Lancashire: volunteer and association infantry and artillery of the 1790’s

This page is a cautious attempt to set out the little I know of the organisational basics, dress and equipage of the volunteer and association infantry of Lancashire in the 1790’s. The volunteers of this period are not as well documented as are those of 1803, surveyed on this page. Not included here are the Liverpool and Manchester corps, which are given on a separate page simply for reasons of length. Though the list here of other corps is surprisingly lengthy, only two – Rochdale and Bolton – were raised at the start of this period in 1794-95, the remainder following in 1797-98, either as armed associations or under the previous volunteer terms. The locations listed below are: Ashton-under-Lyne, Blackburn, Bolton, Bury, Knowsley, Lancaster (infantry and artillery), Leyland, Little Lever, Oldham, Ormskirk, Poulton, Prescot, Preston, Prestwich, Rochdale, Warrington and Wigan. The Eccles corps, regarded as an element within Ackers’s Manchester regiment, is listed on the Manchester page for this period.

Despite the number of corps, information on their dress is sparse, and in many cases I know nothing, but from the slim evidence here, the tendency was to follow the basic colours of the Lancashire militia – scarlet or red faced in dark blue – as given in more detail on my Lancashire Local Militia page. (An exception is the Warrington corps, which opted for the dark blue coats favoured by many armed associations.) Hopefully, this page will provide a template, in which additional information can be inserted as it comes along, to fill out the picture.

Names of commanding officers and earliest dates of commissions are taken largely from the War Office list of 1797 and 1799 (fifth and sixth editions) and reports in the Lancashire press.

Click to enlarge images.


Ashton Loyal Association / Loyal Ashton-under-line (Ashton-under-Lyne) Association / Volunteers

Major Comm John Wood. Date of earliest commissions 28 June 1798. Raised as an armed association.

The corps was raised “free of expence to Government, excepting in arms and ammunition.”

On 12 June 1799 a “most elegant pair of colours” was presented, the gift of Lady Stamford.

[Manchester Mercury, 3 December 1799. T H Hayhurst, A History and some Records of the Volunteer Movement in Bury, Heywood, Rossendale and Ramsbottom, 1887.]


Blackburn Loyal Association / Blackburn Loyal Local Association of Volunteers 

Major Comm John Clayton. Date of earliest commissions 6 June 1798. Raised as an armed association, alongside the cavalry association.

A “Pair of Colours, most richly embroidered,” was presented on 4 June 1799. (Abram gives this as in 1800.) After disbandment, these colours were hung in the parish church, and later placed in the council chamber of the Town Hall.

[Manchester Mercury, 11 June 1799. William Alexander Abram, A History of Blackburn, Town and Parish, 1877.]


Loyal Bolton (Bolton Le Moor / Bolton le Moors / Boulton) Volunteers 

Capt, later Lieut Col Comm, Peter Rosbotham (Rasbotham). Date of earliest commissions 12 August 1794. Two companies, increased to four in 1798.

A satirical item in a Chester newspaper of 1794 mocked an impassioned controversy among corps members over the button design, both “B.V.C.” for “Bolton Volunteer Corps” and  “B.V.F.” for “Bolton Volunteer Fencibles” finally being discounted in favour of a “plain” button without “cypher”. This provoked a complaint from an NCO of the corps which the paper declined to print. However, the anecdote has the feel of an urban legend, and may not be reliable.

The battalion included a drum corps with drum major.

Colours were presented on 7 January 1795, the “patriotic gift of the Ladies of the Town and Neighbourhood”, described as “handsome” and of silk. It is possible, judging by a passing reference in a newspaper report, that the motto of the corps as included on the colours was “Pro aris et focis”.

The corps was disembodied on 6 May 1802, their colours deposited in the parish church, and their arms delivered. However, Scholes’s History mentions the “re-delivery” of the colours to the Bolton volunteers of 1803. Some years before the demolition of the church the colours were taken down due to their “battered condition”.

