Sir Arthur Aston’s Regiment of Horse

Flag Illustration1)
Active1642-5
CountryEngland
AllegianceRoyalist
ConflictsFirst Civil War
TypeHorse
ColonelSir Arthur Aston
Sir George Boncle
Sebastian Boncle
Area RaisedOxfordshire
The North
Flag ColourBlack2)
Flag DesignWhite Crosses3)
Field ArmiesOxford

Later Sir George Boncle’s Regiment of Horse, then Colonel Sebastian Boncle’s Regiment of Horse

Royalist regiment of horse serving as part of the Oxford army and as garrison of Oxford

Service History

1642

  • Raised in Oxfordshire and the North
  • December: Garrison of Reading

1643

  • January: Skirmish at Henley-on-Thames
  • April: Siege of Reading
  • June: Raid on West Wycombe
  • July: Skirmish at Padbury
  • July: Storm of Bristol
  • August: Siege of Gloucester
  • September: Skirmish at Aldbourne Chase
  • September: First Battle of Newbury
  • Garrison of Oxford

1644

  • September: Relief of Basing House (led by Lt Col George Boncle)
  • December: Lt Col Trollop involved in plundering Marcham

1645

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

Notes

The regiment was raised in late 1642, after Edgehill. Sir Arthur Aston was appointed governor of Reading, his horse regiment formed part of the garrison, besieged by Essex’s army Reading was surrendered by Fielding after Aston’s incapacitation. The regiment were then based in Oxford, participating in the Oxford Army’s summer campaign. In 1644 they remained at Oxford, where Aston was governor, though were drawn out for occasional raids. In 1645, under the command of Sir George Boncle the regiment fought at Naseby. Sir George was captured and his brother Sebastian Boncle took over. Their later service is obscure; perhaps they remained as part of the Oxford garrison.

Flags and Equipment

The regiment was noted as carrying four black cornets with black and white fringes, noted by Symonds in April 1644. The colonel’s cornet was black, the others differenced by white crosses of the ‘cross potent’ variety. Appropriately, the cross potent is made of heraldic ‘crutches’. The design is shown in the Flag Illustration above.

In November 1642 the regiment was issued 60 back and breast pieces and 54 helmets. In December 1642 six firelock carbines were issued to the regiment, though four 'wanted firelocks'.

Notable Officers

Sir Arthur Aston

Sir Arthur Aston (1590-1649) was a Catholic from Cheshire. Biographies can be found online at BCW, Royal Berkshire History and Wikipedia. He was a professional soldier, fighting for Russia, Poland then for Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. He fought at Newburn Ford in the Second Bishops’ War under Lord Conway and was knighted in 1640.

At Edgehill Aston was Colonel-General of dragoons, and was later appointed Governor of Reading. Besieged by Essex, he relinquished command after being hit on the head by a roof tile dislodged by cannon-fire and rendered dumb. Some wondered whether this was a cunning ploy to avoid taking personal responsibility for the surrender. He was then appointed Major General to Prince Rupert and in August 1643 Governor of Oxford. Unpopular as Governor due to his severity and short temper, he broke his leg in a riding accident in 1644, gangrene set in and it required amputation, his position passing to Sir Henry Gage on Christmas Day. Clarendon plainly disliked him, opining that “He had the fortune to be very much esteemed where he was not known, and very much detested where he was; and he was at this time too well known at Oxford to be beloved by any.” In 1646 Aston joined Ormond in Ireland and was later appointed Governor of Drogheda. Besieged in 1649 by the New Model Army led by Cromwell, Drogheda was stormed with notoriously little quarter given. Sir Arthur's brains were beaten out with his own wooden leg, which the Parliamentarian soldiers falsely suspected was full of gold coins.

Sir George Boncle

George Boncle was a professional musician from Kent, who by 1640 had risen to Groom of the Bedchamber to Prince Charles. He served as Lieutenant Colonel under Aston and took over the regiment after Aston’s incapacitation in 1644. Captured at Naseby he died of his wounds in prison.

Sebastian Boncle

Sebastian Boncle served as Lieutenant Colonel under his brother George. He took over the regiment after Naseby. He later entered military service on the continent, dying abroad in 1651.

Officer Lists

From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user 1642

Sir Arthur Astons Regiment of Horse

  • Colonel Sir Arthur Aston (1)
  • Lieutenant Colonel George Boncle (1) + (3)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Sir Walter Pye (4)
  • Sargeant Major Sir George Boncle Ment. I.O.
  • Sargeant Major Sebastian Boncle
  • Sargeant Major Holby (k. Jan 43 at Henley-on-Thames)
  • Captain Amery (3)
  • Captain Armourer (1)
  • Captain Richard Egerton I.O. Ment. I.O.
  • Captain Sir Thomas Hooper (2) + Ment. I.O.
  • Captain Stanton (3)
  • Captain Trollop (3)
  • Lieutenant Theophilious Bird I.O. L + W
  • Lieutenant Davis (1)
  • Lieutenant William Hildsly I.O. Oxon. To Sgnt. Maj. Boncle
  • Cornet John Deschato I.O. L + W to Sir Thos. Hooper
  • Cornet Roger Hinton I.O. Staffs. To Capt. Egerton

Colonel George Boncles Regiment of Horse

Previously the Regiment of Sir Arthur Aston when Governor of Oxford.

