Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foot

Active1643 to 1646
CountryEngland
AllegianceRoyalist
ConflictsFirst Civil War
TypeFoot
ColonelSir Marmaduke Rawdon
Area RaisedOxfordshire
London (officers)
Coat ColourSee Notes
Flag ColourUnknown
Flag DesignUnknown
Field ArmiesOxford Army
Garrison Regiment

Royalist Regiment of Foot in garrison first at Basing House then at Faringdon

Service History

1643

  • April: Rawdon commissioned at Oxford to raise a regiment in Oxfordshire, mainly officered by his associates from London
  • July: Defence of Basing House (det) against Sir Richard Norton
  • August: Garrison Basing House
  • November: Defence of Basing House against Sir William Waller
  • November: Defence of Basing House against Sir William Waller

1644

  • June: Skirmish at Odiham
  • June to August: Besieged at Basing House by Sir Richard Norton
  • August: Raid on Basingstoke
  • August to October Besieged at Basing House by Sir Richard Norton

1645

  • March(?): Following Petition by Marquess of Winchester, Rawdon's Regiment is to be moved from Basing House, making the garrison wholly Catholic
  • 1st May: Skirmish at Hambridge
  • 7th May: Rawdon's Regiment takes up the Garrison of Faringdon
  • 14th October: Basing House stormed and destroyed by Oliver Cromwell, following the weakening of the garrison as described above
  • December: Rawdon's Raid on Andover

1646

  • March to June: Besieged at Faringdon House
  • April: Rawdon dies of pneumonia
  • June 25th: Rawdon's Regiment surrenders Faringdon and is allowed to march out with weapons in hand and Colours flying.

Notes

Rawdon’s Regiment was commissioned and raised in April 1643 by Marmaduke Rawdon, a wealthy Royalist who had been awarded a commission by King Charles in Oxford. While the ordinary soldiers were recruited from among the labourers of Oxfordshire, Rawdon was able to appoint officers from among his own network of friends and acquaintances that he had built up over years of living and working in London, and it was for this reason that the regiment was sometimes referred to as ‘The London Regiment’ in Royalist Newsletters and Pamphlets.

Rawdon was a wealthy merchant, and ploughed that wealth into raising his new regiment. He also had previous military experience as he had been made the Lt Colonel of the Red Regiment of Foot of the London Trained Bands in London in 1639. The new regiment was equipped with muskets and pikes from the armoury at Oxford, and also took with them 60 ‘Brown Bills’, which would be useful hand-to-hand weapons for a garrison unit as they were about to become. King Charles had received a plea for help from the Marquess of Winchester for assistance in preventing his great mansion of Basing House in Hampshire from being overrun by local Parliamentarians. So Rawdon was appointed Military Governor of Basing and the Regiment was dispatched immediately to what would be their new home for the next two years.

An advance party led by Rawdon’s 2nd in command, Lieut. Colonel Robert Peake, arrived at Basing House on July 31st, just in time to defeat an attack upon the house by Colonel Richard Norton, and they were soon followed by Rawdon himself with the rest of his regiment and 3 pieces of artillery. He immediately set the regiment to strengthening the defences with additional earthworks and bastions, as the existing brickwork was not strong enough to withstand a bombardment by cannon. So when fresh troops led by Sir William Waller arrived in November 1643 to besiege the House, the garrison was much better prepared. After a failed attempt at storming the buildings which was defeated by a counter-attack from Rawdon’s new Lieut. Colonel Thomas Johnson (Robert Peake was busy raising a new regiment for the Marquess), Waller’s forces retreated to Basingstoke. After another attack was beaten off later in November, Waller and his army withdrew completely on hearing the news that Sir Ralph Hopton’s Royalist Army was nearby. On 20th December, Rawdon was knighted by King Charles for his successful handling of the defence of Basing.

Basing House withstood a further siege from June to September 1644, when the garrison was relieved by a flying column from Oxford led by Sir Henry Gage. A further attempt to besiege Basing was made later in September, but was again relieved by Gage the following month. Gage also left the only description we have of the soldiers in Rawdon’s Regiment when he wrote, “they looked all as if they had been prisoners of the grave rather than keepers of the castle”. We like to think that at least the Officers of the Regiment might have taken to heart Sir Marmaduke’s advice to his son when equipping and clothing themselves – “Win Gold and Wear Gold”! Three sieges had been concluded with the attackers beaten off, but the following year saw Marmaduke Rawdon and his regiment removed from Basing at the Marquess of Winchester’s request and appointed as the garrison of the town of Faringdon, one of the outlying defences forming a ring around the King’s capital at Oxford. The Marquess was a Roman Catholic, and Rawdon a proud Protestant - there had been reports of unrest between the two Regiments and Winchester had decided upon a wholly Catholic Garrison for Basing House. Rawdon’s comment was that “if the King were to make me the keeper of a Mole-hill, I would die defending it”, and led his soldiers to their new home in May 1645. The Marquess’ tragic decision had halved the size of the garrison at Basing House, a mere few months before Oliver Cromwell and 5,000 soldiers stormed the ‘nest of papists’ with great loss of life.

By now, Rawdon had also been able to raise a small regiment of Horse which made its presence felt for miles around in raids and patrols, including a raid on Andover 25 miles away, and regularly haunted the Oxford to Bristol road. Faringdon was eventually besieged in March 1646 by Colonel Deveraux, Governor of Malmesbury, and by Colonel Pye from the New Model Army. The new invaders built an earthwork and fortification on the western side of the town and fortified a large stone house, but these were over-run by Rawdon’s soldiers in a bloody assault, supported by sniper fire from the town church. Much of the town caught fire and burned down, but the garrison still held out.

The following month, Marmaduke Rawdon fell gravely ill with pneumonia, and called his officers together for a farewell meeting on April 25th, appointing Sir William Courtney as the new Governor of the Town. Rawdon died three days later and was buried in Faringdon church while it was under bombardment by a Roundhead mortar! Faringdon and Rawdon’s Regiment surrendered to the New Model Army on June 25th once Oxford itself had surrendered and there were no more Royalist armies left to provide any assistance.

Coats, Flags & Equipment

There is no first hand account of what uniform (if any) would have been worn by Rawdon's Regiment apart from a comment by Sir Henry Gage who relieved Basing House where he commented that the garrison looked less like soldiers and more like the inhabitants of a graveyard – so not very encouraging. The regiment was probably still in or around Oxford when the famous Thomas Bushell refit of Red and Blue suits for the Foote took place. Therefore Rawdon's may have acquired red coats from there, or blue coats, or none at all. Rawdon had been Lieut-Colonel of the Red Regiment of London Trayned Bandes before joining the King, but the 'red' refers to the colours (Flags) rather than coats.

Rawdon's regiment were armed with pikes and muskets and 60 brown bills.

Notable Officers

Sir Marmaduke Rawdon

Officer List

  • Col Sir Marmaduke Rawdon
  • Lt Col Thomas Johnson (previously Major) (d. 1644)
  • Lt Col William Rosewell (previously Major)
  • Major Thomas Langley

Strength

  • Between 200 and 250 men

See Also

The regiment is re-enacted by Sir Marmaduke Rawdon's Regiment of the English Civil War Society and by Sir Marmaduke Rawdon's Regiment of Foote of the Sealed Knot.