Earl of Leven’s Regiment of Horse

Flag Illustration 11)
Active1640 to 1641
1642 to 1648
1649 to 1651
ConflictsSecond Bishops' War
Irish Confederate War
First Civil War
Second Civil War
Third Civil War
ColonelEarl of Leven
Lord Balgonie
Duke of Hamilton
Sir Edward Massey
Area RaisedVarious
Flag ColourBlue (1648)
Flag DesignCrown & motto
Field ArmiesLeslie 1640-41
Monro 1642-3
Leven 1643-6
Hamilton 1648
Leslie 1650
Charles 1651

Later, the Duke of Hamilton's Horse Guard then Sir Edward Massey's Regiment of horse

Covenanter Regiment of Horse raised for the Bishops' Wars then for service in England, forming part of Leven’s army then serving in the Scots New Model Army, Hamilton's Engager army and re-raised prior to Dunbar, given to Massey afterwards

Service History


  • Leslie's regiment raised in Fife
  • Join the army at Duns
  • August to August 1641: Occupy Newcastle


  • August: Return to Scotland and disbanded after the Treaty of London


  • Two troops raised anew, Leven's Lifeguard and Sir Robert Adair's
  • Sent to Ireland
  • July: Standoff at Charlemont


  • Serving in Ulster
  • May: Skirmish at Tanderagee?
  • May: Battle of Loughgall?
  • Campaigning with Monro
  • November: Additional troops raised in Selkirk, Peebles and Roxburgh
  • December: Return from Ireland


  • January: Enter England
  • February: Battle of Corbridge
  • February: Skirmish at Ovingham
  • March: Skirmish at Chester le Street
  • April to July: Siege of York
  • 2nd July: Battle of Marston Moor
  • July: Siege of York


  • July to September: Siege of Hereford
  • 13th September: Battle of Philiphaugh - ~550 men
  • Remain in Scotland until December
  • December to May 1646: Siege of Newark



  • February: Disbanded, apart from Leven's Lifeguard troop that continues as part of the Scots New Model Army


  • March: Leven opposes the Engagement
  • May: Hamilton takes over Leven's Lifeguard, adding David Leslie’s Lifeguard and raising a new troop in Lanarkshire
  • July: Preston campaign, Hamilton's Lifeguard escorts the baggage train
  • August 17th: Battle of Preston, fighting north of the Ribble
  • August 19th: Battle of Winwick Pass
  • August: Ride from Warrington via Chester, Malpas, Market Drayton and Stone to Uttoxeter where they surrender and Hamilton is captured


  • February: Leven commissioned to raise the unit anew in Haddington and Berwickshire
  • July: Leven's troop ordered to Angus, Ormiston's in Berwickshire & Tweeddale


  • April: Troopers at Haddington and Peebles prosecuted for blasphemy and other crimes including scandalous carriage
  • June: Leven's troop ordered to Midlothian, other 2 troops to East Lothian
  • September: Battle of Dunbar - 5 troops?
  • Routmaster Swinton joins the Western Association, then the English
  • December: Massey replaces Leven as Colonel and Kennedy of Kirkhill's troop is added to the regiment


  • January: Troopers of Leven's old troop mutiny, flinging away their cornet
  • January: Sir Robert Adair of Kinhilt's Regiment of Horse and Lt Andrew Ker's troop reduced into Massey's regiment
  • Quartered in Fife
  • May: Assigned to Massey's 5th Cavalry Brigade
  • June: Ordered from Fife to 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

Leven's regiment eventually included two troops of Life Guards. The first was raised for service in Ulster, returning to join the regiment at the end of 1643, the second was raised in Scotland in December 1643 and led by Lt Col Bannatyne. Either Lifeguard troop might have been equipped with cuirassier armour. In the First Civil War the regiment were referred to as being led by Lord Balgonie.

Leven's troop continued into the Scots New Model Army and in 1648 was given to the Duke of Hamilton by the Engagers. Leven raised a new regiment in 1649 which passed to Massey's command in December 1650, fighting on the Worcester campaign. Likely it absorbed English Royalist volunteers.

Flags & Equipment

At Preston under Hamilton, a blue cornet from the regiment was captured with a gold fringe, gold crown and motto DATE . CAESARI, ie render unto Caesar (Illustration 1). Needless to say this design was unlikely to have been carried by the regiment in the Army of the Solemn League and Covenant under Leven.

One squadron of the regiment was armed with lances and one with pistols at Marston Moor.

In 1649 Leven's troop included a kettledrummer.

Notable Officers

Lists of the regiment's officers are shown in Stuart Reid's Scots Armies of the 17th Century 1. The Army of the Covenant 1639-1651 Partizan Press 1998 ISBN 094652550 and in Stuart Reid's Scots Armies of the 17th Century 2: Scots Colours Partizan Press 1988 ISBN 094652550 1. A list of the regiment's officers under Massey is shown in Officers and Regiments of the Royalist Army by Stuart Reid (Partizan Press).

Earl of Leven

James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton

James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton, executed in March 1649.

Sir Edward Massey

Lord Balgonie

Leven's son, often referred to as commanding the unit despite not appearing to have been an officer of the regiment.

James Ballantyne

Led Leven's Lifeguard as a Major from 1642 and led the regiment at Corbridge

Lieutenant Elliot

Took Colonel Robert Brandling prisoner at Corbridge.


  • 1642: 2 troops
  • July 1642: Leven's Lifeguard troop musters 93 officers & men
  • September 1643: Leven's (Ulster) Lifeguard troop musters 113 officers & men with 11 sick
  • January 1646: 535 troopers
  • January 1646: Leven's (Bannatyne's) Lifeguard troop musters 102 horse
  • 1647: 1 troop of 80, reduced to 75
  • 1648: 2 troops with a nominal strength of 150 horse
  • 1648: Increased to 3 troops by recruiting in Lanarkshire
  • February 1649: Berwickshire and Haddington ordered to levy 200 men each
  • July 1649: Leven's troop of 60, Laird of Ormiston 60, Rm Swinton (ygr) 63
  • August 1649: 133 more levies ordered (unlikely to have occurred)
  • July 1650: East Lothian and Berwickshire ordered to levy 2 troops of 67 men each for the regiment, Hadington to find 40 men
  • 1650: 5 troops?
  • February 1651: planned to be recruited up to 800 troopers

See Also

1) Original artwork by Tony Barton, shown by kind permission of Tony Barton and Charles Kightly. Previously published in Military Modelling magazine