Hon. James Stanley's Foot

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> Hon. James Stanley's Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on 9 October 1688, in the southern counties of England, as the "Archibald Douglas' Regiment of Foot" to defend England against threat posed by Prince William of Orange (the future William III). Until 1751, this regiment would be known by the names of its successive colonels.

In October 1688, the regiment assembled at Reading in Berkshire and counted 927 men, including officers. Early in November, the regiment was ordered to march to London. However, the regiment refused to fight against William. When William seized power, Colonel Douglas, a supporter of James II, was replaced on 31 December by Robert Hodges and the regiment was allowed to continue in existence as part of William's army, being quartered at Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire.

In April 1689, during the Nine Years' War, the regiment was sent to the Netherlands. It fought at the battles of Walcourt (1689) where it help up the entire French force while falling back on the main body, Steenkerque (1692) and Landen (1693). In 1695, it took part in the siege and capture of Namur. It remained in Flanders until the Treaty of Ryswick ended the war in 1697.

From 1697 to 1701, the regiment was stationed in Carrickfergus in Ireland. In 1698, it counted one battalion of ten companies for a total of 34 officers and 411 men.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonel-commanders of the regiment were:

  • from 1692: Hon. James Stanley
  • from 1702: James Stanley, Earl of Derby
  • from May 1705: Francis Godfrey
  • from 17 February 1711: Henry Durell (died on 1 December 1712)
  • from 23 June 1713: Hans Hamilton

Service during the War

On 7 June 1701, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment embarked from Carrickfergus and sailed to the island of Voorn, where it was removed on Dutch vessels, and proceeded up the Meuse to the Fortress of Huesden. On 21 September, it was reviewed by King William near Breda and then returned to Huesden.

In March 1702, the regiment marched to Rosendaal to join the British corps assembling under Brigadier-General Ingoldsby. The regiment then marched across the Duchy of Kleve and encamped at Kranenburg to cover the siege of Kaiserswerth. On 10 June, when the Allied army forced march to Nijmegen to avoid being cut from the place, the regiment was part of the rearguard. Later, the regiment formed part of the force covering the sieges of Venlo, Roermond and Stevensweert. In October, it participated in the capture of Liège. It then marched back to the Dutch Republic for winter-quarters.

At the end of April 1703, the regiment marched to Maastricht. It then took part in the operations leading to the sieges and capture of Huy and Limbourg. In October, the regiment returned to the Dutch Republic. During the winter, 600 men of the regiment joined the garrison of Maastricht while Dutch soldiers were working at the entrenchments on the heights of Petersberg.

In May 1704, the remainder of the regiment marched towards the Rhine and was joined at Bedburg by the detachment from Maastricht. The entire regiment then took part in Marlborough's march to the Danube. On 2 July, it fought in the Battle of the Schellenberg where it lost Major Mordaunt, Ensign Charleston, 1 sergeant and 19 soldiers killed; and Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, Captain Coghlan, Ensign Key, 1 sergeant and 34 soldiers wounded. After this victory, the regiment crossed the Danube and marched to the vicinity of the Franco-Bavarian camp at Augsburg. On 13 August, it fought in the famous Battle of Blenheim where it suffered very great losses: Captain Coghlan, Lieutenant Brown, Ensigns Sabine and Hesketh were among the killed; and Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, Captains Hesketh, Fleming, Lee and Horne, Lieutenants Vicariage, Jackson, Ayloffe and Reddish, Ensigns Mackrich, Hook and Gordon wounded. The regiment then returned to Philippsburg where it crossed the Rhine and, from mid-September, formed part of the army covering the Siege of Landau. In mid-October, judging that the French could not relieve the garrison of Landau, Marlborough sent off British and Dutch troops. The regiment went down the Rhine by boats as far as Nijmegen from whence it dispersed into winter-quarters.

In the Spring of 1705, the losses of the preceding campaign were replaced by recruits from England. In May, the regiment then took part in an unsuccessful expedition up the Moselle. On 18 July, it was part of Brigadier-General Fergusson's Brigade when the Allies forced the Lines of Brabant at Elixheim. It passed the winter in garrison in the Dutch Republic.

On 23 May 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies and in the conquest of Brabant. It then took up its quarters in Ghent.

In 1707, the regiment participated in an uneventful campaign in Flanders.

