Staffordshire Militia 1776-1816

This page attempts to set out what I can find of the basic organisation, dress and equipment of the Staffordshire Militia, largely the First Regiment or King’s Own, from its initial embodiment in 1776 to its disembodiment in 1816, plus very brief notes on the three short-lived additional regiments of the county. (The Staffordshire Local Militia of 1808 is not included here, but will be found on this page.) Even though my knowledge is patchy, this is a bit of a marathon, but hopefully not too complex, and I’m assuming that the reader will bring a basic general knowledge of British military uniform of this era. Published and archival sources are listed at the end, alphabetically by author’s surname; other sources are noted in the text as we go. For a very brief general note on the system of clothing and equipping the militia, see the parent page here.

Click to enlarge images.


First Regiment, first embodiment 1776-1783

In 1757, when the reformed militia system was realised, Staffordshire declined to raise militia, and instead paid the required fine. On 7 February 1777 arms were first issued to the newly raised regiment, and on 31 March 1778 it was embodied under Col Henry, Lord Paget, commissioned on 22 April 1776. The eight companies included grenadier and light, five companies being commanded by captains and three by the field officers. In 1778 it was augmented by a ninth, “volunteer”, company. In 1781 Lord Lewisham was appointed Colonel. In 1783 the regiment was disembodied.

The regiment’s precedence numbers, as given by Baldry, were: 1778-79: 40. 1779-1780: 31. 1780-81: 23. 1781-82: 19. 1782-83: 10.

Other ranks

The essentials of the regimental uniform throughout this period are documented in a number of sources: facings were yellow, officers’ lace or metal silver. The Osborn book of 1780, documenting the uniforms of English and Welsh militia (Carman, 1958) shows the Stafford lace as square ended white loops in pairs; this spacing is also shown on images of officers, as discussed below. (Other aspects of the Osborn image are generic, so require confirmation.) Documents provide some additional detail.

Sergeants’ returns of 31 October 1777 in Colonel Paget’s papers (Staffordshire RO) list arms, accoutrements and clothing for each company. For the battalion companies:

Arms – Halberds, Firelocks, Ramrods, Bayonets.

Accoutrements – Pouches, Pouch Belts, Waist belts, Slings, Orniments[sic].

Clothing – Coats, Waistcoats, Breeches, Hatts, Short Gaiters, Cockades, Prs shoes Buckles, Prs Knee Buckles, Prs Black Garters, Stock Buckles, Black Stocks, Turnscrews, Worms, Pickers & Brushes.

The return for the “Granadear” company of Capt Richard Whitworth includes:

Halbards, Sashes, Pouches & belts, Cross belts, 61 Hatts, 61 Cockades, 60 Caps, 3 Serjts Caps, short gaiters.

That for the light company of Capt Walter Sneyd (Sneyde) includes:

Halberds, Sashes, 61 Hatches[sic – hatchets], 61 Horns, Pouches, Pouch Belts, Sword Belts, Short gaiters, Coats, Waistcoats, Breeches, 61 Caps.

From these we can deduce as follows: all companies wore breeches with black “garters” and short gaiters, and that all sergeants possessed halberds (flank companies seemingly included) and wore sashes. The battalion companies’ “waist belts” were presumably worn over the shoulder, the term being by now an anachronism. “Orniments” may have meant belt plates? The grenadier company wore both hats and grenadier caps, the sergeants’ caps being of superior quality. The light company wore caps only, no hats being listed for them; in addition to their horns and hatchets, the inclusion of “sword belts” suggests they may have carried short swords (as, for example in Loutherbourg’s images of the 69th’s light company at Warley). Mention of light company “coats” does not preclude these being shorter jackets, even though priced the same as the coats for other companies.

A contract of late 1777 with London clothier John Pass for the clothing for 1778 comprised 388 battalion privates’ suits (coat, waistcoat, breeches), 70 grenadier and 60 light infantry, all at £1 7s each, plus sergeants’ suits at £2 14s, a sergeant major’s suit at £3 19s 6d and drummers’ suits at £2 2s. In addition, a calculation of privates’ clothing costs dated December 1778 includes an undress jacket at 7s 6d and foraging cap at 1s 2d, plus hat, stocks, leggins (long gaiters), shirt, two pairs of stockings and shoes, bringing the total to £2 14s 11d per private.

