Colonel James Ussher, was a professional Scottish soldier who had previously been the Major of the Earl of Barrimore’s regiment of Foot in 1640 and a half-pay officer on the Guildhall list in early 1642. While he certainly commanded the regiment in person at Cirencester on 2nd Februaury 1643 he does not appear to have lead it at Edgehill or Marlborough. He was killed leading the regiment at the storming of Litchfield Close on 20th April 1643.
Colonel Henry Washington, born in 1615, was the son of Sir William Washington of Packington, Leicestershire and Anne Villiers, half-sister of George, Duke of Buckingham. He appears to have had some continental military experience prior to 1640 by which time he was a Captain in the Earl of Northumberland’s Captains-General’s regiment on the Scottish border (Washington and the Earl of Northumberland were neighbours in Isleworth, Middlesex as were a number of officers of the Earl’s regiment). By early 1642 Washington was a Captain in the Lord Lieutenant’s (Monck’s) Regiment, due for service in Ireland. But before he departed for Ireland and while still resident at his home in Isleworth, Washington was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel to Ussher, a prestigious appointment for a 27 year old. He took full command of the regiment after Ussher’s death at Litchfield in April 1643 and remained at its head until the regiment’s demise in July 1646.
Washington distinguished himself at Edgehill and Bristol, and although he received no knighthood in recognition, (he did though later inherit his father’s), he was made governor of the vital City of Worcester in 1645 which he refused to surrender to the Scots. A well-known royalist, he was kept under close surveillance throughout the interregnum. With the Restoration he was made Major of the King’s Foot Guards, dying in 1664 aged 49. He left a wife, Elizabeth and four daughters. His widow later married Prince Rupert’s close friend, Colonel Samuel Sandys.
NB: Henry Washington was a cousin of the Washington who left for America.
Captain Henry Norwood, born in 1614 to the Norwood family of Bishopton in Worcestershire, was the longest serving Captain in the regiment, being commissioned to raise his company in Gloucestershire and Warwickshire in December 1642, yet was a still a Captain in the regiment at the surrender of Worcester in July 1646. This lack of promotion being despite having distinguished himself at Bristol, where he was wounded, back in July 1643. An active royalist in the Interregnum, he was imprisoned for five years in the Tower after being personally interrogated by Oliver Cromwell. At the Restoration he was made Major of Lord Rutherford’s Foot in 1661 and by 1666 he was Lieutenant-Governor of Tangier’s. He died in 1689.
Many other officers of the regiment were notable for being professional soldiers, appointed as such rather than just for hierarchical social reasons.
Captain Francis Gawdye from Norfolk had considerable continental military experience and had been a Lieutenant in Captain Urney’s company of Lord Grandison’s regiment in 1640. Wounded at Edgehill, although he was promoted Major, he soon after deserted to Parliament.
Captain William Tuke from Essex, who joined the regiment in early 1643 had been a Lieutenant to Captain William Monnings of the Marquis of Hamilton’s Regiment of Foot in 1640.
Major Nathaniel Grey, who replaced the wounded Major Hutchinson in February 1643, had been a fellow Captain of Washington’s back in 1642 in the Lord-Lieutenant’s (Monck’s) Regiment, destined for Ireland.
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Huddleston of Sawston in Cambridgeshire, who was appointed such at Washington’s promotion to Colonel in April 1643, had been a Captain in Sir Jerome Brett’s Regiment of Foot in 1640.
Regimental Organisation at Bristol, July 1643
There were seven full troops (dragoon regiment had troops not companies) according to the records of Prince Rupert’s engineer officer, Captain De Gomme. The first three belonged to the three field officers, Colonel Henry Washington, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Huddleston and Major Nathaniel Grey. The other four belonged to Captains Henry Colthorpe, Francis Morrison, William Tuke and Henry Norwood. We know at this date that the regiment was armed mainly with matchlock muskets, was equipped with powder bags and that it probably had red coats and white standards.
The Royalist Ordnance Papers (Ed. Dr. Ian Roy).
The Washington Family Papers at Sulgrove Manor, Northamptonshire.
Edgehill 1642, by Peter Young.
Royalist Officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660, By Dr. P. R. Newman.
Three separate articles from Partizan Press, English Civil War Notes and Queries:
Issue 4, Illustrations of Royalist Colours by Mike Seed.
Issue 6, John Lewis’s comments in Return Fire.
Issue 9, Stuart Reid’s article on Washington’s Dragoones.