Earl of Newcastle’s Troop of Horse

ConflictsFirst Bishops’ War
CaptainEarl of Newcastle
Area Raised
Flag Colour
Flag Design
Field Armies1639

English cavalry troop that was raised for the First Bishops’ War of 1639

Service History


  • Raised
  • April: March towards Berwick
  • May: March into Berwick
  • June: Retire from Kelso
  • June: Standoff between Birks and Duns Law


This troop was raised and maintained by Newcastle at his own expense, not at the King’s.

Amongst the rest, my Lord lent his Majesty £10,000 and raised himself a volunteer troop of horse, which consisted of 120 knights and gentlemen of quality, who marched to Berwick by his Majesty's command, where it pleased his Majesty to set this mark of honour upon that troop, that it should be independent, and not commanded by any general officer, but only by his Majesty him-self. The reason thereof was upon this following occasion. His Majesty's whole body of horse, being commanded to march into Scotland against the rebels, a place was appointed for their rendezvous ; immediately upon their meeting, my Lord sent a gentleman of quality of his troop ' to his Majesty's then General of the Horse, to know where his troop should march ; who returned this answer, That it was to march next after the troops of the General Officers of the Field. My Lord conceiving that his troop ought to march in the van, and not in the rear, sent the same messenger back again to the General, to inform him, that he had the honour to march with the Prince's colours, and therefore he thought it not fit to march under any of the Officers of the Field; yet nevertheless the General ordered that troop as he had formerly directed. Where- upon, my Lord thinking it unfit at that time to dispute the business, immediately commanded his Cornet to take off the Prince's colours from his staff, and so marched in the place appointed, choosing rather to march without his colours flying, than to lessen his master's dignity by the command of any subject. Immediately after the return from that expedition to his Majesty's leaguer, the General made a complaint thereof to his Majesty; who being truly informed of the business, commended my Lord's discretion for it, and from that time ordered that troop to be commanded by none but himself. Thus they remained upon duty, without receiving any payment or allowance from his Majesty until his Majesty had reduced his rebellious subjects, and then my Lord returned with honour to his charge, viz., the government of the Prince. 1)

Lucy Hutchinson also commented on the troop: The Earl of Newcastle … a lord once so much beloved in his country, that when the first expedition was against the Scots, the gentlemen of the country set him forth two troops, one all of gentlemen, the other of their men, who waited on him into the north at their own charges. He had, indeed, through his great estate, his liberal hospitality, and constant residence in his country, so endeared them to him, that no man was a greater prince than he was in all that northern quarter ; till a foolish ambition of glorious slavery carried him to court, where he ran himself much into debt, to purchase neglects of the King and Queen, and scorns of the proud courtiers.

Flags & Equipment

The troop carried the Prince of Wales’ cornet

Notable Officers

Earl of Newcastle

William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle, later commander of the King's northern army and created Marquis.


  • May 1639: 100 men 2)

See Also

1) The life of William Cavendish, duke of Newcastle, by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle
2) Rushworth's 'Historical Collections: 1639, March-June', Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 3: 1639-40, pp. 885-946. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=74912 Date accessed: 24 June 2014