Trained Band Colonel

Colour taken at Preston (BM Harl.1460 Preston no.60): red field, white saltire; arm, sword and cloud proper. Note the absence of any inscription. Captain Erskine's Company, Colonel George Keith's Regiment - see Plate F2.

Colour taken at Preston (BM Harl.1460 Preston no.60): red field, white saltire; arm, sword and cloud proper. Note the absence of any inscription. Captain Erskine's Company, Colonel George Keith's Regiment - see Plate F2.

Highlanders are known to have carried yew longbows. It is unclear exactly how the bow was actually carried and the original print rather unconvincingly depicts it fully braced; in this reconstruction the bow is simply slung by means of a piece of cord which can also serve as a footstring when bracing the weapon.

F: PRESTON, 1648

The army which surrendered at Warrington is surprisingly well documented, thanks to a detailed list of the surrendered units presented to the English Parliament on 25 August 1648, which can in turn be cross-checked against a painted record of their colours prepared by the former Royalist officer Fitzpayne Fisher (BM Harl.1460).

F1: Musketeer, Fraser's Firelocks The Scots armies appear to have made little use of firelocks (flintlock muskets, as opposed to the common matchlocks) by comparison with their English counterparts. Some 120 such weapons were parcelled out between various regiments in 1644, but the only known regiment of firelocks was a small unit raised in Aberdeenshire in 1648 by Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth and commanded by Captain John Fraser. He and Captain Leslie, two lieutenants and two ensigns surrendered at Warrington together with four sergeants and 150 soldiers. It is tempting to interpret the prisoners as representing just two companies. Two colours can be associated with the regiment, albeit one identification is rather tentative. The first has a blue field with a white saltire and a representation of a bronze lily pot in the centre - derived from the arms of Old Aberdeen (see page 19). The other, rather tattered example is a white colonel's colour with what may have been Philorth's cockerel crest in the centre.

F2: Ensign, Colonel George Keith's Regiment This unit was raised by the same shire committee which recruited the Earl Marischal's Regiment in 1643. This time command was given to his younger brother and heir, George Keith (see Plate C1). During the fighting in and around Preston, Keith commanded the Scots rearguard holding the Ribble bridgehead. He himself was captured there, and the heavy fighting doubtless explains why the five colours which can be identified in BM Harl.1460 are notably gashed and torn. All of them were red with white saltires. The same combination of tinctures was presumably used by the earlier Earl Marischal's Regiment; but unlike his brother George Keith had little time for the Covenant, and none of the 1648 colours bore the prescribed inscription proclaiming support for Covenant, Religion, King and Kingdoms. Their decoration was largely confined to heraldic devices, such as a tree for Captain Wood and a hand and sword for Captain Erskine. The attribution of the tattered colour depicted here is unknown. Eight officers, including five ensigns, four sergeants and just 130 men surrendered at Warrington. Keith himself was subsequently released and commanded a brigade at Worcester in 1651. F3: Lancer The cavalry regiments raised in 1648 were both unusually weak and grossly over-officered. Most had only three troops commanded by a colonel, lieutenant-colonel and major. On the whole, however, they performed rather better than might have been expected, perhaps because to judge from anecdotal evidence they had a higher proportion of lancers than in earlier years. The unidentified 'J.B.' who contributed the section on cavalry to the 1661 edition of Barriffe's Young Artilleryman commented that lances '...are now generally laid aside, and not used at all in our late Civil Wars, only some few that Duke Hamilton had when he invaded England in 1648, but their lances were but Half-pikes, and their Defensive Armes very mean, so that they were of no great use to them then.' On the other hand the Scots lancers seem to have been able to more than hold their own in the narrow hedge-lined lanes, and in the early stages of the fighting were quite effective at slowing down the English advance.

The individual shown here is wearing a plaid over his buff coat. This was a necessary precaution in heavy rain, since the buff leather absorbed rainwater like a sponge and took days to dry out after a thorough wetting.