[Manchester Mercury, 13 January 1795, 23 June 1799, 18 May 1802. Chester Chronicle, 26 September, 10 October 1794. Chester Courant, 20 January 1795. Lancaster Gazette, 22 May 1802. James Christopher Scholes, History of Bolton: with Memorials of the Old Parish Church, Bolton, 1893. Col H C Wylly, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Vol 1 1741-1914, RUSI, London, 1933.]


Loyal Bury Volunteers 

Major Comm Sir Charles Davers. Date of earliest commissions 24 May 1798. Two companies.


Bury Loyal Association of Volunteers / Bury, Holcombe (Holcome) and Tottington (Tottingham) Volunteer Corps

Lieut Col Comm Sir Robert Peel. Date of earliest commissions 11 June 1798. Raised as an armed association. (There is some apparent confusion in Hayhurst between this association and the Loyal Bury Volunteers, listed above.)

For what it’s worth, Hayhurst describes the uniform as “scarlet coats … faced with white … white waistcoat, and headpiece a la mode militaire … Officers and sergeants wore white trousers[sic – breeches?], with gaiters … crimson sashes … white leather breaststraps … hats with red and white cockades[sic – feathers?].” Buttons are said to have shown the letters “B.L.A.”

Hayhurst states that the colours (if these have not been confused with those of the Bury Loyal Volunteers) were painted by “noted artist”, and friend of Landseer, William Murray, and were presented on 18 October 1798. After disbandment they were hung in Bury parish church but later removed, eventually passing into the keeping of a James Shaw.

[T H Hayhurst, A History and some Records of the Volunteer Movement in Bury, Heywood, Rossendale and Ramsbottom, 1887.]


Eccles Volunteers 

Attached to Ackers’s Manchester regiment, so listed on the Manchester page for this period.


Loyal Knowsley Volunteers

Major Comm Edward, Earl of Derby. Date of earliest commissions 24 May 1798. Three companies.

The corps was disembodied on 9 May 1802, and the arms deposited.

[Lancaster Gazette, 15 May 1802.]


Loyal Lancaster Volunteers / Royal Lancaster Volunteers

Major Comm, later (1798) Lieut Col, Charles Gibson. Date of earliest commissions (at least, as found by me) 11 May 1797, though Cowper gives the date of “raising” as 16 May. (Clark dates the formation to early 1795, but might this be a confusion with the Royal Lancashire Volunteers, a fencible regiment?) Initially three companies, apparently one battalion, one grenadier and one light. For its fourth, artillery, company, see below. The “Royal” title was assumed in 1797. A band was formed in 1798.

Officer as illustrated by Cowper

Private, as illustrated by Cowper

Uniform details are given by Cowper, apparently working predominantly from an article in the Lancaster Guardian of 1878 that I have not yet been able to trace, but clearly based on a reliable period source, which may be the Minute Book of the corps held by the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum, Lancaster, which I haven’t been able to view. The resolution reads:

… a Scarlet Jacket, faced with blue and edged with white Cassimere, and Yellow Buttons with L.L.V. and a Crown over the Cypher. The waistcoat and breeches to be of white Cassimere, with the same Button; white stockings, cotton or thread; black cloth half gaiters, and black velvet stocks. That the whole Corps shall wear Helmet Caps, the Grenadier Company with a white Feather, the Battalion Red, and the Light Infantry green. The Commissioned officers to wear Swords, the Commanding Officer and Captains to have two Epaulets, and the Lieutenants one Epaulet. The Sergeants to have two worsted Epaulets, and the Corporals one. That all Officers and Privates shall appear with their Hair dressed with powder when in uniform.

The similarity of dress between the “battalion” and “flank” companies, beyond plume colours, is unusual. I have doubts about the “edging” of white cassimere, and suggest this may refer to the turnbacks or lining. The “helmet cap” is presumably the familiar Tarleton type. (The description of the button design would, if the initials were in script, match that identified to the later Loyal London Volunteers.) The epaulette system is not orthodox.

