Sir Nicholas Crispe’s Regiment of Horse

Flag Illustration 11)
Flag Illustration 22)
Flag Illustration 33)
Active1643 to 1646
ConflictsFirst Civil War
ColonelSir Nicholas Crispe
Area RaisedSouth & South East
Flag ColourWhite
Flag DesignSee below
Field ArmiesOxford 1643-4
Goring 1645
Hopton 1646

Royalist regiment of horse of the Oxford Army that suffered heavy losses at Cirencester in 1643

Service History


  • July: Rawdon's commission
  • July: Storm of Bristol
  • September: Stormed at Cirencester
  • September: First Battle of Newbury


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


  • July: Battle of Langport


  • February: Battle of Torrington
  • March: Surrender at Truro


Several of the regiment's officers originated in London and the South-East. Crispe himself remained in London in 1642 but joined the King at Oxford in early 1643 after coming under suspicion and fleeing London.

Flags & Equipment

Crispe's regiment lost a number of cornets with white fields and black and white fringes to Essex's army at Cirencester.

Colour known of Sargeant Major Christopher Wormsley. Williams MS 131 Colour known of another officer Williams MS 132 Colour known of another officer Williams MS 133

According to Blount: Major Wormley depainted Religion sitting in an Angelicall posture on the stump of a tree, and a broken Crosse sait by, with this motto, MELIORAM SPERO4). Illustration 1 depicts Wormsely's cornet, the motto translates as 'I hope for better'.

Illustration 2 depicts Captain Lumby's cornet, probably John Luntly, formerly a brewer of Bankside London, who later became Lt Col. This cornet was also captured at Cirencester. The motto translates as 'For the King and the known laws of England'5)

A white cornet showing a die and the motto Utcunque Quadratus (Depicted in Illustration 3) is almost certainly that of a Captain in Sir Nicholas Crispe's Regiment as the three white colours with black and white fringing are shown in consecutive folios in the Williams ms.

After the disaster at Cirencester they are recorded in a muster in April 1644 as being 4 Troops but 1 Colour. Perhaps they abided by the principal that Colours could not be flown by a Troop or Company that had lost their Colours until they had captured a Colour from the enemy.

Notable Officers

Sir Nicholas Crispe

Officer Lists

From Stuart Reid6) 7)

  • Colonel Sir Nicholas Crispe
  • Lieutenant Colonel John Luntley Ment. I.O.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Rawdon (1)
  • Sargeant Major Christopher Wormsley (killed at Cirencester and his cornet captured)
  • Sargeant Major Slingsby Ment. I.O.
  • Captain John Capell I.O. Middlesex
  • Captain Colwell (2)
  • Captain Robert Bradshaw I.O. Middlesex
  • Captain William Bushel Ment. I.O.
  • Captain Nicholas Grigges I.O. Middlesex
  • Captain Gregory Ment. I.O.
  • Captain Richard Hackett (2) + Ment. I.O.
  • Captain John Luntley (2)
  • Captain Thomas Rawdon (1)
  • Captain Rut (2)
  • Colonel Samuel Sandys (5)
  • Captain Warren (2)
  • Lieutenant John Butcher
  • Lieutenant Thomas Flower I.O. Surrey to Lt. Col. Luntley
  • Lieutenant Thomas Turner I.O. L + W
  • Lieutenant Thomas Wicks I.O. L + W to Capt. Bushel
  • Cornet James Cobb I.O. L + W to Lt.Col. Luntley
  • Cornet Philip Cox I.O. Somerset to Capt. Bradshaw
  • Cornet Thomas Freebody (3) to Capt. Luntley
  • Cornet John Joyliffe I.O. Dorset to Capt. Gregory
  • Cornet John Laight I.O. Gloucester to Sgt. Maj. Slingsby
  • Cornet Philip More I.O. Somerset
  • Cornet Samuel Tilson I.O. Lincoln to Capt. Hackett
  • Cornet Theophilius Williy/s I.O. Cornwall to Lt. Col. Rawdon
  • Quartermaster Edward Briggstock I.O. Surrey to Lt. Col. Luntley
  • Quartermaster Giles Harding I.O. Somerset

Contemporary References

From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user '1642'

Lt Col. Luntley

SP23.188.503 The humble peticion of John Luntley of Southwarke in the County of Surrey gent. Sheweth that heretofore he left his one habitacion, tooke up Armes for the King for which he became sequestred. That he was in Oxford during the siege and at the surrender thereof to the power of the Parliament, and is to have the benefit of the Articles agreed upon for the rendicion thereof. His humble desire is that he may be admitted to a reasonable composicion for his delinquency.