G: DUNBAR, 1650

The army which fought at Dunbar was an unstable mixture of units raised for internal security duties in 1649. or even earlier, and more recent levies called out in anticipation of the English invasion. The Brief Relation states that there were 18 regiments of foot, and an intelligence summary (BM. Harl. 6844) identifies 15 of them. If a hypothetical total of 1,000 men were to be allowed for each of the 15 to 18 battalions estimated to have been present, this would explain Cromwell's frequently quoted estimate of 16.000 foot. If, on the other hand, a much more realistic average of 600 men per battalion is allowed - as indicated by surviving muster figures which reveal many of the older units down to about 300-400 men - then the true figure must have been nearer 9,000-10,000 foot, although even this may still be too high.

Quintfall Hill
Post-Restoration depiction of Archibald Johnstone of Wariston, a leading Covenanter. Note the plaid thrown over his shoulders, the bonnet and ribbons, and the distinctive hanger.

RIGHT Knitted Scots bonnets from (top) Dava Moor, near Cromdale, Tarvie in Ross-shire; and Quintfall Hill. The Tarvie bonnet is very similar to those depicted by Koler.

G1: Halberdier When the army was 'New Modelled' for counter-Insurgency work in 1647 the establishment of each regiment was to include 72 halberdiers equipped with back, breast and headpieces. The reason for recruiting them was not explained, but during the later Jacobite War of 1689-92 many Scots regular units deployed parties of halberdiers forward of the main fighting line in order to break up a Highland charge. Presumably those detachments formed in 1647 had the same function.

The Individual depicted here wears a fairly typical Continental infantry armour of munition quality, and carries a Scottish halberd of the style often referred to as a Lochaber axe but actually of Lowland Scots manufacture. G2: Trooper of Horse No fewer than 19 cavalry units are listed in the English intelligence summary. However, most units had only three troops and a few were represented by only a single troop. If a total of around 50 troops were present each with an average of 50 men this would produce a total of only 2,500 Scots cavalry at Dunbar. This is probably too low, and some units may have had more than three troops: but it is hard to find any justification for increasing the number to any significant extent.

There is little evidence for the use of armour by Scots cavalry except for helmets, and most simply got by with buff coats. The trooper's helmet depicted here was called for in most mustering orders, but if it could not be had a 'steill bonnet' was reckoned acceptable. In recent years the latter has been identified in many secondary sources with the old semi-closed burgonet style, but In fact the term actually relates to simple pot helmets such as morions and cabassets. It simply translates as a 'tin hat'. All of the new levies ordered to be raised In 1650 were to be armed with lances, but some of the older units such as David Leslie's still had firearms. G3: Ensign, Colonel Alexander Stewart's Regiment Cromwell began the battle with an attack on the Scots right wing and initially destroyed Sir James Lumsden's Brigade. However, an anonymous Scottish chronicler then describes how Two regiments of foot fought it out manfully, for they were all killed as they stood (as the enemy confessed).' Another states that resistance was only broken after a troop of English horse took them in flank and charged 'from end to end'. This was Sir James Campbell of Lawers' Brigade; his own regiment escaped virtually unscathed, but the two regiments which were cut up appear to have been Colonel Alexander Stewart's and Sir John Haldane of Gleneagles', since both these officers were killed, as were the latter's lieutenant-colonel and major. Gleneagles' colours can tentatively be identified in BM Harl.1460 as a rather plain set with white saltires on blue, but Stewart's Edinburgh Regiment certainly had these rather striking red ones. All but one of its colours were taken at Dunbar, and the tenth was more than likely the red colour seen when the garrison of Edinburgh Castle sur-

Quintfall ManMilitary Dress 1650s
Edinburgh Militia, based on a detail from a contemporary print. In 1633 the city's Trained Band turned out for the Scottish coronation of Charles I dressed in white satin doublets, black velvet breeches, and feathered hats.

