2000 horse & 4000 foote & were not farr from us upon the other side of the hill,presently after came Colonel Feilding & his two men,by themselves,which were all taken & confessed as much,whereupon wee were commanded to make haste,being commanded by Col. Cooke.The enemy was upon our reare presently & tooke a few of those men whose horses were tyred,in our retreat wee were to march downe a very narrow lane,where wee fored to march ion a single file,in which lane the enemy met us,but wee forced our way & lost none of our Reg't,but one of my men & one boy of Capt. Nicholess & 3 horses.Wee were given up for a lost Regiment but blesses be God yoy heare our loss.I am in desire your faithful servant. Thos: Roe.

5th June 1644

Colonel Sir Jacob Astleys Regiment of Foot

From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user`1642

  • Colonel Sir Jacob Astley
  • Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Coningsby I.O. Hereford.
  • Sargeant Major Toby Bowes (8)
  • Captain Elias Ashmole (1)
  • Captain Francis Bowles (9)
  • Captain Edward Bray I.O. Surrey
  • Captain John Blyth (2)
  • Captain Matthew Gore I.O. L + W.
  • Captain Hastings Keyte (4) (k. at Stow on the Wold)
  • Captain Edmund Parker * I.O. Warks.
  • Captain Walley (7)
  • Captain Lieutenant Jackson (5)
  • Lieutenant Salathiel Baxter (7)
  • Lieutenant Francis Bowles I.O. L + W. to Capt. Gore
  • Lieutenant Fitzwilliam Coningsby I.O. Hereford. to Lt. Col. Coningsby
  • Lieutenant George Fawkett I.O. L + W. to Capt. Bray
  • Lieutenant John Loveday I.O. Warks.
  • Lieutenant Edmund Parker * (3) (PW at Alton Church)
  • Lieutenant Raphe Wright (6) to Lt. Col. Coningsby
  • Ensign Samuel Hickin I.O. Staffs.
  • Ensign John Keymor I.O. Somerset

A list of the regiment's officers is also shown in Officers and Regiments of the Royalist Army by Stuart Reid (Partizan Press).

Contemporary References

From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user`1642

Ashmole's commission

(1) Ashmole Mss.1136.f.211

Commission as Captain of Foot 12.3.1646 at Worcester.

Blythe's petition

(2) SP23.69.478 Extract

To the Honourable Committee for Compounding with Delinquents sitting att Gouldsmiths Hall The humble petition of John Blythe of Colesell in the County of Warwick gent

Sheweth that your petitioner was Captaine of a Foote Company under ye Command of Sir Jacob Astley Knt. for which his offence hee acknowledgeth to have displeased the Parliament and is thereby become under the notion of a Delinquent. And that being in the Garrison of Pendennis at the tyme of the rendicion of the same humbly craves the benefitt of the Articles agreed thereunto.

2. September 1646 refer'd to the sub committee.

SP23.69.476 Certificate of William Batten that Capt.John Blyth was a Commissioner in Pendennis.

Parker's exchange

(3) SP.CSPD1644 GET CORRECT SP. Letter extract. Sir Edward Nicholas to the Earl of Forth 14.4.1644 Oxford

'This bearer, Edmund Parker, late a Lieutenant in Sir Jacob Astley's Regiment, was taken prisoner at Alton, and hath procured liberty to solicit for his exchange for one John Johnson, now prisoner in the Castle here, to obtain which he comes recommended from Sir Jacob Astey.'

Hastings Keyte

(4) Baronetage of England

‘Hastings Keyte son of John Keyte of Ebbrington Gloucestershire. Baptised 5.4.1621; he was a gentleman of great bravery, and true loyalty, faithfully serving King Charles 1 in the quality of a Captain, under the command of Sir Jacob (afterwards Lord) Astley, till being overpowered by the rebels, he was, after a sharp and obstinate resistance, slain in the battle near Stow, on the 21st day of March 1645/6, and lies buried at Stowe.’

His slab lies near the Altar of Saint Edwards Church in Stow on the Wold, be careful not to be standing on it inadvertently.

Astley at Stow

E.334.1 Lord Astley was taken prisoner at Stow by Nicholas Whitehead, servant to Major Hankefford of the Warwick Regiment. He gave his arms and money to Whitehead, seven pounds in Gold and three pounds in Silver.

