Tillier's Regiment


The Royal House of Stuart oversaw remarkable constitutional, religious and social change.  These included the:  Union of the Crowns, Gun Powder Plot, European Wars, Petition of Right, Civil Wars, Restoration, Monmouth Rebellion, Glorious Revolution and Act of Union.

House of Stuart Family Tree

Henry Tillier served as a soldier for Charles I. Below shows his timeline and select background events during his lifetime.

c.1600 Henry Tillier is likely low born and with limited prospects

James I, a protestant King, takes the throne and seeks to unify the Kingdoms of England (mainly Reformed Episcopalian in faith), Scotland (mainly Presbyterian) and Ireland (mainly Roman Catholic)

1605 As part of the Gun Powder Plot English Roman Catholics try to blow-up the King, Prince of Wales and Parliament
1618 The 30 Years' War begins with the Bohemian Revolt, when the authorities offer their throne to the Protestant Frederick V of the Palatinate, who accepts, initiating a conflict between the Protestant Union led by Frederick and the Roman Catholic House of Habsburg.
1620-24 James I supports sending troops, under command of De Vere, to reinforce the Palatine.  It is plausible this is Tillier’s first taste of campaigning.  However both Spain and the Holy Roman Empire launch successful attacks to seize the Palatine forcing Frederich V and Elizabeth to flee to the United Provinces (Netherlands).
1623 Prince Charles, advised by the Duke of Buckingham of ‘Three Musketeers’ fame, attempts to win the hand in marriage of the Spanish Infanta.  This was an attempt to remove Spain from the 30 Years’ War and allow Charles’ brother-in-law the chance to win back his country.  The Infanta turns down Charles offer.
1625 Charles I marries the French princess Henrietta Maria, who has a Roman Catholic faith.  As part of the treaty, negotiated for the French by Cardinal Richelieu, Charles sends English warships to help suppress a Huguenot (Protestant) rebellion in France.

As diplomacy with Spain fails Charles I is advised to go to war.  The Anglo-Spanish War lasts almost six years and the principal action is the ill-fated Cadiz Expedition of 1625 commanded by Edward Cecil.

Lieutenant Tillier serves in Captain Cromwell’s Company and survives, returning to England.
1627-29 Charles I is advised to support the Huguenot’s of La Rochelle by seizing Ile De Re.  The expedition, of 1627, fails with terrible losses through which Captain Tillier survives.  He somewhat resourcefully brings back troops to England.  This begins a short Anglo-French War.
1629-32 De Vere continues to serve with the Dutch this time in the campaign around Brabant which ends with the capture of Maastricht.  Tillier continues to serve alongside Cecil including at the siege of s’Hertogenbosch.

Tillier is appointed the Captain-Leader of the Military Company of Westminster after which he is appointed the Captain-Leader of the Society of the Artillery Garden, precursor of the 'Honourable Artillery Company'.  Here he uses his experience to train the citizen officers of the Trayned Bandes of London and its environs.

The King focuses on internal politics as, due to the peace treaties with France and Spain, he is kept out of the 30 Years’ War.  He supports Archbishop Laud’s religious reforms, the use of the Common Prayer Book and tries to raise cash through taxes like Ship Money as Parliament won’t provide all the resources the King requires.  These somewhat controversial policies leads to tension across the country.
1639-41 As part of the subsequent Bishop Wars in Scotland Captain Henry Tillier is appointed Comptroller of the Ordinances of Berwick.
1642-44 Tillier goes to Ireland to fight the rebellious Irish Confederacy as Lieutenant-Colonel in Hunckes Regiment.  Sometime in 1643 near Dublin he is appointed Colonel of a newly raised Regiment of veteran English and Irish folk.  With the cessation in Ireland and the capture of some ships at the first siege of Bristol the Royalist Army is shipped home.

Tillier lands in Wales with his Regiment and moves to Shrewsbury under the command of Prince Rupert of the Palatinate, nephew of Charles I.  Tillier’s troops are experienced and are soon selected for the force to relieve Newark and to take Longthorpe House.  Both actions are a success.
Already appointed Quarter-Master General in Rupert’s Army Tillier and his Regiment take part in the sieges of Stockport, Bolton, and Liverpool – where heroically Tillier leads the attack that breaches the defences – before relieving Lathom Castle.

Tillier is Sergeant-Major General of Rupert’s foot at Marston Moor and notably stays with the troops helping marshal the rear guard and is therefore captured.  This action allows the remnants of the Royalist Army to retreat following defeat by the allied army.  Tillier’s Regiment is subsequently present at the defeat at Montgomery Castle.

Shrewsbury is sacked whilst Tillier’s Regiment are out foraging and have to retreat back to Chester.  All those suspected of being Irish were hung by the Parliamentarians.
Whilst a prisoner in the Tower of London Tillier has his skull fractured by his gaoler.  When he recovers, from this notable maltreatment, he is exchanged for a Parliamentarian agent.
Tillier again serves as Sergeant-Major General at Naseby and the Regiment, whilst having fought bravely, is almost destroyed as part of the defeat by the larger New Model Army.  The list of Prisoners taken at Naseby Field include: "Captain Church. Captain Dikes. Lieutenant Busbirdge. Ensigns. Harrison. Bowen. Dillon. Loftus Senior. Loftus Junior” all from Tillier's Officers of Foot.  A green colour is taken by Parliament at Naseby which can be attributed to Tillier.  Following Naseby a company of Tillier’s marches into Oxford and in place of an Ensign a pike is carried with a green streamer attached.
Later in the year Tillier is present at the second siege of Bristol.  Badly outnumbered the garrison falls.  He signs the surrender document.  This is the end of the King’s hopes in the war as the resources of the second city are denied the Royalist cause.

Tillier marches with troops from Bristol to reinforce the Oxford garrison.

The last Royalist Army surrenders at Stow-on-the-Wold. 

Tillier is a co-signatory on the surrender letter of Oxford bringing the first English Civil War to a close.
1647 We next find Tillier based at St Germain Palace, Paris, with the court in exile with Princes Charles and James.  He is involved in negotiations with the Irish probably planning an uprising to support Charles I.  Parliament writes to him and orders him to return to England.

The short lived Second English Civil War ends in Royalist failure at Colchester and the 30 Years War draws to a close.

Parliament encourages adventurers to travel to Antigua plantations.  At around this time Tillier decides to buy a plantation in this English colony.
1649 Following the execution of Charles I Parliament creates the Commonwealth and Cromwell’s infamous Irish Campaign begins.
1650 Parliament prohibits trade with Antigua due to the rebellion on the plantations.

The Scots Campaign, also known as the third English Civil war, ends in Royalist failure at the Battle of Worcester.

Minister James Portus has his property seized by Parliament for having been Chaplain to Tillier’s Regiment in Oxford. 

Tillier dies in Antigua.  This leads us to ask the following: Did Tillier go to Antigua to make his fortune to then use to support the King in exile and thus to gain a title?  Did he go as an exile from Britain after Parliament discovered he had been corresponding with the Irish on behalf of the old King?  Did he cause Rebellion in the colonies to give a better chance of success for the forthcoming Third English Civil War or as a reaction to the killing of Charles I?  Did he die of disease as many Europeans did whilst in the colonies?  Did he die fighting in the rebellion?  Did he die penniless due to the trade sanctions imposed by Parliament?  Anyone of the answers would lead to a dramatic end to his story.

Most of the excellent pictures on this site are taken by the Sealed Knot's own Rusty Aldwinckle, please check out her site here.