appeared that only the Mossers were still offering any resistance; as a contemporary catch put it: Leslie for the Kirk, and Middleton for the King, But De'il a bit will oney fecht, but Ross and Augustine. H1: Captain Augustine Little is known of Augustine's background, except for a statement by Sir James Balfour that he was 'a heigh Germane being purged out of the armey before Dunbar Drove, bot a stout and resolute young man and lover of the Scotts natione'. It is more than likely, however, that he was the Captain Augustine Hoffman who served in David Leslie's Regiment at Marston Moor. While many irregulars were little more than marauding bandits, Augustine frequently operated under regular army control. On the night of 13 December 1650 he undertook his most celebrated coup. Crossing the Forth at Blackness with 120 men, he made for Edinburgh. The burgh was in English hands, but he bluffed his way in at the Canongate Port, then galloped up the length of the High Street and safely into the castle. There he dropped off a quantity of powder and other supplies, before bursting out again half an hour later. Remarkably, he not only got away without the loss of a single man, but even contrived to bring back five prisoners. By way of a reward for this exploit he may have received a colonel's commission, and he certainly commanded a regiment at Inverkeithing. Afterwards he and another celebrated partisan, Captain Patrick Gordon (alias 'Steilhand the Mosser') were active in the area between Aberdeen and Inverness. Their men were amongst the very last to disperse at the end of the war, and Augustine himself fled to Norway in January 1652.

This reconstruction is largely based on a contemporary German print of a marauding cavalryman, but with the addition of a Swedish cavalry helmet - some Scots cavalry were reported wearing a newly landed consignment of Swedish armour near Dundee in the summer of 1651.

rendered. It seems likely that these colours or very similar ones would have been carried by the earlier Edinburgh Regiment commanded by Colonel James Rae at Marston Moor in 1644.


The 1650s saw the appearance of a Scots equivalent to the irregular Croat and Tartar light cavalry so common on the Continent. These were the 'Moss Troopers', or as they were more familiarly known, 'Mossers'. The term is frequently applied in secondary sources to the border raiders of the 16th century, but in fact the earliest recorded use of the term is in 1646. and it did not gain real currency until the English invasion of 1650. After the rout at Dunbar many of the fugitives formed marauding bands instead of rejoining the army. Initially the Mossers were simply involved in highway robbery and the capture or murder of stragglers and unescorted messengers. As time went on, however, the sole practitioners were either killed off or forced into the larger bands and shifted their activities farther north. As the Scots regulars were progressively defeated or scattered, it soon

'Jockie' - a well-known and extremely useful contemporary illustration of a Scots soldier from a satirical print of 1650. Note particularly the style of the coat, and the open-kneed breeches.

H2: Moss Trooper This Mosser quite typically has his pistols thrust into the tops of his boots. The red coat may have been acquired from an English prisoner, or from a captured supply boat carried into Bute in February 1651 with a cargo which Included 700 red coats. 250 carbines and 500 muskets. The cornet appears In BM Harl.1460. Although the colours and cornets recorded there were all supposedly taken at Dunbar there is in fact good reason to believe that many of them, including this one, actually came from Inverkeithing. The quite distinctive German style - unique in the collection - suggests that it may have belonged to Augustine's Horse.

H3: Cravatte The majority of Mossers were light cavalrymen. but Augustine was reported to have some infantry with him near Aberdeen late in 1651. This particular figure, however, is based on one of the Stettin prints, and on a reference by Graham of Deuchrie to a piratical band of musketeers who called themselves 'Cravattes' (a common corruption of Croats) during Glencairn's Rising two years later. Most of the Insurgents at this point were mounted, but oddly enough a regular infantry regiment with blue colours, commanded by the Earl of Atholl, took part in the attack on Dunkeld. This was apparently the same regiment which he had raised in 1651 and maintained in the hills throughout the English occupation.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment