Sir Arthur Aston’s Regiment of Horse

Regular readers (hello both of you) will be familiar with Sir Arthur and know all about how he earned a spot in the Horrible Histories 'stupid deaths' hall of fame.

His Regiment of Horse were raised in Oxfordshire and the North in 1642 after the Battle of Edgehill; they took part initially garrisoned Reading; they took part in a skirmish at Henley-on-Thames; the siege of Reading; a raid on West Wycombe; a skirmish at Padbury; they stormed Bristol; the siege of Gloucester; a skirmish at Aldbourne Chase; First Newbury; before they garrisoned Oxford. In September 1644 field command of the Regiment passed to Lieutenant Colonel George Boncle who led the men at the relief of Basing House; the storm of Leicester; and Naseby. George was captured at Naseby and his brother Sebastian Boncle took over command. The Regiment continued but their service is not clear; possibly remaining as part of the Oxford garrison.

This is the last of my planned Royalist Regiments of Horse, giving a grand total of 320 figures, which is a heck of a lot of brown paint. I certainly won't miss painting the one piece sculpts, positively hate them. Just the one headswap here: he's been given a secret fabricated from a head wearing a Monmouth cap filed down. If you aren't familiar with the term, a secret was effectively an armoured skull cap worn under a normal hat. There are some images of examples here toward the bottom of the page (before the lion armour pictures).

As these could well be my last Royalist cavalry troop I threw my own colour 'rules' out of the window and gave them black saddle blankets. Reading about Aston I come away with two impressions of him - he was a bit of  a show off (so having black blankets would fit), he also comes across as somewhat self centred (which would suggest he might have been a bit of a penny pincher, so black blankets highly unlikely). But black blankets it is, matching the cornet; plus, they are so small you hardly notice them.


The weather wasn't behaving when I came to finish these figures off, which meant I had to resort to brush on varnish (Vallejo matt). I mustn't have shaken the bottle enough as the matting agent frosted on a couple of figures (normally I use spray varnish and only get frosting when I am a little too liberal with my application). Thankfully saved with the old coat of gloss then a coat of matt trick.

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  1. Lovely looking troop of horse! You've got to get used to lots of brown, painting civil war cavalry!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain, probably why everyone and their dog has Brooke's southern Regiment so they can go wild with a bit of purple

  2. Hiya. I have been looking further into Sir Arthur Aston.
    He was said to have been in Drogheda from 1646. In January 1646/7, he applied to the House of Lords for a pass to either come back to England or to go beyond his Majesty's dominions.

    What is interesting is that he was probably in Oxford when the City surrendered. That means that he was subject to the Articles of Surrender which allowed people to leave the city freely, and to go to their homes, other chosen places, or to seek employ in a foreign army.

    The proviso was that the subjects of the articles should not take up arms against Parliament again.

    When Cromwell found Aston at Drogheda, both he, and Aston knew that Aston was in breach of Quarter. Aston and his officers were actually dead men walking (or hopping).

    Aston was always a bit of a juggler' , the brick that left him speechless at Reading and the robbing of the merchants and waggoners around Reading.

    Why, in January 1646/7, would Aston apply for the pass ? When he knew that he had signed up with Ormonde.

    There we have it. Drogheda was not a war crime. The Criminals were officers who had breached the terms of Quarter given them, in the knowledge that they would pay the full price for their breach of Quarter

    1. We should be very careful when discussing the NMA in Ireland, it is, and always will be, a very delicate and emotive subject.

      How we interpret history is somewhat problematical: do we look at events with the conventions of the day, or through 21st century eyes? Regardless of what was deemed as acceptable/normal in contemporary views, there are some things which are simply morally wrong. Even by the conventions of the day the actions of the NMA were seen as excessive.

      With regards to the combatants it is a little easier to accept the actions of the NMA troops, less so for civilians.

      Drogheda is a very complex story of religious sectarianism; a third estate spreading lies and fanning the flames of that sectarianism; and 17th century conventions on the treatment of besieged towns and their defenders, and innocent residents.

      I believe the newly published correspondence of Oliver Cromwell sheds a new light upon Drogheda, and wider Irish events but alas each volume is a few hundred quid.


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