West Yorkshire: 1st West Yorkshire Militia 1759-1816

This page attempts to set out what I can find of the basic organisation, dress and equipment of the First Regiment of West Yorkshire Militia, from its initial embodiment in 1759 to its disembodiment in 1816. The lineage of the West Riding Militia can appear complicated: the three original battalions of 1759 were reorganised four years later into two full regiments, the First and Second. In 1797 three regiments of Supplementary Militia were raised, initially numbered as the First to Third Supplementary, but promptly re-numbered as the Third to Fifth “regular” Militia; when the Third and Fourth were disembodied in 1799 the Fifth became the new Third. (Raikes’s Historical Records of the First Regiment of Militia; or, Third West York Light Infantry seems confusing to me on this count, those two titles having been at no point synonymous, and is effectively a history of the Third Regiment. The Second Regiment is dealt with here. The Third Regiment is covered here, plus the two other short-lived Supplementary regiments. The West Yorkshire Local Militia of 1808 can be found on this page.)

Hopefully, this discussion is not too confusing, though it does assume a basic general knowledge of British military uniform of this era. For a very brief general note on the system of clothing and equipping the militia, see the parent page here.

There is relatively little here on the earlier periods. Some aspects of the later – the inflated tailoring of officers’ lapels, the wearing of scarlet by all ranks – exemplify the idiosyncrasies that seem to have become fashionable for some Militia, before standardisation was achieved after 1800.

The page is ordered chronologically, by periods of embodiment, sub-divided as necessary for officers, other ranks, drummers and bandsmen, artillery and colours. Published and archival sources are listed at the end, alphabetically by author’s surname; other sources are noted in the text as we go.

Click to enlarge images.


First embodiment 1759-62

In 1759 three new regiments of Militia were organised in the West Riding. The First Regiment was commanded by Col Lord Downe (Henry Pleydell Dawnay, Viscount Downe), raised in the Wapentakes of Osgoldcross, Strafforth and Tickhill, Staincross, Barkston Ash and part of Skyrack; it was actually the last to be organised, its officers being commissioned on 29 June. Colonel Sir George Savile’s Second Regiment, raised in the Wapentakes of Agbrigg and Morley, was the second organised, with commissions dated 13 February, and Col William Thornton’s Third Regiment, raised in the Wapentakes of Claro, Staincliffe and Ewcross, the earliest to complete, its commissions dated 27 January.

The first clothing appears to have been delivered in July 1759, arms were first issued on 21 and 29 August, and all three regiments were finally embodied on 6 September. Col Lord Downe died in December 1760, and the command of the First Regiment passed to Lieut Col Comm Saville Finch, who was in turn replaced by Lieut Col Comm John Lister in October 1761.

All three regiments were disembodied in December 1762. In 1763 the three undersized regiments were reorganised into two stronger, ten company, regiments – the First, or Southern, Regiment under Col Sir George Savile, and the Second, or Northern, under Col William Thornton, effectively making the previous Second the new First, and the previous Third the new Second. From this point, we are concerned with Savile’s First only. The two new regiments only assembled annually  for training during the following fifteen years.

Raikes (and Wylly after Raikes) gives the 1759 uniform thus, presumably for all three regiments:

… a long red coat, the skirts of which were lined with the colour of the facings of the regiment … the waistcoat … and the breeches were red, with white or sometime black gaiters.

Presumably this refers to other ranks; I’m not sure of the source or how generic this might be. The regimental colours (see below) indicate that Downe’s regiment, at least, was faced in green, and Lawson gives green for the 1759-78 period, referencing unspecified militia lists and inspection returns.

A glimpse of the appearance of these regiments appears in an etching by William Lindley of “A Perspective View of York Castle with part of the Court of Justice and Grand Jury House &c” (copies in York Museums and the Royal Collection), supposedly of 1759. In the right background is a body of men at drill who may well be Thornton’s Third Regiment of 1759-62, which was headquartered in York. Lindley’s interest here is architectural, and it’s not clear how closely observed these small figures may have been, but they give a fair general impression.

