College of Justice Troop of Horse

Active1640 to 1641
1644 to 1647
ConflictsSecond Bishops' War
First Civil War
Second Civil War
CaptainSir Thomas Hope
John Cockburn
Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie
Area RaisedEdinburgh
Flag Colour
Flag Design
Field ArmiesLeslie 1640-41
Callendar 1644
Leven 1646

Known as the Levied Troop or College of Justice Troop, they were commanded by Sir Thomas Hope, Captain John Cockburn, then Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie, the Lord Register

Covenanter Lifeguard Troop of Horse playing a distinguished part in the Second Bishops' War then serving at the siege of Newcastle in the First Civil War

Service History


  • Leslie's Lifeguard (College of Justice Troop) raised in Edinburgh
  • Join the army at Duns
  • August: Cross the Tweed
  • August: Battle of Newburn Ford
  • August to August 1641: Occupy Newcastle


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


  • Spring: Raised anew in Edinburgh
  • June: Invade England in Callendar's force
  • July to September: Siege of Newcastle
  • September: Return to Scotland



  • January to May: Siege of Newark


  • February: Return to Scotland and disband


  • June: The College of Justice to raise a regiment of horse on behalf of the Engagers
  • September: Likely disbanded after the Treaty of Stirling


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

The Lifeguard troop were also known as the College of Justice Horse, having been raised by and from the lawyers of Edinburgh. They played a distinguished part in Leslie's victory in 1640, being first to cross Newburn Ford and attack the English earthworks. In October 1640 at Newcastle the Ministers accused the Lifeguards of visiting bawdy houses where they spoyled their bodies. Leven raised another Lifeguard troop in 1642, that served in Ireland before returning to Scotland and becoming the basis of the Earl of Leven’s Regiment of Horse.

The College of Justice troop was raised again in 1644, serving with Callendar in England. Their whereabouts and activities in 1645 are not known, but by 1646 the troop had joined Leven at Newark.

In 1648 the College of Justice again raised a unit of horse under Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie, though nothing is known of activities apart from its chaplain receiving pay.

Flags & Equipment

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

Sir Thomas Hope of Kerse

John Cockburn

Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie

Lord Register


  • 1640: Lifeguard estimated at 300 men by an English source
  • 1640: Lifeguard estimated at 160 men by a Scottish source
  • August 1640: Lifeguard mustered 104 officers and men
  • September 1640: Lifeguard mustered 88 officers and men plus 11 servants
  • 1644: A single troop
  • January 1646: 69 officers & men
  • June 1646: 5 officers & 62 troopers

See Also