The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Horse

Flag Illustration1)
ConflictsFirst Civil War
ColonelKing Charles I
Area RaisedYorkshire
Flag ColourRed
Flag DesignKnown
Field ArmiesOxford 1642-1646

The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Horse, serving with the Oxford Army throughout the First Civil War

Service History


  • May: Raised in Yorkshire
  • July: First Siege of Hull
  • August: Repulsed from Coventry
  • October: Battle of Edgehill
  • December: Quartered at Oxford


  • August to September: Siege of Gloucester
  • September: First Battle of Newbury


  • June: Battle of Cropredy Bridge
  • August: Battle of Lostwithiel
  • October: Second Battle of Newbury
  • November: Relief of Donnington Castle


  • March: Skirmish at Kidlington
  • May: Storm of Leicester
  • June: Battle of Naseby
  • August: Storm of Huntingdon
  • September: Battle of Rowton Heath Lord Bernard Stewart killed
  • November to May 1646: Besieged at Newark


  • May: Surrender of Newark
  • May to June: Besieged & surrender at Oxford (Perhaps det. under Capt Wilsford?)


Flags & Equipment

The cornet illustrated above was taken by the Earl of Essex's army sometime between 1642 and 1644. It is not definitely identified as one of the King's Lifeguard's cornets, but this appears probable based on its extra wide gold fringing, crown and royal cypher.

According to Blount: The coronet-devise of His Majesties own troop or Life-guard of horse was a Lyon Passant, Crowned Or, with DIEU ET MON DROIT for motto2)

By 1643 the Lifeguard were being issued with harquebusier equipment3) though this does not necessarily preclude individuals wearing cuirassier armour.

Notable Officers

King Charles I

Lord Bernard Stewart

Sir William Killigrew

Sir Edward Brett

Captain Edward Brett commanded a troop of The Queen’s Regiment of Horse that escorted the Queen to Exeter then was attached to the King's Lifeguard during the Lostwithiel campaign of 1644. Brett was knighted by Charles I on the field of battle and promoted to Major. It appears that The King's Lifeguard was reorganised at this time into the King's troop and the Queen's troop.

Lt Col Gordon

Led the Earl of Lichfield's troop in August 1645

William Lawes

William Lawes Renowned composer and musician, Lawes fell at Rowton Heath. Posthumously given the title “Father of Musick” by the King, a special day of mourning was held for him.

Officer Lists


From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user 1642

The King's Lifeguard of horse
  • Captain Sir William Killigrew (1)
  • Captain Lord Bernard Stewart (2)
  • Captain Edward Wilsford (3)
  • Captain Lieutenant Troilus Turberville (killed 1645)
  • Cornet Sir Henry Moody, the King's cornet 4)
  • Quartermaster Thomas Coffin, to Sir William Killigrew's troop (1)
  • Corporal Edward Umfrevile (d. July 1643 at Oxford) (4)

August 1645

The Lifeguard of Horse at Doncaster, 19th August 16455), commanded by Lord Bernard Stuart, Earl of Lichfield

  • The King's Troop, commanded by Lord Bernard Stuart, Earl of Lichfield
  • The Queen's Troop, commanded by Sir Edward Brett, Regimental Major
  • The Earl of Lichfield's Troop, commanded by Lt Colonel Gordon
  • Sir Thomas Glemham's troop, commanded by Sir Henry Stradling

September 1645

The King's Lifeguard of Horse 'about 200' strong commanded by Lord Bernard Stuart, Earl of Lichfield

  • The King's Troop, commanded by Lord Bernard Stuart, Earl of Lichfield
  • The Queen's Troop, comanded by Sir Edward Brett, Regimental Major
  • The Earl of Lichfield's Troop, commanded by Lt. Col. Gordon
  • Sir Henry Stradling's Troop

Contemporary References

From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user 1642

Quartermaster Killigrew

(1) Harl. Mss. 6852 f. 228 To our trusty John Ashburnham

Our will and pleasure is that you pay unto Thomas Coffin, Quartermaster to Sir William Killigrew's Troop two months pay being part of seven months which is due unto him for his said service as Quartermaster for which doeing this shall be your warrant.

Given at our Court at Oxford 15.11.1643

Capt Lord Bernard Stewart

(2) Harl. MSS.6802 f.44 My notes. To John Ashburnham Right Trusty etc

Pay to Lord Bernard Stewart for himself & our Troop 6 March to 29 March 4 weeks pay 4.4.1644

Capt Wilsford's Petition

(3) SP29.12.92 The humble petition of Edward Wilsford

Sheweth that your petitioner after 20 weekes hard imprisonment made an escape with hazard of his life (blurred) raised a Troope of horse at his own charge for the service of his late Majestie (blurred) and Capt. of one of his Majesties troope of horse guard until the surrender of Oxford. And hath ever since upon all occasions to serve your sacred Majestie for which and his undaunted fidelitie to your Majestie hee hath been a constant sufferer in his Estate and person by frequent imprisonment.

SP23.193.386 Extract The humble petition of Edward Wilsford Sheweth

that your petitioner left his dwelling in Kent and went to Oxford, and others of the Kings Garrisons. That he had a command in the Kings Army against those forces raysed by the Parliament. That he was in Oxford at the surrender thereof to his Excellencie Sir Thomas Fairfaxe Generall of the forces raysed by the Parliament. That the petitioner hath a small estate in Fee Simple lyeing in Flamborough in Yorkshire of the yearly value of 200 li. as it hath been formerly lett; but now sett at 100li p anno by the sequestrators.

Rec'd 27 November 1646

Corporal Umfreville's Will

(4) PROB 10/639/57 P8110026

The last will and tst noncupative or by word of mouth of Edward Umfrevile Esq. one of his Majesties Sargeant at Armes and corporall of his Troope of Horse

Memorandum, that upon the seventeenth day of July Anno Dom. 1643 the said Edward Umfrevile lodging in the house of George Hillyard within the Parish of St. Peter in the Citty of Oxon. Hee being in his lodging Chamber being sick of the sicknesse whereof he dyed but in perfect sense, memory and understanding with intent to declare his last will and testament and to dispose of his estate hee did in the presence of Richard Byshopp Esq. and Thomas Bowen Gent. witnesses

Capt Heron's petition

SP23.92.427 To the honourable the Commissioners sitting at Goldsmiths Hall. The humble petition of Henry Heron Esq.

Sheweth that at the beginning of these warrs he was one of the sewers to ye Queene and about three monethes after her going into Holland had a passe from ye Committee of safetie to go to his Majestie where he rodd in his Troope for about four monthes, and after became Capt. of a Troope of Horse in the Regiment of Colonell Henry Percie which command he continued for about a yeare and then laid it down and till November last lived as a private Gent. in Newark Oxford and Bath, about which time he obtained Colonell Rosseters pass and protection and ever since hath lived at his fathers house in the County of Lincolne…

received the 27th March 1647


  • October 1642: 2 troops at Edgehill
  • May 1645: 2 troops with 400 men at Leicester6)
  • August 1645: 4 troops with 300 men at Doncaster7)
  • September 1645: 4 troops with about 200 men at Chester8)

See Also

1) Flag images by kind permission of Wargames Designs
2) The Art of making Devises 2nd Ed, Thomas Blount, London, 1655.
3) mentioned in Royalist Ordnance Papers
4) E20.5
5) , 6) , 7) British Library Harleian Ms 911
8) British Library Harleian Ms 944