Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Earl of Sutherland's Regiment

"Thair cam also of country people in to him,
the Erll of Suddcrland in persone with his pour..."
Spalding on Hurry's army at Auldearn

As the name suggests this regiment was raised by John Gordon, the 13th Earl of Sutherland, in support of the covenanting government forces. Sutherland was without doubt the most loyal covenanting land-owner in Northern Scotland. An unwavering supporter of the covenant, he first raised this regiment in 1642, due to mistrust of his neighbour, the Earl of Seaforth, who professed loyalty to the government but was suspected (with good reason) of strong Royalist sympathies.

In 1644 the Scots Government authorised Sutherland to raise 1600 men for the Scots Army in England. His troops were ordered to be on the English border at Berwick on March 10, but MacColla landed his Irish in July and Sutherland's men went into the field, together with the other Northern Clans, to oppose Montrose. 

The regiment did not see any major action through Spring 1645, and the Northern force was more of deterrent to Montroses attempts to sway the northern clans over to the royalist cause.  In May 1645, The regiment was at Inverness with Seaforth's Army when it was ordered to Join Hurry's Army for the march to Auldearn. The regiment does not seem to have been heavily involved in the battle but both the Earl and his troops survived the rout and appear to have retreated north in good order. 

Sutherland and his men do not feature prominently in events again until 1650 when Sutherland was part of the Government army that defeated and captured Montrose at the Battle of Carbisdale, bringing to an end Montrose's ill-fated 1650 campaign. In an interesting twist of fate, also captured after Carbisdale was the luckless Sir John Hurry, former covenanter General and Sutherland's commander at Auldearn, who was now serving the Royalist cause with Montrose. Both Montrose and the unfortunate Hurry were executed. Harsh judgement for a professional soldier like Hurry, but his luck finally ran out and this time he was not able to switch sides to get out of trouble.

Sutherland's levies were raised from amongst his northern clansmen but seem to have been conventionally equipped with pike and shot by 1644, however in previous years some of the levies are described as armed with bow. As such I have modeled the unit in predominantly highland clothing, with plenty of plaid, but they are armed with pike, musket and the occasional longbow. 

There are surviving records from 1646, documenting Sutherland's expense claims to the government for reimbursement of the cost of raising his regiment. In these claims he includes uniforms, which suggests this highland regiment may actually have been equipped in the standard issue hodden greys. 

I am currently painting up a unit of covenanter infantry, originally intended to be Buchanan's but Roy has long since taken car of that unit. So this next unit is destined to be finished as Balfour of Burleigh's Regiment, garrisoned in Aberdeen in 1644, and destroyed by Montrose at Justice Mills in October 1644. This unit could also be fielded as a uniformed Sutherland's Regiment. More to follow.

When Roy and I started this project, we looked at the OOB and divided up the painting between us. I took all the Royalist forces, plus 2 covenanter regiments; Buchanan's detachment and the Earl of Sutherland's Clan Levies. Roy managed to knock out Buchanan's detachment as a commanded shot using some extras from his other large covenanter regiments, and it does double duty as dismounted Scots Dragoons

That left Sutherland's Levies for me, and I could see an opportunity to create a unit of highland clan regulars that, with a change of command, could do double duty as both Farquharson's Royalists and Sutherland's Covenanters.


It should therefore come as no surprise that if unit looks familiar to followers of our blog. It is the same unit used for Farqhuarson of Monaltrie's Regiment with the addition of an alternate Covenanter command stand.


The figures are mostly Eureka Highland Musketeers and Pikemen from the 17th Century Scots range, but also includes a number of Perry ECW scots in lowland clothing, plus a couple of old Foundry pikemen from the Perry sculpted Elizabethan range. More photos and details can be found in the blog post on Farquharson of Monaltrie's Regiment.

The covenanter command stand is from Perry Miniatures. I particularly like this officer pointing out the Royalist foe, and thought he would make a terrific highland peer. I have painted him with tartan breeks suggesting he is playing up his highland culture to inspire his clansmen.

The flags include both a white colonel's colour with Sutherland arms and motto, together with the traditional Covenanter company colour of blue scots saltire, in this case adorned with Sutherland's arms. Both colours are speculative but respect the convention of the times and are based heavily on known colours of other scots covenanting lords.


More information will be provided in a separate blog post on Sutherland's flags. Next new unit from me will be Balfour of Burleigh's/Sutherland's (in uniform) covenanting regiment of foot.


Jonathan said...

Absolutely splendid. Remarkable work really.

Millsy said...

Oh wow. I just never get bored of looking at your stuff chaps. Absolutely stunning every single time.