Garde Écossaise


Garde Écossaise

The Scots Guards or "Garde Écossaise" (Scottish guard) was an elite Scottish military unit founded in 1418 by the Valois Charles VII of France, to be personal Body-guards 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 or "Life Guards". They were finally disbanded in 1830 at the abdication of Charles X.

History

Overview

Scottish warriors were believed to have fought for Charlemagne and later in the Armies of Charles the Simple in 882. It was not however, until 1295 and the agreements that would become known as the Auld Alliance, that there was much 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 are 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 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.

La Grande Armée Écossaise

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 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. However, 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.

Life Guards

However 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. There were Scottish Guards who fell at the Battle of Montlhéry defending their King ,Louis XI of France in 1465.

16th Century

17th Century

18th Century

Expand-section|date=June 2008 At the battle of Battle of Culloden 1745

19th Century and Final Disbandment

Uniform

Notable Guardsmen

*Bernard Stewart, Lord of Aubigny (1452-1508)
*Robert Stewart, Lord of Aubigny (1470-1544)
*Gabriel, comte de Montgomery (1530-1574)

References

Notes

Primary Sources


* Forbes-Leith, William, "The Scots Men-at-Arms and Life-Guards in France", Edinburgh, 1882, 2 vols.
*Brown, Michael. "The Black Douglases, War and Lordship in Late Medieval Scotland". Tuckwell, East Linton. 1998
*MacDougall, Norman. "An Antidote to the English-The Auld Alliance 1295-1560". Tuckwell, East Linton. 2001

econdary Sources


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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