(For a possible other ranks’ pattern of belt plate for this period, related to the officer’s type discussed immediately below, see under the third embodiment of 1803.)


Richard Whitworth

The dress of officers of this period is shown by several period images. A portrait by Thomas Hardy of Captain Richard Whitworth of the grenadier company shows him in camp at Winchester in 1778. This painting was recorded by Sumner in 1946 when offered by the Leggatt Brothers gallery in London, and was more recently sold by Bonham’s. (A mezzotint copy of it by Richard Laurie is at the NPG; another is in the Anne S K Brown collection, but this has been wrongly coloured retrospectively. A sketch and description of it are also included in Fernyhough’s “Records”.)

Though the facings now appear greenish in the painting, they were originally a light yellow. All metal and lace are silver, including the epaulettes and hat lace. The narrow lapels have silver buttons and silver lace holes in five pairs, plus a single, eleventh button and hole at the lower end. (One lapel appears to be narrowly edged in white, and Fernyhough describes this also for the cuffs, though I can’t say it’s clear in the painting to me.) The collar ends have a single unlaced button at each corner, from which is hung a silver gorget on a yellow ribbon and rosettes; the gorget bears a shield design, but the details are not visible. Breeches are worn with short gaiters as for the other ranks (above). As a grenadier company officer, Whitworth carries a fusil and wears shoulder belts, as prescribed by the 1768 Warrant. (No belt plate is visible).

Three characterful miniatures by John Downman, painted in oils on copper, show three officers at a slightly later date; two are single portraits, and two a pair of an officer and his wife (see also this post). Identification has not been straightforward; one image has been attributed to a Lieutenant Hall of this regiment, but I can trace no such name, though Richard Gideon Hand was commissioned as lieutenant in 1779. The paired portraits are named as William Handley and his wife Jane, and were identified by W Y Carman (1988) to an officer of that name of the Newark Volunteers of 1794, but I am entirely confident that this is Lieutenant William Handley of the Staffords, serving between 1778 and 1783. The fourth sitter is unidentified, but the style of the clothing of all four confirms that they belong to this period, and, as suggested by the fashionable “regimental” outfit of Mrs Handley, that they were probably painted at Warley Camp in the summer of 1782.

These paintings show essentially the same uniform as the Whitworth portrait of four years earlier. All three men are in off duty dress, without gorgets, wearing their sword belts under their coats; the unidentified sitter wears his coat partly buttoned over in the manner of the early 1780’s.  The long, narrow lapels of yellow have silver loops and buttons in pairs, the buttons appearing quite small. The single button holes at each end of the collar are now silver laced. Hand’s hat is now without silver lace around the edge, but has a lace loop, silver cord and tassels, and a large black feather plume. The epaulettes have silver bullion fringes, while the straps are of yellow cloth, edged with silver lace and with at least one line of lace down the centre, leaving yellow lights between; in Handley’s case there may be three or four lines of narrower lace.

Belt plate

As two epaulettes are worn, all the sitters may be flank company officers; Hand’s black plume might perhaps indicate the grenadier company. The black belts, if not worn regimentally, could conceivably be another indication of this. In two cases an unusual silver belt plate is visible, the design a crowned wreath(?) enclosing a sphere, which is connected to the wreath by four small bars. (See also under other ranks, third embodiment, below.) In Handley’s case a silver shield shape is visible; perhaps this is not a plate but rather a metal reinforcement to the loose end of the belt?


The Paget papers include a bill for three guineas of February 1778 from James Herbert, maker of colours for the Ordnance since 1774, “for painting a Sheet of Colours for the Stafford Shire Militia”. As only a single colour was painted (presumably the yellow regimental), the King’s colour may perhaps have been an unadorned Union flag.


Disembodiment 1783-93

Wylly states clearly that on disembodiment in 1783 Paget, now Lord Uxbridge, was re-appointed Colonel in place of Viscount Lewisham, resigned, but documents in the Paget papers at Staffordshire RO indicate that Lewisham remained as Colonel during this period.

