Lancashire Militia in the late 17th century

In the years leading up to the Glorious Revolution the Lancashire militia consisted of some 1800 foot soldiers and 160 horse troopers organised into three regiments under the control of the lord lieutenant: the Red regiment based on the Lonsdale and Amounderness hundreds; a Blue regiment based on Leyland and Derby, this was the lord lieutenant’s regiment; and the third on the Blackburn and Salford hundreds. The lord lieutenants were: the ninth Earl of Derby from 1677-87, Viscount Molyneux 1687-8, then, for a few months Derby again, before he resigned to be replaced by Lord Brandon. Deputy lieutenants assisted in the administration of militia affairs and the officers were recruited from the county gentry. Except during Molyneux’s time, Catholics and Dissenters were discouraged from serving by the requirement to swear the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. [1]

The militia feature prominently in the diaries of Thomas Bellingham and Lawrence Rawstorne. Rawstorne would appear to have been a colonel in the militia as he is usually accorded that rank by Bellingham. It is quite likely that it was the lord lieutenant’s regiment of which he was colonel for Bellingham, in his entry for 23 November 1688, writes, ‘Here came an express from ye Lord Darby to Coll Rawstorne to bring all the Regiment to Wiggan …’

[1] D. P. Carter, ‘The Lancashire Militia, 1660-1688’, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire 132 (1983): 155–81, http://www.hslc.org.uk/journal/vol-132-1982/.

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