Napoleonic, WSS & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday 7 February 2016

ECW - Boldon Hill - homework

[Map with thanks to Stuart Reid]
Further to an earlier post on this subject, I am hoping to get a lot more free time at home, beginning within the next week or so, so am planning to stage the aforementioned ECW battle on 16th or 17th Feb - if it seems odd to make the planning so formal, I can only say that if I write the date in the diary now then it is probably going to take place!

The intention is to fight the Battle of Boldon Hill (also known as Hylton), which took place on 24th March 1644 a few miles west of Sunderland. My guest opponent for the evening, David, is a man from this area (he has an uncle who lives in Cleadon - see map!), which is why I chose this particular battle. Since David is new to wargaming, we'll use a very simple set of rules - probably the C&CN-derived set, but using a dice-based activation system instead of the cards.

The actual historical action was rather odd - the armies were of about the same size, and the hedged enclosures surrounding a couple of the villages made the terrain difficult for the Royalist Horse, so no fighting took place until around 5pm, by which time, in March in Northumberland, the light must have been fading fast. Combat was restricted to the Foot of both sides, though some Scots dragoons were involved, and the firefight lasted until late in the night. There were moderate losses on both sides, and the Royalists withdrew towards Durham, their cavalry protecting their retreat. The real battle, then, might be regarded as indecisive, but it was one of a series of episodes in this campaign in which the Royalists progressively lost advantage of position and initiative - the forces were probably pretty evenly matched, but the Marquis of Newcastle was repeatedly outmanoeuvred by Lord Leven.

I have assembled an OOB from a variety of sources - mostly secondary. Unusually, the Royalist side has the sketchier recorded history in this campaign. What follows is partly established fact, partly an educated guess based on who was in the area. For example, the exact nature of the force which Lumsden detached from the besieging force at Newcastle in order to reinforce Leven's field army is not known.

Boldon Hill – 24th March 1644

Army of the Solemn League & Covenant (Lord General Alexander Leslie, Lord Leven)

Horse (Maj.Gen David Leslie) – approx 1600

Lord Kirkcubright’s RoH (Lt.Col James Mercer of Aldie)
Earl of Leven’s RoH (Lt.Col James Ballantyne)
Maj-Gen David Leslie’s RoH (Lt.Col Sir John Brown)
Col. Hew Fraser’s Dragoons (Maj. John Munro)

Foot (Maj.Gen Sir James Lumsden) – approx 5200

Sir Alexander Hamilton’s RoF [Clydesdale] (Lt.Col Wm Carmichael)
Earl of Loudoun’s RoF [Glasgow] (Lt.Col Robt Home)
Earl of Lindsay’s RoF [Fife] (Lt.Col Thos Moffat)
Lord Livingston’s RoF [Stirlingshire] (Lt.Col Andrew Bruce)
Earl of Lothian’s RoF [Teviotdale] (Lt.Col Patrick Leslie)
Master of Yester’s RoF [Linlithgow & Tweeddale] (Lt.Col Wm Johnston)
Earl of Buccleuch’s RoF [Tweeddale] (Lt.Col Walter Scott)
Earl of Cassillis’ RoF [Kyle & Carrick] (Lt.Col John Kennedy)

1 heavy gun, 2 light, 1 frame

Army of King Charles (Wm Cavendish, Marquis of Newcastle)

Horse (Sir Chas Lucas) – approx 2000

Lord Mansfield’s RoH (Lt.Col Sir Francis Wortley)
Sir Richard Tempest’s RoH [Durham] (Lt.Col Sir Francis Liddell)
Sir Edward Widdrington’s RoH [Northumberland] (Lt.Col Henry Constable)
Sir William Widdrington’s RoH [Northumberland] (Lt.Col John Thornton)
Col. Francis Stuart’s RoH [Northumberland] (Maj. Nicolas Burnet)

Foot (Lord Eythin) – approx 4300

Marquis of Newcastle’s RoF (Lt.Col Sir Arthur Basset)
Col. Charles Brandling’s RoF [Northumberland] (Lt.Col Robt Brandling)
Sir Wm Lambton’s RoF [Durham] (Lt.Col Henry Lambton)
Col. John Hylton’s RoF [Durham] (Lt.Col Lynsley Wren)
Col. John Lamplugh’s RoF [Cumberland] (Maj. Christopher Dudley)
Durham Trained Band (Maj. Arthur Swindells)
Commanded Shot (Maj. Wm Wray)

3 medium guns


  1. Looks good Tony. I look forward to seeing it on the table top. You must have a lot of hedges Hidden away.

    1. Good morning, young sir - I think we'll scale down the field margins to a representative couple of hedges, otherwise we might only prove that the decision not to engage fully in 1644 was the correct one! I have plenty of hedges, I think, but I have to paint up a stream, and (I don't have my soldiers here to check), I'm scratching my head, wondering if I have as many bluebonnets as I think I have!

  2. I received an email from the ever-observant Martin, who had noticed that the OOB includes both a Sir Francis Liddell [Lidl] and a James Mercer of Aldie [Aldi], and was looking to see if there was an extravagant joke involving a retail theme here (No Lt.Col Waitrose, for example), but decided against it, despite the presence of Major Swindells.

    My sides have only just stopped aching, I have to say.