The men wear single breasted coats with pocket flaps, hats with cockades, and gaiters held above the knee with garters. Belts and side arms are not visible, though a dark shape on the left hip, if not meant for a pocket flap, may be a cartridge pouch shown on the wrong side. Sergeants carry halberds and wear their sash over the right shoulder. The ensign in front of the ranks also wears a single breasted coat, while the drummer appears to wear a hat rather than a cap. (The overall look is broadly compatible with Townshend’s images of the Norfolk militia of this period, as shown in this post.)

A portrait of Downe was painted by Joshua Reynolds; I have not seen the original, though a monochrome print was made, which is viewable online, but as the coat portrayed has no epaulette, so does not appear military, we need not discuss it further here.

The Ordnance returns of May 1759 for Savile’s Second and Thornton’s Third (so inevitably for Downe’s First as well) include for the rank and file:

Short Musquets, with Bayonets, Scabbards, Wood Rammers and tanned Leather slings
Cartouch Boxes with Belts and Frogs
Small Hangers, with Brass Hilts, Scabbards, and tanned Leather Waist-Belts

For the sergeants:

Large Hangers with Brass Hilts, Scabbards, and tanned leather Waist-Belts

And for the drummers:

Drums compleat, with the Arms of ___
Small Hangers, with Brass Hilts, Scabbards, and Waist-Belts, the same as the Drum Carriages

The painted arms are left blank here, but might conceivably be as for the regimental colours (see below). The drummers’ waist belts, judging by the phrasing, may possibly have been of buff leather.


Rockingham arms

The history of the colours of the First is a bit problematic. The 1759 regimental colour of Downe’s First was a green sheet with a Union canton and the arms of the Lord Lieutenant, the Marquis of Rockingham. The arms are shown here, from a different source; a “short” version might have been the quartered shield and coronet, with the crest, a white griffin on a blue and white wreath, and additional elements might have included the supporters, the motto, and perhaps a helmet. (The King’s colour may have been a plain Union flag.)

Wylly states that this regimental colour showed the Rockingham arms within a Union wreath of roses and thistles, with the regimental title “First Regt. of West York Militia” on two scrolls beneath; however, this seems to be a description of a surviving colour of Savile’s First of a rather later date, one of a pair now kept by the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Museum at Doncaster Museum. This is dated to 1770 in the “Infantry Regimental Colours” card series by David J Hunter, a date that appears to derive from Wylly, who states that new colours were presented that year, of the “same pattern” as 1759. However, unless the term “same” is used too broadly to be meaningful, and since 1770 would have been in the middle of a 16 year period of disembodiment, this seems unlikely on both counts.

I’ve seen no record of any later colours until the reorganisation of 1853, at which point the regiment’s surviving colours, according to Wylly, were deposited at All Saints Church, Pontefract, and later moved to St Giles Church. From 1770 to 1853 seems a long stretch for colours to be in use, and when the “1770” regimental colour and its King’s partner were restored in 1998 with Heritage Lottery funding by textile conservators from the People’s History Museum, Manchester, they were dated to 1790, though I don’t know on what basis, or how approximate that might be.

Since the regiment appears to have worn light green facings  in 1778-80 during the second embodiment, and as this regimental colour is a darker green, there is at least a case for dating it after 1780. For want of harder information, I’m illustrating these surviving colours under the second embodiment, below.


Second embodiment 1778-83

The First, like the Second, was re-embodied in March 1778, during the American War, and disembodied in 1783.

During this period the West Riding’s militia precedence numbers were – 1778-79: 4. 1779-80: 1. 1780-81: 27. 1781-82: 26. 1782-83: 28.