In the Spring of 1708, the regiment was ordered to return to Great Britain to repel a potential French invasion. On 21 March, it arrived at Tynemouth but the French fleet had already been chased from the British coast and the regiment returned to Flanders. It remained a few weeks in Ghent and then joined the army in the field. On 11 July, the regiment fought in the Battle of Oudenarde where it was attached to Argyle's Division which traversed the Scheldt by a pontoon bridge, ascended the heights of Bevere and engaged and drove back the French. The regiment then took part in the siege of Lille which surrendered on 9 December.

In 1709, after taking some rest and receiving recruits from England, the regiment took part in the siege of Tournai. The town surrendered on 29 July but the citadel resisted until the beginning of September. On 11 September, the regiment fought in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet where it lost about 50 men killed or wounded; and Captain Ayloffe, Lieutenants Macrath, Whiting and Lawder wounded. It was afterwards employed in covering the siege of Mons and passed the winter in quarters at Ghent.

In April 1710, after receiving another draft of recruits, the regiment to Tournai where the Allied army was assembling. In then took part in the forcing of the Lines at Pont-à-Vendin before covering the siege of Douai which surrendered on 27 June. It then covered the siege of Béthune which surrendered before the end of August. At the end of the campaign, the regiment returned to Ghent.

On 5 August 1711, the regiment took part in the forcing of the Lines near Arleux. It then participated in the siege of Bouchain where it remained as garrison after its capture.

In April 1712, the regiment (681 rank and file) joined the army assembling near Tournai. It then covered the siege of Le Quesnoy which surrendered on 4 July. Soon afterwards, a suspension of arms was proclaimed and the regiment withdrew to the vicinity of Ghent. The regiment was then sent to occupy Dunkerque which had been delivered into the hands of the British as a pledge during the negotiations for peace.

In 1714, the regiment, recalled to Great Britain to quench the Jacobite Rising, embarked from Dunkerque and sailed to Leith in Scotland.


There were still no regulation concerning uniforms and colonels were responsible for the clothing of their soldiers. Therefore, there were wide variations from one regiment to another.

Hairs were worn long in a “long bob”. They were sometimes tied at the back of the neck. The hair bag was also already in use.

At the time of the creation in 1688 of the regiment, the uniform was round hats, ornamented with white ribands; red coats, lined and faced with white; white waistcoats and breeches.

Men as well as officers were clean-shaven. Officers sometimes wore small moustaches.

Musketeers were armed with a musket without sling, a bayonet and a sword. Grenadiers were armed with a firelock with a sling, a hatchet, a bayonet and grenades.


NCOs wore uniforms almost identical to those of privates with the following differences:

  • tricorne laced silver
  • silver braids on the seams of the coat

Sergeants initially carried a halberd and corporals a musket. Gradually, all NCOs were equipped with musket.


Officers wore beaver tricornes laced gold (probably reserved to superior officers) or silver (probably reserved to subaltern officers). They also wore the fashionable full flowing curled wigs. On service they usually plaited their wig.

A large gorget was worn around the neck tied with ribbons. The gorget was gilt for captains, black studded with gold for lieutenants and silver for ensigns.

Officers usually wore uniforms somewhat similar to those of privates (even though there were not yet any regulation compelling them to do so), made of finer material. Their coats were decorated with gold or silver braids down the seams and on the sleeves; and with gold or silver embroidered buttonholes. Cuffs were usually of the same colour as the coat instead of the distinctive colour of the regiment.

The waistcoats of officers were often decorated with gold or silver fringes.

A crimson sash (often interwoven with gold or silver and fringed similarly) was worn around the waist.

Breeches were tied with rosettes below the knee.

Officers wore gloves, often decorated with gold or silver fringes.

Officers carried a sword and a half pike or a spontoon.

The cartouche box of officers were often covered in velvet and decorated with gold or silver embroideries.


Drummers and hautboys usually wore coat of the facing colour of the regiment, decorated with lace on the seams of sleeves and back and on the buttonholes. Their coat was decorated with the crowned King's cypher or the Colonel's crest embroidered on the breast and back. Sometimes their coat had hanging sleeves.


no information found


This article is essentially an abridged and adapted version of the following book which is in the public domain:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Sixteenth or, The Bedfordshire Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1848

This article also incorporates texts of the following source:

Other sources

Farmer, John S.: The Regimental Records of the British Army, London: Grant Richards, 1901

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, Vol. 1 From the beginning to 1760, London: Kaye & Ward, pp. 12-54

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the web)

Walton, Clifford: History of the British Standing Army A.D. 1660 to 1700, London, 1894, pp. 46-47, 854