At some variance with this, an illustration in Cowper (drawn and painted by Mrs L I Cowper) shows an officer in a long skirted scarlet coat, the dark blue facings laced and edged, and wearing Hessian boots. I am not sure what the sources for these details might be. A second illustration shows a private in a jacket with laced and edged facings and broad, fringed shoulder straps; as with Cowper’s officer figure, I can’t say how these details are sourced.

Cowper gives an undress “for Common Exercise” – apparently for all ranks – as a dark blue, double breasted coat edged with scarlet, yellow buttons marked “L.L.V.” (so possibly without the crown) and “Pantaloons made of woollen cloth or Cashmere Pepper and Salt mixture edged with Scarlet”. “Pepper and Salt mixture” here means grey.

At the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum, Lancaster, is an oval belt plate (KO 0216/06), apparently gilt for an officer and dated to c 1800. The incised design shows a shield with the arms of the House of Lancaster – France and England quartered, with a label of three points – below a ribbon with wavy bifurcated ends inscribed in Roman capitals “LANCASTER” and above a plain ribbon inscribed “VOLUNTEERS”. The same design is briefly described both by Cowper, referencing a drawing in the KORR Museum, and in the Percy W Reynolds notebooks at the V&A (thanks to Ben Townsend for an image), from a “rough note” of a belt plate seen by Leslie E Barlow.

The description by Cowper of a “coat” for other ranks, based on an item held by the KORR Museum, reads suspiciously like the 1803 period jacket illustrated by Reynolds and Fosten (see this page), and, in the absence of advice to the contrary, I omit it here. Cowper also states that the other ranks’ belt plate was “as for officers”, but I have seen no evidence of that.

Cowper notes that the arms, purchased from corps funds, were marked with a G, B or L for the grenadier, battalion and light companies.

Cowper also gives the uniform of 1798 for the band as a white jacket with scarlet facings, a scarlet waistcoat, and a hat (so not the Tarleton?) with a yellow plume. (For the artillery company, see below.)

A pair of “elegant” colours was worked and presented in 1797 by “the Unmarried Ladies of the town of Lancaster”. When the corps was disembodied on 12 May 1802 and its arms and accoutrements delivered to the Town Hall, these colours were deposited in the parish church, St Mary’s, and displayed on the South side. In a ceremony held on 8 November 1803, the colours were returned to Gibson, who then presented them to the newly raised Lancaster Volunteers (for whom, see this page) for their use. On the disbandment of the new corps they were replaced in St Mary’s, but in the 1850’s their remains were taken down and passed into the keeping of Colonel J Lawson Whalley, whose daughters presented to the KORR Museum a watercolour showing the complete flags, and the framed remnants – a spearhead and the two central embroidered designs. (Other items in the frame are from a later period.)

The watercolour shows both colours with gold cords and tassels and gilt open spearheads; the preserved spearhead conforms to this. At the centre of the King’s colour is the preserved panel with the Royal arms. This is scarlet (now a faded shade of crimson), with rococo edging in yellow, the lion yellow and the unicorn white, the blue garter inscribed “HONI SOIT …”, the ribbon below inscribed “DIEU ET MON DROIT” probably also blue, the arms in their proper colours and the details worked in gold and silver wire. At the base are the corps’ initials in gold Roman capitals – “R / L + V” for “Royal Lancaster Volunteers”. In the frame in which this is preserved, the lower tip of the panel from the regimental colour overlaps at the top, covering the gold crown above the arms.

The regimental colour is shown with a small Union canton and a deep blue field. At the centre is a shield showing the arms of the House of Lancaster, surrounded by a Union wreath which has not survived. In the Whalley watercolour the wreath is a deep green, the details indistinct, but possibly including combined red and white roses. The preserved shield is edged in yellow, the quarters marked by lines of metallic sequins, possibly once gold. The England quarters still appear scarlet, though the blue of the French is now faded to pale green; the lions and fleurs-de-lis are worked in gold wire, and the label in silver, apparently edged in gold.