Two undated patterns of officer’s button, both flat and gilt, are shown by Ripley and Darmanin, which may perhaps date from this embodiment. (My thanks to Denis Darmanin for permission to reproduce his drawings.) Both use the arrangement of “Y / W R / 1”, the first (Ripley and Darmanin 279) in Roman capitals, the second (280) in script within a double circle.

photo Historic Annapolis

The Osborn militia book of 1780 (Carman, 1958) shows the men of the regiment in light green facings with white loops arranged in pairs. Though some aspects of the Osborn images are generic and require confirmation, this shade of green is repeated in a plan by Paterson of Fornham Camp near Bury St Edmunds, where the regiment was based in late 1778; here the lighter green is distinguished from the darker, or more bluish shade shown for the neighbouring Warwickshire regiment. (The Second West York Militia also seem to have worn light green facings during this period.) By the embodiment of 1793 (below) the First’s facings were a darker shade. A print by the brothers Charles and Peltro William Tomkins of a view of the Fornham camp after local artist John Kendall appears to show the West Yorkshire regiment’s area of the site. (A good, zoomable colored version is in the Anne S K Brown Collection, here.)  It provides no real detail beyond showing other ranks and some officers generally wearing short gaiters. Officers are shown in coats without turnbacks, and with gilt gorgets, worn quite low and suspended from the top lapel buttons.

A men’s version in pewter (above right) exists of the first design of button shown above for officers.


As noted above, a pair of colours, variously dated to 1770 or 1790 but probably from after 1780, survives at the KOYLI Museum at Doncaster (see also this post). There are no accession records for them, but they are said to have come from Pontefract, the previous site of the regimental museum, and the town where the regiment’s colours were deposited in 1853. When I enquired in 2015, they were in storage, effectively inaccessible, and not recognised by staff as a pair, though they had been treated as such by the restorers in 1998. Both are in an altered state indicating that they were used post-1801.

The King’s colour is a post-1801 Union, but it seems reasonable to assume that it was updated at that point, the original state being the previous Union. The centre is marked with a crown over “G III R” in rococo capitals; the inscription now appears greyish, but I’d assume that it was originally gold. (The “III” is noticeably off centre, and it has occurred to me that a “I” might have been added at the left of an original “II” on the accession in 1760 of George III, but that would make this an original 1759 colour, which seems improbable.)

The regimental colour likewise has an updated Union canton, with a central Union wreath, including the odd shamrock leaf, surrounding a blank patch on which a large padded Tudor rose in white with blue and gold or grey(?) edging, now loose, is said to belong. (Wylly notes that in 1800 colours were required to be returned for alteration for the new Union, and states that the regimental colour bore a white rose by 1800, which seems a reasonable fit.) Below are two white scrolls with gold(?) edging, and brown and grey(?) tones on the forked ends of the larger, inscribed in blue Roman capitals “FIRST” and “REGT. WEST ● YORK ● MILITIA”. The lettering does not look convincingly professional, and my reading would be that the regimental title could originally have been in the conventional place, at the centre within the wreath, and that if this was replaced by the rose badge, perhaps around 1801, the title scrolls would have been added below.

In short, we can perhaps see this colour in two states, the earlier with the old Union canton and wreath, without title scrolls but with a title in the centre; the later as now, with the canton and wreath updated, the rose at the centre and the scrolls below. The cords survive on both colours and appear to be crimson and gold.

The rose, incidentally, looks a bit heavy to hang on flying silk. I’m told that staff are unable to say if there was once a rose on the other side (the obverse).

David J Hunter’s rendition of the regimental colour is shown here for interest, though a few leaves seem to be missing from the wreath in his version, the roses appear too solidly red to me, and I’m unsure about the red in the forks to the large scroll.


Third embodiment 1793-1802

The regiment was re-embodied in early 1793 under Col Charles Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who was dismissed by the King in 1798; On 10 March 1798 William, Earl Fitzwilliam, was appointed Colonel. The regiment was disembodied on 22 April 1802. During this period the West Riding’s militia precedence number was 39.

The Supplementary Militia raised in West Yorkshire in 1797 under the legislation of the previous year were mostly formed into three new regiments (1st, 2nd and 3rd Supplementary Militia, subsequently re-numbered as the 3rd, 4th and 5th West York); in addition the two existing regiments were each augmented with two hundred plus men from this levy. In December 1799 the Third and Fourth were disbanded, and the Fifth took its place with the two “regular” regiments as the new Third.


