The Garde Écossaise (French pronunciation: [ɡaʁd ekɔsɛz] , Scots Guard) was an elite Scottish military unit founded in 1418 by the Valois Charles VII of France, to be personal bodyguards to the French monarchy. They were assimilated into the Maison du Roi and later formed the first company of the Garde du Corps du Roi (Royal Bodyguard).
The House of Valois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the family founded cadet branches in Orléans, Anjou, Burgundy, and Alençon.
Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461, the fifth from the House of Valois.
The Maison du Roi was the name of the royal household of the King of France. It comprised the military, domestic and religious entourage of the French royal family during the Ancien Régime and Bourbon Restoration.
In 1450, King James II sent a company of 24 noble Scots under the command of Patrick de Spens, son of his custodian. This company takes the name of archiers du corps or gardes de la manche. On 31 August 1490, this company, these of Patry Folcart, Thomas Haliday and a part of the company of Robin Petitloch became the first company of archiers de la garde du roi under the command of Guillaume Stuier (Stuart). At the beginning la compagnie écossaise des gardes du corps du roi included 100 gardes du corps (25 bodyguards and 75 archiers). Each bodyguard had four men-at-arms under his command, (a squire, an archer, a cranequinier and a servant), one of them acquired the name of premier homme d'armes du royaume de France. They were finally disbanded in 1830 at the abdication of Charles X.
James II was a member of the House of Stewart who reigned as King of Scotland from 1437 until his death.
A crossbow is a type of elastic ranged weapon in similar principle to a bow, consisting of a bow-like assembly called a prod, mounted horizontally on a main frame called a tiller, which is handheld in a similar fashion to the stock of a long gun. It shoots arrow-like projectiles called bolts or quarrels. The medieval European crossbow was called by many other names, most of which were derived from the word ballista, an ancient Greek torsion siege engine similar in appearance.
Charles X was King of France from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. For most of his life he was known as the Count of Artois. An uncle of the uncrowned Louis XVII and younger brother to reigning kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, Charles became the leader of the ultra-royalists, a radical monarchist faction within the French court that affirmed rule by divine right and opposed the concessions towards liberals and guarantees of civil liberties granted by the Charter of 1814. Charles gained influence within the French court after the assassination of his son Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, in 1820 and eventually succeeded his brother in 1824.
Scottish warriors were believed to have fought for Charlemagne and later in the Armies of Charles the Simple in 882. It is only after 1295, however, and the agreements that would become known as the Auld Alliance, that there is documentary evidence of French soldiery in Scotland or Scottish soldiery in France. From the outset of the Hundred Years War, there were Scottish companies officially fighting for Philip IV of France. At the Battle of Poitiers, the 1st Earl of Douglas and the future 3rd Earl of Douglas fought for John II, where the future 3rd Earl was captured along with many Scottish knights, notwithstanding the French king himself. In the 1360s there were Scotsmen to be found in the army of Bertrand du Guesclin. In the early 15th century France was split into Armagnac- Burgundian civil strife following the descent into madness of Charles VI. Henry V of England saw his opportunity and allied himself with John the Fearless and invaded. The Dauphin despairingly sought allies, and found them amongst the Scots and the Castilians.
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and Holy Roman Emperor from 800. He united much of western and central Europe during the Early Middle Ages. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.
Charles III, called the Simple or the Straightforward, was the King of West Francia from 898 until 922 and the King of Lotharingia from 911 until 919–23. He was a member of the Carolingian dynasty.
The Auld Alliance was an alliance made in 1295 between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. The alliance was formed for the purpose of controlling England's numerous invasions. The Scots word auld, meaning old, has become a partly affectionate term for the long-lasting alliance between the two countries. It remained until the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560.
In 1418 Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany appointed his son, John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan, Chamberlain of Scotland to command the Scottish expeditionary force, the largest army that medieval Scotland had ever sent abroad. 7000-8000 men arrived at La Rochelle in October 1419 and made their way to Tours to greet the Dauphin. The first thing the future Charles VII did was to shower munificence upon the Scottish nobles. Buchan received Châtillon-sur-Indre, the Earl of Wigtoun received Dun-le-Roi, Sir John Stewart of Darnley received Concressault and Aubigny, and Thomas Seton the castle of Langeais. The Scottish leaders were persuaded to return to Scotland to recruit more troops. The Scottish leadership returned in 1420 with another 4000-5000 reinforcements. While their leaders were at home the Dauphin assigned the Scottish contingent throughout his armies and garrisons and picked a number, roughly one hundred of the best warriors, to be his personal body guard. The Scotsmen fought with distinction throughout France with a notable win at the Battle of Baugé in 1421, where the Duke of Clarence was said to have been felled by Buchan's Mace. The Scots faced a calamity at the Battle of Verneuil in 1424, when they lost 6000 men. Although saddened by the loss of so many of his loyal Scotsmen, Charles VII continued to honour the survivors. The Scots had a further setback at the Battle of the Herrings in 1429. The Scottish Army in France fragmented into free companies (a headache for the French state), and also into Compagnies d'ordonnance within the French Army.
Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, a member of the Scottish royal house, served as regent to three different Scottish monarchs. He also held the titles of Earl of Menteith, Earl of Fife, Earl of Buchan and Earl of Atholl, in addition to his 1398 creation as Duke of Albany. A ruthless politician, Albany was widely regarded as having caused the murder of his nephew, the Duke of Rothesay, and brother to the future King James I of Scotland. James was held in captivity in England for eighteen years, during which time Albany served as regent in Scotland, king in all but name. He died in 1420 and was succeeded by his son, Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany, who would be executed for treason when James returned to Scotland in 1425, almost causing the complete ruin of the Albany Stewarts.
La Rochelle is a city in western France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.
Tours is a city in the centre-west of France. It is the administrative centre of the Indre-et-Loire department and the largest city in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. In 2012, the city of Tours had 134,978 inhabitants, and the population of the whole metropolitan area was 483,744.
The King kept about him his Garde Écossaise. The Scottish Guards had likely protected him during the murder of John the Fearless at the bridge of Montereau, and rescued him from a fire in Gascony in 1442. Scottish Guards fell at the Battle of Montlhéry defending their King, Louis XI of France, in 1465.
John the Fearless was Duke of Burgundy as John I from 1404 until his death. A scion of the royal house of France, he played an important role in French affairs during the early 15th century, in particular the struggles to rule the country for the mentally ill King Charles VI and the Hundred Years' War with England. His rash, unscrupulous, and violent political dealings contributed to the eruption of the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War in France, and culminated in his assassination in 1419.
Montereau-Fault-Yonne, or simply Montereau, is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.
Gascony is an area of southwest France that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined, and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; by some they are seen to overlap, while others consider Gascony a part of Guyenne. Most definitions put Gascony east and south of Bordeaux.
The Garde Écossaise survived until the end of the Bourbon monarchy as the senior or Scottish Company of the Gardes du Corps (Body Guards). There were four companies of Body Guards and a detachment of them accompanied the French King wherever he went, posted guards on his sleeping place and even escorted his food from kitchen to table.
The Gardes-du-Corps was the senior formation of the King of France's Household Cavalry within the Maison militaire du roi de France.
During the reign of Francis I the garde were held up by blizzards near the Simplon Pass after a defeat at the Battle of Pavia in 1525. Some of the men reputedly settled there and their descendants became known as the "Lost Clan".
From the 16th century onwards recruitment of the unit was primarily from Frenchmen and the Scottish element gradually died out. The name was retained as were certain words of command which had originated in Scots.In 1632, the Earl of Enzie began to rebuild a Scottish regiment in France. There is sometimes confusion as to which unit actually held the title of Garde Écossaise, with several regiments in service often being conflated, especially those commanded by Sir John Hepburn, James Campbell, 1st Earl of Irvine (later commanded by Sir Robert Moray) and Colonel James Douglas. As an example some works recording Scots in action have simply applied the Garde Écossaise name, although referring to the Regiment de Douglas.
By the reign of Louis XV the Scottish Company numbered 21 officers and 330 men in a mounted unit which last saw active service when they escorted Louis at the Battle of Lawfeld on 1 July 1747. On this and other occasions the Scottish Company carried claymores with steel basket guards instead of the swords of the other French heavy cavalry. They were distinguished from the other companies of the Body Guards by wearing white bandoleers garnished with silver lace.
The Scottish Company provided a special detachment of 24 Gardes de la Manche (literally "Guards of the Sleeve") who stood in close attendance to the king during court ceremonies. The name indicated that they stood so close to the monarch as to be brushed by his sleeve. The Gardes de la Manche were distinguished by a heavily embroidered white and gold cassock which they wore over the blue and red and silver uniform of the Body Guard.
All four companies of the Body Guard were formally disbanded in 1791, although the aristocratic personnel of the regiment had dispersed following the closure of Versailles as a royal palace in October 1789.They were re-established at the time of the First Bourbon Restoration under an ordinance dated 25 May 1814. Until their final dissolution in 1830 the Senior Company retained the title of "les fiers Ecossais" (the proud Scots).
