A history of the original regiment
Devereux’s regiment owes its origins to events that took place in the south west campaign of 1643. As Parliament’s fortunes in the region declined in the first half of 1643, extra regiments were hurriedly raised to counter the Royalist threat to Bristol and towns that supported their cause. Nicholas Devereux was awarded his commission by his relative the Earl of Essex in September 1643. Using the company that he had commanded in Thomas Essex’s regiment as a cadre for the new unit, Devereux recruited initially in Gloucestershire and subsequently in Wiltshire. Raised as a modern regiment armed with pikes and muskets, the newly raised musketeers were apparently issued with Swedish Feathers, or half pikes, to be used as a defence against cavalry. The new regiment’s initial posting was as part of the garrison of Gloucester. It was here that Devereux’s had their first taste of action as they took part in the epic month long siege of the city.
Once Gloucester had been relieved, its governor Edward Massey went over to the offensive and Devereux’s were in the vanguard of the assault. Royalist garrisons in the Forest of Dean and further east in the Cotswolds and Wiltshire were all stormed. The walled town of Malmesbury was captured in May 1644. The regiment was to garrison the town for the rest of the war, and Colonel Devereux was to become its Governor. During its time in Malmesbury the regiment also raised a troop of dragoons under the command of Captain Gravnes. With the regiment responsible for the defence of the town and its outlying villages, a unit of mounted troops would have been essential for reconnaissance, patrolling and the beating up of enemy outposts and quarters. In July 1644, the regiment was recorded as having a strength of over 500 men.
A painting of 1646 depicting the flags of Devereux's
regiment above the town of Malmesbury"
Devereux’s was not just another garrison regiment. It was to see action with the main field armies as well. A commanded unit of musketeers, numbering around 100 men, took part under Waller’s command at the battle of Cropredy Bridge on the 29th June 1644. Larger forces from the regiment were to take to the field with ‘marching armies’ in September that year. Early in 1645, a detachment of 200 musketeers escorted two large cannons in support of Waller’s operations in Wiltshire. Later, in September 1645 a large detachment was present at the siege of Devizes, and in November part of the regiment took part in an action at Lechlade in Gloucestershire which saw the rout of a large party of Royalists.
The defeat of the last Royalist army at Stow-on-the-Wold in March 1646 saw the end of major hostilities. Oxford, the King’s wartime capital surrendered in late June and effectively the fighting was over. Devereux’s regiment, its mission successfully accomplished was disbanded at Malmesbury in June of 1646.
Map drawn by regimental member Alan Turton
The regiment today
The new Devereux’s Regiment, established in the early 1970’s was one of the original units that founded the Roundhead Association. Its origins can be traced to a Sealed Knot regiment called Popham’s, raised in King Edward’s School, Bath.
Given the geographical location of the members, it was decided to rename the regiment after the civil war garrison of Malmesbury who had been staunch defenders of Gloucester and the mainstay of Massey’s Severn Valley campaign, Colonel Nicholas Devereux’s Regiment of foot. The regiment’s first re-enactment was at an early English Civil War Society event, were it took part in the weekend long defence of a deserted Welsh farmstead near Nant-y-Trachyn. It soon became one of the first reenactment groups to purchase and use authentic looking matchlock muskets.
Devereux’s, working with friends in three additional regiments have decided to adopt the same red coat with blue facings and when possible fight together on the battlefield. We also work very closely with Royalist regiments too. The Marquis of Winchester’s Regiment in the King’s Army of the West frequently works alongside us to produce entertaining events for the public to watch and sometimes get involved in.
To be a member of the regiment and take part in the events we attend, you need to be a fully paid up member of both the regiment and the Roundhead Association.
Regiment membership is £10 or £20 for the family (student/unwaged/over 60 £6)
Society Membership is £20 or £30 for a family (student/unwaged/over 60 £15)
Clothing and Equipment
Re-enacting can be an expensive hobby and it can be very daunting to know where to start. We can help you with the initial loan of spare kit to get you started and help you get on your feet. We will appoint a mentor that can advise you what to and what not to buy, and put you in touch with suppliers of approved clothing and equipment.
The regiment will supply pikes, and help you apply for a shot gun licence and black powder certificate should you wish to be a musketeer.
It is with gratitude I say that I was most impressed with Devereux’s regimental drill display. Both officers and soldiers had devised a plan that worked perfectly and you were all so crisp and professional there was time to add extra features to the commentary such as the drums and colours. You helped my commentary enormously and did yourselves proud at the same time. You looked every inch an organized New Model Army company of foot. I look forward to my next event with Devereux's.
Graham Webb, Event Commentator
"Devereux's regiment have authenticity going on without it getting in the way of actually having fun."
Rook Heath- new recruit
"I am just writing to thank you for your enthusiasm and professional throughout in dealing with our event enquires. At every point in the process, you have dealt with any queries promptly and with due diligence in making contact with you a real pleasure. I look forward to working with you in the near future and would recommend you without hesitation or reservation."
Rob Butler Historical Promotions and Event Management