The militia list of 1800 in the Military Library confirms the green facings for the First, and gives gold lace for officers, though lace is not found on the coats discussed below, only gilt metal. The white rose appears as a badge in various aspects during this embodiment and the next, but this was not authorised officially until August 1811, very much after the event.

In the National Trust’s Charles Paget Wade Collection at Snowshill Manor are the jacket , dress coat and waistcoat of Henry Howard, commissioned captain of the light company in August 1794 (see also below). (These items are dated to 1830 by the Trust, but this is self-evidently wrong.) One of these is marked “Howard Carle”; I take the second word as “Carlisle”, purely on the strength of the place of publication of Catherine Howard’s reminiscences (see sources below).

The jacket and coat both display the curiously huge lapels with buttons in threes also worn by the Leeds Volunteers of the late 1790’s (see this page and this post). On the coat the bottom end of each lapel is cut straight, while on the jacket it curves away. Each lapel has three sets of three buttons (all small size for the light company), with three more on the pointed “strap” at the top, three on each cuff and rear pleat and at each side of the collar, and two sets of three on each pocket flap. All the buttons on the facings have green twist button holes. With the exception of the front and bottom of the collar, all elements are edged in white piping, including the sides and lower edges of the pointed pocket flaps and the rear skirt detail. The turnbacks also have a line of green feathering or lace inside the white edge. The turnback ornaments are silver bugle horns with gilt(?) details on green patches.

The coat has double turnbacks, and three pairs of scarlet twist holes at the rear waist. Apart from the lapel ends, the pocket flaps (cross for the coat, slash for the jacket, as we would expect, though both with scarlet twist holes) and the obvious differences in the skirts, the jacket and coat are similarly styled. There are no epaulettes, but each coat has buttons for them below the collar on each shoulder.

The scarlet sleeveless waistcoat (a light company distinction) has a low collar and side pockets. The top of the collar and front and lower edges of the body are edged in white. The front closes with three sets of three small gilt buttons with scarlet twist holes, the vertical rows closer at the top, widening towards the waist; between each central set is an “invisible” scarlet button with a plain button hole.

The Downman portrait

The same style of coat, a bit awkwardly depicted, is shown in an unidentified miniature in oils attributed to John Downman and sold by Miles Barton. Here the coat is worn buttoned across on the two lower sets of buttons, suggesting a date towards the close of this embodiment. One gilt epaulette is worn with a silver rose, indicating a battalion company officer.

The buttons on the Howard garments are gilt, convex, with the regimental design most often seen during this period, and apparently used up to 1820 (Ripley and Darmanin 282) – a raised eight rayed star bearing a simple garter inscribed “● WEST ● YORK” in Roman capitals enclosing a “1”. It is recorded in a diameter of 22 mm.

Another button is shown by Ripley and Darmanin (281) which might belong to this period, given its similarity to the belt plate design (below); this is gilt, convex, with a simple garter inscribed “FIRST ● WEST ● YORK ● MILITIA ●” in Roman capitals, enclosing a rose applied, unusually, in silver.

A Regimental Order of 4 May 1800 required officers of the grenadier company to wear their grenadier caps on Sundays and field days, hats at other times, and their hair plaited up behind.

At the National Army Museum is a gilt oval belt plate, dated by the Museum to c 1800, which may well belong to this period; a plate of the same design has been sold by Bosley’s. Mounted on the plate are a simple oval pierced garter in silver, inscribed “FIRST WEST YORK MILITIA” in Roman capitals. This encloses a silver rose with a gilt centre; the rose in the NAM example appears also to have five gilt “pips”, and is mounted with a single petal uppermost.

Other ranks

Judging by the officers’ facings above, those of other ranks would have been a corresponding dark green, rather than the lighter green apparently worn in the earlier period. As buttons and loops spaced in pairs were worn during the embodiments preceding and following this one, we could speculate that this was the case for other ranks at this time also, despite the threes shown above for officers.

