The Worcestershire Militia (871 to 1886)

The following is an account of the Worcestershire Regiment of Militia is taken from "The Third and Fourth Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment," by Captain R. Holden. This book was published in 1887.

When the book was published, Holden, as a Militia officer, was A.D.C. to the High Commissioner and C.-in-C. in Cyprus, the book is a fascinating work and a true labour of love, for he had joined the Militia in 1878. He was astonished to find that the officers knew little of its origins and service, and had been horrified to learn that when the Regiment had been reorganised in 1852, all the old records had been ordered to be burnt. His material for the earlier years had, therefore, to be collected painstakingly from a large variety of sources.

The Worcestershire Regiment of Militia, was re-formed in 1770 and then remained mainly unchanged until 1881 when it then was changed to form two Battalions, which became the 3rd and 4th (Militia) Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment, at the same time that the 29th and 36th Foot Regiments became the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment.

In 1900 the 3rd and 4th (Militia) Battalions, which were originally known as the 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion of the old Worcestershire Militia until 1881, was renumbered the 5th Battalion and 6th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment due to the fact that new Regular Battalions were raised for fighting in the Boer War.

The 5th and 6th Battalions, continued in existence until 1922 when they were finally disbanded.

In addition, there were two Volunteers Battalions, which accounts for the Territorial Battalions being numbered 7th and 8th.

* * * * * *

CHAPTER 1 - (871 to 1757)

THE history of the Militia can be traced to the earliest periods to which our documents reach under the name of the Fyrd, which included every male of every rank in the realm, though under different penalties and obligations. Arms were provided according to a scale of wealth, there were fixed times for training and inspection of arms, attendance was strictly enforced, and desertion severely punished.

The Fyrd were working men who were called up to fight for Anglo-Saxon kings in times of danger. The leaders of the fyrd, the thegns, had sword and spears but the rest of the men were inexperienced fighters and carried weapons such as iron clubs, slings, axes, scythes, sickles and haymaking forks.

Alfred succeeded to the throne in 871, and immediately effected great improvements in the Fyrd, and efficiently organized that body into our Militia.

On the accession of William the Conqueror (1066) the old Fyrd was laid aside, and a feudal force, which can hardly be called Militia, established. This service was a service due by the tenant to his immediate feudal lord, whom he was bound to follow to foreign as well as to domestic wars, the term being limited to forty days. The sheriffs, however, retained the power of raising the posse comitatus, or Militia, which included every male between fifteen and sixty years of age, peers and spiritual men excepted, and was intended to preserve the peace and repel invasions. They were not, however, liable to serve out of their own counties.

In 1181, the 27th of Henry II., the old English Militia was revived by the celebrated Assize of Arms, and the system of military tenants introduced at the Conquest declined. In the year 1285, the 13th of Edward I., there was another important Assize of Arms, which ordered every man between fifteen and sixty years of age to be "assessed and sworn to armour."

In 1299 armed horses were first ordered to be provided in the levies.

In time of peace the inspection of arms by the local authorities was considered sufficient, but when war was apprehended, the Crown issued orders to the commissioners of array, who were entrusted with most arbitrary powers, to muster and array the inhabitants of the district; and there is no doubt they frequently compelled the people to fight for the king in his foreign wars, as well as for the defence of the country.

This, however, was prohibited by the 1st of Edward III (1327)., cap. 5, which ordered "that no man from henceforth shall be charged to arm himself otherwise than he was wont in the time of his progenitors kings of England; and that no man be compelled to go out of his shire but where necessity requireth, and sudden coming of strange enemies into the realm; and that it shall be done as hath been used in times past for the defence of the realm." The Militia of the Henries and Edwards were men of a superior class and well paid. Their principal weapon was the bow and arrow, in the use of which they were very proficient. Shakespeare's knowledge of the levies of the period must have been limited to what he had heard, and to the county in which he served, (see note below) for the English archers were considered the finest in the world, and Falstaff's band is an absurd caricature.