[Lancaster Gazette, 15 May 1802, 12 November 1803. (C Clark), An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town of Lancaster, 1807. Col L I Cowper, The King’s Own. The Story of a Royal Regiment, Vol 1 1680-1814, printed for the Regiment at the University Press, Oxford, 1939.]


Loyal Lancaster Artillery

Capt Joseph Tyson. Date of earliest commissions 20 June 1798. This company appears to have been regarded as attached to the Loyal Lancaster Volunteers (above), but is entered separately in the 1799 List.

According to Clark, two brass field pieces were presented to the regiment in 1797, and two companies then formed, though officers for only one company appear in the 1799 List, while Cowper gives an establishment of one captain, and press reports record the first parade with “two new field-pieces, the gift of Daniel Wilson, Esq” as being on 1 January 1799. Though a contemporary witness, Clark seems to be in error here. Cowper states that the two guns were presented “by a gentleman living in the district”.

Cowper’s summary from the Lancaster Guardian of 1878 (see above) gives the uniform as a blue jacket “turned up” with red, “the rest of their dress the same as the Battalion except the belts be black.”

[Leeds Intelligencer, 14 January 1799. (C Clark), An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town of Lancaster, 1807. Col L I Cowper, The King’s Own. The Story of a Royal Regiment, Vol 1 1680-1814, printed for the Regiment at the University Press, Oxford, 1939.]


Leigh Parish Volunteers

A newspaper report of 26 June 1798 records that “His Majesty has been pleased to accept a Battalion of six companies of the Leigh Parish Volunteers”. This seems specific, and must surely refer to Leigh near Manchester, but I can find no other trace of such a corps.

[Manchester Mercury, 26 June 1798.]


Loyal Leyland Volunteers

Capt Comm William Pollard, jnr., Capt Henry Kenyon. Date of earliest commissions 27 June 1798.

A “very elegant colour” (singular) was presented on 26 March 1799.

[Manchester Mercury, 2 April 1799. Lancaster Gazette, 10 October 1801.]


Little Lever Volunteers

Capt James Fletcher. Date of earliest commissions 27 June 1798. A single company, which may have enjoyed a semi-detached relationship with the Bolton Volunteers.

It is possible that the motto of the corps was “Pro aris et focis”.

[Manchester Mercury, 23 June 1799.]


Oldham Loyal Association / Loyal  Oldham Volunteers / Oldham Loyal Volunteers 

Major Comm John Lees. Date of earliest commissions 12 June 1798. Raised as an armed association, alongside the cavalry association of 1798. Three companies of infantry.

A “very elegant pair of colours” was presented by the “Ladies of Oldham” on 1 July 1799. (Wilkinson states 24 June.)

[Manchester Mercury, 2 July 1799. Iain Wilkinson, History of Oldham Volunteer Corps, 2009.]


Ormskirk Volunteers

Major William Hill. Date of earliest commissions 24 May 1798. Three companies.

On 5 September 1798 the corps was presented by Mrs Wilbraham Bootle with “an elegant pair of colours”.

Disembodied on 11 May 1802.

[Chester Courant, 2 October 1798. Lancaster Gazette, 22 May 1802.]


Loyal Poulton Volunteers 

No volunteer corps or association for this location appears in the 1799 List, but the Percy W Reynolds notebook in the V&A (thanks to Ben Townsend for the image) notes that resolutions were passed on 11 May 1798 for two companies of 120 men to be raised as an armed association. It may be that these were not completed, or that their offer of service was not accepted by government. The resolutions prescribe:

That the uniform of the Association be a red jacket with blue facing, a white calico or linen waistcoat, & blue pantaloons, a black stock, a round hat with cockade & feather, and black gaiters.


