Seymour's regiment of foot

Commanded by William Seymour

Previously known as Second Tangier regiment, later 4th regiment of foot

Commanded by:
Earl of Plymouth113 July 1680
Piercy Kirke227 November 1680
Charles Trelawny323 April 1682
Sir Charles Orby41 December 1688
Charles Trelawny531 December 1688
Henry Trelawny61 January 1692
William Seymour712 February 1702

Charles Fitz-Charles Earl of Plymouth was a natural son of King Charles II. While in Tangier he was appointed on 13 July 1680 as colonel of a regiment which was to be formed in England for its defense8. Thus the regiment started to assemble in England as Second Tangier regiment under Lieutenant-colonel Piercy Kirke. In November 1680 the Second Tangier sailed from England, but upon arriving in Tangiers they learned their colonel had died of dysentry in October. Sir Palmes Fairborne, the governor and commander of the first Tangier regiment had died even earlier (24 September 1680). Therefore Lieutenant-colonel Kirke was appointed as commander in chief of the garrison as well as colonel of the first Tangier. He was succeeded by Charles Trelawny on 23 April 1682. Because of the high maintenance cost of the settlement Tangiers was abandoned in late 1683, and the regiment arrived back in England in February 1684.

Upon the accession of James II the regiment was titled the Queen's regiment of Foot. At the start of Monmouth's rebellion Trelawny's regiment was in Portsmouth. Under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Charles Churchill the regiment marched towards the main force. It then marched to Weston and Sedgemoor, where it was in the left of the line with the First Tangier regiment. After this battle the regiment returned to Portsmouth. Later it went to the western counties till it marched to Plymouth in spring 1686. In March 1687 it left for Salisbury and Wilton, and then Hounslow in June. In August 1687 it went to Bristol, Bath and Keynsham.

Trelawney's regiment during the Glorious Revolution

In the spring of 1688 Trelawny's regiment went to Portsmouth, but in September it was ordered to march to London. After the Prince of Orange had landed in late 1688 Brigadier-General Charles Trelawny's regiment marched to Salisbury and then Warminster. At this advanced post at Warminster Major-General Kirke commanded. James II then ordered a general retreat to London, but Kirke refused and was imprisoned. For Trelawny this was the sign to defect to the Prince of Orange with his Lieutenant-colonel Charles Churchill and about thirty non-commissioned officers and soldiers. James II then sent some cavalry to Warminster and retrieved the rest of the infantry. He also appointed the staunch Roman Catholic Sir Charles Orby as colonel. After James II had fled the Prince of Orange restored Brigadier-General Trelawny on 31 December 16889 and made Charles Churchill colonel of the Holland regiment, later known as 3RD Foot.

Trelawney's regiment during the Nine Years War

In 1689 Trelawney's regiment was quartered in the south of England and passed the winter in Exeter. In mid-April 1690 it embarked from Barnstaple, but severe weather drove it back to Plymouth. On 30 April it sailed again and landed at Belfast on 2 May. In July 1690 Trelawney's regiment was in the battle of the Boyne. In the review at Finglass on 7 and 8 July 1690 it mustered 533 men besides officers and non-commissioned officers. After the naval defeat in the Battle of Beachy Head the regiment was ordered back to England and camped near Portsmouth. In mid September 1690 it then embarked for the expedition to Cork and Kinsale. After this expedition the regiment went into garrison in Cork and wintered there.

In spring 1691 the regiment remained in Cork, but after the battle of Aughrim it joined in the Siege of Limerick, which ended the Irish campaign. Soon after Trelawney's regiment returned to England. Major-General Charles Trelawney became governor of Plymouth and was replaced by his lieutenant-colonel and brother Henry Trelawny, who was appointed on 1 January 1692.

After embarking at Portsmouth the Trelawney regiment sailed to the Low Countries on 31 March 1692. Contrary winds however forced the transports to anchor in the Downs till mid-April, when it sailed to Oostende. It then proceeded to join the main army and was reviewed in camp between Genappe and the forest of Soignies. On 24 July 1692 it was in the Battle of Steenkerque, but it suffered only lightly with 10 killed and 4 wounded10. On 22 August it was part of a 10 battalion detachment under Tollemache, which proceeded to fortify Furnes and Dixmuiden. It then went to Brugge and the main force and returned for wintering in Brugge. It was then part of a detachment which was to relieve Furnes, but this place surrendered on 4 January 1693.

In May 1693 it joined the main force and was in the camp near the Abbey of Parck. On 19 July 1693 the regiment was in the Battle of Landen. Here it saw heavy fighting and lost 3 captains and 2 lieutenants killed, wounded or prisoner. At the end of the campaign it wintered in Mechelen. In May 1694 it encamped near the Cloister of Terbanck, where 3 English and 36 Dutch battalions were assembled. In September 1694 the regiment was part of the force covering the siege of Huy.

In early 1695 Trelawney's regiment was part of the force under the Prince de Vaudemont that covered the siege of Namur. On 24 June it was ordered to this siege with a detachment under Cutts, arriving at the siege on 1 July. In the first stages of the siege of Namur the regiment suffered heavy losses. On 27 July it was part of a detachment under Lieutenant-general count Nassau, which was sent to bolster the covering force. After the Bombardment of Brussel the French made a renewed attempt to relieve the siege, and the regiment was in the force that opposed this. From this position the regiment was again engaged in the siege and on 20 August a detachment of the regiment participated in the assault on the counterscarp and breach of Terra Nova. After the subsequent surrender of Namur the regiment wintered in Mechelen.

