Parliamentarian army - Rank Structure

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by sunami, Sep 9, 2012.

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  1. I decided to do a bit of research into my family history because in all honesty I knew absolutely sweet FA about them past a couple of generations, anyway more through luck than judgment and with a little help from a genealogist acquaintance I've managed to go back to around 1520 on the paternal side but only about three generations on the maternal side so far as they are mostly Chinooks.

    I've come across one relative, (Adam Baynes 1622-1670) Baynes, Adam (DNB00) - Wikisource, the free online library who was a Captain in the Parliamentarian army & by all accounts a wealthy York trader, landowner & eventually the first MP for Leeds (although he did spend a bit of time in the Tower).

    My question is, what was the rank structure within the Parliamentarian army, was a Captain on a par with the modern equivalent?
  2. 'Captain' was a fairly fluid concept, and so were the regiments of the day- Their were all sorts of landowners and gentry forming little militia 'regiments' from their tenants, and appointing themselves colonel, and all their relatives 'captains' . It depends on whether he was a captain in the later part of the War, when the more organised 'New Model' Army was around, or in the more chaotic early part.
  3. As far as I can tell he was in both, he also served in Ireland in the New Model Army as a Captain AFAIK although no rank is mentioned specifically then.
  4. In the New Model Army proper Cromwell titsed off the aristocracy on the Parliamentarian side who had assumed that they and their sons would take up what they considered to be their rightful place as Cavalry Officers. He found them to be useless fops by and large, inacpable of following orders beyond the first charge, always galloping off to persue personal glory instead of forming back up where they were needed to make another charge.

    He often promoted troopers from the ranks to lead troops, if they could read the bible and understand the scripture properly, not just reading it back by rote, it meant they had the education and the moral leanings he was looking for, if they were truly observant protestants it also meant they would follow orders.

    This was the direct result of the educational and social mobilty created by the King James bible, which is possibly one of the most important books ever printed in England.
  5. the irony is when I was at school history consisted solely of the English Civil war, I was so enraptured with it I joined the orchestra instead. Maybe if I'd known I had a distant relative involved that I could relate to I may have done otherwise.

    The more I read about the guy the more I like him. Anti William Wilberforce, land grabber et al.

    I'd love to know where all the wealth went because it certainly never came in this direction. :)

  6. It stayed where it always had been - in the hands of the chinless inbreds, it was only the ones who crossed him who lost land and title.

    The aristocracy did not go away, Cromwell had no problem hanging the Levellers and he also reformed the Navy and ruthlessly put down an early attempt by the American colonials to become independent of England, they exploited the civil war as they thought the eyes of both the Crown and Cromwell were off them.
  7. Oh well, I've found out why I'm not a member of the landed gentry, still the lad done well;

  8. ve you been to either of the battles in which your ancestor fought? Adwalton and Marston Moor are both Registered battlefields. We run annual walks at both locations.
  9. I remember researching "the Noddle" some time ago, and thought there are fewer records at the National Archives about Parliamentarians, than there are for Royalists from that period. But if I have this right, the New Model Army MA pretty much held Cromwell's Protectorate together though expensive to maintain. Also that Cromwell "wrote" "he'd rather have a plain, russet-coated captain that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that which you call a gentleman and is nothing else." In other words, officers promoted on merit and not because of some status. There were Brewers and Shoemakers at the rank of Colonel. The 1645 NMA win at Naseby saw earlier, smaller armies disbanded or absorbed in to the NMA with Fairfax as over all commander of Parliament forces by 1647. Followed by Cromwell as CinC when Fairfax refused to invade Charles II in Scotland. Cromwell took the NMA to victory over Scotland and the Royalists , ending the civil wars and having suffered one defeat in Ireland. Why tell all this? After the Stuart restoration, General Monck's Regiment of Foot became the (King's ) Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, now the oldest, but not senior, regular regiment in continuous service and perhaps the only link to the New Model Army.
  10. There are fewer records associated with the Parliamentarian armies than the Royalists because after 1660 the Parliamentarians were traitors.

    There are some other remnants of the New Model Army besides the Coldstream Guards. The Blues and Royals trace their lineage to the Regiment of Cuirassiers founded in 1650 by Sir Arthur Hazlerigg as part of the New Model Army.

    The PWRR also have a claim to originate in the armies of the Civil War. After the reformation the the New Model Army troops in the Dunkirk garrison were merged with the Royalist Troops in the service of Spain. (The fact that these two bodies of troops had been in battle against each other only months earlier must have made for some interesting bar discussions.) Charles II handed Dunkirk over the the French but shipped the troops to Tangiers which was Catherine of Braganza dowry, forming the the 2nd of Foot. So even though thre was no regiment predatig the 2nd of Foot it was formed from soldiers whose continuous military service overlapped the restoration.

    And the HAC predate the NMA having provided the officers for the trained bands of London fighting at Edgehill, Brentford, Newbury etc.
  11. A Captain is the commander of a Company of Foot or Troop of Horse. It's the rank that matters at the time. A senior Officer was commissioned as, for example, Colonel of a Regiment of Foot and Captain of a Company of Foot. Even Robert, Earl of Essex, Lord General of Parliament's army was commissioned as LG, Colonel and Captain.....