The Paget papers contain accounts for sergeants’ and musicians’ coats and waistcoats from John Pass for 1785 and 1787 (breeches were apparently not purchased since, according to a note by Major Walter Sneyd, leather breeches were already in store): the coat and waistcoat for the sergeant major at £3 16s 6d, that for the drum major the same, for sergeants at £2 4s (including those of the light company, now noted as wearing jackets), musicians of the band at £2 4s, and drummers at £1 12s. Pairs of epaulettes for the sergeants and the band were itemised additionally at 2s 6d per pair, so presumably all the same, which would presumably have been of white silk lace, fringed. Hats were also purchased from a Mr Oliphant.


Second embodiment 1793-1801

The regiment was re-embodied in 1793 under Lord Uxbridge, and consisted still of nine companies, six commanded by captains and three by the field officers. In 1798, the Staffordshire Supplementary Militia was embodied and formed into the 2nd and 3rd Staffordshire Militia, requiring the existing regiment to be titled as the First. In 1799 these new regiments were disbanded and their remaining men incorporated into the First. The county’s precedence number was now 27 for this entire period.

Other ranks, bandsmen

Clothing returns for 1795-96 (Paget, Staffordshire RO) list “complete suits” (presumably including breeches), pantaloons, short gaiters and white jackets, the last three items probably making an undress uniform. The Staffordshire knot pattern of button in pewter (Ripley & Darmanin 206 – see below) was certainly in use by 1798 and probably before.

In April 1797 Sneyd suggested that, since the regiment would have “two good suits”, clothing due for that year at midsummer should be replaced by a set of undress items, consisting of a waistcoat, two pairs of blue cloth pantaloons, two pairs of short black cloth gaiters, “one exceeding good black leather cap and tuft” and a foraging cap. (Since hats were still worn, “leather cap” must surely refer to some sort of undress light infantry type, rather than the cylindrical caps of 1800.) This proposal may not have been approved by Uxbridge, judging by an order of late June 1797, requiring the men, pending the completion of re-clothing, to parade in their old clothes with caps, presumably meaning forage caps for the battalion companies. The flank companies and drummers were to wear their respective dress caps and the black musicians “their best Turbans”.

A letter from Sneyd to Uxbridge of 29 June (no year given, but apparently 1800) indicates that clothing for that year included jackets of a new style provided by clothier William Prater of Charing Cross. There were problems with quality and delivery times:

[Lieut Henry] Miller seems to have given you an Idea, that we did not understand that the present jackets were made upon a different plan from our former cloathing. That is by no means the case. When I said they were ill cut, I did not mean to object to the plan, which I took for granted was your orders, but that they were ill cut according to that plan. Prater however has now acknowledged that they were not executed according to his wish – which is all he can do. We will therefore make as good a job as we can with them. But I am sorry to say that I have been at last obliged to give way in regard to the old cloaths – and have consented that this Day shall be the last of their wearing them – on condition they are still kept to sleep in on Guard … We still have not rec[eive]d any more of the Jackets excepting what came by [ ? ]. It is the not receiving them in time that has so totally defeated all our plans. All the fine things for the Blacks & boys of the Band are arrived, but our Taylors are so constantly employ’d & have so much work now before them, that I cannot do any thing about the Bands Cloaths.

It’s possible that the new jacket was the familiar pattern of c 1800 without lapels, with single turnbacks, and with the “tommy” back; if not, it may have been a transitional style.

In 1800 the band consisted of two sergeants and 17 privates. This included black percussionists (cymbals, triangle, bass drum) as mentioned above; Fernyhough specifically refers to Francis, the cymbals player.


Very soon after re-embodiment, the new Colonel proposed radical changes to the officers’ uniform. In a letter of February 1794 Sneyd, now Lieutenant Colonel, made his objections to Lord Uxbridge:

So you are going, I understand, to make a total alteration in the Officers Uniform. I only wish that you may shew as good a taste in your second trial, as you did in the first. For certainly no uniform ever met with more general approbation than our present one has done. Had I been with you before you had come to the resolution of altering it I should most certainly have been Council[sic – counsel] for the Uniform of the Old Stafford. As it is, I shall say nothing to you upon the subject. Only that when it is done, it should be done in such a manner as to prevent Officers ever wearing the Old Regt in any case (otherwise we shall never get uniform) and I am afraid such an order may come a little hard upon some of our Officers, who cannot afford extraordinary expense.

The character of this “total alteration” is not clear, nor whether it was implemented or if Uxbridge relented. Fernyhough states that the lace was changed to gold in 1802, but the change seems to have been earlier, judging by a Robert Dighton caricature in the Royal Collection.