During this embodiment, or at least the latter part of it, the other ranks of the regiment were clothed in scarlet, rather than red. Western, working from the Fitzwilliam papers at Northampton Record Office, notes that in November 1801 the regiment was ordered to cease wearing scarlet, but that on a private assurance from the Duke of York 400 yards of scarlet cloth had already been prepared. Eventually permission was given for scarlet to be worn for the coming year, though the pattern of looping was required to be changed; this might mean that a jacket without lapels was introduced in 1802. (See also comments under the next embodiment regarding surplus clothing.)

The journal for August 1798 of Catherine Howard, wife of the captain of the light company (see above), provides a useful detail of the company’s dress:

Without partiality, I always think that Captain H’s light bobs, as Captain Poyntz called them, look the smartest company. They are picked men, well trained, and the white pantaloons he furnishes them with, gives them a neat and uniform appearance.

This indicates that the other companies did not wear white pantaloons, though not whether these were worn with gaiters or of the type that covered the foot.

In November 1802, after disembodiment, 969 caps were reported to be in store.

The button with a central “1” shown above for officers is also known silvered, in a 20 mm diameter, presumably for senior sergeants.


In 1794 two brass six pounders were attached to the regiment, as to other militia regiments at that time. A detachment from the regiment was trained in the use of artillery while stationed at Tynemouth; they may have worn a version of artillery dress, but an account of an accident with one of the field pieces identifies the two injured men as members of Captain Dixon’s grenadier company.


For the colours carried at this point see above under the second embodiment.


Fourth and fifth embodiments 1803-14, 1815-16

The disembodied period from 1802 was brief; with the renewal of hostilities in March 1803, the regiment, still ten companies, was re-embodied under Col Earl Fitzwilliam. In July the Supplementary men were re-embodied and divided among the three West Yorkshire regiments, augmenting each to twelve companies. With Fitzwilliam’s resignation, John Dixon, Lieutenant Colonel since 1800, was commissioned Colonel on 15 April 1809.

A General Order to disembody the Militia was issued in June 1814, but on the renewal of the war the regiment was ordered to be embodied in June 1815, only to be disembodied again in March 1816. During this period the West Riding’s militia precedence number was 32.


A regimental order of June 1813 of the Wakefield Local Militia requires each officer of that corps to:

… provide himself with a cap and white rose, a jacket and pair of pantaloons, such as are worn by the officers of the 1st West York.

The phrasing suggests that the officers’ 1812 caps bore a silver version of the rose discussed below for other ranks. (My thanks to Eamonn O’Keeffe for this detail.)

Items that belonged to John Henry Dyson (Deison), Lieutenant in 1803, Captain the following year and Major in 1815, have been sold by Coldstream Military Antiques, and have been described and illustrated by Dixon Pickup; these include a gorget, field officer’s epaulettes (so presumably post 1815), and a shoulder belt and plate. The gilt epaulettes have garter stars in silver sequins and thread, gold wire and coloured silks, the straps are edged in green twist and gold wire, and the linings are green silk. The buttons are of the pattern shown for the previous embodiment.

The Dyson belt is of white buckskin; the plate is rectangular with rounded corners, gilt with applied silver items – a central silver rose, enclosed by a garter inscribed, unusually, “FIRST ● WEST ● YORK ● REGULAR ● MILITIA” in capitals with unusually shaped T’s and A’s. Pickup suggests that the “Regular” tag is in response to the creation of the Local Militia in 1808, rather than to the Supplementary regiments of 1797. (A rectangular plate with a garter enclosing a rose also appears in Walker’s image of a grenadier private, below, suggesting that other ranks wore a version of this design.)

Gorgets were of the 1796 regulation pattern with green silk rosettes and ribbons, as shown by the Dyson gorget, and that of Capt Thomas Markham at York Museums.