John Luntley

Rec'd 9 September 1646 and then took ye Negative Oath presented with this peticion…

His 1660 Petition to King Charles II

SP29.9.66 PB170458


To the Kings most excellent Majestie

The humble peticion of John Luntley, Lieutenant Colonell to Sir Nicholas Crispe his Regiment of Horse in the Brigade of the right honourable the Earl of Cleaveland.

Humbly Sheweth

That your peticioner being appointed one of the Commissioners of Array for the City of London in the yeare 1643 and involved in the business wherein Mr Tomkins & Challoner suffered death,but by devine providence did escape to Oxford and with the assistance of Sir Nicholas Crispe did raise a Troope of Horse for his late Majesties service of ever blessed memory. Wherein your peticioner did faithfully serve and continue until the end of the Warr…

Attachd is a note by Sir Nicholas Crispe confirming the above.


E.70.15 Crispe to be Court Martialled for killing Sir James Enyon in a duell over Cirencester debacle. The duel was fought at Rous Lench September 1643 possibly over an alleged stolen horse.

Sir Nicholas Crispe was ordered to be held in custody by order of the House of Commons 18th January 1642/3 after letters were intercepted from Mr Spencer, (probably Richard, later Colonel of Horse, of Orpington, Kent) to Sir Edward Nicholas enclosing a note of money owed to Sir Nicholas for secret service duties.

Interestingly, John Vicars Jehovah Jireh was dedicated to Sir Nicholas, who had fled the Capital and raised his Regiment of Horse in the Royal cause. The book covered the war up until October 1643, so it is surprising that such a fervent supporter of the Parliament allowed the dedication to remain.

Thomas Rawdon

(1) Hertfordshire Record Office.79959X

Charles Rex Charles by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland defender of the faith to our trusty and wellbeloved Thomas Rawdon, greeting. We doe hereby constitute and appoint you to be Captain of one troop of horse under the regiment of our trustie and wellbeloved Sir Nicholas Crispe, Knight which troop by virtue of this our commission you are forthwith to imprest certaine of such as will willingly and voluntarily serve us for our pay, and for the defence of our Royal person and posterity the true reformed Protestant religion, the laws of the land, the liberty and propriety of the subject and just privelege of Parliament to bring them to our Royal standard and raise them to be duly experienced in arms commanding all inferior officers and soldiers of your said troop, you to obey as your Captain according. 10th July 1643 Oxford.

In addition there is a Commission dated 25.10.1643 as Lieutenant Colonel to Sir Nicholas Crispes Regiment of Horse from Prince Rupert.

He played down his rank in his petition at Goldsmiths Hall;

SP23.182.747 Extract. The humble petition of Thomas Rawdon gent. Sheweth that your petitioner was about two yeares and a halfe since by some of his acquaintance drawne (to his now great griefe) to take upp Armes for his Majesty as Capt. of a Troope of horse.But findinge the carriage of things not answerable to what was pretended laid down his armes and hath for about a yeare and a halfe last past lived privatelie and came to London the 23th of Februarie 1645(6) to submit to the Parliament.

Thomas Rawdon.

29th March.

Taken at Cirencester

(2) E.68.3 All taken at Cirencester of Sir Nicholas Crispes regiment as well as Sir Marmaduke Rawdons son.

