Militia Men, Recruits and Volunteers

Bottesford Men in C18th and C19th Military Records

Kate Pugh

A Militia Meeting James Bretherton
A Militia Meeting James Bretherton
Recruits H.W. Bunbury
Recruits H.W. Bunbury
The Belvoir Volunteers
The Belvoir Volunteers
The Belvoir Battalion of the 'Old Volunteers'. Far left: Frank Lenton, 3rd from left, seated: Richard John Kettleborrow, far right: Philip Sutton, 2nd from the right: Jack Bonser
The Belvoir Battalion of the 'Old Volunteers'. Far left: Frank Lenton, 3rd from left, seated: Richard John Kettleborrow, far right: Philip Sutton, 2nd from the right: Jack Bonser
The Bottesford Brass Band, Volunteer Band of the Belvoir Rifle Corps
The Bottesford Brass Band, Volunteer Band of the Belvoir Rifle Corps
Grantham Journal, April 1st 1882
Grantham Journal, April 1st 1882
Militia Men, Recruits and Volunteers
Certificate of Good Service, Corporal Frank Norris, 'Seven times marksman. A good volunteer.'
Certificate of Good Service, Corporal Frank Norris, 'Seven times marksman. A good volunteer.'
No. 2049 Corporal Frank Norris, 1st Volunteer Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, 1884 - 1892
No. 2049 Corporal Frank Norris, 1st Volunteer Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, 1884 - 1892

The Militia

The earliest military records we have so far found for Bottesford date from the 1792 Militia Muster Rolls. The militia was organised by county, under the control of the Lord Lieutenant. Every parish was required to supply a quota of eligible (Protestant) men whose names were recorded on the muster rolls. The militia might be embodied at times of national emergency when invasion was feared and might also be employed to suppress popular uprising. In Leicestershire and elsewhere they broke up Quaker meetings and gatherings of dissenters and searched the houses of Roman Catholics for weapons.

The usefulness of the militia as a military force in the face of foreign invaders was doubtful and during the Eighteenth century when England was at war attempts were made to improve their effectiveness. The Militia Act of 1757 required parish constables to compile lists of all males between the ages of 18 and 50. From these lists those men who were liable for militia service were chosen by lot. Leicestershire had to raise 560 men, whose duties involved guarding prisoners of war and manning the defences of various coastal towns. They were not compelled to serve overseas.

It was possible to opt out of military service by paying for a substitute. Parishes, or groups of men, set up funds to pay for substitutes and advertisements for ‘Likely Young  Men’ willing to serve appeared in the local newspapers. Inevitably, this resulted in a militia composed largely of the poor.

For a detailed account of the Leicestershire militia, see Passing Muster – The Militia in Leicestershire and Rutland on the 250th anniversary of the Militia Act of 1757by Robin P Jenkins, Keeper of Archives Record Office for Leicestershire, 2007.

(The information below was taken from transcriptions of records in the National Archives or the Record Office for Leicestershire and Rutland made by Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society CD76 Sept 2008. Additional information gleaned from parish registers has been added in brackets.)

Militia Musters 1792 Lotted Men and Substitutes

 Lotted: Robert Brown of Bottesford     Substitute: Carter Elliott

(Robert Brown born c.1756, married Jan 3rd 1792, buried 29th Aug. 1807)

Lotted: William Elding of Bottesford     Substitute: Thomas Turpin

Lotted: William Monks of Bottesford     Substitute: Thomas Hunt

(Probably William Monk, christened 1st Feb 1769, son of George Monk and Ann nee Burrows. Married Catherine Asher 11th April 1791)

Lotted: Jos Ragsdale of Bottesford      Substitute: John Sketchley

(Probably Joseph Ragsdale, christened 1st Jan 1772, son of Richard Ragsdale and Elizabeth nee Streeton, Married Anna Daniel 7th Oct. 1793)

Lotted: Thomas Eason of Muston       Substitute: William Jones

(Could be transcription error for Thomas Geeson, christened 24th Jan. 1762, son of William and Elizabeth Geeson)

There are no records for any of the substitutes in the Bottesford or Muston Registers, so presumably they came from other parishes.

Recruits

Some records also exist of Bottesford men who enlisted, including two who served at Waterloo..

