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Sir Thomas Fairfax’s Regiment of Foot

Flag Illustration
Active1645 to 1660
CountryEngland
AllegianceParliamentarian
ConflictsFirst Civil War
Second Civil War
Third Civil War
1st Anglo-Dutch War
TypeFoot
Marines
ColonelSir Thomas Fairfax
Oliver Cromwell
William Goffe
Edmund Ludlow
Herbert Morley
Earl of Peterborough
Area Raised
Coat ColourRed
Flag ColourGreen?
Flag DesignUnknown
Field ArmiesNMA 1645-6
Cromwell 1648
Cromwell 1650-1

Later Oliver Cromwell’s, Colonels William Goffe, Herbert Morley, Edmund Ludlow and The Earl of Peterborough’s Regiment of Foot

The senior New Model Army regiment of foot, serving in the First, Second and Third Civil Wars and as Marines in the First Anglo-Dutch War

Service History

1645

1646

  • February: Battle of Torrington
  • May to June: Siege of Oxford
  • May to July: Siege of Wallingford

1647

  • May: Refuse to disband

1648

  • Join Lambert at Catterick
  • August: Battle of Preston
  • August: Battle of Winwick Pass
  • September: Taking of Berwick

1649

  • Quartered in London

1650

  • Regiment passes from Fairfax to Cromwell
  • July: Invade Scotland under Cromwell
  • September: Battle of Dunbar
  • September: Lt Col Goffe promoted to Colonel
  • September to December: Siege of Edinburgh Castle

1651

  • January: Attempt to take Burntisland (det)
  • September: Battle of Worcester

1652

  • June to 1654: Detachments employed on board the fleet as marines in the First Anglo-Dutch War

1653

  • December: Goffe clears out the House of Commons with two files of musketeers

1654

1655

  • August: Goffe made Major General of Bedford, Sussex and Southampton
  • The regiment referred to as His Highness’s therefore likely under Cromwell’s command again

1656

1657

  • Goffe re-appointed Colonel

1658

1659

  • April: The regiment supports Fleetwood
  • Goffe cashiered and the regiment given to Ludlow temporarily
  • July: Herbert Morley made Colonel as Ludlow takes up his post in Ireland
  • October: Morley removed after opposing Lambert, then re-appointed by Parliament

1660

  • August: Earl of Peterborough becomes Colonel on Monck’s orders
  • November: Disbanded at Reading

Notes

A history of the regiment is given in The Regimental History of Cromwell's Army by Sir Charles Firth and Godfrey Davies, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1940.

The regiment was formed from Manchester’s Regiment of Foot and probably Essex’s regiment of foot as the General’s Regiment of the New Model Army. Victorious at Naseby, they particularly distinguished themselves in breaking the last of the Royalist foot. They went on to fight in the Western campaign and served at the sieges of Oxford and Wallingford.

At the start of the Second Civil War the regiment were sent North by Fairfax, joining Lambert, then Cromwell, for the Preston Campaign. In 1650, with Fairfax’s resignation, the regiment passed to Cromwell, fighting with distinction at Dunbar. Goffe was promoted to Colonel in place of Cromwell and led the regiment until 1655, when it probably reverted back to Cromwell. In the meantime detachments had served as marines with the fleet during the First Anglo-Dutch War.

By 1658 Goffe was re-appointed Colonel, being replaced successively by Ludlow, Morley and the Earl of Peterborough during the Restoration crisis. The regiment were finally disbanded in November 1660 at Reading.

Coats, Flags and Equipment

Red coats. On the 23rd of April 1645 Fairfax’s regiment were provided with funds to buy 10 new colours. The colour of the flags was not noted, though blue or green have been proposed. There is a quote from a contemporary news-sheet Sir Thomas Fairfaxes colours are blew (Perfect Passages April 1645), but this could equally well refer to Fairfax’s regiment of horse or his favoured sash or ribbon colour for the army. Blue was also the colour associated with Tom Fairfax during the First Civil War, referred to by his uncle Charles. In May 1647 Levellers from the regiment called themselves souldiers of the Greene regiment of foot. This very probably refers to the colour of their flags.

Notable Officers

Sir Thomas Fairfax

Oliver Cromwell

Colonel William Goffe

Colonel Edmund Ludlow

Colonel Herbert Morley

Earl of Peterborough

Strength

  • 1645: Established at 1000 men in ten companies (probably not up to strength)
  • 1656: Ordered to be recruited up to 1200 men

See Also

Fairfax's Regiment is re-enacted by Sir Thomas Fairfax's Regiment of Foote of the Sealed Knot.