Parliamentarian Command (Again)

 Just as my Royalist command got a bit of a spruce up, so has my Parliament command.

A gentle reminder that these figures are true 15mm sized; the names given but figure manufacturers and sculptors is 'nominal' at best, as they are too small to look definitively like portraits of the people that they are supposed to represent. Whilst some of the Steel Fist character figures do have more than a passing resemblance to portraiture, they can represent whomsoever you jolly well want them to be - very few will have any idea, and the few that do, probably don't have a magnifier with them. These figures are tiny.

With this in mind, I have picked my Fantasy Football League team of Parliamentarian command figures...

This time, additional figures coming from Steel Fist's ECWH 21 pack: Parliamentarian Commanders. As a number of the characters in the pack are already represented in my Parliamentarian army, a little repurposing will be required. 

My 'senior commanders' are based upon 50mm diameter bases with an ensign, 'normal command' are based upon 30mm diameter bases. My senior command is a little too Hollywood, and not enough historical, so I decided that Essex and Waller should be elevated to my 'senior command' ranks.

Many of the original Steel Fist horses did not survive being posted, nor did swords and scabbards. That is why many of these SF figures are mounted on Peter Pig horses. All swords have been replaced with staples, as have the majority of the scabbards (see my Steel Fist post for more details).

Sir William Waller: Steel Fist Fairfax figure on a Peter Pig horse, with PP ensign

Just as I ran into difficulties sourcing a cornet for Hopton's base, it was somewhat poetical that I would also face similar difficulties with his friend, and opponent, Sir William Waller. As I had already used Waller's cornet for his Regiment of Horse, I decided to go the same route as I did with Hopton and used a plain yellow cornet. All my Parliament's men sport orange scarves, but as Waller and Essex were barely on speaking terms, I gave him and his ensign yellow scarves; there is no historical evidence that Waller and men wore yellow scarves, it is pure supposition based upon Waller and Essex's animosity towards one another (I haven't found the source of this wargamer fact™ yet). Steel Fist's Fairfax figure was used to represent him, with a Peter Pig ensign. 

Essex: Steel Fist Essex and ensign. The ensign is mounted upon a PP horse

Waller's nemesis, Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, was already represented in my command figures. So 'old Essex' was repurposed, and the Steel Fist Essex figure became 'new Essex'. He is joined by the ensign from the pack, who sports a cornet from his Regiment of Horse.

Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes

Nathaniel Fiennes, second son of Lord Saye and Sele, would utilise the 'old Waller' figure.  MP for Banbury, Nathaniel was closely aligned to John Pym in the Long Parliament. Nathaniel, along with the rest of his family, declared for Parliament at the outbreak of war. He was commissioned a colonel in Essex's army, and would fight at Powick Bridge and Edgehill. 

He would be appointed governor of Bristol but surrendered the port city to Prince Rupert in 1643 (Fiennes would argue that his force was ill equipped for defending the city). Accused by his enemies of cowardice and treachery, he was tried by court martial and sentenced to death. The Earl of Essex intervened to revoke the sentence, but his reputation was ruined. Nathaniel would go into exile for two years until the Commons voted to restore him to his seat in Parliament when Rupert surrendered Bristol in 1645 in similar circumstances.

Fiennes supported the Army Grandees in trying to negotiate a settlement with the King and lost patience when Charles escaped to the Isle of Wight in November 1647. He would become excluded from the House of Commons in Pride's Purge.

He supported the establishment of Cromwell's Protectorate. He was elected MP for Oxford in the First and Second Protectorate Parliaments. In 1654, he was appointed to the Council of State and was a Commissioner of the Great Seal in 1655. Fiennes was a leading member of the faction that offered the Crown to Oliver Cromwell. He would support Richard Cromwell as Oliver's successor and was driven from office with the collapse of the Protectorate in 1659, after which he retired into private life.

Earl of Stamford

'Old Essex' would become Henry Grey, Earl of Stamford. Grey fought in the Bishops' Wars, but expressed sympathies and admiration for the Scots, no doubt due to his devout Puritanism. He fled Leicestershire in 1642 when both he and the Royalist supporting Lord Hastings tried to muster the local trained bands. Open fighting broke out within the trained bands as a result.

He would be commissioned as a colonel in Parliament's field army under the command of the Earl of Essex. Appointed Governor of Hereford he would earn some success raiding Royalist positions in Wales. In 1643 he took command of Parliament's troops in Devon he was driven from the county at the battle of Stratton. He retreated to Exeter, which he would quickly surrender after a brief siege. His military reputation in tatters he would withdraw from military matters, spending his time in Parliament. He would become disillusioned with the Protectorate and support Booth's Rebellion, which would earn him a spell of imprisonment. He would be pardoned upon the Restoration and outlive his heir, Lord Grey of Groby.

Manchester on one of the few Steel Fist horses to survive

The Earl of Manchester was already represented in my command figures, so 'old Manchester' would need to be repurposed so that the Steel Fist figure could become 'new Manchester'.

Major-General of Foot Lawrence Crawford

'Old Manchester' would become Major-General of Foot Lawrence Crawford. Crawford was a devout Scottish professional soldier who would command the foot of the Eastern Association. He fought in the armies of Christian IV of Denmark, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and Charles Louis, the Elector Palatine. In 1641, he had been a colonel of infantry under the Marquis of Ormond in the Irish Confederate War. Refusing to fight for Charles I when the army was recalled to England in 1643, he was arrested and gaoled. he would escape captivity to Scotland, from whence he travelled south to England, where he was granted a commission. In 1644 he was appointed Major-General of Foot of the Eastern Association. He and Cromwell were constantly at loggerheads, and after Marston Moor Cromwell called for his dismissal. Crawford refused to join the New Model Army and transferred to the Western Association. He would die fighting at Hereford in August 1645 and be buried at Gloucester Cathedral His memorial, in the Cathedral, would be removed during the Restoration.

