Colours to the rear!!
Ralph Hopton was born at Witham Friary, Somerset, in the second week of March 1596, and baptized on the 13th in the parish church of Evercreech. His parents Robert and Jane had two sons and four daughters, of which Ralph was the eldest. The family was comfortably off, and while they could be described as gentry, were certainly not rich. Grammar school educated (almost certainly King's School, Bruton), he initially started a career in Law by joining the Middle Temple on 14th February 1614, also studying at Lincoln College Oxford. Very quickly it became evident that he was more interested in military affairs, and volunteered to join Sir Horace Vere's expedition fighting for the Protestant cause in the Germanic wars. It was during his time on the continent that he made his famous friendship with William Waller, and also proved his bravery when he helped Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia escape from Prague. Hopton rose through the military ranks, and during periods at home became involved in the Trained Bands, the militia of the days. He married Elizabeth Lewin, widow of Sir Justian Lewin on 18th March 1623, and was made Knight of the Bath at King Charles' coronation on 2nd February 1626 in recognition of his military service.
Lord Hopton's Regiment of Foote website link: http://www.lordhoptonsregiment.co.uk