John Tidcomb's Foot

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> John Tidcomb's Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was created on 22 June 1685 by Sir Edward Hales. It was one of the nine new regiments of foot, raised to meet the Monmouth rebellion. It assembled at Canterbury (two companies had their rendezvous at Rochester and Chatham, and others at Sittingbourne and Feversham). While the formation of the regiment was in progress, the rebel army was defeated at Sedgemoor, and the Duke of Monmouth was captured and beheaded. The establishment of the regiment was fixed at ten companies of 60 men each. In the middle of August, the regiment went to the training camp on Hounslow-heath. It afterwards marched to Gravesend and Tilbury, detaching two companies to Jersey, one to Guernsey, and two to Windsor.

By 1 January 1686, the regiment consisted of:

  • staff
    • 1 colonel
    • 1 lieutenant-colonel
    • 1 major
    • 1 chaplain
    • 1 surgeon
    • 1 assistant-surgeon
    • 1 adjutant
    • 1 quarter-master
    • 1 marshal
  • 10 companies, each of:
    • 1 captain (the colonel being captain of the 1st company)
    • 1 lieutenant
    • 1 ensign
    • 2 sergeants
    • 3 corporals
    • 1 drummer
    • 50 soldiers

In the Summer of 1687, the regiment was again encamped on Hounslow-heath, and a grenadier company was added to its establishment. Afterwards, it marched to Plymouth, where it was stationed during the winter.

In June 1688, the regiment marched from Plymouth to London and took the duty at the Tower until mid-August, when it was relieved by the Royal Fusiliers, and marched to Canterbury. In September, it marched to Salisbury. In the mean time the measures adopted by King James II to establish Papacy and arbitrary government had filled the country with alarm. The colonel of the regiment, Sir Edward Hales, had espoused the Roman Catholic religion; he was prosecuted and convicted at Rochester assizes; but he moved the case into the Court of the King's Bench, and had judgement in his behalf; eleven of the twelve judges taking part with the King against the law. Many of the nobility solicited the Prince of Orange to aid them in opposing the measures of the court, and when the Prince arrived with a Dutch army, the King assembled his forces at Salisbury. The English Army refused to fight in the cause of Papacy and arbitrary government; the King, accompanied by Colonel Sir Edward Hales, and Quarter-Master Edward Syng, of this regiment, attempted to escape to France in disguise; but they were apprehended on board of a Custom-house vessel at Feversham, and Sir Edward Hales was afterwards confined in the Tower of London. The King made a second attempt, and arrived in France in safety. The Prince of Orange issued orders for the regiment to occupy quarters at Waltham, in Hampshire. On 31 December, the Prince of Orange conferred the colonelcy of the regiment on William Beveridge, an officer of the English brigade in the Dutch service.

In the Spring of 1689, the accession of William Prince of Orange and his consort to the throne being opposed in Scotland, the regiment was ordered to march towards the north. It was stationed a short time at Berwick. In August, it received orders to march to Edinburgh. In 1690, the regiment was employed in various services in Scotland and the north of England until the insurgent clans had lost all hope of success.

In the spring of 1692, the regiment embarked for Flanders, to take part in the Nine Years' War (1688–97) in which Great Britain was engaged. Scarcely had it arrived at the seat of war, and taken post in one of the fortified towns of West Flanders, when King Louis XIV of France assembled his army near La Hogue and prepared a fleet to convey the troops to England, for the purpose of replacing King James on the throne. The regiment was immediately ordered to return. In the early part of May, it landed at Greenwich and was held in readiness to repel the invaders, should they venture to land. However, the French fleet sustained a decisive defeat off La Hogue, and the danger instantly vanished. The regiment was afterwards encamped near Portsmouth, and it formed part of an expedition under the Duke of Leinster, afterwards Duke Schomberg, against the coast of France; but Louis XIV expected a descent, and had drawn so many troops from the interior to the coast, that the Duke of Leinster did not venture to land. After menacing the French shores at several points, to produce a diversion in favour of the confederate army in the Netherlands, the fleet sailed to the Downs, from whence it proceeded to Ostend, where the troops landed: they took possession of and fortified the towns of Furnes and Dixmude, and several regiments afterwards returned to England. However, the regiment remained in Flanders. On 14 November, the colonel of the regiment, William Beveridge, was killed in a duel with one of the captains; and King William afterwards conferred the colonelcy of the regiment on John Tidcomb. In May 1693, the regiment took the field. On 29 July, it fought in the Battle of Landen. In the autumn, when the army separated for winter-quarters, the regiment marched into garrison at Bruges; at the same time parties were sent to England to procure recruits, to replace the losses sustained during this campaign. In the Spring of 1694, when the Allied army took the field, the regiment was left, with several other units, under Brigadier-General Sir David Collier, encamped near Ghent, to form a guard for the artillery, which was conveyed by water to Malines. On 4 June, the regiment joined the army at the camp near Louvain. The regiment was afterwards employed in several movements and then encamped at Mont Saint-André. The regiment was one of the units which attempted, by a forced march, to pass the French fortified lines and penetrate French Flanders; but the French gained the pass first and thus countered this manoeuvre. The regiment was subsequently encamped near Rousselaer, forming part of the covering army during the siege of Huy. Having to remain in the field during cold and wet weather, the soldiers erected huts of wood and straw. On 1 October, the huts of the regiment were accidentally set on fire and destroyed. The fortress of Huy having surrendered, the army separated for winter-quarters. In the second week in October, the regiment returned to Bruges. In May, the regiment marched from Bruges to Dixmude, where it pitched its tents, and remained several days. The Duke of Württemberg took the command of the troops assembled at this point, and advancing to the junction of the Loo and Dixmude canals, encamped before the fortress of Kenogue, upon which an attack was made for the purpose of drawing the French army that way, for the protection of their lines in West Flanders. The regiment took part in this service; its grenadier company was engaged in driving the French from the entrenchments and houses near the Loo canal, and in repulsing the attempts of the enemy to regain possession of them. A redoubt was afterwards taken, and a lodgement effected in the works at the bridge, in which services the regiment had several men killed and wounded. This demonstration having produced the desired effect, the strong fortress of Namur was exposed to an attack from the main army, and it was accordingly invested, and the siege commenced. The attack on Kenoque was then desisted in; the regiment was one of the units withdrawn from West Flanders, and joined the covering army, under the Prince of Vaudémont, at Wouterghem. From there, the regiment marched towards Namur, to take part in the siege. On arriving before Namur the regiment pitched its tents at Templeux, from whence it advanced and took its turn of duty in the trenches. On the evening of 8 July, the regiment supported the successful attacks on the covered-way near the hill of Bouge, suffering heavy losses. After these attacks, the regiment was relieved from duty in the trenches and returned to its camp at Templeux. On 16 July, the regiment was again on duty in the trenches. On 17 July, a detachment of the grenadiers of the regiment was in an attack upon the counterscarp. On 25 July, Namur surrendered, the garrison retiring to the castle. After the surrender of the town, the regiment quitted the lines of circumvallation, and joined the covering army under the Prince of Vaudémont. On 8 August, this army encamped near the village of Waterloo and afterwards took up a position near Namur. A numerous French army commanded by Maréchal Villeroy advanced to raise the siege of the castle, but the covering army occupied a position which was deemed too formidable to be attacked, and the French Maréchal withdrew without hazarding an engagement. A detachment from the grenadier company of the regiment quitted the covering army, and was engaged in the siege of the Castle of Namur. After the surrender of the Castle of Namur, the regiment remained a short time in the field, and subsequently marched into cantonments in the villages near the Bruges canal. In 1696, the regiment received orders to return to England, threatened by an invasion. On 22 March, it landed at Gravesend and proceeded to Canterbury and Feversharn. In November, it was sent to London and took the duty at the Tower.