Ireton mounted upon a Peter Pig horse

The Steel Fist pack contains an Ireton figure, so my 'old Henry Ireton' would need to be repurposed.


'Old Ireton' would become Colonel General Sydenham Poyntz. Poyntz had run away from his apprenticeship to become a mercenary soldier on the continent in 1625. An extensive career included fighting at Breitenfeld, Lützen, and Nordlingen. He returned to England in 1644 and replaced Major-General Lambert as commander of the Northern Association army. He outmanoeuvred King Charles on his march to join Montrose in Scotland, then defeated the Royalist horse at Rowton Heath.  He would then head south to the East Midlands reducing several Royalist strongholds in Nottinghamshire, before he initiated the final siege of Newark in November 1645, where he was joined by Lord Leven and the Covenanter army.

The disputes between Parliament and the Army in 1647 would become his downfall; Fairfax and Cromwell were suspicious of him, and Presbyterian MPs were hoping that he would support them against the New Modelled Army. In July Poyntz was dragged from his lodgings at York by mutinous men and taken as a prisoner to Fairfax's headquarters in Reading. Fairfax liberated him immediately, but he would be replaced as commander of the Northern Association. 

His involvement with Edward Massie and Sir William Waller in attempting to mobilise the City militia against the Independents and the New Model Army led to him going into exile.

During the Second Civil War he supported the King and the Engagers and would be commissioned as Major-General of Royalist forces in East Anglia. After the Royalist defeat at Preston he fled to the West Indies. The Commonwealth would send a fleet to hunt down these Royalists; Poyntz would disappear off the radar - possibly fleeing to Virginia.

Sir Thomas Myddelton

 Included in my sample pack from Steel Fist was a trooper: he has become Sir Thomas Myddleton of Chirk Castle. Sir Thomas Myddelton II was an MP having represented Weymouth and Melcombe Regis in the 1620s, before he represented Denbighshire in 1625, then again 1640-1648.

North Wales was, on the whole, sympathetic to the Crown, so it was somewhat unusual that Sir Thomas declared for Parliament. At the outbreak of war he was made Sergeant Major General of the Parliamentary forces in North Wales, and went off campaigning. In the summer of 1642 he returned to Wales to 'use his influence' to persuade the Welsh to side with Parliament. 

As a consequence the Royalist Colonel Robert Ellice seized Chirk Castle, in his absence in January 1643. A garrison was placed there under Sir John Watts, which remained in control of the castle for the rest of the war. Myddleton attempted to take his home back in December 1644, but failed after three days. The family eventually regained control of the castle by bribing the Royalist garrison.

Myddleton stood down from his commission due to the Self Denying Ordinance, and he returned, full time, to Parliament.

He did not agree with the Trial of Charles I, and he was expelled from Parliament. He would later join Booth's Rebellion in 1659, attempting to reinstate the monarchy. Chirk would be besieged by Lambert, the castle garrison surrendering to Parliament's forces in August. Myddleton and his brother were sent into exile. Sir Thomas's support for the Rebellion put him in favour with Charles II, and he would receive a number of items from Charles II in gratitude for his support.


The Steel Fist Cromwell figure would be utilised as Thomas Rainsborough. Rainsborough was the highest-ranking Parliamentarian officer who was supportive of the Levellers. Originally serving in the Parliamentarian navy he would transfer to land and be commissioned as a colonel of foot in the Eastern Association.

He and his regiment would transfer to the New Model Army, and he would fight at Naseby, where his regiment helped prevent a breakthrough by Prince Rupert's cavalry. He later participated in the Western Campaign, fighting with distinction at Langport, Bridgwater and Bristol. He would capture Berkeley Castle, before moving onto the siege of Oxford, which surrendered in June 1646. Rainsborough then helped conclude the siege of Worcester and was appointed governor of the town in July 1646

At the outbreak of the Second Civil War he had been made a vice admiral and had had his commission revoked due to his role in the Putney Debates. His famous contribution to the debates being:

...the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he; and therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear, that any man who is to live under a government ought first by his own consent put himself under that government; and...the poorest man in England is not that government he hath not had a voice to put himself under...

As friction and unrest grew, he would be restored to his rank of Vice-Admiral. Viewed with suspicion by the navy (who believed that he had been forced upon them by the army), he would soon return to the army.

In October 1648 Fairfax despatched Rainsborough to Yorkshire to take command of the siege of Pontefract Castle. The officer whom he superseded, Sir Henry Cholmley, complained bitterly of his supersession, and refused obedience to Rainsborough. Rainsborough retired to Doncaster, leaving Cholmley to continue the siege, until Parliament resolved the dispute. 

Thomas took lodgings at an inn in the Market Place. There are a number of different versions of events, but what is common to all versions is that three Royalists rode from Pontefract, and were allowed entry to the town, and then into Rainsborough's rooms. It is believed they intended to kidnap Rainsborough with the intention of using him as a bargaining tool for the release of Sir Marmaduke Langdale, or for more favourable terms at the inevitable capitulation of the castle. 

However, the kidnap attempt did not go according to plan and Thomas was brutally murdered. There must have been considerable collusion for the three kidnappers/murderers to be able to enter the town and gain access to Rainsborough's rooms so easily; a number of contemporaneous conspiracy theories exist as to who aided the kidnap attempt from a maid at the inn, to a secret cabal of freemasons opposed to the Levellers.

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