Columbine's regiment of foot

6th Foot
Royal First Warwickshire Regiment
The house where Columbine's wife
Barbara grew up is still standing.
Commanded by:
Sir Walter Vane112 Dec. 1673
Luke Lillingston216 Aug. 1674
Thomas Astley313 Sep. 1675
Henry Belasyse43 Apr. 1678
Philip Babington57 Apr. 1688
Hessen-Darmstadt615 Apr. 1691
Henry Marquis de Rada71 Feb. 1694
Ventris Columbine823 June 1695
James Rivers2 Nov. 1703
William Southwell14 Mar. 1706
Thomas Harrison1708
Robert Dormer7 Mar. 1716

1 Origins in Dutch Service

1.1 Third of the English regiments

Lillingston's9 was the third English regiment of the Anglo-Dutch brigade that was formed after the 1674 peace of Westminster. In the winter of 1675-1676 its Colonel Lillingston was succeeded by Thomas Astley. In 1676 the regiment participated in the failed siege of Maastricht. In 1677 Astley's regiment fought in the battle of Mont Cassel and shortly afterwards he was replaced by Sir Henry Bellasis.

1.2 Bellasis in the Battle of Saint Denis

Together with the other 5 regiments of the brigade Bellasis' regiment then took part in the August 1678 battle of Saint Denis. The losses at Saint Denis were: Major Babington; captains Richardson and Van der Straet; lieutenants Price and Leppingcolt; ensign Dury all killed. Colonel Bellasis; Lt-colonel Monck; captain Penford, lieutenant Lunnemon and ensign Nelson wounded10.

1.3 Bellasis too late for the Monmouth rebellion

In accordance with the treaties about the 'Scottish brigade' the States General were obliged to send their English and Scottish regiments across the Channel to help the British monarch should the need arise. During the 1685 Monmouth rebellion James II therefore called upon the States General to send the brigade over. The three English regiments arrived in July, somewhat later than the Scottish and were too late to see any fighting.

1.4 Back in Holland

The brigade then returned to Holland where in 1686 Henry Bellasis was removed from the colonelcy and for a while its lieutenant-colonel William Babington commanded it without getting appointed as colonel. In September 1685 a regiment 'Bellasise' participated in maneuvers near Palace het Loo11. On 14 August 1686 the Bellasis regiment was in camp near Nijmegen12. In 1687 the Bellasis regiment was in camp near Dieren13.

2 The regiment during the Nine Years War

2.1 Crosses the Channel

In January 1688 James II tried to recall the brigade to England again, but this time the States General refused. They did however allow all officers who wanted to do so to obey their king's command, which about forty did. The regiment was then part of William III's invasion force, but for the time being it remained on the Dutch establishment.

2.2 Becomes Babington's regiment

In April 1690 it sailed for Ireland and participated in the siege of Charlemont fortress which surrendered on 14 May. On 28 September 1689 William Babington was then formally appointed as its colonel. On 1 July 1690 Babington's took part in the Battle of the Boyne and somewhat later in the failed siege of Athlone.

2.3 Hessen-Darmstadt's regiment in Ireland

In April 1691 Babington was succeeded by George Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt. Under his command the regiment participated in the siege of Ballymore which surrendered in the middle of June 1691. Thereafter it participated in the capture of Athlone, which was finished on 30 June. On 12 July it participated in the battle of Aughrim. On 15 August 1691 it then arrived under the walls of Limerick. From there it participated in the small siege of the fortress of Castleconnel. In October this second siege of Limerick ended and on 20 December 1691 the regiment left Ireland.

2.4 Hessen-Darmstadt's in the battle of Steenkerque

In 1692 the regiment moved to the Spanish Netherlands, were it was reviewed by William III in the camp of Genappe on 29 June. On 3 August 1692 it fought in the battle of Steenkerque, where it suffered 148 killed and 83 wounded14. In September it then sailed for England. In 1694 it was in garrison duty in Flanders where Hessen-Darmstadt joined the service of Charles II. In February 1694 he was succeeded by Henry marquis de Rada, son of the Marquis de Montpouillan. In the winter of 1694-1695 it was in Brugge.

