Civil War Weapons

Siege Newark English Civil War



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King Charles's camp near Berwick during the First Scots War, 1639. The Glorious Standard is no doubt the same one raised at Nottingham when, in August 1642, the King declared war. Some of the colonels listed took part in the Civil Wars. The Earl of Newport was for a short time Lieutenant-General to the Earl of Newcastle, but quarrelled with him and was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle. Vane and Hotham were Roundheads. Savile had a regiment of redcoats in 1639, and it is likely that his regiment was re-raised for the King in 1642. Harcourt took his regiment to Ireland and was killed there. Jerome Brett became a sergeant-major-general. Sir William Pennyman's Yorkshire regiment was the first raised in 1642; he was Governor of Oxford and died there in 1643, and his regiment was eventually destroyed at Naseby. Old Sir Thomas Metham of Metham, Yorkshire (c. 1575-1644), commanded a troop of gentlemen volunteers, of which Newcastle himself was nominally the captain, and was killed at its head at Marston Moor

Captain Primrose had only 19 men and Captain Marford but 15. John Hampden, whose regiment did not arrive at Edgehill until the battle was over, still had 893 men on 21 January 1643. His numbers dwindled more gradually and by 21 June, when he was lying on his death-bed at Thame, he still had 849 men. Some may have been lost at the siege of Reading and elsewhere, but most had probably succumbed to the fevers so prevalent in the Thames Valley in the summer of 1643.


A body of foot normally marched in column of fours, but when it came to fight it was drawn up in a deeper formation. At Edgehill Essex had his men eight deep, which was the formation in the Dutch Army when he was a colonel there. The Royalists on that occasion were six deep, with their tertias arrayed in what was known as the 'Swedish brigade'. A regiment or body of foot normally fought with a solid hedgehog of pikes in the centre and with musketeers on the flanks. If cavalry threatened, the musketeers would take cover among the pikemen.


The appearance of the armies of 1642 would have pained the Duke of Cumberland, King George IV and Marshal Bernadotte; but, all the same, they did present some show of uniformity, as any unit will if they receive general issues of clothing, arms and equipment. At the time of the Civil Wars commissioned officers and even sergeants seem to have worn pretty much what they pleased, but the soldiers, particularly in the foot, were given such items as caps, coats, breeches, stockings and 'snapsacks', as well as their arms and armour. Unfortunately, we have 110 record of the coat colours of the majority of regiments engaged, but some are known.


The King's Lifeguard The Queen's Lifeguard

Prince Charles |

C.O.: Sir Michael Woodhouse I

The Duke of York |

C.O.: Sir William St Leger I

(1) Sir Allen Apsley 1

(2) Edward Hopton I Lord Inchquin

Sir William Savile Lord Hopton

(1) Sir Thomas Lunsford |

(2) Prince Rupert I Charles Gerard

Sir William Pennyman

(1) Sir Ralph Dutton

(2) (Sir) Stephen Hawkins Marquis of Newcastle's

Regiment Lord Percy

(1) Thomas Pinchbeck

(2) Sir Henry Bard Sir Francis Gamul

(1) Sir Charles Vavasour

(2) (Sir) Matthew Appleyard Sir John Paulet

Sir Thomas Blackwall

Robert Broughton

Red Red

Red Red Blue



White White



Yellow Yellow Black (?) Green

Sir Francis Gamul

Prince Maurice (1620-52). The favourite brother of Prince Rupert was a stout-hearted fighter. He was with his brother in several of his exploits - at Powick Bridge, Edgehill and Cirencester - before being given an independent command. He defeated Sir William Waller at Ripple (13 April 1643) an<l played a great part in the victories of the Western Army at Lansdown and Round-way Down. He took Exeter and Dartmouth, but failed to capture Plymouth and Lyme. He commanded the Western Army in the victories at Lostwithiel and at Second Newbury, where they were driven from Speen village; He was under Rupert at Naseby. When part of the fleet came over to the Royalists in 1648 Maurice served in it under his brother. He was lost at sea. His portrait by Dobson belongs to the Earl of Dartmouth

