Colonel Denzil Holles’ Regiment of Foot

ConflictsFirst Civil War
ColonelDenzil Holles
Area RaisedLondon
Coat ColourRed lined in white
Flag Colour
Flag Design
Field ArmiesEssex 1642

Parliamentarian regiment of foot that served with the Earl of Essex’s army in 1642 until destroyed at Brentford

Service History


  • 23rd August: Battle of Southam
  • 23rd October: Battle of Edgehill - Part of Colonel Thomas Ballard's Brigade (second line). 1,100 men app
  • 12th November: Battle of Brentford - 500 men app


Initially consisted of six companies of some 1,200 men exclusive of officers recruited predominantly from London apprentices. By 1 October 1642 the regiment consisted of 1,130 men exclusive of officers in ten companies. The regiment maintained a reputation for being both godly and ill-disciplined. 400 Musketeers from Holles' regiment were interlaced with Ramsey’s squadrons at Edgehill.

The regiment suffered heavy losses at Brentford alongside Lord Brooke’s Regiment of Foot, following which the Royalists cynically called them butcher and dyers, probably referring to Holles' red coats and Brookes' purple coats. The contemporary source for this quote is Nehemiah Wharton 1); Nehemiah's letters were addressed to his former master and friend George Willingham, a merchant at the Golden Anchor, St Swithin's Lane, which were 'discovered' in the State Papers Office by Sir Henry Ellis and reported to the Society of Antiquaries. It would appear that Nehemiah was referring to the numbers of apprentices that were present in the Regiments rather than their coat colours. Disbanded soon after, some of the survivors were used to recruit Sergeant Major General Philip Skippon’s Regiment of Foot, while the remainder were sent into Sussex and formed the basis of Colonel Herbert Morley’s Regiment of Foot.

Coats, Flags and Equipment

Issued red coats in September 1642 2).

Notable Officers

Colonel Denzil Holles MP

Officer List

  • Colonel Denzil Holles
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Billingsley (Cashiered August 1642)
  • Lieutenant Colonel James Quarles (Killed at Brentford)
  • Sergeant-Major Timothy(?)Neale
  • Captain Alan Povey
  • Captain Richard Lacey (Killed at Brentford)
  • Captain George Hurlock
  • Captain John Francis
  • Captain William Bennett (Killed at Brentford)
  • Captain William Burles
  • Captain Richard Beaton
  • Captain-Lieutenant Richard Parker


  • 1200 in 6 companies originally
  • October 1642: 1130 in 10 companies

See Also

1) Letters From A Subaltern Officer of the Earl of Essex's Army, written in the Summer and Autumn of 1642; detailing the early movements of that portion of the Parliament Forces which was formed by the Volunteers of the Metropolis; and their further movements when amalgamated with the rest of the Earl of Essex's Troops, Sir Henry Ellis 1854, Archaeologia Volume 35 Issue 21854
2) ECW Flags and Colours 1: English Foot, Stuart Peachey & Les Prince 1990, Partizan Press ISBN:0946525846