2.5 Becomes Columbine's regiment

In 1695 the regiment joined the siege of Namur and when the Marquis de Rada died, Ventris Columbine was appointed to the colonelcy. In March 1696 the regiment returned to England. In July 1697 it was again in Willemstad, but apart from marching to Brussel it did not do much before returning to Gravesand in November 1697. In August 1698 the regiment of Columbay AC 5 August 1698 arrived in Chester, in order to be sent to Ireland. According to a 16 December 1698 list15 the regiment designated as Colonel Columbine's survived the 1699 disbandings by being on the Irish establishment.

3 Finding Ventris Columbine's / Colenbine

3.1 Little known Ventris Colombine

Ventris Colombine is a bit of a mystery, not in the least because of the very numerous ways his name was spelled. His son became a freemason, and therefore we have a very brief description of the Columbine family in Lodge Quatuor Coronat page 87. Where he was said to have been born in Holland, and to have been page to Sir William Temple. The Dutch connection could be in the name Colembijn.

3.2 Columbine's Dutch connections

Coenraet Wegewaert lived in The Hague, he was a good bellfounder, and was also the official 'geschutgieter' making cannon for the States General. He married Maria van der Nijpoort (1623-1687) and died in 1669. His 6th child Barbara Wegewaert (1657-1730) married Ventris Colenbine Nationaal Archief. Ventris Colenbine and his wife Barbara had two sons: Francis and Ventris, and two daughters: Mary and Johanna. For them it was necessary to be naturalized by law, because they had not been born in England An Exact Abridgment of All the Statutes of King William and Queen Mary, London 1704 page 402.

3.3 Quarters in Den Bosch

From 1684 till 1688 the Bellasyse regiment (as it was then named) was quartered in Den Bosch for some time. These quarters can be consulted online at Bossche Encyclopedie. On 10 July 1684 the company of Ventris Columbine arrived in Den Bosch (not named as such, but this can be deduced from the names of the men in the company and the rank of captain of Ventres Collenbine). On 21 May 1685 Captain Ventrus Collibine and his company arrived in Den Bosch again. On 22 May 1686 Captain Collingbine arrived in Den Bosch. On 16 May 1687 Capt. Collingbine arrived in Den Bosch again with 54 men. There are multiple notes of Ventris being a 'page'. On 14 May 1688 Capt. Menteros Colonbine arrived in Den Bosch again with 51 men. While in 's Hertogenbosch Ventris Columbine visited the notary to partition the inheritance of his wife Genealogy Dortmans-Steverink:

inhoud Kopie. Voor Johan Keijser, notaris te 's-Hertogenbosch, compareerde de heer Ventus Columber, kapitein in het regiment van kolonel Bellasis, als man en voogd van Barbara Catharina Weghewaerts, dochter van Coenraet Weghewaerts en Maria der Nieupoort en Godefrida Maria Teresia Weghewaerts, eveneens dochter van voornoemd echtpaar. Zij machtigen hun zuster Agnes Weghewaerts, weduwe van Cornelis Suijseckens, in leven koopman te Cadiz, wonend te Utrecht, om te verkopen een hofstede, gelegen buiten Utrecht aan de Mere (?), met alle landerijen onder Bodegraven, hun aangekomen bij het overlijden van hun ouders.

Before 1684 the regiment was in Den Bosch as Lillington in 1676 and 1677. This (indeed) conflicts with Astley (Asteleij) being colonel at the time, but Colonel Asteleij of the Lillington regiment was in Den Bosch in 1676. Later on the 'regiment van Asteley' left on 7 June 1677. We do not learn much from this except that in 1677 Columbine was not yet a captain in this regiment.

3.4 Major Columbine captured during the invasion 1688

The regiment designated as Babington's was part of the fleet sent to England in 1688. Some of its companies then had the misfortune of being on a fly-boat (a type of ship) that was disabled and captured by some English warships. On 13 November the Swallow of Captain Aylmer brought into the Downs a ship with four companies of Colonel Babington's regiment, commanded by Major Collambine LG 5 November 1688. The regiment also designated as 'Regiment which was former Bellises' LG 8 November 1688

It's certain how many companies were on board. James II jumped to the opportunity to make some threats, and on 16/26 November Major Ventris Colenbine and others were charged with conspiring the death of the king James II Middlesex County Records, Volume 4 page 327. The names of some others were: Captain Thomas Norgate, four lieutenants: Robert Tempest (Columbine's company in 1688), Thomas Browne (lieutenant in Colyear's company in 1688), John Boyce (John Boyes page in Norgate's in 1688) and Edward Harrington and some ensigns. While the presence of 4 lieutenants points to four companies, the presence of only one major and one captain points to two captured comapnies.

