Regiments at Weeley Barracks

soldier-woodcut-2

I didn’t know about Weeley Barracks (or Weeley Camp as it’s also known) until I looked in the parish register for an ancestor who was born in Weeley in 1808. The register was full of soldiers’ children and some research revealed that the Barracks were built there to defend the coast of north-east Essex. Several Highland regiments were based at Weeley, hence the large number of Scottish names which appear in the baptism register. It also caused a great deal of tension with the locals, which tragically lead to the murder of a Scottish soldier at the hands of local men at a nearby fair. And it also seems to have led to a number of illegitimate children with Scottish names. The marriage register shows some marriages between the soldiers and the local women – it’s impossible not to think of Lydia Bennett’s cry of glee when she discovered the militia were to be billeted at a nearby village….

Weeley being a fairly small place, its register is fairly quiet until the arrival of the soldiers and their wives – living at the camp was better than being separated while their husbands were overseas, or indeed, going abroad with their husband as a camp follower. The number of births occurring at the camp was so great that a maternity ward (of sorts – one imagines it wasn’t much more than a large hut) was built. Mary Ann Grant’s Sketches of Life & Manners includes some very eye-opening details about camp life, from her arrival there in 1803 – that the wooden huts the soldiers and families lived in weren’t finished by the time they arrived, and that by November, it was so muddy that Mary Ann couldn’t walk, but had to be carried!

Regiment details appear in the register from 1803-1812 for baptisms, and from 1807-1812 for burials. Very few regiments appear in the marriage register 1754-1812: two witnesses in Feb 1803 (Hector McKay, Sergt. 42nd. Regt., Donald McPherson, Sergt. 49th. Regt.); and then in 1805: Joseph Ragg (groom) of the 7th. Regt. Light Dragoons; Hart, sergt major of the 91st. regiment, a witness; and John Brooker (groom) of the West Kent Militia. There are three regiments mentioned in the 1813-1991 baptisms register from 1813-5. The baptism entries give the abode as Weeley Barracks, hence why they are included in the list but the marriages are not.

The following list consists of the regiments I’ve found in the baptism and burial register, with the month and year of the first and last baptisms or burials for them. If only one instance was found, then the exact date is left. It does not include any names – please see the transcriptions covering 1787-1812 (available both alphabetically and chronologically). This list is purely suggestive – the regiment may have arrived well before the first baptism or burial date, and it equally may have left Weeley some time after the last date. It may be that only one soldier from that regiment was in Weeley, or only one battallion. Please also note that the register is quite cramped (given the amount of information and number of baptisms, this is not a surprise!) so some information may be incorrectly transcribed (but I’ve done my best), for example, where numbers are hard to decipher, and also bear in mind, it might not have been entered correctly in the register to begin with.

Despite my brother being in the Army himself, I am not an expert on regimental names – for instance, I’m not sure if the 11th Regiment and 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons are the same entity or not, so I have included both in the following list. The list is first in numerical order, and then in alphabetical order (1st Dragoons is at the top and the West Kent Militia is at the end).

I have compiled this both as an aid to researchers and also as a tribute to military families.

Dates Regiment
Dec 1804-Apr 1805 1st. Dragoons
Aug-Oct 1808 1st. Regiment of the Royal
Feb-March 1811 1st. Royal Surrey Militia
16 Jul 1809 1st. Surrey Militia
21st. Jan 1811 2nd. Royal Surrey Militia
25th. March 1807 4th. Regt. Dragoons
May 1809-May 1811 5th. Dragoon Guards
March-Sep 1809 5th. Light Dragoon Guards
July 1803-Jan 1804 7th. Light Dragoon Guards
Feb 1807-May 1808 7th. Regiment
March-June 1808 7th. Regiment Royal Fusiliers
May 1804 9th. Dragoons
May 1808-Jan 1809 10th. Regiment
Aug-Oct 1809 11th. Regiment
May 1806-July 1807 11th. Dragoons
Nov 1807-Aug 1808 15th. Light Dragoons
Aug-Sep 1808 16th. Light Dragoons
12th Aug 1804 20th. Light Dragoons
Oct 1809-Feb 1810 20th. Regiment
21st April 1805 21st. Dragoons
1st. Nov 1808 23rd. Regiment
11th. Sept. 1814 30th. Regiment
Jan-May 1808 32nd. Regiment
27th. Feb 1808 33rd. Regiment
July 1803-Sep 1805 42nd. Regiment
Dec 1809-Feb 1810 43rd. Regiment
2nd. April 1809 51st. Regiment
April 1808-Jan 1810 59th. Regiment
Jan-Sep 1808 61st. Regiment
Jan-Feb 1809 63rd. Regiment
11th. Feb 1809 77th. Regiment
June 1806-May 1811, Mar 1815 79th. Regiment
1st. May 1808 82nd. Regiment
Oct 1808-Jan 1809 87th. Regiment
Dec 1804-Oct 1805 91st. Regiment
11 Dec 1803, Jan 1807-Sep 1809 92nd. Regiment
May 1804-April 1805 95th. Regiment
8th. Jan 1804 95th. Rifle Regiment
Aug 1806 111th. Regt Dragoons
16th. Oct 1803 Artillery, The
Dec 1805-Feb 1806 Ayrshire Militia
3rd. Sep 1809 Berwick Militia
12th. Dec 1811 Cumberland Militia
Feb-April 1806 Durham Militia
Mar-Nov 1810, 17th. Oct 1811 East Essex Militia
8th. Jan 1804 East York Militia
Aug 1813, Apr 1814 Kilkenny Militia
Jan-Jun 1806 Oxford Militia
Aug-Oct 1804 RLM
Aug-Oct 1808 Royal, The
Oct 1804-May 1805 Royal Artillery
April-Nov 1811 Royal Berks Militia
26th. Jan 1806 Royal Bucks Militia
24th. April 1811 Royal Engineers
Nov 1807, April 1808 Royal Wagon Train
25th. Oct 1812 South Mayo Militia
Aug 1809-Jan 1811 Surrey Militia
Dec 1805-June 1806 West Kent Militia

Helen Barrell, 6th. May 2014