Earl Rivers’ Regiment history

John Savage returned back to his home in Cheshire at the beginning of these unhappy differences between the King and Parliament. He was strictly commanded by the King to attend him at York, where under His Majesty’s special command he undertook the Execution of the Commission of Array for the County of Cheshire, and that afterwards he raised a Regiment of Foote.

John Savage waited upon the king at Hatton Heath, Cheshire in September 1642, and on 17th September 1642 it was reported that “Earl Rivers hath five pieces of ordnance, ten barrels of powder and 60 bullets (shot) landed at Frodsharn”.

A Company under Captain Walter Primrose, a local man from Frodsham, was detached to hold Halton Castle.

When the King reached Shrewsbury on the 20th September he was joined by the Regiments of Rivers, Fitton and Sir Thomas Aston.

The Regiment took part in the attempted storming of Worcester on 25th September 1642 when it was noted in a letter that after the retreat of the Earl of Lindsay, Earl Rivers with his venomous spleen and envy brought up his Foote, thinking to have brought his devilish desires to perfection, and to have fired the Towne.

On the 12th October the Regiment was quartered at Stockton near Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

Earl Rivers’ Regiment was called south and joined the Kings army at Bridgenorth on 13 October 1642. And thereafter marched to Edgehill where they took part in the battle 23rd October 1642 This is evidenced by petitions of drummer Ralph Dodd of Tiverton in Captain Henry Bennets company, William Adderton of Tarvin under John Boys, Sergeant Thomas Jace under Captain Edward Donne and William Woodfine under Earl Rivers.

The Regiment would appear to number around 350 men using the typical calculations of Peter Young which are based upon a pay warrant of 16th November 1642.

On 5th November 1642 Lt,Col. Boys signed for powder and bullets and on the 12th November Lieutenant Thomas Daniell was killed at the storming of Brentford.

On 5-6th December the Regiment in conjunction with Col. Edward Greys Dragoons attacked the North-East side of Marlborough but were forced to retreat. However at the same time Sir William Pennymans Regiment attacked the weaker defended North-West side and after a three hour fight broke into the town. After this action they were quartered in Wallingford along with Thomas Blagges Foot and Lord Digbys Horse, they moved on to join the Kings Oxford Army the following summer.

There is a possibility that the Regiment was in the Tertio of John Belasyse at Edghill with the Regiments of Belasyse, Pennyman and Blagge as the latter two Regiments took part in the capture of Marlborough and Blagges Regiment took part at the storming of Brentford in conjunction with Earl Rivers Regiment.

Meanwhile 19th June 1643 the Company in Halton Castle were being besieged and Captain Primrose issued from the Castle with 32 of his soldiers and killed one of the besiegers guards and captured 20 good muskets with match and bullets together with good store of provisions. The following evening the rebels appeared before the Castle and Primrose’s Company issued Forth and killed a further 10.

Several pieces of Ordnance were brought from Warrington by the rebels but the Captain hung out his Flag of defiance resolving to lose his life rather than the Castle. The Castle is said by Vicars to have been taken by Brereton around 22nd July 1643.

On the 18th July 1643 Prince Rupert with 14 Regiments left Oxford and marched to the west of England with the intention of capturing Bristol. The Regiment was in Lord Grandisons Brigade which consisted of the Lord Generals, Lord Molyneux, Sir Gilbert Gerard, Sir Ralph Durton and Col.John Owens Foot.

On the 26 July 2 parties, each of 50 musketeers from Rivers, were used to cover the attack on the gate of Priors Fort, which unfortunately was unsuccessful, largely due to the failure of the Petard to breach the gate. Although the Brigades attack failed Colonel Wentworths Tertio successfully breached the outer defences near Windmill Hill fort to the North West and the defenders under Nathaniel Fiennes requested terms for the surrender, Bristol was surrendered the next day.

After this the Regiment was present at the siege of Gloucester in August 1643 where Captain Peter Daniel received wounds, he later died in Oxford. The unfortunate Daniel brothers were the sons of a Cheshire MP. They had at least two other brothers who fought for parliament; John and William. John Daniell was a London Apprentice. The two brothers both later joined as officers in Sir William Brereton army. William went on to have commands in the new model army and made it as a colonel at Dunbar in 1650. Such was the effect of the war that it split families apart.

The Regiment fought at the first battle of Newbury on 20 September 1643 and immediately after the battle the Regiment, under Lt. Col. Boys were placed in Donnington Castle. The Regiment consisted of 200 men and had 25 horse and 4 guns. The troop of Horse was commanded by Captain Tailor and called the Governors Troop.

Earl Rivers sat in the Oxford Parliament and appears not to have taken any active participation with the Regiment, the command was handed over to his Liet-Colonel, John Boys who was the Governor at Donnington Castle.