Note - It is not generally known that our immortal bard was a Militiaman. In the State Papers is a certificate of musters, dated 1605, for the hundred of Barlichway, in which occurs the name of William Shakespeare as a trained soldier of the town of Rowington, county of Warwick.

The power of mustering the Militia, formerly in the hands of the sheriffs, was in 1549, 3rd year of Edward VI., first entrusted to the Lord-Lieutenants of counties, who, except during the period of the Commonwealth, retained the command of the force until as late as the year 1872.

King Edward III

King Edward III

The projected invasion and conquest of England by the Spanish caused the queen and the country to devote serious attention to the Militia, and with a satisfactory result.

In 1572 the justices of the peace of each county were ordered, in conjunction with certain special commissioners, to muster the whole male population, over sixteen years of age, in bands consisting of 100 footmen, 40 harquebusiers, and 20 archers in each. Of the whole number certain were selected to be trained at the public expense, the remainder, with officers appointed, to be ready when required.

In 1586-7 Queen Elizabeth issued orders for the musters in each county to be completed, fully accoutred, and ready to march on the shortest notice ; and at the same time called for returns of the number of horse and foot. The quota furnished by the county of Worcester was :-








An extraordinary loan in aid of the defence of the realm was raised, to which Worcestershire subscribed £1250.

A return of April, 1588, the year of the Invincible Armada, gives the number of every sort of armed men in Worcestershire, formed into bands.

Able and Furnished









Captains of Bands

Number of Men

George Winter *


Robert Acton


Francis Ketley


Thomas Bridges


* A relative of Robert Winter, of Hudington, co. Worcester, one of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot.
A member of an old and influential Worcestershire family.


Also 100 pioneers, 17 launces, 83 light horse, and 10 petronels. This return, though it only gives the names of the captains, is otherwise very complete, giving full particulars of all arms, ammunition, etc.

The whole force of the kingdom for resisting the invasion consisted of 132,689 men, and, including the London Trained Bands, 135,289 men, divided into three armies. One at Tilbury under the Earl of Leycester, another to resist the landing of the enemy and act as occasion requireth, and a third under Lord Hunsdon for the defence of her Majesty's person. The Worcestershire Militia joined the latter, which consisted of 28,900 men, divided into fourteen regiments, each commanded by a colonel, forming part of Sir Henry Goodyer's regiment, which was made up as follows:-












When the Armada was first descried approaching our southern coast, the beacon on Malvern Hills was fired, and Macaulay says, "twelve fair counties saw the blaze from Malvern's lonely height."

Had the enemy landed, it is doubtful what sort of front the Militia, though it displayed an admirable spirit, would have shown 1588. against the veterans of Spain. In regard to their clothing, there was a striking resemblance to the Militia of a few years back. An old soldier (Sir J. Smythe) says that at Tilbury he saw "great disorder and deformitie in their apparrell to arme withall," that few of the army had doublets to arm upon, "whereof it came to passe that the most of them did weare their armors verie uncomlie uneasilie."

In a general muster of armed and able men taken throughout 1633. England at the commencement of the reign of James I. in 1603, Worcestershire is reported to have returned 5600 able men, and 2500 Armed Men, 230 Pyoners, 21 Demi-Lances and 85 High Horses.

In 1604 James I. introduced Train-bands in lieu of the old Fyrd or Militia. They were abolished, except in the city of London, in 1663. This king was emphatically a man of peace. Most other nations in his reign were swarming with mercenaries or maintaining standing armies; but the defence of England was still entrusted to the Militia, the nominal strength of which is stated to have been 160,000 men.

In 1605 England was startled by the discovery of the Gun-powder Plot, the principal actors in which resided in Worcestershire and the neighbouring counties — Worcestershire supplying Robert Winter of Hudington, and his brother Thomas Winter; Humphrey Lyttelton of Hagley; Stephen Lyttelton of Holbeach; John Talbot of Grafton; Thomas Abingdon of Hindlip, and his friend and relative Sir Francis Tresham, who, though a Northamptonshire man, was much connected in Worcestershire; Thomas Percy, a relative of the Earl of Northumberland, and Mr. Throckmorton of Coughton Court.

