Militia Men, Recruits and Volunteers
Bottesford Men in C18th and C19th Military Records
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.
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
Chelsea Pensioners Applications for Out Pensions from men born in Leicestershire & Rutland
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
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)