In 1698, soon after the restoration of peace, the regiment received orders to proceed to Ireland. In March, it landed at Belfast and Cork. At the same time it was placed upon a peace establishment.

By 1698, the regiment counted one battalion of 10 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:

  • since 14 November 1692 until 14 June 1713: John Tidcomb

Service during the War

The regiment remained in Ireland during the entire war.

In the autumn of 1703, the regiment furnished a draft of 50 men to complete Lord Montjoy's Foot and 50 men to complete Colonel Brudenel's Foot on their embarkation to accompany the Archduke Charles of Austria to Portugal. From 7 August to 31 December, the regiment was in garrison at Dublin.

In the autumn of 1704 and the spring of 1705, additional detachments were sent to Portugal.

In August 1705, the regiment furnished a captain, lieutenant, ensign, two sergeants, and 50 rank and file towards completing the regiments of Charlemont and Gorge, on their embarkation for Spain.

From March to November 1706, the regiment was quartered at Dublin.

Uniform

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.

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

Privates

Tentative reconstruction based on the description of the uniform of a deserter in 1688.

Uniform in 1702 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Lawson
Headgear
Fusilier black felt tricorne laced white
Grenadier cloth cap with a raised and stiffened front decorated with the embroidered crowned Royal cypher or the colonel's crest; and with an embroidered grenade at the back of the cap
Neck stock knotted white linen neck-cloth with ends hanging or tucked into the top of the coat
Coat red lined red; pewter buttons along the full length of the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back

N.B.: the coats of grenadiers had tufted laced loops ornamenting the buttonholes down to the waist

Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets placed low on the coat, each with pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with pewter buttons

N.B.: the cuffs of grenadiers had tufted laced loops ornamenting the buttonholes

Turnbacks none
Waistcoat long red waistcoat with pewter buttons
Breeches red
Stockings during campaigns, a first pair of finer stockings was pulled up under the breeches at the knees while a coarser pair of grey stockings was worn over them, pulled over the knees and fastened with a leather strap and buckle
Gaiters gaiters were gradually adopted during the campaigns in the Low Countries
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather strap with a brass buckle
Waistbelt natural leather waistbelt with a brass buckle worn above the coat
Cartridge Box natural leather cartouche box hanged at the crossbelt

Grenadiers had a pouch on a shoulder belt to carry grenades

Bayonet Scabbard black leather with a brass tip
Scabbard black leather with a brass tip
Footwear shoes fastened with a strap and buckle


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

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

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.

Musicians

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.

Colours

Colonel's Colour: plain red field;

Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour: red field with the red cross of St. George bordered white; three flames issuing from the angles of the cross;

Major's Colour: red field with the red cross of St. George bordered white; three flames issuing from the angles of the cross; a white pile wavy;

1st Captain's Colour: red field with the red cross of St. George bordered white; three flames issuing from the angles of the cross; a silver ball in the centre of the cross.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Lieutenant-Colonel Colour- Copyright: Kronoskaf
Major Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
First Captain Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf

Later during the war:

no information found

References

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 Fourteenth or, The Buckinghamshire Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1845

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, 78, 137

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

The Royal Sussex Regimental Society

Walton, Clifford: History of the British Standing Army A.D. 1660 to 1700, London, 1894, pp. 45, 275, 854

N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.