The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Foot

Flag Illustration 11)
Active1649 to 1651
ConflictsThird Civil War
ColonelCharles II
James Wallace
Lord Lorne
Area RaisedVarious
Coat ColourRed??
Flag ColourBlue
Flag DesignVarious
Field ArmiesLeslie 1650
Charles 1651

Covenanter Lifeguard of foot for Charles Stuart, fighting in the Third Civil War at Dunbar and Worcester

Service History


  • March to June: Remains of the Covenanter Ulster Army return to Scotland
  • June: The 'well-affected' of the returnees to be recruited into the army
  • August: The regiment formed in 6 companies under Lt Col James Wallace of Achens and Maj Bryce Cochrane, with settler Col Sir Alexander Stewart probably commissioned as a captain
  • October: 14 officers being paid


  • July: The regiment to form Charles II's Life Guard of Foot, Charles commissions Lord Lorne as Colonel
  • August: Major Cochrane captured by the English
  • September: Battle of Dunbar Sir Alexander Stewart killed, Lt Col Wallace captured
  • October: At Kinross, the regiment purged of non-Royalists
  • October to December: Quartered at Perth


  • March: Lorne petitions for shoes, coats all to be of one colour, and recruits from all regiments of the army to bring the regiment up to 1200 men, unsuccessfully in the matter of recruits
  • June: Quartered at Stirling
  • September: Battle of Worcester


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

Raised in 1649 from veteran soldiers returning from Ulster, the intention was for the King's Life Guard to be comprised of committed Covenanters trusted by the Kirk party. After defeat at Dunbar, the regiment was purged with the intention of retaining Royalists.

Coats, Flags and Equipment

The regiment perhaps wore red coats although the evidence is not conclusive. The Ulster forces had access to red coats, Lorne requested coats all of one colour, and Charles requisitioned coats for his army from Worcester clothiers just prior to the battle, neglecting to pay for them. Red would appear to be the most likely colour but is not definite. In June 2008 Prince Charles the Prince of Wales at last paid off the £453 and 3 shillings debt, failing to account for inflation, as reported by BBC News.

Flags were described by Sir James Balfour, Lord Lyon. All flags were blue with the inscription COUENANT ; FOR RELIGIONE KING AND KINGDOMES on the reverse side. The Colonel’s flag (Lorne) had a shield containing the arms of Scotland, England and Ireland, quartered; Lt Col Wallace of Achens a silver unicorn; Major Cochrane a gold lyon; 1st Capt 3 gold fleur de lis; 2nd Capt arms of Scotland; 3rd Capt 3 lioncells gradien and gold; 4th Capt a gold Irish harp fringed with silver. 2)

Notable Officers

Charles II

Charles was titular Colonel.

James Wallace of Auchans

Initially Lieutenant Colonel, captured at Dunbar

Bryce Cochrane

Initially Major

Lord Lorne

Lord Lorne was Colonel from 1650, son of the Marquis of Argyle.

Hugh Fraser of Struy

Subsequent Major.


  • August 1649: 6 companies totalling 396 men
  • July 1650: 7 companies of 59 men each (413 men)
  • June 1651: 283 soldiers
  • July 1651: 236 soldiers

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) Stuart Reid's Scots Armies of the 17th Century 2: Scots Colours Partizan Press 1988