4 The regiment in the War of the Spanish Succession

4.1 Columbine's in the expedition to Cadiz

In 1702 Columbine's regiments first proceeded to the Isle of Whight. From there it joined the expedition against Cadiz and saw some fighting there. (A bizar detail is that, had the city been captured, Ventris could have visited his sister in law Cato Wegewaert (1653-1709), who lived there Van Susteren, by Leo Adriaenssen). Later it landed near Vigo, fought there too and arrived back in England in November 1702. In 1703 it participated in an expedition to the West Indies, which achieved very little. In June 1703 shortly before reaching Jamaica Ventris Colenbine died aboard ship Het Britannische ryk in Amerika, uit het Engelsch [of J. Oldmixon] vertaald page 262.

4.2 Rivers regiment in Portugal and Cataluna

On 2 November 1703 its Lieutenant-Colonel James Rivers was appointed to the colonelcy. In May 1705 the regiment embarked at Plymouth and arrived in Lisbon in June. From August to October 1705 it participated in the capture of Barcelona. After the death of James Rivers Lieutenant-Colonel William Southwell was appointed as colonel on 14 March 1706. Later that year it participated in the defense of Barcelona. Later in 1706 it participated in the sieges of Requena and Cuenza which were both captured after a short resistance.

4.3 Rivers regiment at Almanza

In April 1707 it was in the battle of Almansa and suffered heavy losses. The remnants of the regiment defended at the Ebro for some time and then retreated to Tarragona and later Borgues. Its losses were replaced by enlisting soldiers from other regiments.

4.4 The regiment captured at Brihuega

In 1708 its colonel was replaced by Thomas Harrison. In September participated in the capture of Minorca. In 1709 the regiment went back to Barcelona. In July 1710 it was present at the battle of Almanera and on 20 August 1710 it participated in the battle of Saragossa. On 9 December the regiment was captured in the battle of Brihuega. After that it saw no more fighting in this war. On 7 March 1716 Harrison was replaced with Robert Dormer.

5 Notes

1) English Army Lists and Commission Registers, 1661-1714, Vol. IV London 1898, page 5 has 12 December 1673 as date of Sir Walter Vane's appointment (not present in the commission entry books)
2) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 5 has 16 August 1674 as date of Luke Lillingston's appointment (not present in the commission entry books)
3) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 5 has 13 September 1675 as date of Thomas Astley's appointment (not present in the commission entry books)
4) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 5 has 3 April 1678 as date of Henry Belasyse's appointment (not present in the commission entry books)
5) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 5 has 7 April 1688 as date of Philip Babington's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
6) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 5 has 15 April 1691 as date of Prince George of Hessen-Darmstadt's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
7) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 5 has 1 February 1694 as date of Henry Marquis de Rada's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
8) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 5 has 23 June 1695 as date of Ventris Columbine's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
9) For Columbine's regiment see (unless otherwise stated): Historical Records of the British Army London 1837, The Sixth, or Royal First Warwickshire Regiment of Foot.
10) Hollandse Mercurius for 1678 page 184 has these losses at the Battle of Saint Denis
11) At DIGAM is a map: Campement van soodanige trouppes als waarover Sijne Hoogheyt Revue heeft gedaan, ende deselve doen excerceren it has a regiment 'Bellesis'
12) At DIGAM is a map: Plan du campement sur la Bruierie de Mock (Mookerheide) le 14 August 1686 it has a regiment 'Wacop'
13) At DIGAM is a map: Campement de l'Armee de Son Altesse Monseigneur le Prince d'Orange a Dieren, l'annee 1687 it has Bellasis' regiment
14) 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 Hessen (Darmstadt's) regiment with its losses.
15) House of Commons Journal Vol. 12 16 December 1698 has Colonel Columbine's regiment on the establishment of Ireland.