In early 1696 information about the conspiracies against King William led to the regment being ordered back to England. From Mechelen the regiment marched to Sas van Gent, where it embarked and sailed to Vlissingen and then England. The regiment disembarked at Gravesend and remained in England in 1696. In the summer of 1697 the regiment sailed back to the Netherlands. On 14 July it joined the main force near Brussels and on 16 July it was reviewed by William III. In October it was ordered back to England, where it landed at Woolwich in early December. The Henry Trelawney regiment was on the 5 March 1699 bill that listed the 7,000 troops that were to remain on the English establishment. They were then designed to count 10 companies and 445 men.

Seymour's regiment of Foot in the War of the Spanish Succession

On 12 February 1702 William Seymour was appointed as colonel. In 1702 the regiment took part in the expedition to Cadiz where it landed in the first line on 15 August 1702. It then participated in the capture of the towns of Rota and Port Saint Mary and the Fort Saint Catherine. It then participated in the siege of Fort Matagorda, but this failed and the regiment re-embarked. Later it participated in the battle of Vigo. Here it landed south of the river and participated in assaults on the defensive works. It lost 2 officers and 40 men killed and 4 officers and 30 men wounded; among the latter Colonel Seymour.

In May 1703 the regiment became part of the Marines11. As regards their appearance the consequence was that the three-cornered cocked hats were replaced by high-crowned leather caps covered with cloth of the same color as the facings of the regiment, and ornamented with devices, the same as the caps worn at this period by the grenadiers. Its first action was embarking on the fleet which conducted Archduke Charles to Portugal. After having been driven back by storms this fleet finally sailed on 12 February 1704 and arrived at Lisbon on the 25th and following. Seymour's regiment stayed on board and with the fleet it proceeded to Barcelona. It landed there, and the city was summoned and bombarded, but stayed firm in its allegiance to Felipe V. After this failure the combined fleet arrived in the bay of Gibraltar on 21 July 1704. A body of English and Dutch troops was landed north of the fortress and on 23 July the bombardment started. Parties of marines then landed and after taking some of the outer works the fortress surrrendered.

The Bourbon powers took counter measures that first failed in the Sea Battle of Malaga. They also started a siege of Gibraltar under the Marquis de Villadarias on 22 October 1704. Part of the regiment was in the garrison which defended the fortress, which was covered by the Anglo-Dutch fleet. On 11 November 1704 a night attack was launched, but beaten off. In one of the February attacks Captain Fisher of the regiment was emprisoned in a counter-attack, liberated and again taken prisoner in the pursuit. Towards the end the end of March 1705 the siege of Gibraltar was lifted.

It's not exactly clear what the regiment did after the defense of Gibraltar. In the winter of 1709 six companies were stationed in Devonshire and from March 1710 in Plymouth. In July 1710 the other seven companies landed on the Isle of Wight, where they camped till marching to Portsmouth in September. In this season the regiment was removed from the Marines, but designated for Sea-service. In January 1711 the six companies left at Plymouth marched to Portsmouth. On the 23rd it received orders to prepare for Portugal. In the end the regiment was however embarked for Hill's expedition to Canada. At the mouth of the Saint Lawrence the transports of this expedition ran into a storm and so 8 transports were dashed upon the rocks. The losses for the Seymour regiment alone amounted to 11 officers and 228 men.

After the failed expedition the regiment landed at Portsmouth on 10 October 1711. It then marched to Hampshire and recruited. In fall 1712 the regiment moved to garrison Portsmouth and Plymouth and stayed there for about a year. in September 1713 the regiment then moved to garrison Guernsey and Jersey, the Scilly Islands and the town of Pendennis with two companies. After the Peace of Utrecht the regiment was reduced 10 companies. In 1715 the regiment was titled the 'King's own' and it held on to this title for centuries.

Notes

1) English Army Lists and Commission Registers, 1661-1714, Vol. IV London 1898, page 5 has 13 July 1680 as date of the Earl of Plymouth's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
2) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 5 has 27 November 1680 as date of the Piercy Kirke's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
3) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 5 has 23 April 1682 as date of Charles Trelawny's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
4) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 5 has 1 December 1688 as date of Sir Charles Orby's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
5) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 5 has 31 December 1688 as date of Charles Trelawny's re-appointment (not present in the commission entry books)
6) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 5 has 1 January 1692 as date of Henry Trelawny's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
7) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 5 has 12 February 1702 as date of William Seymour's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
8) For Seymour's regiment see (unless otherwise stated): Historical Records of the British Army London 1837, The Fourth, or the King's own, regiment of foot.
9) This date 31 December 1688 is often given, but I do not know whether it points to a specific re-appointment.
10) Wilhelm III von Oranien und Georg Friedrich von Waldeck by P.L. Müller, The Hague 1873 v. 2 page 238 has the appendix G: Verluste der Alliierten bei Steenkerken. 3 Aug. 1692, it has Trelawny's regiment with its losses.
11) Calendar of State Papers for 1702 page 644 has Seymour's regiment becoming a marine regiment in march 1703