Sir Jacob Astley’s Regiment of Horse

Active1643 to 1644
ConflictsFirst Civil War
ColonelSir Jacob Astley
Area RaisedBerkshire
Flag ColourUnknown
Flag DesignUnknown
Field ArmiesOxford?

Royalist horse belonging to Sir Jacob Astley, Sergeant Major General of the Oxford Army

Service History


  • April: Besieged at Reading


  • May: In garrison at Greenland House?
  • May: Skirmish at Henley
  • May: Lt Col Blount's men to be withdrawn from Greenland House
  • June: Lt Col Blount killed in a hurly burly at Oxford


A single troop under Whitehead was present at the siege of Reading in April 1643. Possibly originally raised by Colonel Fielding and handed over to Sir Jacob Astley after Fielding’s dismissal, as Astley was not present at the siege.



Notable Officers

Jacob, Lord Astley

Sir Jacob Astley (1579-1652) was a highly-experienced professional soldier who served as Sergeant-Major General of the infantry of the Oxford Army during the First Civil War. Biographies can be found online at British Civil Wars, Wikipedia and Wikisource DNB . He served as a soldier from the age of 18 beginning with an expedition to the Azores under Sir Walter Raleigh and the Second Earl of Essex, then on the continent for Prince Maurice of Nassau, the ‘Winter King’ of Bohemia (brother in law to King Charles I and father of Prince Rupert), Christian IV of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus and is said to have tutored Prince Rupert.

He was appointed Sergeant Major General (commander of the infantry) and raised regiments of foot for both Bishops’ Wars. In the First Civil War he again led the King’s Infantry, from Edgehill where he prayed “O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me.” and promptly followed with the order “March on, boys!” to the defeat of the ‘Old Foot’ at Naseby. He was created 1st Baron Reading in November 1644. Clarendon noted that he contributed little to the Royalist Councils, possibly due to deafness, but remarking on his appointment as Sgt Maj General though him ”a man as fit for that office as Christendom yielded”.

After Naseby, Astley was sent to Wales and the Marches, replacing the unpopular Charles Gerard. In September 1645 his son Sir Bernard Astley, a brigadier of the Oxford Army, was mortally wounded at Bristol. By March 1646 Astley had somehow managed to raise an army of 3000 out of remnants of regiments, reformados and garrison troops. In the final battle of the First Civil War he was defeated at Stow-on-the-Wold by Brereton and Morgan. Sitting down on a discarded drum he told his captors “You have now done your work and may go to play, unless you will fall out among yourselves”. After a short imprisonment at Warwick Castle he retired to Kent, taking no part in the Second or Third Civil Wars.

Captain Francis Whitehead

Captain Whitehead led the troop and served as Scoutmaster General at the siege of Reading.

Officer Lists

From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user 1642

  • Colonel Sir Jacob Astley
  • Lieutenant Colonel Sir Charles Blount (1) + (3)
  • Captain Peter Langston (3)
  • Captain Francis Whitehead I.O. Berks.
  • Lieutenant Desnie (2) to Blount

Contemporary References

From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user 1642

SP16.501.129 The Earl of Forth's letter to Sir Edward Nicholas 15.5.1644 mentions that Sir Charles Blunt was Deputy Governor to Colonel Stephen Hawkins and that he and his commanded men were being withdrawn from the Garrison.

(1) Add.Mss.18981 f.3 The humble remonstrance of Captain John Balls 28.12.1643. Commissioned Captain in Col Bards Regiment of Horse and that he raised 34 horse and 48 horsemen and supplied 12 carbines and 12 cases of pistols. The horses were stolen by Lieutenant Colonel Sir Charles Blount, Lieutenant Colonel to Sir Jacob Astley.

E.34.9 1644 at Old Windsor Copy letter.

(2) E.47.19 Regarding Mercurius Aulicus ‘…he omitted, even on his death bed, to tell you not onely of the truth of Lime, but of Wickham, where my Lord Generals forces fell upon the Enemy that issued out of Greenland House, then at Henlie, settling the Excise, and making a Magazeen of Corne, which was performed by a party of Commissary General Beares Regiment, Commanded by Major Bosa, the tenth of May, where they took Sir Roger Knowles of Grase, Mr Gregorie, and one of his Majesties servants being sent from the High Commissioners at Oxford for the Excise monies, Lieutenant Dennie, Lieutenant to Sir Charles Blunt, a Papist, another of his Majesties servants to settle the Protestant Religion, above 15 slain, and twelve troopers and their horses taken, besides four thousand quarters of graine, intended to bee conveyed to Oxford; amongst divers papers taken concerning the excise, this Warrant was one, viz.’ ‘Gentlemen, His Majesty having made us (whose names are hereunto subscribed) his Commissioners for Excise, for the Counties of Oxon, Berks, etc, and we having occasion to make use of your prescence at Oxon, do desire you upon receipt hereof, to make your speedy appearance to us at the Schooles in Oxon; and thus with our loves to you, we rest Your loving friends Edward Alford. A deserter of the Parliament whereof he was a member. George Strode. A Kentish malignant. John Dutton. Of a crooked body and condition. John Fettiplace. Another deserter of the Parliament. John Wandesford. A Strafordian. To Mr John Gregory of Wallingford and Mr John Williams of Woodstock Oxon. The 27. Aprill 1644.

(3) E.50.32 The Spie 6-13.6.1644 ‘That Arch-Papist Sir Charles Blunt, Commander in Chief in the Garrison in Greenland House, was slain lately by one of his own Captains named Peter Langston, who married a niece of Carters, Town clerk in Oxford. The deed (as I am informed) was done in Oxford, where this Sir Charls Blunt coming to pass one of the Courts of Guard at an unseasonable time of night, the Sentinell bade him stand, and he giving no answer, was denyed entrance: But he, instead of satisfying the fellow who he was, in a rage asked him whether he knew him or not and without any more ado, cudgelled him. Whereupon a hurly burly arising, and Langston having by accident the command there that night, discharged a pistoll at him, with full execution, notwithstanding that he knew who he was.’

Oxford St Mary the Virgin burial Register

2nd June Sir Charles Blunt buried


See Also