It will be remembered that on November 5 some of the conspirators left London, others fled when they heard of the seizure of Guy Fawkes. Catesby and some more, in the vain hope of raising the Catholics of Wales and the adjoining counties, went to Hudington, in Worcestershire, the seat of Robert Winter, and thence to Holbeach House, near Stourbridge, the seat of Stephen Lyttelton. Their number had then decreased by desertion to about sixty men. The Catholic gentry from whom they solicited aid drove them from their doors with reproaches; the common people merely gazed on them as they passed. The English Catholics, it is well known, were divided into two almost hostile parties—the Jesuited, and that of the secular priests. The conspirators belonged to the former party, and the latter, who had been utterly ignorant of the plot, were loud in the abhorrence which they expressed against it.

At Holbeach, Sir Everard Digby and Stephen Lyttelton privately left the party, but the former was seized at Dudley. In the night of the 7th, Robert Winter also slunk away. Catesby and some of the others were much injured by a burning match falling on some of their powder which they were drying. Next day about noon, Sir Richard Walsh, of Shelsley Walsh, High Sheriff of the county of Worcester, with a few of the Militia, arrived at Holbeach, and, surrounding the house, summoned them to surrender; on their refusal he ordered an assault. Thomas Winter and the two Wrights were wounded ; Catesby and Percy, placing themselves back to back, were shot through the bodies by two balls from one musket—the former died instantly, the latter next day ; Rookwood was also severely wounded, and the whole party were made prisoners and brought to London. Robert Winter and Stephen Lyttelton, after concealing themselves for about two months, were betrayed by the cook at Hagley House, the abode of Mrs. Lyttelton, a widow lady, in whose house they had been secreted without her knowledge by her cousin, Humphrey Lyttelton.

Robert Winter, Grant, Sir Everard Digby, and Bates were hanged and quartered at the west end of St. Paul's Churchyard, on January 30, 1606 ; on the following day Thomas Winter, Rookwood, Fawkes, and Keyes were executed opposite the Parliament House.

Father Garnet, the superior of the Jesuits in England, and Father Oldcorne, another Jesuit, and chaplain to Thomas Abingdon, concealed themselves at Hindlip House, near Worcester, the seat of Abingdon. The place of their concealment was, known to Humphrey Lyttelton, who had not yet been brought to trial; and the hope of saving his own life induced him to communicate the intelligence to the council. Sir Henry Bromley, of Holt, with a party of Militia, surrounded the house, and, after an eight days' search, discovered the two priests on January 28, 1606. Garnet was brought to London and hanged on the gallows; Oldcorne was tried and hanged at Worcester. Of the other conspirators, the two Lytteltons were subsequently executed; but Thomas Abingdon, through the influence of his wife, who was sister to Lord Monteagle, was pardoned, and lived to the age of eighty-seven.

King Charles I

King Charles I

On June 11, 1621, the council wrote to the Lord-Lieutenant 1621. of Worcestershire, stating that the condition of the Militia was a matter of the greatest importance, in consequence of the unsettled condition of Christendom; and ordering him to hold musters annually, see that they are well armed and drilled, and ready for any sudden occasion, and especially for suppressing tumults.

In 1629 Charles I. issued orders for the lord-lieutenants 1629. to fill up all vacant commissions, and muster the horsemen with their equipments on October 1st. Each county had at this period a muster-master, similar to the present adjutant, to keep the train-bands to their duty.

The question of who should command the Militia was the cause of the war between Charles I. and the Parliament (The king, on being asked by the Earl of Pembroke whether the Militia might not be granted as was desired by the Parliament, for a time, his Majesty swore by God "not for an hour."), during which period Worcestershire, and particularly the city of Worcester, adhered loyally and steadily to the king. The Parliament issued orders to their lieutenants in the several counties for calling out the Militia, and the king raised his Militia by commissions of array. Sir John Pakington and Samuel Sandys were, among others, entrusted with commissions for arraying the Militia of the county for Charles I.; Sir Thomas Lyttelton, Bart., of Frankley, being one of the joint commissioners of array, and holding an important command in the county.

