Livesay's regiment of foot

12th Foot
A.k.a. East Suffolk Regiment
Hinwick Hall
John Livesay bought Hinwick Hall in 1706.
Photo by Nigel Stickells
Commanded by:
Duke of Norfolk? 1685
Earl of LichfieldJune 1686
Robert Lord Hunsdon30 Nov. 1688
Henry WhartonDec. 1688
Richard Brewer1 Nov. 1689
John Livesay28 Sep. 1702
Richard Phillips16 March 1712

1 Regiment created by Duke of Norfolk for James II

On account of the 1685 Monmouth rebellion Henry Howard Duke of Norfolk took it upon himself to raise a regiment of foot for King James and became its first colonel. The Duke of Norfolk did however fall out with James II. While the army was encamped on Hounslow Heath in June 1686 the regiment was transferred to Edward Henry Lee, first earl of Lichfield1. Early in 1686 Lieutenant Moxon of Norfolk's regiment was killed in a duel with Henry Wharton2.

2 Regiment in the Nine Years War

2.1 Henry Wharton becomes colonel

The Earl of Lichfield was succeeded by Robert Lord Hunsdon with commission of 30 November 1688, but he refused to take the oath to the Prince of Orange. Henry Wharton, who had left the Earl of Lichfield's regiment on 25 November 1688 now got the regiment a few weeks later. Perhaps as a reward3, but he had also been commanding one of its companies since its formation. Captain Richard Brewer became Lieutenant-Colonel, even though he came from a different regiment.

2.2 Wharton regiment goes to Ireland

In early 1689 the regiment was in Oxfordshire. It marched to Hull, where on 28 May it was inspected by the commissioners for remodelling the army. The regiment was then unexpectedly sent to Ireland. It arrived in mid-August 1689 and immediately started with the siege of Carrickfergus.

2.3 Wharton dies at Dundalk

After conquering Carrickfergus the regiment proceeded to Dundalk. In the fortified camp of Dundalk the English troops, and also this regiment suffered very high losses due to disease. In the nationalist era the cause of these diseases was described as: 'the ground was low, and the weather proving wet'. Even at the time neutral observers knew better, and spoke about the incompetence and corruption of the average English officer. Anyhow: colonel Henry Wharton also died of fever at Dundalk on 28 October.

2.4 Brewer gets the regiment

Lt-Colonel Richard Brewer became colonel of the regiment on 1 November 1689. On 11 February it fought in the small battle of Cavan. This was highly successful and perhaps proved that the English infantry was becoming very good. It certainly proved that is was good at plundering. The Battle of the Boyne followed on 11 July.

  • Donore Castle
  • Donore Castle, County Westmeath
  • National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

On 10 January 1691 the regiment fought a small engagement at Lanesborough. From there it proceeded to Mullingar, where colonel Brewer became governor. On 8 May he marched against the raparees with a detachment of 600 men taken out of his own and the 18th regiment. He went to Castle Donore, beyond which 2,000 raparees were posted. These fled when Brewer approached the next morning, and only 50 fugitives were killed after a pursuit. Other skirmishes would follow.

2.5 Athlone and Aughrim

The army marched to the Siege of Ballymore, where the 17 June map of the siege has a Bruers regiment present. The regiment next was in the second Siege of Athlone. On 30 June it had to support the storming party against the Westmeath side (i.e. the eastern part) of the town. When the storm seemed to come to a halt one of its companies came up and made it succeed. The grenadier company of the regiment was involved in the final storm of the west part of Athlon on 10 July.

Colonel Brewer's regiment is in the 12 July 1691 battle of Aughrim4. During that battle Brewer's regiment had to pass a bog and a rivulet which was waist deep. Together with three other regiments it then started to push the Irish out of some hedges, but they advanced too far, and were driven back to the edge of the bog. At last they were saved by reinforcements coming up. The regiment had one major, one captain, one ensign, and a number of private soldiers killed. One lieutenant, and seven rank and file wounded.

