What was the Royal Scots Army?


The Scots Army (Scots: Scots Airmy), was the army of the Kingdom of Scotland between the Restoration in 1660 and the Acts of Union of 1707.

A small standing army was established at the Restoration, which was mainly engaged in opposing Covenanter rebellions and guerrilla warfare pursued by the Cameronians in the East. There were also attempts to found a larger militia.

By the Glorious Revolution in 1688-1689 the standing army was over 3,500 men. Several new regiments were raised to defend the new regime and, although some were soon disbanded several took part in William II’s continental wars.

By the time of the Act of Union in 1707, the army had seven units of infantry, two of horse and one troop of Horse Guards. Early units wore grey, but adopted red like the English army after 1684. In 1707 the existing regiments were incorporated into the British Army and new Scottish and particularly Highland regiments would be raised from the 1740s, some of which had a long history within the army.


At the Restoration in 1660 the Privy Council of Scotland established a force of several infantry regiments and a few troops of horse to act as a standing army. These included a troop of Life Guards, a second troop of which was raised in 1661, Lieutenant-general William Drummond’s Regiment of Horse, five independent troops of horse, a regiment of Foot Guards, later known as the Scots Guards and Le Regiment de Douglas, formed and serving in France since 1633, which returned and eventually became the Royal Regiment of Foot. There were also attempts to found a national militia of 20,000 foot and 2,000 horse on the English model. The standing army was mainly employed in the suppression of Covenanter rebellions and the guerrilla war undertaken by the Cameronians in the East. In addition a “Foote Company of Highland Men” was raised and three troops of Scots Dragoons in 1678. Another three were added to make The Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons in 1681, by which point they were already mounted on grey horses that would give them their name of the Royal Scots Greys. On the eve of the Glorious Revolution the standing army in Scotland was about 3,000 men in various regiments and another 268 veterans in the major garrison towns, at an annual cost of about £80,000.

After the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689 ten regiments were raised for the defence of the regime. Some were soon disbanded, but others served against Jacobite rebels, in Ireland and increasingly in William II’s continental wars, beginning with the Nine Years’ War in Flanders (1689-1697). Their role was of such importance that the Scots Parliament forced Queen Anne to give royal assent to the controversial 1704 Act of Security by threatening to withdraw all Scottish forces back out of the Confederate armies. By the time of the Act of Union in 1707, the Kingdom of Scotland had a standing army of seven units of infantry, two of horse and one troop of Horse Guards, besides varying levels of fortress artillery in the garrison castles of Edinburgh, Dumbarton, and Stirling. The new British Army created by the Act of Union incorporated the existing Scottish regiments and some units would have a long regimental history, while new Scottish regiments, particularly of Highlanders, would be raised from the 1740s.


Early units were probably dressed in homespun woollen cloth of hodden grey, which had been used during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in the 1640s. Dragoons continued to wear grey, but from 1684 red cloth was imported from England to make uniforms that matched those of the English army. The dragoons also eventually adopted red. Militia units may have been uniformed in blue. Units were differentiated by contrasting colours visible on the collars and cuffs on a regimental basis.

Regimental Histories

The following is a list of regiments commissioned between 1660 and 1707.

Name/first colonelDate commissionedOther colonels/namesDate disbanded
Lieutenant General William Drummond’s Horse1660?
1st Troop of Life Guards16604th Troop of Horse Guards 17091746
2nd Troop of Life Guards16611663
3rd Troop of Life Guards1663-16641676
Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons1694Royal North British Dragoons 1707, 2nd Dragoons 1717, 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) 1877Amalgamated 1971
Royal Regiment of Foot1633His Majesty’s Royal Regiment of Foot 1684, 1st (Royal) Regiment of Foot 1751
Marquis of Argyll’s Royal Regiment1642Life Guard of Foot 1650, His Majesty’s Foot Guards 1661, 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards 1714
Lieutenant General Thomas Dalyell’s Foot16661667
Sir William Lockhart’s Foot16721674
Sir George Munro’s Foot16741676
Earl of Mar’s Foot1677Royal Scots Fusiliers 1695Amalgamated 1959
Lord Douglas’s Foot16781679
John Wauchope’s Foot16881717
Lord Bargany’s Foot16891689
Lord Blantyre’s Foot16891689
Earl of Glencairn’s Foot16891689
Earl of Mar’s Foot16891689
Lord Strathnaver’s 1st Foot16891690
Grant’s Foot16891690
Laird of Grant’s Foot16891691
Viscount Kenmure’s Foot16891691
Earl of Argyll’s Foot1689John Lord Lorne 16941698
John Hill’s Foot16891698
Richard Cunningham’s Foot16891698
Sir James Moncrief’s Foot1689George Hamilton 16941714
Earl of Angus’s Foot1689Cameronians, 26th Foot 1751Amalgamated 1881
Lord Leven’s Foot1689Semphill’s Foot c. 1745, 25th Foot 1751, King’s Own Borderers 1805Amalgamated 2006
John Hill’s Foot16901698
William Douglas’s 1st Foot1694?
William Douglas’s 2nd Foot16941697
Lord John Murray’s Foot1694Earl of Tullibardine1697
Lord Lindsay (later Lord Crawford)’s Foot16941697
Robert Mackay’s 1st Foot??
Robert Mackay’s 2nd Foot?1697
Lord Strathnaver’s 2nd Foot1698John Lord Lorne 1702, John Marquis of Tullibardine1717
Lord Strathnaver’s 3rd Foot17021713
Earl of Mar’s Foot1702Alexander Grant 17061713
Lieutenant Colonel George MacCartney’s Foot17041713

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