Prince Maurice (1620-52). The favourite brother of Prince Rupert was a stout-hearted fighter. He was with his brother in several of his exploits - at Powick Bridge, Edgehill and Cirencester - before being given an independent command. He defeated Sir William Waller at Ripple (13 April 1643) an<l played a great part in the victories of the Western Army at Lansdown and Round-way Down. He took Exeter and Dartmouth, but failed to capture Plymouth and Lyme. He commanded the Western Army in the victories at Lostwithiel and at Second Newbury, where they were driven from Speen village; He was under Rupert at Naseby. When part of the fleet came over to the Royalists in 1648 Maurice served in it under his brother. He was lost at sea. His portrait by Dobson belongs to the Earl of Dartmouth

Earl of Northampton Green (?)

Henry Tillier Green


Denzil Holies


Edward Montagu

Red lined white

Lord Robartes


Sir Henry Cholmley


Sir William Constable


(1) Lord Saye and Sele


(2) Sir John Meldrum

Blue (?)

(3) Edward Aldrich


Earl of Stamford


Thomas Ballard


Sir John Merrick


John Hampden


Earl of Manchester

Green lined red

Earl of Essex


Lord Brooke


Thomas Grantham

Russet (?)

Earl of Denbigh (Horse)

Grey (?)

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A letter from Charles II when Prince of Wales commissioning Sir Edward Hopton of Canon Frome, Herefordshire, to be in command of a regiment of foot.

The Marquis of Ncwcasllc's men arc generally described as 'Whitccoats'. It seems that his army -not only his own regiment - wore coats of undyed woollen cloth. Percy's Whitccoats and Pinchbeck's Greycoats both came to Oxford from Newcastle's Army at the same time. It would seem that the dress of Newcastle's 'Lambs' was not exactly as white as snow.

Red was a fairly popular colour in the Cavalier Army, especially, it seems, in the Royal regiments. From the time of the formation of the New Model Army it was adopted by the Parliamentarians, from whom the Standing Army of King Charles II and his successors inherited it.


When the war began there were not nearly enough arms to equip all the men who enlisted for the

King. The armouries of the trained bands, as well as those of private individuals, were insufficient to provide weapons for all the volunteers. A number of those who fought at Edgchill had nothing better than some converted farm implement or a stout stave. Many of the weapons and pieces of armour had already seen service at the time of the Armada, or even maybe of Flodden and Bosworth. On the other hand, those were days when noblemen and gentlemen commonly had substantial armouries of their own. If the Royalist pikemen were short of corselets it was not really such a hardship: a steel helmet and a good buff coat would keep out many a savage blow, and, marching in body armour can have been no joke.

As for the Roundheads, they had at their command the great armouries of the Tower of London and of Hull. Their troops must have

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Plan of the siege of Newark, 1646. The survey by 'Richard Clampe Ingenier' was engraved by Peregrine Lovell, and printed and sold by Peter Stent at the sign of the Crown and later of the White Horse in Giltspur Street without Newgate. This plan was certainly on sale before 1650. The engraving, 20 inches by 17 inches, covers an area of about two miles radius around Newark and shows the works made for the last siege, which lasted from November

1645 to 8 May 1646. Clampe, who had served under the Earl of Manchester, and Sir Thomas Fairfax-presumably in the New Model - seems to have been the chief engineer of the Parliamentarian Army before Newark. He was rewarded in 1647 with the searcher's post at the port of King's Lynn in Norfolk. (Courtesy of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England). Crown Copyright)

appeared armed very much according to the regulations of the day.