  • Colonel George Boncle
  • Lieutenant Colonel Michael Trollop Ment. I.O.
  • Captain Sebastian Boncle Ment. I.O.
  • Captain Coxhead Ment. I.O.
  • Captain Henry Morton I.O. Northumb.
  • Captain William Skipwith Ment. I.O.
  • Captain Collet Smart I.O. Surrey to Sebastian Boncle
  • Captain Lieutenant Knowles
  • Lieutenant Samuel Gromett I.O. Lincs. to Capt. Skipwith
  • Lieutenant Thomas Newton I.O. Durham to Lt. Col. Trollop
  • Lieutenant Norton
  • Cornet John Binns I.O. Yorks. to Capt. Coxhead
  • Cornet John Boncle
  • Cornet William Jackson I.O. Lincs. to Capt. Coxhead
  • Quartermaster Edward Cummin I.O. Durham to Lt. Col. Trollop
  • Quartermaster John Gaston I.O. Durham to Capt. Seb. Boncle
  • Quartermaster John Knaggs I.O. Durham
  • Quartermaster Thomas Quincey I.O. Lincolns. to Capt. Coxhead

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

Exact Journall

(1) E.252.37 A diary, or, An exact iournall No.2 24-31.5.1644

Hooper

(2) Sir Thomas Hooper's inclusion under I.O. can possibly be explained by the fact that he was Captain of Dragoons under Prince Rupert. However in the following notes below you will see that Sir Arthur Aston sent the Dragoons to Prince Rupert thoroughly disgusted with their conduct.

Stevens' Papers

(3) Papers of Captain Henry Stevens 26.9.1644

Sir Arthur Astons Regiment of Horse

  • Lieutenant Colonel Boncle (George)
  • Sargeant Major Boncle (Sebastian)
  • Captain Stanton (George ?)
  • Captain Trollopp (Michael)
  • Captain Amery (Edward?)

Sir Walter Pye

(4) Add. Mss 18980 f.8 Extract.

Sir Arthur Aston has given Sir Walter Pye Commission to be his Lieutenant Colonel to be raised at his own charge. 20.11.1642 Oxford

Note: Sir Walter Pye later led Sir Walter Pye’s Regiment of Horse

Skirmish at Henley

Add.Mss.18980 f.16

To Prince Rupert May it please your highness

I would not suffer this bearer to pass without this tender of my respects and duty. Sir Arthur Aston understanding of some forces come into Henley, sent thither a party friday night under ye command of the Sargeant Major of his horse Mr. Holby, they entered the towne and posessed themselves of the ordnance in ye market place, but, by an unfortunate shot out of a window Sargeant Major Holby being slayne, ye Dragoones ran away and ye horse did little better, notwithstanding ye earnest of their Officers and soe they lost the effect of their own paines and hazard. The rebells doe approach towards Aylesburie.

Edward Nicholas Oxford 24.Jan 1642/3.

Armour

WO55.423.155 23.11.1642

You are to deliver unto this bearer sixty compleate armes that is to say backs breasts and hed peeces and this shall bee your warrant. Arth: Aston

Received upon this warrant sixty backs and breasts and fifty and three headpeeces by mee John Warcuppe

Plundering Marcham

E.258.4.3 December 1644

  • Colonel Trollop
  • Captain Trollop
  • Colonel Sir John Pettus
  • Colonel Sir Thomas Lunsford

All marched from Oxford to Marcham to plunder.

Boncle's Troop

E.307.18 A list of Sir George Boncles Troop

  • Captaine Knowles
  • Lieutenant Norton
  • Cornet John Bo(n?)cle
  • Quartermaster John Knagges
  • Chaplin: George Mallonyer
  • Churgion Stephen Fawcett and his two Mates
  • Corporal John Morton
  • Corporal George Foster
  • Corporal Thomas Noble
  • Trumpet Edward Johnson
  • Trumpet Thomas Cresswell

MORE

Boncle was a Colonel when captured at Naseby

Strength

  • April 1644: 120 men in four troops
  • September 1644: Estimated 250 men at relief of Basing House

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) , 3) Officers and Regiments of the Royalist Army, Stuart Reid, 1988 (2nd Impression). Partizan Press. ISBN 0 946525 12 9