Some of the middle and lower classes of Worcestershire turned traitors and supported the Parliament, but many of the common people and most of the influential county families sided heartily with the king. Amongst the county families may be mentioned the following:- The Earl of Shrewsbury; Lord Coventry; Lord Windsor; Sir Thomas Lyttelton, Bart., M.P., and his two sons, ancestors of Lord Lyttelton; Dr. Prideaux, Bishop of Worcester; Sandys of Ombersley, ancestor of Lord Sandys; Sir Robert Berkeley of Spetchley, Judge of the King's Bench; Sir John Pakington, Bart., M.P., ancestor of Lord Hampton; Sir William Russell, Bart., of Strensham; Sir Robert Throckmorton, Bart., of Coughton; Sir John Winford of Astley; Sir John Barrett of Droitwich; Sir Ralph Clare; Hornyold of Blackmore Park; Bearcroft of Mere Hall; Cocks of Crowle, ancestor of Lord Somers; Vernon of Hanbury; Hanford of Wollas; Dowdeswell of Pull Court; Ingram of Earl's Court; Bromley of Holt; Acton; Winnington; Wylde, etc.

The first action in which the cavalry of Charles was engaged was at the battle of Powyke Bridge, near Worcester, on September 22, 1642, when the royal cavalry under Prince Rupert routed the Parliamentary cavalry under Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes, who had came to surprise the town of Worcester. This action, which established the reputation of Prince Rupert as a dashing cavalry officer, was the cause of great rejoicing amongst the cavaliers, and more than one piece of doggerel relating to the adventure has come down to modern times:—

"Thither came Fines, with arms complete
The town to take, and Byron defeat;
Provisions were made, but he staid not to eat,
Which nobody can deny.

"But as soon as he heard our great guns play,
With a flea in his ear he ran quite away,
Like the lawfull begotten son of Lord Say,*
Which nobody can deny."

* Colonel Fiennes was son of 8th Baron and 1st Viscount Say and Sele.
"Army Lists of Cavaliers and Roundheads in 1642," E. Peacock, F.S.A.

On the approach of the Parliamentary army, under the Earl of Essex, Prince Rupert retired from Worcester, which was entered, the day after the battle, by Essex, who treated the citizens with great severity, and sent the principal of them prisoners to London. After Charles I. left Shrewsbury, in October, Essex vacated Worcester, upon which a garrison was put in it by the Cavaliers. Sir William Russell, Bart., of Strensham, J.P., and High Sheriff of the county, was appointed governor. The first attack on it by the Parliamentary forces began on June 29, 1643, when Sir William Waller, after having received the surrender of Hereford, marched against Worcester, under the impression that, as it had a smaller garrison, it would surrender at all events with as little opposition. The garrison of Worcester, however, refused to admit any summons or messenger, and the latter, after being repeatedly warned not to approach the city with a summons, was shot dead; when Sir William Waller, to avenge the affront, attacked the town with 3000 men and eight pieces of ordnance. He was defeated, with the loss of several officers, men, and colours, and forced to retire to Tewkesbury.

The following year, 1644, the king, followed by Waller, arrived at Worcester, where he rested some days, receiving from the loyal citizens shoes and stockings and money for his soldiers, after which he retired, having deceived and eluded Waller by his rapid march to and from the city. Waller paraded his army in front of the city, but, not being eager to risk such another defeat as he had the previous year received, marched off to Gloucester.

Prince Rupert was at Worcester in 1645, arraying the Militia of the county for Charles I.

In 1646 Worcester still held out, though all the royal garrisons had surrendered to the Parliament. But it was at last compelled to give in, and, after a very plucky defence under the Governor Colonel Henry Washington,* surrendered on July 23, 1646; and then under the written sanction of Charles I. There were three regiments in garrison at the time, consisting of 1807 officers and men, exclusive of the City Militia, and some forty or fifty county gentlemen who had declared for the king. The "faithful city" was the first to declare for the Crown, and the last to hold out.