In theory, all ranks carried swords, those of the officers being no doubt of superior quality. With the exception of the ensign, who carried the company colour, the company officers were armed with partisans, while the sergeant's halbert was at once his weapon and his badge of rank. The pikemen had a weapon between sixteen and eighteen feet in length, and wore back-and-breast - the corselet - and a helmet. The musketeers had no body armour, but were generally equipped with a matchlock musket, and a bandolier. Some certainly had a rest, but this seems to have been obsolescent by the time of the Civil Wars. A few had the snaphance, or firelock, an early flintlock musket; but this was rare and was usually given to the escort of the train of artillery, for matchlocks and powder-barrels were unhappy partners. The bayonet was not yet to be seen among the English infantry.

Firelock Artillery Guards Nma

Artillery had proved its worth in battles as well as in sieges as early as the middle of the fifteenth century; it was as decisive at Castillon as at Constantinople. But its progress had been slow, and, at the time of the Civil Wars, many of its characteristics were still very unsatisfactory. Ranges were short, rates of fire slow, equipment heavy and means of traction uneconomical. Nevertheless, both round-shot and case-shot were damaging missiles, which could score heavily off a troop of horse or a stand of pikes, whilst for siege work the big guns were invaluable.

Clarendon describes the train of artillery as 'a spungc that can never be filled or satisfied', and it was only with the greatest difficulty that Sir John Heydon (d. 1653), the Royalist Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance, a noted mathematician and a thoroughly competent administrator, managed to put twenty guns in the field, six of them big ones. These guns were mostly made of brass. The trophies of Edgehill included seven guns and at First Newbury the Royalists had heavier metal.

At Naseby the King had only twelve big guns. Among those captured by the New Model Army were two demi-cannons, probably the same two that had been at Edgehill, and two mortars. Two of the great brass guns taken at Naseby were afterwards used by the Parliamentarians besieging W orcester.

The Roundheads, backed by the resources of the Tower of London, where since medieval times the Board of Ordnance had had its headquarters, were much better provided with guns than were their opponents. In the 1642 campaign they had over forty guns. Unfortunately for them their lieutenant-general, a foreigner named Phili-bcrt Emanuel du Boys, proved incapable of collecting a sufficient number of draught-horses, and many of the guns arrived too late for the battle of Edgehill. The train of artillery required a great deal of transport, for its ammunition and stores. A Royalist bye-train of four big guns detailed to attack Banbury Castle in October 1642 required the support of fifty-seven wagons.

The personnel — officers and specialists of various categories - was also very considerable. In 1642 Essex's Train had over 40 officers, 600 pioneers, besides 100 firelocks, to guard the train; engineers, commissaries, provost, gentlemen-of-the-ordnance, fireworkers, battery-master and bridge-master were all to be lbund in its ranks. The dress of artillerymen probably resembled that of the foot.

The supply of ammunition was not, it seems, very liberal. In the bye-train already referred to, the Royalists allowed fifty 'round shott of yron' per gun, and, in addition, twenty-four 'cases of tynn w'h Muskett shott, or Cartouches'.








PIECE (lb)

PIECE (ft)

SHOT (lb)
































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2 (iron)

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1. This was Hopton's own troop.

2. Said to have been a son of Sir William Balfour, Lieutenant-General of the Horse in Essex's Army.

3. Cavalry at speed could cover such a distance in half a minute. Their opponents would hardly have time for more than one volley.

4. Four or six troops should have had between sixteen and twenty-four commissioned officers.

5. Doubtless the major of the King's Lifeguard of Foot, who became lieutenant-colonel and was knighted in 1645: Sir William Leighton.

qtie "Plates

Ai King Charles 1 (1600-49)

From a painting by William Dobson (1610-46). This plate shows the King in his normal campaigning dress. Of course, lie did not always wear this costume. At Edgehill he is described as wearing a black velvet coat lined with ermine, and a steel cap covered with velvet. In a print of r a s

Examples of Newark siege money. (Top) the face and obverse of a 1645 9d. piece; (bottom) face and obverse of a 1646 shilling. These lozenge-shaped coins were an emergency issue, probably authorized by the King himself. The main reason for their issue may have been the Governor's need to pay the townsmen for billeting the garrison.