Other ranks

A well known plate in Walker’s Costume of Yorkshire shows a grenadier private of the regiment, with a battalion company man in the background. This book was published in 1814, but the drawings for it were gathered at a much earlier date; this image obviously dates from before 1812, and most likely before 1810. (A Royal warrant of 20 November 1805 reminded colonels of militia regiments that, as in regiments of the line, “Bear Skin Caps should be considered as a part of the dress of the Grenadiers”, and required them to supply and replace such caps as necessary.) Some uniform details can be garbled in Walker’s plates, but the grenadier clearly wears a fur cap with a white cord and tassel, and yellow metal plate, but no plume. His facings are a dull mid green, the square ended loops in pairs. The edge of the collar is laced, and the wings are generously tufted. Breeches and long gaiters are worn, the latter apparently with white buttons, and the rectangular brass belt plate, as noted under the previous embodiment, appears to be a version of the officer’s design.

The battalion company private is similarly dressed, in a cylindrical dress cap with the regulation white over red tuft, but with a white metal rose for cap plate. He wears white duck or linen undress trousers, apparently over short black gaiters.

Hamilton Smith, 1815

As noted below under “Musicians”, the loops were, at least at one point, “double headed”, meaning closed at each end. For the close of this period, the Hamilton Smith chart of 1815 confirms the essential details, save that the loops are now shown spaced singly. The lace is given as having a central red stripe.

A useful amount of extra detail on the regiment’s dress between 1803 and 1807 can be extracted from Fitzwilliam’s papers in the Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments at Sheffield City Archive. The regiment’s clothier at this time was George Baron of Leeds, though the decision was made that clothing for 1805 should be made up by the 19 regimental tailors, Baron providing the materials and buttons. In the event, Baron contracted to make waistcoats and breeches, Adjutant Butterfield observing that the make of the waistcoat was of least consequence, being “meerly for warmth, and is never seen.” In July 1805 it was agreed that for 1806, to save costs, Baron would supply cloth only, and the lace and other trimmings would be bought locally, probably from Mr Ellis of York.

In August 1803 pattern items were purchased from Baron which give a good idea of the intentions for the 1804 clothing: a red jacket and blue pantaloons for privates, a scarlet jacket and better grade blue pantaloons for sergeants, breeches, long gaiters and short gaiters for wear with the pantaloons. The blue pantaloons would have constituted a second dress.

Sample pieces of cloth sent by Adjutant Butterfield to Fitzwilliam include red, sergeant’s scarlet, a darkish bottle green cloth for privates’ facings, and a shade brighter green for sergeants. At the start of this embodiment the regiment had recently switched from non-regulation scarlet to the proper red, and scarlet was certainly worn in 1802 (see under the previous embodiment); surplus jackets still in store at the start of 1804 were now unusable, being of the wrong colour and cut in a previous style.

In February 1804 it was proposed to alter the cap plate, and the following month an order was made for white roses, as shown in the Walker print, above. The white roses were still worn in 1807-08, when new caps and roses were bought for a draft of 300 men of the supplementary militia augmenting the regiment.

At the start of 1805 Butterfield noted that two types of cap tuft had been in use in the regiment: a “full topped” shape was currently worn, while “The Light Company had Pointed Green Tufts when you [Fitzwilliam] were last with the Regt.”

Following the War Office circular of November 1805, reminding Militia colonels that their grenadiers were by regulation expected to wear grenadier caps for dress, these were worn by this regiment, as shown by Walker; in late 1807 12 fur grenadier caps were needed to complete the company’s dress.

In late 1807 Butterfield referred to Fitzwilliam a decision regarding silver lace for sergeants’ sleeves; this presumably refers to a change in the chevrons for sergeants.

In March 1803, at the start of the embodied period, a hat was purchased for the sergeant major, with a leather cockade and feather, the remainder of the £1 3s 6d worth of “trimmings” presumably being tassels, button and lace loop, presumably in silver. This indicates that the senior sergeants continued to dress in the style of officers, in hats and long skirted coats.

Since in early 1804 since the pioneers were to be given new caps, and their old caps given to recruits, it appears that the pioneers of this regiment wore the basic regulation regimental cap, rather than the customary fur cap, at least at this date.

Some form of temporary or undress clothing was purchased by Colonel Fitzwilliam at the beginning of this embodiment, if a newspaper report of April 1803 is to be credited; this consisted, for each man, of “a jacket and other cloathing, at the expence of upwards of five hundred pounds.” White undress jackets were purchased in July 1803, with green collars and cuffs; those for NCO’s and drummers are listed as “coats”, those for privates as “jackets”, maybe indicating skirts on the former, but not the latter.