Leicestershire Military Index Vol. 1

Royal Marines Enlisted 1755 – 1820 born in Leicestershire & Rutland

Francis Riley     24       Miller                           Bottesford             enlisted 5/9/1799

ADM 158/173 Woolwich Division Description Books

William Bend    17       Baker                           Bottesford         enlisted 22/3/1813 Private

ADM 158/36 Woolwich Division Description Books

National Archives

Chelsea Pensioners Applications for Out Pensions from men born in Leicestershire & Rutland

Notes

Date is that under which entry is to be found.

Age is that at time of application for pension.

Number preceding name is the index number in WO 116 piece numbers 17-40 & 41-59

Age will not necessarily match years of service, since service years were weighted for rank, service at home or abroad, service at Waterloo, which counted for 2 years.

This is a summary only. The full entries held in the National Archives give more details of service.

Out Pension Books of the Chelsea Hospital 1814–1831

 WO 116/27 29th April 1818

460 Paling Wheatley 22nd Dragoons, age 44, served 34years 2 months, born Butterford. Civilian occupation tailor

WO 116/32 December 1821

756 Jn Royte 46th Foot age 22 served 2 years 2 months born Boddersford. Civilian occupation shoemaker

Out Pension Books of the Chelsea Hospital 1832 – 1855

 WO 116/42 8th January 1834

45 Matthew Lamb 7th Hussars, age 43, served 27yrs inc. Waterloo. Farrier. Born Bottesford nr Grantham Civilian occupation farrier

(Matthew Lamb baptised 11 March 1701, son of Robert Lamb & Mary nee Cragg)

WO 116/48 22nd April 1840

210 Jn Broughton 10th Hussars, age 46, served 28years 1 month inc. Waterloo. Private. Born Bottesford, Leics Civilian occupation shoemaker

WO 116/52 10th December 1844

335 William Hardy 59th Foot, age 40, served 21 years 2 months. Private. Born Bottesford, Leics Civilian occupation labourer.

(William Hardy baptised 21st April 1804 3rd son & 5th child of John Hardy and Sarah nee Lamb)

WO 116/54 10th June 1846

378 Rowland Herring 14th Dragoons (also served in11th Dragoons) age 40, served 20 years 10 months. Private.  Born Bottesford, Leics. Civilan occupation compositor.

WO 116/58 10th September 1850

535 Henry Hodgkinson 32nd Foot, age 30, served 9 years 11 months. Private. Born Batterford nr. Bingham, Leics. Civilian occupation labourer.

WO 116/56 6th June 1848

451 Jn Richards 45th Foot, age 28, served 7 years 1 month. Private. Born Muston, Leics. Civilian occupation joiner.

(John Richards, baptised 25th June 1820, son of George and Elizabeth. Father a publican, possibly of the Wheatsheaf Inn, Muston)

Leicestershire Regimental Enlistment Register 1886 -1899 

Name                 Age    Occupation Religion  Birthplace            Date Joined Regiment

Herbert Bockin  20       Groom       C.of E.     Bottesford         13/9/94        Royal Artillery (gunner)

(born 1874, son of John and Elizabeth Bocking, Wright’s Yard)

James Kelley     18      Labourer    C.of E.     Bottesford NTT 20/10/87     Discharged

Volunteers

After 1820 the militia became a volunteer force. Volunteers did basic training and then returned to their civilian occupations, attending training camps annually. They were paid a retainer which could be a useful supplement to agricultural wages.

In 1858 further invasion threats and renewed outbreaks of patriotic fervour led to the formation of volunteer rifle corps. They provided their own drums and equipment and designed their own uniforms.

1861/62 Muster No. 2 Company Duke of Rutland’s Rifles

R.D. Orton 1861/62               No.2 Company 17/2/60           Bottesford

(born 1829. Employed on the farm of his aunt, Margaret Barton)

John Parnham 1861/62           No. 2 Company 17/2/60          Bottesford (cattledealer,38,  born Whatton, Notts, 1823, Easthorpe Lodge)

Joseph Challands 1861/62       No. 2 Company 17/2/60          Bottesford (stonemason, 25, born Bottesford 1835,  living with uncle Wm Challands,builder & brickmaker, High St)

William Debele 1861/62          No. 2 Company 17/2/60          Bottesford (Daybell? 24, born Balderton, Notts., Butcher, High St.)