Loyal Prescot (Prescott) Volunteers

Major Comm Peter Ashcroft. Dates of earliest commissions 14 April and 12 May 1798. Three companies.

A button offered on eBay, said to have been found in the Liverpool area, might perhaps be for this corps. The incised design is a crown over “LPV” in script. It appears to shows traces of gilt, and is said to have dark blue cloth remnants adhering, which might indicate facings of this colour. However, this is only speculation. (For an image, see under Loyal Preston, below.)

The corps was disembodied on 10 May 1802.

[Lancaster Gazette, 15 May 1802.]


Loyal Preston Volunteers

Lieut Col Comm Thomas Wilson. Date of earliest commissions 9 May 1798.

A design of button has been attributed to this corps, either for this or the 1803 period, but I’m not sure on what evidence. Examples are gilt, with the intaglio design of a crown over “LPV” in script.

[Col H C Wylly, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Vol 1 1741-1914, RUSI, London, 1933.]


Royal Preston Volunteers 

Capt Comm, later Major Comm and Lieut Col Comm, Nicholas Grimshaw. Date of earliest commissions 12 July 1797. Initially two companies were formed on 23 March 1797. Third and fourth companies were added on 23 February and 10 May 1798 respectively.

The committee’s minute book and a few separate documents survive in WO 79/2 at the NA, and provide a good deal of information; many thanks to Eamonn O’Keeffe for kindly sharing images of these.

A meeting of 20 March resolved that members should “… at their own Expence find and provide for themselves Regimental Cloathing …” On 16 May 1797 the corps’ committee decided that (rather eccentrically) it had “thought it most adviseable to divide it into two Companies of equal numbers viz a Grenadier, and a Light Infantry.” On the 18th the men were measured and allotted accordingly to a company. Patterns of the uniforms were available to view on this occasion and the uniform resolutions, as below, were distributed in printed form:

The uniform of the Grenadiers to be a scarlet Coat with blue facings and lined with white shalloon but the turned laps with white kerseymere, a blue wing edged with a little Gold Fringe on each Shoulder and a yellow Button with the Letters R: P: V: embossed thereon. White Kerseymere Waistcoat single breasted, light mixed pantaloons edged in the Seams with Scarlet, and black Cloth Gaiters, a black velvet Stock, a smart cocked hat with a black cockade and black Feather. The uniform of the Light Company to be a scarlett jacket with blue facings, the wings as also the Waistcoat, Pantaloons Gaiters and Stock to be the same as the other Company, the Hat to be round, small in the Rim and turned up on the left side with a Handsome black cockade and black Feather

× Upon a consultation of the Officers of the Light Infantry Company this was altered to a green Feather.

The “blue facings” of the grenadiers presumably included lapels, but the light infantry jackets may not have done. The “turned laps” are a reference to the turnbacks. The field officers subsequently wore white feathers, as noted below; if the third and fourth companies of 1798 were styled as battalion companies, they might have done likewise. The “light mixed” colour of the pantaloons was a light grey, and the gaiters would have been short. The “Rules and regulations” of June 1797 required each man to appear on field days “neat and soldier like, in full uniform, with his hair short clubbed, a black Silk Rose thereon, and powdered.”

In December 1801 the officers and staff of the corps presented Colonel Grimshaw with an impressive full length portrait of himself by Joseph Allen, now in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, and also viewable here on the ArtUK site. Grimshaw is orthodoxly dressed in an unlaced scarlet coat with dark blue collar, cuffs and lapels, buttoned across to reveal the upper triangles of each lapel. Two rows of four pairs of gilt buttons are visible on the front, but the fifth pairs seem to be indicated under his crimson sash; the cuffs each bear two pairs of buttons, the collar none. The collar lining creates a white edge to the top and front, while the lapel makes a dark blue edge to the coat front. The white turnbacks do not appear to be edged. The epaulettes and gorget are gilt, the latter held by dark blue rosettes and ribbons attached to the top buttons.

The bottom edge of a single breasted white waistcoat is visible below the sash. His sword is carried on a narrow black leather waist belt with a gilt lion’s head and snake clasp. He wears white breeches with boots, and his hat bears a tall white plume.

Initially, arms and accoutrements were supplied from the Tower. Judging by a return of 1 March 1799 these comprised “firelocks, steel rammers and bayonets” with accoutrements, sergeants’ pikes and drummers’ swords. Certain other accoutrements were purchased, and after the third and fourth companies were added in 1798, the corps purchased 100 sets of infantry accoutrements for these new volunteers.

In 1798 the corps purchased clothing for the band and for the drummers, the committee resolving “that it is left to the Determination of the Officers what uniform shall be given to the Band and they are hereby authorised to see them cloathed so as such cloathing do not exceed the Sum of twenty eight pounds.”

A pair of colours was presented on 17 October 1797, purchased by subscription as a gift from “the Ladies of the town”. When the corps was disembodied on 10 May 1802, these colours were deposited in the parish church.

[National Archives WO 79/2. Manchester Mercury, 11 May 1802. The Preston Guardian, September 1877. Henry Fishwick, The History of the Parish of Preston, 1900. Col H C Wylly, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Vol 1 1741-1914, RUSI, London, 1933.]


Prestwich Volunteers

Capt Comm, later Major, Thomas Scholes. Dates of earliest commissions 18 May 1798. Raised as an armed association.


Rochdale Volunteers / Rochdale Independent Volunteers / Royal Rochdale Volunteers

Lieut Col Comm John Entwisle (Entwistle). Date of earliest commissions 28 May 1794. The earliest volunteer corps to be formed in Lancashire during this period. Initially four companies of 50 men.

The corps was reported as “complete” at the beginning of June 1794, and then consisting of four companies each of 30 rank and file. “Upwards of one half” of the privates were clothed and equipped at their own expense. On the King’s birthday on 4 June the corps paraded “in their new and elegant uniforms … preceded by an excellent Band of Music.”

Half the corps outfitted themselves, the other half from the public subscription. A printed handbill itemises the uniform, a little vaguely, as

a hat, black stock, scarlet coat, faced with blue, and gold lace button holes, blue jacket, two waistcoats, two pairs of breeches and two pairs of stockings, with gators [gaiters], arms and other accoutrements.

The blue jacket was presumably a form of undress. A surviving other ranks’ belt plate is brass, rectangular, with the incised design of a crown between “ROCHDALE” and “VOLUNTEERS” in Roman capitals with large initial letters.

A “very elegant set of Colours” was presented by “the Ladies of the town and neighbourhood” on 12 November 1794.

The corps was disembodied on 25 April 1802, and was not revived in 1803.

[Manchester Mercury, 3 June, 10 June, 25 November 1794, 27 April 1802. Leeds Intelligencer, 1 December 1794. P J Haythornthwaite, “Rochdale Volunteers, 1795” in JSAHR Vol 62, No 250, Summer 1984. Rochdale Arts & Heritage collections online.]


Loyal Warrington Volunteers 

Capt Comm Edward Dakin. Date of earliest commissions 31 May 1798. Raised as an armed association of three companies, 1st or Grenadier, 2nd or Centre, 3rd or Light Infantry.

Principal evidence for the uniform is a surviving coat and other items, once at Warrington Museum but now in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Lancashire Infantry Museum, a sketch in Kendrick’s account of the corps, and the retrospective portrait of James Ashton. (See also my post here.) An excellent painting by Percy W Reynolds (reproduced in a publication I’ve not identified) provides a careful reconstruction.