The Battle of Neville's Cross took place during the Second War of Scottish Independence on 17 October 1346, half a mile to the west of Durham, England, within sight of Durham Cathedral. An invading Scottish army of 12,000 led by King David II was defeated with heavy loss by an English army of approximately 6,000–7,000 men led by Lord Ralph Neville. The battle was named after an Anglo-Saxon stone cross on the hill where the Scots made their stand; after the victory, Neville paid to have a new cross erected to commemorate the day.
Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence was a medieval English prince and soldier, the second son of King Henry IV of England and brother of Henry V. He acted as councillor and aide to both. After the death of his father he participated in the military campaigns of his brother in France during the Hundred Years' War.
The Lord High Constable is a hereditary, now ceremonial, office of Scotland. In the order of precedence of Scotland, the office traditionally ranks above all titles except those of the Royal Family. The Lord High Constable was, after the King of Scots, the supreme officer of the Scottish army. He also performed judicial functions as the chief judge of the High Court of Constabulary. From the late 13th Century the Court – presided over by the Lord High Constable or his deputies – was empowered to judge all cases of rioting, disorder, bloodshed and murder if such crimes occurred within four miles of the King, the King's Council, or the Parliament of Scotland. Following James VI's move to England, the jurisdiction of the Lord High Constable was defined in terms of the "resident place" appointed for the Council.
The Great Officers of the Crown of France were the most important officers of state in the French royal court during the Ancien Régime and Bourbon Restoration. They were appointed by the King of France, with all but the Grand Chancellor of France being appointments for life. These positions were not transmissible nor hereditary.
The French Guards were an infantry regiment of the Military Household of the King of France under the Ancien Régime.
The Battle of Baugé, fought between the English and a Franco-Scots army on 22 March 1421 at Baugé, France, east of Angers, was a major defeat for the English in the Hundred Years' War. The English army was led by the king's brother Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence, while the Franco-Scots were led by both John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan, and Gilbert de Lafayette, the Marshal of France. English strength was 4,000 men, although only 1,500 deployed, against 5,000 French and Scots.
Stewart of Darnley was a notable Scots family, a branch of the Clan Stewart, who provided the English Stuart monarchs with their male-line Stuart descent, after the reunion of their branch with the royal Scottish branch, which led to the ultimate union of the two main kingdoms of Great Britain: England and Scotland.
John Stewart, Earl of Buchan was a Scottish nobleman and soldier who fought alongside Scotland's French allies during the Hundred Years War. In 1419 he was sent to France by his father the Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, with an army of 6,000 men. Stewart led the combined Franco-Scottish army at the Battle of Baugé on 21 March 1421, where he comprehensively defeated the English forces, proving that the English could at last be beaten. However, two years later, Stewart was defeated and captured by Thomas Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury at the Battle of Cravant in 1423. After the battle he was exchanged, and after his release in 1424 he was appointed Constable of France making him the effective Commander-in-Chief of the French army. On 17 August 1424 Buchan was killed at the disastrous Battle of Verneuil, along with most of the Scottish troops in France.
Bernard Stewart, 4th Lord of Aubigny was a French soldier, commander of the Garde Écossaise, and diplomat belonging to the Scottish family of Stewart of Darnley.
Robert Stewart, 5th Lord of Aubigny, Count of Beaumont-le-Roger, was a French soldier belonging to the family of Stewart of Darnley.
The Musketeers of the Guard or King's Musketeers ; full name - Musketeers of the military household of the King of France were a fighting company of the military branch of the Maison du Roi, the Royal Household of the French monarchy.
Lord James Douglas (1617–1645) was a Scottish nobleman and soldier.
Cherveux is a commune in the Deux-Sèvres department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in western France.
The maison militaire du roi de France, in English the military household of the king of France, was the military part of the French royal household or Maison du Roi under the Ancien Régime. The term only appeared in 1671, though such a gathering of units pre-dates this. Like the rest of the royal household, the military household was under the authority of the Secretary of State for the Maison du Roi, but it depended on the ordinaire des guerres for its budget. Under Louis XIV, these two officers of state were given joint command of the military household.
Sir John Stewart of Darnley, 1st Lord of Concressault and 1st Lord of Aubigny, Count of Évreux was a Scottish nobleman and prominent soldier during the Hundred Years War.
John Stewart, 3rd Lord of Aubigny and Concressault was a Scottish and French nobleman.
Ninian Cockburn was a Scottish soldier and officer of the Garde Écossaise, a company which guarded the French king. He had an ambiguous role in political relations between Scotland, France and England during the war of the Rough Wooing and the Scottish Reformation.
Charles I. Coskaer, marquis and later duc de La Vieuville was an important French noble and Superintendent of Finances of France from 1623 to 1624 and once again from 1651 to 1653.