* Colonel Washington was a near relation of Sir William Washington, of Packington, in Leicestershire, who married the sister of George, 1st Duke of Buckingham. He was distinguished for his gallantry throughout the Civil War, and on the Restoration was appointed by Charles II. Major of the Royal Regiment of Foot Guards, which commission he held until his death, in March, 1664.

Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert

It remained in the hands of the Parliament afterwards, who confined all the loyal gentry of the county there as prisoners till August, 1651, when, on the approach of Charles II. with the Scots army into England, they fled, leaving their prisoners behind. Charles II. arrived at Worcester on August 22, with his forces extremely harassed by a hasty and fatiguing march. The city opened its gates to him, and received him with every demonstration of affection and duty; made provision for and supplied the wants of his army, the mayor securing shoes and stockings for his soldiers. The mayor, aldermen, and principal persons of the county, with all the solemnity they could prepare, attended the herald who proclaimed him king. He was also joined by some of the common people who had fought in the Militia under the banner of Charles I.

Cromwell reached the neighbourhood on August 28, with an army of 30,000 men—that of the king being less than half in number—and having repaired the bridge destroyed by the royalists, attacked Worcester on September 3, 1651, and, after a desperate resistance of four or five hours, broke in upon the royalists. The battle, which Cromwell admits was as "stiff a contest for four 1651 or five hours as ever he had seen," was very disastrous to the royalists. The slaughter in the town was very great, and the streets ran with blood and were strewed with the dead, 3000 men of the king's army being killed on the spot. The heat of the action lay to the east of the city, and the chief slaughter was between the end of Perry Wood and the Commandry. The king was very nearly taken by the rebel cavalry near Sidbury Gate, but escaped through the devotion of a citizen. His subsequent romantic adventures are well known. Nearly all the royalists were killed or taken prisoners, and the few that escaped from the field of battle were massacred by the country people, to their everlasting disgrace.

Little is known of the force during the Commonwealth, because the country was kept in a state of subjugation by Cromwell's standing army; but upon the fall of Richard Cromwell, and between that event and the Restoration—a time of extreme peril to the country—"the greatest exertions were made by the Provisional Government with the strenuous aid of the whole body of the gentry and magistracy to organize the Militia. In every county the trained bands were held ready to march; and this force cannot be estimated at less than a hundred and twenty thousand men."

In 1660 Charles II. was restored, and on May 12 Proclamation was read at Worcester amidst great rejoicings, the Worcestershire Militia attending and firing volleys, etc. They also 1661. attended the ceremony of enthroning the Bishop of Worcester on September 12, 1661.

In 1662 an Act (13 Car. ii.) was passed for settling the 1662. Militia. The powers exercised by the commissioners of Militia during the commonwealth were restored to the lord-lieutenants of counties. The force was to consist of horse and foot, who were to be provided by or at the expense of the owners of property - not necessarily of land. The men were enlisted to serve for three years, to be trained once a year by regiments for not more than four days, and by companies or troops not more than four times a year, and not more than two days at a time. Unfortunately for the discipline of the Militia, all offences, except absence from and mutinous conduct at trainings, were to be punished by the civil magistrate; the power to make articles of war being advisedly excluded. The sole command of the Militia had been declared to be the prerogative of the king. The struggle between Charles I. and the Parliament caused succeeding monarchs to be very tenacious of their rights, and it is recorded that when the Bishop of Ely preached the coronation sermon of James II., he cited a phrase in the Book of Chronicles to show that the king alone ought to command the Militia.

Trained bands were abolished, except in the city of London, by the 14 Car. ii. sec. 27.

In 1667 the Worcestershire Militia was called out to suppress an insurrection amongst apprentices at Worcester, but on its appearance the rioters dispersed.