Siege money was also issued at Carlisle, Chester and Pontefract Castle. The Newark coins of 1645 and 1646, ranging in value from 6d. to 2s. 6d., are among the best. They seem to have been made by slicing the lozenge-shaped blanks from rolled-out plates of silver, and then struck by some sort of mechanical hammer. This was probably a horse or water-operated trip hammer. The word OBS: on the reverse of the coins is the Latin obsessum besieged

1644 by Wenceslas Hollar (1607-77) 's shown in full cuirassier's armour, of the sort worn by Sir Richard Willys (F3). Hollar was a Royalist soldier and served in the defence of Basing House. There can be little doubt, therefore, that he had actually seen the King thus armoured.

A 2 Sir Edward Walker (1612-77) Walker, who became Chester Herald in 1638, was with King Charles continuously from 1642 to 1645. He was at first Secretary at War (1642) and later Secretary of the Privy Council (1644). He was knighted in 1645. A number of his papers, dealing with military affairs arc preserved in the British Museum, and his excellent accounts of the 1644 and 1645 campaigns are published in his Historical Discourses (London, 1705). At the Restoration Walker became Garter King-of-Arms. In this plate, which is taken from a painting by Dobson in the National Portrait Gallery, Walker wears the ordinary campaigning dress of a Cavalier gentleman, though without back- and breastplate.

Aj Prince Charles, later King Charles II {1630-85) in 1642

From the portrait by William Dobson in (he Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The armour the Prince is wearing is still in existence in the armouries at the Tower of London. In tills portrait Prince Charles is dressed as he was at the battle of Edgehill, 23 October 1643. On that occasion he was in danger of being captured when Sir William Balfour's Horse broke through the Royalist centre. Indeed lie was seen winding up I lis wheel-lock pistols and crying out, 'I fear them not', before his escort of Gentlemen Pensioners hurried him from the field.

The Prince wears the normal costume of a cavalry officer of the day, a sleeveless buff coat with back-and-breast. In his hand he carries a baton, as a general did in those clays. In 1645, when lie was fifteen he was nominally in command of the West Country.

B Sir Charles Lucas (k. 1648)

Lucas was a professional soldier who had served in the Dutch Army. At Edgehill he was lieutenant-

Lord Saye And Sele Blue Regiment FootArmor Robert Greville 1643

Back, breast and pot. These pieces of armour preserved at Broughton Castle were doubtless worn by a soldier serving under Lord Saye and Sele. The helmet is rather curious for it seems to be something between a burgonet and a morion colonel in the Earl of Caernarvon's Regiment. He greatly distinguished himself by rallying 300 horse of the Royalist left wing and charging into the rear of the Roundhead foot. He was soon made colonel and early in 1644, through Rupert's influence, he became Lieutcnant-General of the Horse in Newcastle's Army. Unfortunately, he was taken prisoner at Marston Moor. He was executed after the siege of Colchester in 1648. Lucas was an expert commander of horse, and wrote a treatise on the art of war. It was in cipher and so nobody could understand it; its whereabouts, too, arc now unknown.

This plate is a reconstruction based on a portrait by Dobson in the National Portrait Gallery. Sir Charles is shown winding up his wheel-lock pistol.

C Trumpeter, Captain Sir Richard Astley's Troop of Horse

This figure is taken from Astley's monument in Patshull Church, in which the Captain, preceded by his two trumpeters is seen riding at the head of his troop. This trumpeter is dressed very much like those one sees fairly frequently in Dutch paintings of the period. His trumpet-banner, like the standard of the troop, and the Captain's holster-caps and saddle-cloth, bears the cinquefoil of Astley.