Mention is made in late 1804 of “trowsers” for the regiment – perhaps the white undress trousers shown by Walker.

In late 1807 temporary outfits were prepared for the 300 supplementary militiamen about to join the regiment; these consisted of a red “slop” jacket with green collar and cuff and regimental buttons, trousers (presumably white), forage caps, dress caps and plates (roses), and regimental breeches. (Fitzwilliam had decided that recruits should be given proper breeches, not slop breeches.)

A glimpse of an undress cap is given in a report of a missing drummer, Edward Wainhouse, in the Hampshire Telegraph of 1811, who “had on a forage cap, marked with the figure 1, and underneath W.Y..” (Thanks to Ben Townsend for this.)

Drummers and bandsmen

The description of drummer Wainhouse (see above) states that in February 1811 he was dressed “in regimentals, green, trimmed with lace”. A notebook of clothiers J N & B Pearse, at the Canadian War Museum, has an isolated entry, brief and undated, for the drummers’ jacket. This confirms that it bore ten “Double heded” loops in two’s, meaning square ended, joined at both ends. Interestingly, the collar is described as “rounded off”. The lacing is as complex as usual in these descriptions; the note calls for broad lace on all the seams, the frame (of the pocket flaps), on the skirt, and “all round”, i.e. all edges. The exceptions are the bottom of each wing, and the loops. A “Lt wing” is called for, presumably meaning as for light infantry, with six darts of “narrow” lace, presumably on each sleeve. This scheme requires 16 yards of broad lace, and ten of “Binding”, which I take (perhaps wrongly) to be the same as “narrow” here.

In July 1803, the band were provided with an undress consisting of a blue jacket with a scarlet collar, and blue “slop” trousers. In August light blue cloth was purchased for bandsmen’s pantaloons.

By August 1804 the band appear to have worn out their undress, and Adjutant Butterfield proposed “to get a plain slop jacket for the music to wear in common, particularly whilst in camp, to save their full dress; a white jacket with a green cape and cuff, with a Regimental cap, would do very well for common use.” The Colonel seems not to have concurred, and in September Butterfield wrote:

I have taken the necessary steps to have a plain scarlet undress provided immediately for the Band, which with Regimental Caps, Breeches & gaiters, I believe to be your intention.

Also in 1804 new dress clothing was made for the band by George Baron, using laces and trimmings purchased elsewhere by Butterfield. Since the band were to be given new caps, and their old caps given to recruits, it appears that bandsmen wore the basic regulation regimental cap.

In November 1807 it was proposed “to have a Black, taken from the Prison here, as a Tamboreen in the Band to complete our number.”


For the colours carried at this point see above under the second embodiment.

*         *          *


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.

Hampshire Telegraph, 11 March 1811.

“Private” (Catherine Mary Howard), Reminiscence for my Children, printed for the author, Carlisle 1838.

Lancaster Gazette, 16 April 1803.

Cecil C P Lawson, A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, Vol II, London, 1941; Vol III, London, 1961.

Leeds Intelligencer, 4 July 1794.

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

Capt Daniel Paterson, “Plan of Hengrave and Fornham Camps …” in “Maps of encampments in England and Great Britain, 1778-82, c 1784-91”, Royal Collection RCIN 734032.

Dixon Pickup, “1st West York Militia. Accoutrements Worn by John Henry Dyson”, Military Historical Society Bulletin 252, November 1974.

Capt G A Raikes, Historical Records of the First Regiment of Militia; or, Third West York Light Infantry, London, 1876.

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

Sheffield City Archives, Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments, Y16.

George Walker, The Costume of Yorkshire, London, 1814.

J R Western, The English Militia in the Eighteenth Century, London & Toronto, 1965.

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield, Regimental Orders, Wakefield Local Militia, WYW1686/2.

Col H C Wylly, History of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Vol II, n.d.

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