Earl of Sutherland’s Highland Levies

1644 to 1651
ConflictsFirst Civil War
Second Civil War
Third Civil War
ColonelEarl of Sutherland
Area RaisedInverness & Caithness
Coat ColourGrey?
Flag Colour
Flag Design
Field ArmiesArgyll 1645

Covenanter highland levy fighting at Auldearn, raised again during the Second and Third Civil Wars

Service History


  • Sutherland maintains a standing regiment due to his suspicion of Seaforth



  • February: Sutherland authorised to raise a regiment of 1600 foot
  • August to October: Join Seaforth guarding against MacColla
  • October: Return home to winter quarters


  • January to February: At Inverness with Seaforth
  • May: Join Urry at Inverness
  • May: Battle of Auldearn
  • December: Ordered to Inverness for a naval operation that fails to occur


  • Summer: Disbanded at Invershin


  • October: Sutherland to levy 500 men to oppose Royalist Lord Reay
  • October: Campaign against Reay in Strathnaver
  • Perhaps disbanded


  • May: Sutherland refuses to raise troops for the Engagement
  • Sutherland levies his own force, preventing reinforcements joining the Engagement
  • October: Likely disbanded


  • February: Sutherland commissioned to raise three regiments from Orkney, Sutherland and Caithness, but nothing is done


  • April: Sutherland raises foot on hearing of Urry's invasion
  • April: March north to Caithness then retreat to Helmsdale and Dunrobin
  • April: Garrison Dunrobin, Skibo, Skelbo and Dornoch, while 300 foot retreat to Ross
  • June: Ordered south towards Edinburgh
  • June to August: Sutherland raises another 1000 men
  • September: Arrive at Stirling, missing Dunbar
  • December: Sutherland commissioned to raise another foot regiment


  • March: Sutherland sends drafts of recruits to Stirling
  • April: Quartered at Errol and Carde
  • April: Quartered at Perth
  • September: Battle of Worcester
  • Garrison of Perth


A history of the unit is shown in Edward M. Furgol’s A Regimental History of the Covenanting Armies 1639-1651 Edinburgh, 1990. ISBN 0 85976 194 0

Clan Sutherland

Sutherland's also appears to have men in garrison at Perth during the Worcester campaign in the Third Civil War.

Flags, Coats & Equipment

The Estates resolved to issue suits of clothes, shoes and arms in winter 1645-6, they were likely dressed in hodden grey by this time.

Notable Officers

Earl of Sutherland

John Gordon, 14th Earl of Sutherland, chief of Clan Sutherland, was a committed Covenanter.


  • February 1644: 1600 men authorised
  • February 1646: 800 men
  • October 1647: 500 levies
  • April 1650: 300 foot remain after leaving garrisons in the north
  • June 1651: 449 common soldiers
  • July 1651: 375 soldiers

See Also