Sir Richard Astley, Bart. (1625-88) was the eldest son of Walter Astley, a Roman Catholic. He garrisoned Patshull House, near Wolverhampton, which was captured 011 14. February 1645 'JY a Roundhead force from the garrison of Stafford. Astley was one of the garrison of Dudley Castle when it surrendered on 14 May 1646. He belonged to the small army under Lord Loughborough, the Royalist Lieutcnant-General in the Midlands. There is some evidence that he fought in the 1651 campaign. Astley succeeded to his father's estates in 1654 and was made a baronet in 1662. A man of exemplary piety, he had one other claim to fame: an ingenious invention, whose details arc not explained, for matching game-cocks.

John 1st Baron Byron Rochdale Dobson

John, first Baron Byron of Rochdale, K.B. (d. 1652) was Lieutenant of the Tower from December 1641 to February 1642. When he joined the King at York his regiment of horse was the first in the field. Byron was an unlucky soldier and a poor tactician, but he was brave and dogged. He played a great pari in the victory at Roundway Down and distinguished himself at First Newbury. He was, however, severely defeated at Nant-wich and Montgomery Castle. It was largely thanks to his faulty dispositions that Rupert's right wing was routed at Marston Moor. At the end of the war Byron, who had been made a baron in October 1643, clung on first to Chester and then to Caernarvon with the utmost resolution.

This portrait by William Dobson may well have been painted at Oxford in January 1643, for the scar on Byron's countenance is probably the halbert wound he received in a fight at Burford on the night of 1 January, as the Royalist weekly newspaper Mercurius Aulicus records

D Officer of or Dragoons

This dashing character might belong to cither side. He is an unashamed reconstruction based on a figure on the title-page of Cruso's Instructions for the CavaWrie (1632) and a contemporary painting by a Dutch artist. The helmet is of the Dutch or German type. It was probably the exception rather than the rule for a dragoon to wear back-and-breast, for they were really mounted infantry, and usually fought 011 foot. It is true that Colonel John Okey's Regiment, belonging to the new Model, made a mounted charge into the Royalist foot at the end of the battle of Naseby; and one also finds instances of men firing carbines or fowling-picccs from the saddle in a mêlée: Sir James Colborne's exploit at Babylon Hill is a case in point.

It was by no means unknown for mounted troops to be armed with a brace of pistols in addition to a carbine. Richard Symonds of the King's Lifeguard records a skirmish between Stilton and Huntingdon on 24 August 1645. The Roundheads, 400 strong, raised in Suffolk and Essex, were under Lieutenant-Colonel Lehunt. 'They a little disputed Huntingdon, but wee entered, notwithstanding a large ditch encompassed it. . . . Thcise rcbells ran away to Cambridge;' all of them back and breast, headpeicc, brace of pistoll, officers more. Every troope consisted of 100.'

While admitting that our plate is a reconstruction, it seems fair to assert that riders so equipped were to be seen in many an affair of the English Civil Wars.

Ei Pikeman, Lord Brooke's Regiment Robert Greville, second Baron Brooke (1608-43) clothed his regiment of foot in purple. In this lie seems to have been unique - just as well perhaps. The regiment was raised in London. It had purple colours with the usual cross of St George in all except the colonel's colour, and with the captain's ensigns differenced by a varying number of stars. The regiment, about 1,000 strong in September, lost heavily at Edgehill, and was down to 480 by mid-November. It sulfercd again at Brentford (12 November) and, it is thought, did not long survive the death of its colonel, sniped by 'Dumb' Dyott at the siege of Lichfield on 2 March 1643. Dyott fired from the tower of St Chad's Cathedral upon that saint's day. Royalists were not slow to point out the miraculous nature of this event.

E2 Roundhead Commander

This figure is based on a portrait reproduced in black and white in R. N. Dore's useful work The Civil Wars in Cheshire. The officer is thought to be Colonel John Booth. The instrument slung round his neck is a spanner such as was used in those

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