From the year of the Restoration in 1660, dates the introduction of the standing army in England, and the gradual decline of the Militia. At first, however, the Militia remained eminently popular, whilst the standing army, small as it was, was already mistrusted. The reason for this difference of feeling towards the two forces is manifest. The Militia was under the immediate influence of the English aristocracy, and made up of men having other subsistence than their pay. The officers were not courtiers, and they owed their allegiance rather to the institutions of the country than to the king. Moreover, there was scarcely a baronet or a squire in Parliament who did not owe part of his importance in his own county to his rank in the Militia. With regard to the army, the case was the reverse; its existence was wholly dependent on 1667 the pleasure of the Crown. Its pay and subsistence, as well as the appointment and promotion of its officers, rested with the sovereign. "The army, therefore, became as dependent upon the Crown as the Crown was upon the army; and the Militia became a counter-poise to the standing army, and a national security."

It is not surprising, therefore, says Lord Macaulay, that "there were those who looked on the Militia with no friendly eye. . . . The enemies of the liberties and religion of England looked with aversion on a force which could not, without extreme risk, be employed against those liberties and that religion, and missed no opportunity of throwing ridicule on the rustic soldiery." Dryden, the laureate of the courts of Charles II. and James II. "expressed, with his usual keenness and energy, the sentiments fashionable among the sycophants of those courts:- "

"The country rings around with loud alarms,
And raw in fields the rude militia swarms;
Mouths without hands, maintained at vast expense,
In peace a charge, in war a weak defence.
Stout once a month they march, a blustering band,
And ever, but in time of need, at hand.
This was the morn when, issuing on the guard,
Drawn up in rank and file, they stood prepared
Of seeming arms to make a short essay,
Then hasten to be drunk, the business of the day."

"In Parliament it was necessary for those who held opinions averse to the Militia to express them with some reserve; for the Militia was an institution eminently popular. Every reflection thrown on it excited the indignation of both the great parties in the state, and especially of that party which was distinguished by peculiar zeal for monarchy and for the Anglican Church. The array of the counties was commanded almost exclusively by Tory noblemen and gentlemen. They were proud of their military rank, and considered an insult offered to the service to which they belonged as offered to themselves. They were also perfectly aware that whatever was said against a Militia was said in favour of a standing army; and the name of standing army was hateful to them. One such army had held dominion in England; and under that dominion the king had been murdered, the nobility degraded, the landed gentry plundered, the Church persecuted."

The events of the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 proved how far the Militia could be relied upon to carry out James II.'s policy of violating every constitutional principle in the kingdom. On that occasion the Militia regiments of all the south-western counties were called out. The Worcestershire were probably out also, as those of the neighbouring counties of Hereford, Gloucester, and Wiltshire were under arms. The force did some service to the king, as they obtained the reward of £5000 offered by Government for the capture of the Duke of Monmouth. The officers, having once sworn allegiance, were loyal; but there is no doubt that the men of all the Militia regiments were more or less disaffected, and, with very little encouragement, would have gone over to the Protestant champion, who was beloved by the peasantry of England.

The only other important occasion on which the Militia were called out was the attempted French invasion of England in 1690, in the reign of William III. and Mary, who had, in the previous year, ascended the throne vacated by the unfortunate James II. But upon this occasion the king, the Militia, and indeed the whole country, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, were heartily of a side.

On the next page is given a list of the officers of the Worcestershire Militia in the year 1697, in the reign of William III. :-


Charles, Duke of Shrewsbury, K.G.*

Two Troops of Horse


Lord Herbert of Cherbury



Thomas Burlton


Thomas Perrot


Godman Attwood



William Bromly §



Robert Bushell


Posthumus Sheldon


George Leach

Total Men



A Regiment of Foot

(7 Companies)


Charles, Duke of Shrewsbury, K.G.