2.6 In the siege of Galway

The Brewer Regiment took part in the Siege of Galway. It was then one of the first to enter Galway after it was delivered on 5 August 1691. There was a note that some of the regiments that had suffered most at Aughrim were chosen to form the garrsion. Brewers' became part of the garrison.

The Brewer regiment then continued in Galway. After Limerick had been conquered, it marched from Galway on 3 December 1691. About a week later it embarked at Kinsale, and sailed to Plymouth.

2.7 Brewer court martialed after Dixmuiden

In Feb 1694 the regiment was ordered to Flanders. In mid 1695 it was part of the 9 regiment garrison of Dixmuiden under the Danish Major-General Ellenberger. He surrendered with the garrison prisoners of war after a two day siege on 27 July 1695. Shortly afterwards the 2 battalion garrison of Deynse under d'Osserel suffered the same faith. A court marshal was then held that sentenced Major-General Ellenburgh to death, broke some colonels and suspended Colonel Brewer for three months. In 1697 the regiment seems to have been in Flanders too.

The Brewer regiment survived the disbandings by being on the Irish establishment from 1699. It was then ordered from Ireland to the West Indies and on 1 July 1702 it was in Jamaica and still paid by Ireland5. Colonel Brewer died in Jamaica.

3 Regiment in the War of the Spanish Succession

3.1 Livesay's regiment in the West Indies

On 28 September 1702 John Levesay Esq. was appointed as colonel6. In the winter of 1702-1703 Livesay's regiment embarked for the West Indies. In early March 1703 an attack against Guadaloupe was attempted but failed. The regiment then went to Jamaica, where it continued in 1704. By 1705 it was so depleted from illness, that the the non-commissioned officers and soldiers fit for service were transferred to another regiment, and the officers and some sergeants returned to England to recruit.

3.2 Livesay's regiment in the Siege of Lille

In 1708 the regiment was ready to embark on the fleet. On 6 August the fleet sailed from Spithead, and it would indeed make a landing a few miles from Boulogne, but nothing remarkable was done.

During the siege of Lille Vendome moved to block the supply routes to the siege. Therefore the alliance set up a new supply route from Oostende to Lille. On 21 September Liveasy's regiment disembarked at Oostende, and marched to take up position at Leffinghe. Here the regiment was empoyed in securing convoys that were brought over the inundations in boats and carts. It was enough to secure the surrender of Lille, and the regiment returned to England in early 1709.

3.3 Richard Phillips' regiment sails to Spain

Lt-Colonel Richard Phillips succeeded to the regiment on 16 March 1712. Phillips'regiment sailed to Spain in the summer of 1712, but did not see further fighting. It next went to garrison Menorca.

4 Sources

There is very readable html version version of the regimental history at Project Gutenberg eBook, Historical Record of the Twelfth, or the East Suffolk, Regiment of Foot

5 Notes

1) For the transfer of the regiment a letter of 26 June 1686 can be found in the Ellis correspndence London 1829 v. 1 page 124: Duke of Norfolk surrendered, and Earl of Lichfeild succeeds.
2) The Ellis correspondence vol. I XX letter of 6 February 1686: Henry Wharton killed, the same day, one Moxon, a lieutenant in the same regiment, which is the Duke of Norfolk's
3) Whig's progress by J. Kent Clark published 2004 ISBN 0838639976, 9780838639979 follows the life of Thomas Wharton, first marquess of Wharton and creater of Lilliburlero. Henry Wharton was his younger brother, see Page 228 for Henry Wharton's defection, page 272 for him dying in October 1689
4) The Green Book by J.C. O'Callaghan, page 305 has an OOB for Aughrim with Colonel Brewer's regiment in it.
5) State Papers Domestic Calendar under 1 July 1702 has 'late' William Selwyn's, and Richard Brewers in Jamaica and Zachary Tiffin's in the Leeward Islands.
6) State Papers Domestic Calendar under 28 September 1702 has Levesay's appointment as colonel of late Brewer's regiment in Jamaica.