Thomas Hoe  1861/62            No. 2 Company 17/3/60          Bottesford (Brick & Tilemaker, 53, born Easthorpe,  Grantham Rd)

Joseph Scrimshaw1861/62      No. 2 Company 17/2/60          Bottesford (Farmer’s son, 22, born Bottesford. Father Joseph, 65, farmed 115 acres)

Thomas Spalton 1861             No. 2 Company 17/2/60          Bottesford (Farmer, 150 acres, employing 3 labourers, a dairy maid and a nurse maid, 2 carters and a groom, born Easthorpe)

William Sutton 1861/62          No. 2 Company 20/6/61          Bottesford (Fellmonger, born 1829, son of John and Mary Sutton.)

Francis Vincent 1861/62          No. 2 Company 17/2/60          Bottesford (Farmer 360 acres, employing 10 labourers.)

James Wright 1862                 No. 2 Company 17/2/60          Bottesford

(born 1824, East Bridgeford, Notts. Apothecary and General Practitioner, member of the College of Surgeons. LivedHigh Street, wife, Mary, 28, 3 children & 3 servants.)

Boyfield Padget 1861               No. 2 Company 17/2/60          Muston (Farmer 220 acres, buried 13th. Feb. 1879)

William Shaw 1861                  No. 2 Company 24/4/61          Muston Gorse (Grandson of John Read, Farmer 86 acres, born Woolsthorpe, Lincs.employing 1 labourer and 2 boys.)

Record Office for Leicestershire & Rutland

These men, many of them farmers who were tennants of the Duke of Rutland, were prosperous enough to be able to afford the uniforms and equipment needed.

From 1871 volunteer units increasingly became integrated into the regular army. In 1881 the Leicestershire Militia became the 3rd battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment.

The Duke of Rutlands Rifles presumably became part of the 1st Leicestershire Rifle Volunteer Corps.

In 1908 Volunteer Corps became the 4th and 5th Battalions (Territorial Force)

This page was added on 30/10/2010.

Comments about this page

  • I was really interested to read this article. My G-Grandfather, John Thomas Cooper was in the Belvoir Volunteers for at least 20 years until the time of his death in 1904. He was given a military funeral by the Volunteers. Mr F. Norris was a pallbearer, Phillip Sutton played the last post and Mr Ketttleborrow also attended in his role as an officer in the Volunteers. It was really pleasing to see photos of these gentlemen. I also note that in a copy of an article I have about his funeral in the Grantham Journal the corp was still referred to as the Belvoir Volunteers. Keep up the good work. Don Roach Ravenswood South Victoria Australia

    By Don Roach (05/11/2010)
  • Thanks, Don. I was delighted to have more information about the men in Brenda Sutherland’s picture as I am planning another page on it. There may be more records of the Belvoir Volunteers in the Leicestershire Record Office. Next time I can persuade someone to give me lift to Wigston I will see if I can find any reference to John Thomas Cooper. Did you send us a copy of the newpaper report? If it was from the Grantham Journal, if you let us know the date I can look it up in Grantham library. Best Wishes

    By Kate Pugh (06/11/2010)
  • Kate Thanks for your comments. I believe, probably hoping more that the gentleman with the bugle on the right of the bass drum player is my G grndfather. I sent a copy of the article to Neil in a recent email. Talk to Neil or I can send to you plus copies of other family information I have. Regards Don Roach

    By Don Roach (10/11/2010)
  • Fascinating article! The names are of great interest to me in my WW1 research as the same families continued to serve their country through the 19th century and into the 20th century. In particular are the surnames Bend and Bockin(g) – you will be aware that there has been much debate about a Leonard Bocking who appears on WW1 memorials and in early Bottesford records but no one can trace his war service. See the debates on The Great War Forum web site.

    By Jonathan D'Hooghe (19/11/2010)
  • Thanks for your comment. We hope to prepare and publish some details of Charles Albert Bend’s WW1 service as soon as possible. If you would like to publish any of your research on this site we would be more than happy to assist. David

    By David Middleton (19/11/2010)
  • Paling WHEATLEY Out Pension Books of the Chelsea Hospital 1814–1831 WO 116/27 29th April 1818 460 Paling Wheatley 22nd Dragoons, age 44, served 34 years 2 months, born Butterford. Civilian occupation tailor. I was fascinated to see my surname used as a christian name. I know from family recollections that our family came from Vale of Belvoir. However I cannot trace the tree for certain back beyond a Robert PALING b c 1741 who was married in Thurmaston in 1767. Perhaps another clue?

    By Anne Paling (20/09/2011)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *