Friday, 11 February 2011

Colonel William Ruthven's Regiment

I've been reading up on the 1642 - 1643 campaign in Cornwall and have been thinking about the options for the Parliamentarians. There are a number of specific units that should be included in any force including, for example, Lord Robartes redcoat regiment and the greycoat regiment of Sir John Merrick.

However, the unit that caught my attention was the Scots mercenary force of Colonel William Ruthven, the Parliamentarian commander of Plymouth by default:

''In early December 1642, Hopton secured the Cornish side of Plymouth Sound by occupying Mount Edgecumbe and Millbrook, but his attempts to blockade Plymouth itself were thwarted by the spirited defence conducted by Colonel William Ruthven, the Parliamentarian military governor. Ruthven commanded a regiment of Scottish mercenaries, which had been raiding rebel-held territory in Ireland. When the mercenaries put into Plymouth early in October, they were hired to defend the city pending the arrival of Lord Robartes with three newly-raised regiments. Ruthven mounted two amphibious raids across Plymouth Sound against the Royalist outpost at Millbrook.''

Now, it just so happens that my grandparents lived in Millbrook for over fifty years and my mother, uncle and aunt grew up there as a result. So, in the interests of family history, I think it would be only fitting to raise a regiment of Ruthven's Scots to battle it out for what is otherwise a completely insignificant village in the middle of nowhere.

I'm thinking of using the Warlord Scots Covenanter boxed set as a starting point for Ruthven's regiment, given that they have a distinct 'north of the border' appearance and would be an interesting unit to field alongside the conventional pike and shot regiments that I have planned. I doubt they looked very different from any other regiment at the time but, in the interests of period flavour and unit identity, I think a little imagination is allowed?

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