In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Horseguards is named after the soldiers who have guarded it from 1660 until the present day. Up until 1788, they were called Horse Guards, divided into 4 Troops, 1st (The King's), 2nd (The Queen's), 3rd (The Duke of York's) and 4th (The Scottish). In 1746 they were reduced to 2 Troops, which in turn were amalgamated with 2 Troops of Horse Grenadier Guards to form the 2 Regiments of Life Guards.

The original Troops of Horse Guards were not ordinary soldiers as in the line regiments, they were 'gentlemen'. The 1st Troop were originally young men of noble birth who joined the exiled Prince Charles in France. Impressed by King Louis XIV's Household troops, Charles formed his own bodyguard with these men, placing them under the command of Lord Gerard of Brandon. When Charles returned to England on 25th May 1660 he was escorted to London by the King' Troop of Horse Guards. At Charles II's Coronation on April 23rd 1661, the two Troops were described in the Mercurius Publicus as follows:

Duke of York's Troop
"..the King's Horse Guard, all well mounted, having Buffe coates and white armour, their Horses furnished Hooses (being short ffoot cloth [sic] ) with red scarfes and plumes of red and white feathers....the van of all was led by the Guards of His Royal Highnesse the Duke of York commanded by S. Charles Berkeley, all having black armour, red, white and black feathers, red scarfes with belts of His Highness's livery..."

The Bangers
The Gallopers
The Cheesemongers
The Fly-slicers
The Piccadilly Butchers
The Roast and Boiled
The Ticky Tins
The Tin Bellies
The Patent Safeties
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Evil be to him who evil thinks
Regimental Marches
Men of Harlech (Quick)
The Slow March of 2nd Life Guards (Slow)
1788 - 1922
1788 - 1922
Successor Units
2nd Life Guards
(1660 - 1788)
The Life Guards
(1922 - )
Suggested Reading
History of the Household Cavalry
by Sir George Arthur
(Constable: 1909, 1926: 3 vols)
The Story of the First Life Guards
(Harrap: 1922)
Historical Record of the Life Guards
(London: Clowes: 1836)
Regimental Museum
Household Cavalry Museum
Combermere Barracks


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by Stephen Luscombe