The coat, given by James Kendrick, is dark blue with a scarlet collar, shoulder straps and lapels, edged narrowly in white white, but the cuffs blue edged white, including the rear wrist. The lapels have seven buttons – three pairs with a single button at each top point. The cuffs  have two small buttons, with a small button closing each shoulder strap. The rear skirts are plain, with two buttons at the rear waist, with no pipings or pocket flaps, and are lined in dark blue rather than the more usual white. The white turnbacks are joined by a brass button and two red cloth hearts. (My thanks to Jonathan Rogers for the use of his photo of the rear of the coat.) The buttons are brass, flat, showing a crown over “LPV” in script. Reynolds shows the coat over a white waistcoat with yellow buttons, an entirely reasonable deduction.

White pantaloons were worn with short black gaiters. The light and battalion companies, at least, apparently wore a round hat with a fur crest, black cockade and red over white feather plume. Judging by a plume just visible in the corner of the image of the coat on the Museum’s website, the red top was deeper than shown in other sources. A commemorative mug illustrated by Crompton and Venn shows exactly such a hat, while James Ashton, who is said to have served in the light company, is shown in his portrait (below) in the same hat. Kendrick’s mention of a member of the grenadier company in a “cumbrous hat” implies that fur grenadier caps may have been worn at some point.

The Ashton portrait

The 1852 painting of James Ashton by a W Taylor is kept at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery and is also viewable online here. It clearly informed the sketch by Kendrick published two years later, but both images were made over half a century after the event and contain a few small errors. Both show the coat with singly spaced buttons, the lapels closed to the waist, with two buttons on the shoulder strap; the painting adds two buttons to each side of the collar. If Ashton was in the light company, as stated by Kendrick, one might have expected a jacket, but a coat is clearly worn.

Kendrick describes and shows the belt plate as oval, with the letters “L W / V” in Roman capitals, below a smudge that might be intended for a crown. A photograph of the group of items at Warrington Museum in Crompton and Venn includes a musket, bayonet, cartridge pouch and belt, and two sergeant’s pikes. The black pouch has a white belt; Kendrick mentions a “bugle” on the pouch but this is not obvious in the photo, and Reynolds does not show it.

The battalion included a drum corps and drum major, and apparently a band. In the background to the Ashton portrait are bass and side drums, cymbals, a clarinet and a brass instrument, which have the appearance of being modelled on surviving items, though their proportions look a little odd. The front panel of the bass drum is red, showing the Royal arms over “G III R” in white(?) Roman capitals. The side drum has a blue front panel showing a crown between “G” and “R” in white, over “III”, with red Lancashire roses with white centres in each corner. The hoops on both drums are red.

An “elegant pair of colours” was presented by Mrs Parr on 14 September 1798; on disbandment in 1802 they were hung behind the altar of the parish church. Though Kendrick noted that by mid century they had “disappeared”, a surviving small portion of the centre of the regimental colour was given to him in 1851, and is shown with its surviving staff in the Crompton and Venn photo. Based on these two relics, a version of the colours is shown in the background to the Ashton portrait. The King’s colour is shown as a Union flag without fringe, but the centre is not visible. The dark blue regimental colour shows a Union, or maybe laurel, wreath enclosing “LWV” in script, between the motto “PRO REGE ET PATRIA” in Roman capitals above, and “1798” below, all in gold, with a gold fringe. It seems reasonable to accept this as a fair reconstruction of what would have been the central design to a larger flag with a Union canton, and possibly without any fringe. Both colours are shown with gilt spearheads, as on the surviving staff, and with gold tassels.

[Manchester Mercury, 25 September 1798. James Kendrick, “Some Account of the Loyal Warrington Volunteers of 1798” in Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. Proceedings and Papers; Session VI 1853-1854, 1854. Walter Crompton & George Venn, Warrington Volunteers 1798-1898, Warrington, 1898. Ray Westlake, “The Loyal Warrington Volunteers 1798-1801”, MHS Bulletin 168, May 1992.]


Wigan Volunteer Association 

Capt Comm Robert Holt Leigh. Date of earliest commissions 17 May 1798. Raised as an armed association.

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