Astley & the waistcoats

SP28.128.17 Devon (extract)

30 old hangings taken out of Sir Jacob Astleys house and made into wastcoats, quantity 100 for the use of the poor souldiers by order

Waistcoats

The Waistcoats were distributed to Parliamentary soldiers below.

December 23 1644

  • 6 souldiers of Lt.Col. Moors 6
  • Captain Bawdon 6 souldiers 6
  • Ensign Bickley for 4 souldiers of Lt. Boveys Co. 4
  • Captain Martin 6 of his souldiers 6
  • Ensign Lea for 6 souldiers of Lt. Col. Creims [?] Co. 6
  • Captain Basketts Lt. for 5 souldiers 5

Note: Astley owned a house in Plymouth, likely these are soldiers of the Plymouth garrison. Perhaps Lt Col Robert Moore BHO 'M' and Captain or Major Moreton of Colonel James Carr’s Regiment of Foot; John Bawden a Captain in Plymouth garrison, BHO 'B', Lt Col Ellis Crimes BHO 'C' of Plymouth garrison and just possibly Capt John Baskett of Colonel Thomas Carr’s Isle of Wight Regiment of Foot.

Arms

(5) Public Record Office WO55.1661.215 24. June (1643) dd (delivered) out of his Maj. stores to Captaine Jackson for Sir Jacob Astley his own Companie

  • Musketts 9
  • Bandaleares 7
  • Pykes 3
  • Halberts 1

(6) WO55.1661.218 30. June 1643 Delivered out f his Majesties stores to Raphe Wright Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonell Connisbye of Sir Jacob Astley his Regiment

  • Long Pikes 7

Rec'd Ra: Wright

(7) WO55.459. part 2 I pray deliver unto Lt. Backster Officer to Capt. Walley in my readgment two muskits with Bandaleres of the armes that were delivered in of the ar now received and this shalbe your warrant this seventh of July 1643

Jacob Asteley

Eod die

dd out of his Maj. stores to Lifetennant Backster Lifetennant to Capt: Walley of Sr Jacob Astleys Regiment

  • Musketts 2
  • Bandaleeres 2

Salathiell Baxter

(8) WO55.459 Part 2 before 350.(reverse of above) P5030139

TOBY Bowes Sergente Maior

Bowles' petition

(9) SP29.2.174.i Extract The humble petition of Francis Bowles Sheweth

Your Highnes petitioner, in the beginninge of the late warrs in England, and as in dutie bound did ingage in his late Majesties service, and at the Battle of Edge hill was shott with a cannon Bullett being a Captaine under Sir Jacob Astlie, and there left and stript with the dead, the next day on the view of the corpses, life being found in him, your highnes petitioner was carried to Oxford. His (Majesty) of never dying memory commanded more the ordinary care to be taken of him, whose command made him afterward capable to serve in the feild at Bristow, at Nasbie, at the Vale of Easham was taken prisoner, his other arme broake and carried to Warwick Castle, there continued duringe the time of the warr.

This appears to confirm that Lieutenant Francis is a different man.

Strength

  • Edgehill: 460 men (estimated by Brigadier Sir Peter Young)
  • April 1644: 155 men (Symonds)
  • April 1644: At Aldbourne Chase mustered 7 Captains, 7 Lieutenants, 8 Ensigns, 8 Gentlemen, 14 Sergeants, 18 Corporals, 9 Drummers, 146 Soldiers 5)

See Also

1) Flag images by kind permission of Wargames Designs
2) from original research by Victor Judge, BCW user 1642
3) , 4) ECW Flags and Colours 1: English Foot, Stuart Peachey & Les Prince 1990, Partizan Press ISBN:0946525846
5) British Library Harleian ms 986.

Discussion

daveplant, 18/03/2014 22:18
When Prince Rupert took command of the Royalist privateering squadron in 1649, the captain of his flagship "Constant Reformation" was also named Richard Fielding (or Feilding). Does anyone know if this is the same officer?
ivor-carr, 19/03/2014 10:30
According to Newman, Fielding had navel experience from before the civil war and died in Lisbon in 1650 so it seems likely.
daveplant, 19/03/2014 18:09
Thanks. Rupert's squadron was blockaded in Lisbon by Blake. Warburton (Memoirs of Prince Rupert & the Cavaliers) says Fielding died of a fever and was replaced as captain of the "Constant Reformation" by Capt. Kettleby.
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