Chambers Slaughter





Sir James Rushout, Bart **







Edmund Lechmere ††



John Arthur


Frances Withes


Richard Dowdeswell



Joseph Jones


William Harris


William Walsh ¥



Arthur Lowe


Richard Orundell


Samuel Jewkes #



Thomas Bradley


Samuel Saunders


John Sheldon $



Obadiah Orford


John Tilsley

Total Men



A Regiment of Foot, 7 Companies


2 Troops of Horse




* Charles, 12th Earl and 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, P.C., KG., of Grafton, co. Worcester, b. 166o, d. 1717. A prominent statesman in the reigns of William and Mary, Anne, and George I.
Henry Herbert, of Ribbesford, Bewdley, co. Worcester, elevated to the peerage as Lord Herbert of Cherbury, d. 1709.
Thomas Perrot, of Bell Hall, near Stourbridge, whose granddaughter, Catherine, married, in 1764, Walter Noel, Major of Worcestershire Militia.
§ Probably William Bromley, of Holt, of an old county family, who died in 1707.
Robert Bushell, of Cleeve Prior, co. Worcester, married Diana, daughter and heiress of Sir John Fettiplace, Bart. Their grandson, Robert, assumed name of Fettiplace, and was Lieutenant-Colonel of Worcester Militia, 1770-1775.
Chambers Slaughter, of Brace's Leigh and Bransford, co. Worcester, and Slaughter, co. Gloucester, d. 1718, aged 66.
** Sir James Rushout, Bart., of Northwick, co. Worcester. The fifth baronet was elevated to the peerage as Baron Northwick, of Northwick.
†† Edmund Lechmere, of Hanley Castle, d. 1703. His great-grandson, Nicholas, was Colonel of Worcestershire Militia, 1770-1794.
Richard Dowdeswell, M.P., of Pull Court, near Tewkesbury. Ancestor of Thomas Dowdeswell, Lieutenant-Colonel of Worcestershire Militia, 1775-1781.
¥ Probably William Walsh, of Abberley Lodge, three times elected M.P. for Worcestershire, afterwards M.P. for Richmond, in Yorkshire. Master of the Horse to Queen Anne. A friend of Pope, and a writer of some merit.
# Probably Samuel Jewkes, of Wolverley, co. Worcester, who married Frances, daughter of William Talbot, of Whittington, co. Worcester, and sister of Right Rev. William Talbot, Dean of Worcester and Bishop of Oxford, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, and Lord-Lieutenant and Bishop of Durham (ancestor of the Earls of Shrewsbury and Talbot).
$ The Sheldons were a very old Worcestershire family.


At this period the only mounted officer was the major, and each company carried a colour. All movements were done in slow time. Officers and sergeants pulled off their hats on marching past the saluting point, the former having previously saluted with their pikes.

The regiment was called out for training annually until the commencement of the reign of George I. Circumstances had altered since the Restoration, and a standing army, which was then so unpopular, was now looked upon as a necessity. Little interest was therefore manifested in the Militia, and it was much neglected.

In 1714 the Militia were armed as follows:- The Horse, a broadsword, a case of pistols (the barrels of the pistols were twelve inches long), and a carbine. The Foot carried a musket fitted with a bayonet (the barrel of the musket being five feet in length), and a sword.

In 1715 the Militia was called out for training, but between that date and the reorganization of the force in 1757—a period of over forty years—there were only two further trainings, in 1734 and 1745; so that the greatest admirers of the Militia could but admit that it had been allowed to fall into a very unsatisfactory state. A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine in January, 1733, says they were not fit at that time for anything "besides furnishing the town with a ridiculous diversion, and cramming their guts at the expense of their industrious fellow-subjects." After the year 1745, no notice whatever was taken of the force; it was not called out for training, and for all practical purposes may be said to have almost ceased to exist (see note below).



"After Sedgemoor James devoted himself to the training of the army for his own purposes and interests. William III. brought over his Dutchmen, and his warlike temperament delighted in soldiers. In the next reign, Marlborough's victories ensured the glory of standing forces; the Militia was neglected; musters, except in the city of London, became almost forgotten."—Scott's " British Army," vol. iii. p. 139.

"It was by degrees neglected, insomuch that the name of a Militia muster was almost forgotten."—Grose's " Military Antiquities," vol. i. p. 31.