  • Colwell that lived behind the exchange
  • Hacket that was once a London Captain and lived in Thames Street
  • Warren a sugar baker in Walbrook
  • little Rut the Inne keeper at the Three Cups in Bread Street
  • Luntley Brewer on the Bankside
  • and Captain Marmaduke Roydons son.
Cornet Freebody

(3) SP29.9.143 The humble petition of Thomas Freebody Gent. That your petitioner to manifest his loyalty & good affection to his Majestys father of blessed memory joyned himselfe with Tomkins and Challenor. Escaped to Oxford & served under Captain Luntley as Cornet in Sir Nicholas Crispes Regiment untill taken prisoner at Cirencester, and upon his going from London all that he had in money and goods to ye value of 1500li was seized. That your petitioner making his escape afterwards from ye Parliament Army got to Oxford, was Lieutenant under ye Lord Heath in the Regiment of Scholars commanded by the Earle of Dover and soe continued until ye surrender at Oxon and the Articles then returned to London and was immediately imprisoned. The Luntley and Freebody families may have longstanding connections as a John Freebody leased some Tenements on Bankside, London from John Luntley back in 1623.

Crispe's and Tooker

The following warrants and letters appear to link Lt. Col. Tooker to Sir Nicholas Crispes Regiment of Horse.

‘The Enemy is very busie in Cornwall and the West of Devon, raising men and mony with fire and sword, as you may see by this Warrant following, sent by Lieutenant Collonel Tooke, by the direction of the Lord Wentworth Generall pro tempore’

‘For the Constable of Woolsworthy, Thelmiga, East Worlington, West Worlington, Chellon, Chalmeley, and Kingsnington, from one to the other with speede,

I sent two coppies of an order to you from my Generall, for the raising of a months contribution for the present necessity of the Army, and therewith a Warrant to you for your discharging of your warrant to the petty Constables Of the Hundred, for the present raising of the same, but I find you are ill affected to his Majesties service, and done nothing in it, whereby the service is much hindred; these are to let you understand, if so be your money be not raised by Tuesday next, the fault will appeare to be the head Constables of the Hundred, and do resolve to leave no house standing in any Parish, within the hundred that refuseth to fulfill any Generalls order, and do hereby require you and the rest of the petty Constables of the hundred, to meet me at Chulmley on Tuesday next by twelve of the clock that day, and bring me what monies they have received and give me the returnes, that the good may not suffer with the bad no longer time I will not give them. Of this you must not faile to give present notice to all the Constables of the hundred, that they may not pleade any excuse, at their perill.

Cha Tooke. Col.’ Chulmley the 27. of December 1645

‘Lieutenant Colonel Took vapours still with his warrants in the West, as you may see by that which followeth:

Constable Moore, By God I have a party in our Parish for effecting of my businesse, therefore I pray you let me have the share belonging to me for the rates of the 3 horses mentioned in the warrant, I could have put an horse price upon your Parish only, if I would; Constable you are more ? then you deserve to bee, I delivered 2 horses, a bay and gray to your man for your sake, that my party tooke, I will have men or cattle to satisfie before I ever return to my Quarters.

Cha. Tooke Col.’

Constable Moore received another letter (more mild then the former) dated the day following, but not from the furious Colonel.

‘To my loving Friend Cunstable Moore in Chymley these present. Sir, My love remembered unto you, and to Captain Sparr, and Mr. Batson: and I thanke you for your love: I was abroad with the rest of the Oficers in Constable Webbs devision, and found that the money was received at every house; and some sent to your house, and there is 1. 15 shillings in the returnes that the Constables did promise to make good, so we would desire you to send for Webber, and send us our money by this bearer; and we shall remaine yours as you use us.’ John Capel Nicklas Grygor Exborne the 29 Day of December 1645.

Col Sandys commission for a troop

(5) HMC Portland Mss Vol.II

King Charles 1 to Colonel Sandys. July 3rd 1643. Warrant to raise a Troop of Horse to form part of Sir Nicholas Crispes Regiment


  • March 1644: 4 troops at Cheriton
  • April 1644: 4 troops with but one colour

See Also

1) , 2) , 3) Original artwork by Tony Barton, shown by kind permission of Tony Barton and Charles Kightly. Previously published in Military Modelling magazine
4) The Art of making Devises 2nd Ed, Thomas Blount, London, 1655
5) Tony Barton and Charles Kightly. Previously published in Military Modelling magazine
6) Officers and Regiments of the Royalist Army Stuart Reid, 1985. Partizan Press
7) The Cavalier Army List Vol 1 Stuart Reid, Partizan Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-85818-651-1