Earl of Balcarres’ Regiment of Horse

Active1644 to 1648
ConflictsFirst Civil War
Second Civil War
Third Civil War
ColonelEarl of Balcarres
Alexander Strachan
Area RaisedFife
Flag Colour
Flag Design
Field ArmiesLeven 1644
Urry 1645
Baille 1645
Browne 1651

Covenanter regiment of horse serving with Leven in England, returning to Scotland to fight Montrose, raised again in the Third Civil War

Service History


  • Raised in Fife, the Mearns and Aberdeenshire


  • April to July: Siege of York
  • 2nd July: Battle of Marston Moor
  • July: Siege of York
  • July to October: Siege of Newcastle
  • October or November: Return to Scotland


  • February: At Aberdeen, with Hackett's horse
  • March: Abandon Aberdeen
  • March: Taking of Aberdeen under Urry's command
  • March: Join Baillie's army
  • April: Skirmish at Careston Ford
  • 2nd July: Battle of Alford
  • August: Balcarres commissioned to raise a new regiment in Scotland, but few men are found by Kilsyth
  • 15th August: Battle of Kilsyth - est. 300 men
  • September: Quartered at Kirkcaldy
  • November: Recruited back to strength, the regiment sent to England
  • December to January 1646: Quartered in Yorkshire


  • January to March: Siege of Newark
  • March: Quartered in Yorkshire


  • March: Regiment disbanded, except Alexander Strachan's troop that continues in service in the Scots New Model Army


  • May: Balcarres appointed Colonel of horse for Fife
  • September: Disbanded after the Treaty of Stirling


  • December: Balcarres commissioned colonel of horse for Fife


  • Re-raised in Fife
  • April: Quartered at Dunfermline
  • May: Assigned to Browne's 3rd Cavalry Brigade
  • June: Ordered from Fife to Stirling
  • 20th July: Battle of Inverkeithing left flank
  • November: Balcarres disbands the regiment, then surrenders to the English in December


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

In autumn 1643 four troops were to be raised in Fife, four troops raised in Mearns/Aberdeenshire and twenty men from Angus. However only six troops had been raised by February 1644. The regiment served with Leven's army at Marston Moor and the Siege of Newcastle, before returning to Scotland to fight Montrose. Initially all went well, 160 horse retook Aberdeen and the regiment successfully pursued Montrose's army besting them in a skirmish at Careston Ford. However the regiment was heavily defeated by Montrose at the Battles of Alford and Kilsyth, requiring until November to recruit back to strength. In 1646 they were sent back to England, serving at the Siege of Newark, and blamed for plundering in Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

In 1647 the regiment disbanded, apart from Archibald Strachan's troop that continued as part of the Scots New Model Army. Balcarres was commissioned colonel again in 1648 but nothing is known of his regiment's activities.

In 1651 the regiment was raised anew in Fife, serving at Inverkeithing.

Flags & Equipment

In February 1646 Balcarres requested 3 yards of cloth for each man and 200 pairs of pistols, as well as horses and arrears of pay.

Notable Officers

A list of the regiment's officers is shown in Stuart Reid's Scots Armies of the 17th Century 1. The Army of the Covenant 1639-1651 Partizan Press 1998 ISBN 094652550

Earl of Balcarres

Alexander Lindsay, 1st Earl of Balcarres was 2nd Lord Balcarres from the death of his father David, 1st Lord Balcarres in 1641 to 1651 when he was granted the Earldom by Charles II.

Alexander Strachan

Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment and led the New Model Army troop as Lt Col in 1647


  • February 1644: 6 troops
  • Approximately 300 at Kilsyth
  • January 1646: 488 officers and men in 9 troops
  • January 1646: 385 men at Newark
  • 1647: 1 troop
  • 1648: 120 men to be levied
  • 1651: September: 250 horse

See Also