This is of a light company officer labelled “Starkey”, which has to be Lieut John Stark, commissioned in June 1796, but who died at Windsor in December 1801. Here the jacket or coat is worn closed with the broad lapels folded back at the top; the yellow facings are now unlaced, and the metal and the lace on the scarlet wings are now gold instead of silver. There is no button on the collar. The gilt belt plate is oval; the design is unknown to me, but may have been similar to that used after 1805, but without the ribbon at the base (see below). The cap seems not to be that of 1800, but a form of peaked light infantry cap with a cockade and green plume at the side, and a tall front bearing either a bugle horn or possibly a Staffordshire knot. The sword is slightly curved but less so than the 1796 pattern. Sash, breeches and gaiters are orthodox, and the hair is queued rather than clubbed.

Further evidence for a change to gold before 1803 might be found in the fairly generous survival of gilt regimental buttons of the Staffordshire knot pattern (Ripley & Darmanin 206) that predates the change of 1805 (see below).

Wylly quotes orders of June 1797 requesting officers to provide themselves with blue pantaloons and short boots, and of October 1800 specifying leather breeches for mounted officers and kerseymere for others.


Third and fourth embodiments 1803-14, 1815-16

Following a brief period of disembodiment during the peace, the regiment was re-embodied in ten companies under Uxbridge. A new 2nd Staffordshire Militia was also raised in 1803, only to be disbanded in 1805, requiring the old regiment to be re-titled once more as the First. In 1798-99 the regiment had been stationed at Windsor, with the King’s approval, and it returned there at his request in 1803, staying almost continuously until 1812. In 1805 it was made a Royal regiment – the King’s Own Stafford Militia – requiring a change of uniform, and was augmented by 200 men from the disbanded 2nd Battalion. The King then suggested a new establishment with two companies of grenadiers, two light companies and six battalion companies, but was eventually persuaded to settle for an extra light company, making eleven in all. On Uxbridge’s death in 1812 the Earl of Dartmouth was appointed colonel. At the peace of 1814 the regiment was disembodied, then re-embodied after Napoleon’s escape in 1815, and finally disembodied in April 1816. The county precedence number for this period was 2.

Other ranks, first uniform

Visual evidence for the uniform of 1803-05 is found in the well known and characterful painting by Arthur William Devis of the regiment at Windsor Castle, probably in 1804, now at the National Army Museum (on the NAM site here and at Art UK here); this was documented by “MBS” in 1936, and the source for a set of Rene North cards of 1962 (which seem to include a few errors of detail).

In the background the grenadiers wear yellow facings in a pale, lemon shade, with white metal buttons and square ended lace loops set in pairs. The red wings are edged with lace, with lace bars and fringes or tufts. Breeches and long gaiters are worn. The grenadier caps of the privates have brass plates and white cords and tassels, but no tufts or plumes. On two figures the brass belt plate is clearly shown as a framed circular shape surmounted by a crown – similar to the silver officers’ plates discussed above in the Downman miniatures of twenty years earlier. (This raises the possibility that such plates had been worn by other ranks at that earlier period.)

The sergeant’s cap has a large white plume, and presumably a gilt plate; his jacket is scarlet and he wears chevrons on his right sleeve, presumably in the same white lace as his button loops; he carries a pike and wears a broad white sword belt with an oval brass or gilt plate, a crimson sash with a yellow stripe, and white gloves. The dress of the light and battalion companies can also be deduced from this, though the pattern of cap plate (see below) is debatable.

Senior sergeants

Additional detail is provided by the detailed submission for the Willson volunteer chart by the Betley, Audley and Balterley Volunteers, whose dress was modelled closely after that of the Militia, as discussed on this page. In this, the privates’ buttons are given as a white metal version of of the Staffordshire knot pattern (Ripley & Darmanin 206) as shown below in gilt for officers. The privates’ lace is given, problematically, as having scarlet and black stripes outside a broad yellow central stripe, but the lack of any white ground suggests that this is in error. The sergeants’ lace is confirmed as plain white worsted, and their caps described as having feather plumes and a simple white metal Staffordshire knot for a plate; privates however have a “Regulation Cap, plate & tuft”, which leaves the design of their cap plate uncertain.

