"...he caused make some ensigns where upon ilk side was drawn a red rampant lion..."
I am playing catch-up with this post. I realised while updating the blog this week that I had forgotten to share the flags for the Strathbogie Regiment, a unit which I completed some time ago and which can be seen here. The great thing about the flags for this unit is that we actually have some contemporary details on their appearance thanks to my favorite 17th century blogger, John Spalding.
Spalding, an Aberdonian Lawyer (but lets not judge him too harshly for that) and part-time soldier in the Aberdeen City Militia was a prolific contemporary observer of current events, recording copious news and gossip of his time in his hand-written blog, "The History of the Troubles..." [click here for free online eBook]. Spalding was a Royalist, but is generally quite balanced in his writing compared to several of his contemporary historians, biographers and bloggers. Be warned though, he writes in old scots english, a dialect similar to the Doric and Buchan dialects that can still be heard in parts of Northeast of Scotland.
Spalding's writings are such a treasure of information because he would often record details which his contemporaries may have thought too trivial or so obvious as to be uninteresting (and to be honest much of it is). However, almost 500 years later some of his observations provide us with wonderful insights. One such treasure for wargamers, re-enactors and vexillologists is his description of a set of flags ordered by the Marquis of Huntly for his forces in early 1644...
"Upon Monday the 15th of April he [Huntley] returned about six hours at even to Aberdeen he caused make some ensigns where upon ilk side was drawn a red rampant lion having a crown of gold above his head a 'CR' for Charles Rex having the motto 'For God the king and against all traitors' and beneath 'God save the king'. There were diverse others made for the barons. The marquis and his followers wore a black taffeta about their craig whilk was a sign to fight to the death but it proved otherwise"
An excerpt from "THE HISTORY OF THE TROUBLES AND MEMORABLE TRANSACTIONS IN SCOTLAND DURING THE REIGN OF CHARLES I" By JOHN SPALDING, COMMISSARY CLERK ABERDEEN
There is one curious line in this quote; "There were diverse other made for the barons". Spalding could be saying here that a range of different flags were made for "the barons" (which I assume refers to all the nobles that fought under Huntly) . However I have interpreted this to mean that a number of similar sheets were provided to all Gordon regiments of 1644. This would include the Strathbogie Regt and Monaltrie's Regt, which later split into Inverey's Regt and Monymore's Regt in early 1645.
For the Strathbogie flags I have faithfully reproduced the text and device is described by Spalding but concede that the exact layout is speculative. Unfortunately Spalding neglects to mention the field colour of these flags and we are left frustrated, wondering how Spalding could take the trouble to let us know that the regiment wore black neckscarves, but could neglect to mention the colour of the flags!
As with all my flags, they are prepared in photoshop, printed on good quality paper and then re-painted. The finished article can be seen on the Strathbogie Regiment in the photos included and in the full post on the Strathbogie Regiment.