It’s probable that undress or second dress for other ranks included white pantaloons with short gaiters, judging by the references to this in general guidance given for the clothing of Staffordshire volunteers of 1803, patterned more or less after that of the Militia, as also documented at the start of this page.

The Devis painting shows two senior sergeants, whose appearance matches well Thomas Jackson’s recollection of sergeant major John Cooper “in his enormous cocked hat, large white bullion epaulettes, broad belt, sash and long boots”.

Both wear unlaced double breasted coats of officer’s cut and colour, hats with white over red feathers, white sword belts, white breeches, with three white or silver buttons visible at the knee, and apparently long gaiters – if so, these must have black buttons. The coat buttons and four chevrons on the right sleeve are silver. The epaulettes have silver bullion fringes, though the straps, also possibly silver, rather give the impression of yellow or gold. The skirt ornament at the join of the turnbacks may be a silver button. The staff sergeant wears a sergeant’s sash, the sergeant major an officer’s sash, and both men wear white gloves.

Other ranks, second uniform

Hamilton Smith – not reliable?

In 1805, with the grant of the title “King’s Own”, facings were changed to dark blue, and the pattern of button altered to that discussed below for officers, but in pewter (silver for senior NCOs). However, further details of the dress of other ranks in this later period is elusive. It’s possible that the plate worn with the “Belgic” cap of 1812 was a brass version of that discussed below for officers.

Charles Hamilton Smith’s Militia chart of 1815 might be thought to help here, but seems untrustworthy, given that the loops are shown as singly spaced, which has to be a mistake. The pattern of lace shown in the chart varies: one copy has a blue central and yellow outer stripe, another a blue inside, a black central and a yellow outer stripe.

Officers, first uniform

Photo Ben Townsend

An entry in the Hawkes pattern book (copy at the National Army Museum – thanks to Ben Townsend for the image) shows the officer’s coat of this period. (The drawing and notes have been altered later to incorporate the changes post-1805, but I use the original version here.) This prescribes:

Scarlet Coat, Yellow Lappells, Cuffs and Collar. 10 Twist Holes in a Lappell by Pairs. 4 [twist holes] and Buttons on Cuffs. 4 on pointed flaps, Buttons under a Hole [i.e. on the pocket flaps] and Breast Button at each end of Collar. Body lined white Rattinet. Skirts lined with, and turnbacks, White Cassimere.

Skirt ornaments are noted but not included in the drawing. The cuff and flap buttons are shown in pairs. Two buttons and four twist holes are also placed at the rear waist. Apart from the “breast” size collar buttons, all buttons are large. No edging is indicated for the turnbacks.

The Devis painting shows an officer fronting the rank of grenadiers, though the absence of wings and a smudge of red at the base of the white plume on his cocked hat indicate that he is from a battalion company. His unlaced coat, patterned as above, has gilt buttons and epaulettes; his gorget, oval belt plate and sword knot are also gilt, the sword belt white and the sash crimson. He appears to be wearing black gaiters. (The coat buttons appear as spaced singly, but this has to be considered as an error.)

By this period the gorget was of the generic “GR” and wreath design. As noted for the second embodiment (above) the design of belt plate is unknown to me, but may have been similar to that used after 1805, but without the ribbon at the base (see below). Buttons were gilt, of the Staffordshire knot pattern (Ripley & Darmanin 206), as mentioned above.

A version of officers’ undress is shown in one of Paul Sandby’s many images of Windsor Castle in the Royal Collection, a watercolour dated 1803 (RCIN 451577), in which a small foreground figure wears this coat, with gilt buttons and epaulette, white pantaloons and Hessian boots, and a round hat with an extensive white feather. The coat is incorrectly shown with buttons spaced singly, but this regiment is undoubtedly intended.

Officers, second uniform

Photo Ben Townsend

With the change to “Royal” blue facings of 1805, a “staff collar” was adopted, scarlet with a blue patch bearing the small button and twist hole. The drawing and description of the Hawkes coat discussed above were altered in these respects but otherwise remained the same. Cook’s article notes that in about 1810 officers wore “plain” Staffordshire knot skirt ornaments.

Another coat, described in the Buckmaster tailor’s book at the National Army Museum (thanks again to Ben Townsend for the image), is slightly different:

Scarlet Coat, Blue Lappells Cuffs and Collar. 9 Twist holes in lapel and one in Collar, forming 10 by pairs. Flaps and Cuffs 4 by pairs, pointed flaps. Waistcoat back, 2 [buttons] in each [rear waist and pleat?].

Here the collar is entirely blue. The arrangement of front buttons is unusual. It’s possible that this pattern precedes that with the “staff” collar.

A coat from the end of this period, or later, was recently offered on eBay, and is broadly consistent with the Hawkes coat, but updated to include broad “plastron” shaped lapels and a waist seam. The large gilt buttons are all paired, and the “staff” collar buttons the smaller size. The pointed pocket flaps have no buttons within or below, and the twist button holes on the scarlet flaps are dark blue. The turnbacks have no skirt ornaments. The two epaulettes are missing.


As noted in passing above, the pattern of buttons (gilt for officers) was altered in or after 1805; the knot is now surmounted by a crown between “K” and “O” in Roman capitals, and the leaves increased to twelve (Ripley & Darmanin 207, below left). This pattern was worn until 1881.

Surviving officer’s belt plates post-1805 (in the Gaunt collection at Birmingham, for example, above centre) are oval and gilt, the applied design showing a crowned circular garter inscribed in Roman capitals “HONI ● SOIT …” etc, above a scroll inscribed “KINGS ● OWN”. Parkyn observes that this design is in the Jennens note book of c 1810, and Fernyhough records it as still in use in 1816.

The officer’s cap plate probably worn with the new “Belgic” cap of 1812 (above, right) is also discussed under the Southern Regiment on the Staffordshire Local Militia page; it is gilt, of regulation form, showing the crowned Royal cypher over the Staffordshire knot.

A letter of April 1813 from the Adjutant (Staffordshire Record Office) outlines officers’ legwear in different orders of dress under the new uniform regime:

Mounted officers

Morning – Grey overalls without buttons down to the calf, but a flap one inch wide all the way down – loose below the knee, buttons from the calf, & black varnish leather bottoms, with chains & straps. Afternoon – Grey pantaloons & hessian boots. Review Order – White leather breeches & long boots. Sundays – White leather breeches & long boots in the morning, white kerseymere pantaloons & Hessian boots in the afternoon.

Dismounted officers

Grey overalls as above, but without leather bottoms in the mornings, grey pantaloons & hessian boots in the afternoon. Sunday – White kerseymere pantaloons & hessian boots. On Guard, & Review Order – White kerseymere breeches & long gaiters.

A sample of overall cloth enclosed with this is a medium darkish grey, a little mottled.

It’s worth noting that Charles Hamilton Smith’s Militia chart of 1815 (see above) shows officer’s lace as silver, with buttons singly spaced, but these have to be errors.

Drummers and bandsmen

The documentation of the dress of the Betley, Audley and Balterley Volunteers, closely modelled on this regiment, notes the drummers in reversed colours, wearing yellow jackets. In 1806, after the change to blue facings, the drums were required to be repainted (presumably with blue fronts) at a cost of £42.

The Devis painting of 1804 features prominently the unmistakable figure of Drum Major John Lyster (left and above) in the “long yellow coat, white bullion epaulettes, cocked hat, and red feather” recalled by Thomas Jackson. (For more on Lyster, see Eamonn O’Keeffe’s blog here.) His officer’s pattern coat is in a soft, lemon shade of yellow, with scarlet facings and lapels with silver buttons and twist holes in pairs, unlaced except for a loop of silver lace on each side of the collar (though no button is actually visible). The four chevrons on the right sleeve are in silver lace, and the fringed epaulettes appear to be in white silk. His hat shows a silver loop and button, black cockade and tall red feather, and he wears white breeches with long gaiters, white gloves and an officer’s crimson sash.

Both his baldric and (unusually) his sword belt are scarlet, edged with double silver lace, possibly with a yellow light between, and the sword belt may have an oval gilt plate. The baldric is decorated with a silver crown over a Staffordshire knot, and black drum sticks with silver fittings. The black mace has a silver top, cords and tassels.

Two bandsmen (right and above right) also appear in the painting. They wear white lapelled jackets faced in yellow, the lapels hooked shut to the waist, with silver buttons in pairs, a button at each side of the collar, what appear to be white fringed shoulder straps, and probably white turnbacks. White pantaloons are worn with short black gaiters, and their caps have black cockades, tall yellow feather plumes and possibly white metal Staffordshire knots on the front. Sword belts are white and the swords apparently of officers’ pattern.

In 1806, probably following the change to blue facings, the bandsmen’s jackets were given gold lace at a cost of some £30 to £40.


In 1806, following the move to “Royal” status and title, new colours were required at a cost of 32 guineas.


Second Regiment

Formed in 1798 from the Supplementary Militia of 1797, and disbanded in 1799.  Ten companies, including grenadier and light, under Colonel Lord Granville Leveson Gower, commissioned 5 April 1797.

An entry of late April 1799 in the “Orderly Book of Major Lord Bagot’s Company” (William Salt Library, Stafford) mentions the wearing of jackets. By deduction, it’s possible that the pattern of button resembled that of the Third (below), but with the number “2”.


Third Regiment

Drawing by Denis Darmanin

Formed in 1798 from the Supplementary Militia of 1797, embodied in April 1798, incorporated into the First in 1799 and disbanded. Six companies under Lieut Col Comm Francis Percival (Perceval) Eliot, commissioned 25 April 1798.

Ripley and Darmanin illustrate a privates’ button in pewter (208), of the design of the First, but with a “3” above the knot.


                                             Second Battalion or Regiment

Raised as a new corps in 1803 under Col Francis Percival (Perceval) Eliot, and disbanded in 1805. Date of earliest commission 28 June 1803. The original establishment was of eight battalion companies, but in July 1803 Eliot requested that this be changed to to six plus one grenadier and one light infantry, “the officers being already appointed & the accoutrements order’d in the expectation of such an establishment.” By 12 August the flank companies had been created, and on the 25th two additional battalion companies were formed. The final instalments of initial clothing and accoutrements were scheduled for mid September.

*         *          *


Staffordshire Record Office:  D 603/0/2/2; D 603/0/2/35; D 603/0/2/44; D(W) 1788 p.1.B6; D(W) 1788 p.1.B7.

W Y Baldry, “Order of Precedence of Militia Regiments”, JSAHR Vol 15, No 57, Spring 1936.

W Y Carman, “Militia Uniforms, 1780”, JSAHR Vol 36, No 147, September 1958.

William Y Carman, “Captain Handley and his Wife, Newark Volunteers”, JSAHR Vol 66, No 268, Winter 1988.

Col H C B Cook, “The Staffords and the ‘Stafford Knot'”, MHS Bulletin 84, May 1971.

Capt Thomas Fernyhough, “Records of the King’s Own Staffordshire Militia … 1766 to the present time …”, Staffordshire Collections, William Salt Library, Stafford.

Michael R Hales, “Civilian Soldiers in Staffordshire 1793-1823”, Ph D thesis, Sheffield Hallam Uny, 1995.

Thomas Jackson (ed. Eamonn O’Keeffe), Narrative of the Eventful Life of Thomas Jackson, Militiaman and Coldstream Sergeant, 1803-15 (1847), 2018.

A E Haswell Miller & N P Dawnay, Military Drawings and Paintings in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, Phaidon, 2 vols, 1970.

Rene North, “Paint-Your-Own” cards, set 32, Staffordshire Militia, drawn 1962.

H G Parkyn, “English Militia Regiments, 1757-1935: their Badges and Buttons”, JSAHR Vol 15, No 60, Winter 1936.

Howard Ripley & Denis Darmanin, English Infantry Militia Buttons 1757-1881, Military Historical Society, 2010.

Percy Sumner, “An Officer, Staffordshire Militia, circa 1780”, JSAHR Vol 24, No 99, Autumn 1946.

P S [Percy Sumner], “Militia Facings, 1778-1782”, JSAHR, Vol 30, No 123, Autumn 1952.

M B S, “The King’s Own Stafford Militia”, JSAHR Vol 15, No 59, Autumn 1936.

Capt C C W Troughton, Historical Records of the King’s Own Stafford Rifles (3rd King’s Own Staffordshire Militia), Lichfield, 1903.

Col W L Vale, History of the South Staffordshire Regiment, Aldershot, 1989.

Capt. C.H. Wylly, Col. Charrington, Capt. Bulwer, Historical Records of the 1st King’s Own Stafford Militia, now 3rd & 4th Battns. Staffordshire Regiment, Lichfield 1902.

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