Webb's regiment of foot

8th Foot
A.k.a. The King's regiment
Portrait of John Richmond Webb
John Richmond Webb, British Museum
Commanded by:
Lord Ferrars of Chartly119 June 1685
James Duke of Berwick21 Nov. 1686
John Beaumont331 Dec. 1688
John Richmond Webb426 Dec. 1695
Henry Morrison5 Aug. 1715

1 Origins with James II

1.1 Ferrars' regiment

At5 the time of the Monmouth invasion in 1685 Lord Ferrars of Chartly was one of the noblemen who was appointed to raise a company. These companies converged on Derby and made a regiment. Lord Ferrars became colonel of the regiment which was at that time labeled Princess Anne of Denmark's.

The regiment came too late for the Battle of Sedgemoor. Its companies were reduced in size, and later that year it went to Hounslow Heath, where it was exercised and reviewed. It wintered in Chester. In February 1686 the regiment marched north to Northumberland.

1.2 Becomes Berwick's regiment

In November 1686 James Fitz-James was appointed colonel and early next year he became Duke of Berwick. In June 1687 it was again at Hounslow Heath, and then went into quarters in Portsmouth.

1.3 The Six Portsmouth Captains

In 1688 the regiment was in Portsmouth when Berwick tried to infuse Roman Catholic recruits from Ireland.

Its Lieutenant-Colonel John Beaumont (? - 3 July 1701) and Simon Packe, Thomas Ormer, John Port, William Cook and Thomas Paston publicly resisted this attempt. The affair became known as that of the Six Portsmouth Captains and on 10 September 1688 they were brought before a court marshal. They were only lightly punished, but this might have had to do with the approach of the Prince of Orange.

2 The regiment in the Nine Years War

2.1 John Beaumont's regiment

On 31 December 1688 John Beaumont received his reward by getting appointed as colonel of the regiment. On 13 August 1689 it then landed in Ireland and participated in the siege of Carrickfergus which was taken that same month. It then proceeded to Dundalk and was present in the 1 July 1690 battle of the Boyne. Later on it participated in the failed siege of Limerick. In September Beaumont's was part of the expedition under John Churchill that captured Cork and Kinsale. It next wintered in these places. In 1691 it first remained in garrison and only participated in the second siege of Limerick.

In February 1692 Beaumont's regiment embarked for England and was held there by naval battles in the Channel. It was then on board before it disembarked at Oostende in September. After a short sojourn in Furnes it wintered in England and remained there.

2.2 John Webb's regiment

On 26 December 1695 John Richmond Webb was appointed as colonel. The regiment sailed for Flanders in February 1696 and was placed in garrison at Dendermonde. It left from there in June to join the main force, but after a rather uneventful campaign it wintered in Gent. In 1697 it took the field again but did not do much. According to a 16 December 1698 list6 the regiment designated as Colonel Webb's survived the 1699 disbandings by being on the Irish establishment.

3 Webb's regiment in the War of the Spanish Succession

3.1 John Webb's in the United Provinces

On 20 March 1701 the Webb regiment, which was then also designated as the 'Princess's' was near Kinsale7. On 15 June 1701 the regiment embarked at the Cove of Cork and sailed to Hellevoetsluis. From there it sailed to Geertruidenberg on Dutch ships and then moved to the vicinity of Breda where it was reviewed by William III on 21 September. In March 1702 it moved to Rosendaal. While there it heard of the death of King William and got the right to be called the Queen's (Queen Anne) regiment. From Rosendaal it moved to Cranenburgh and it participated in the Nijmegen affair.

After the alliance army moved south Webb's regiment covered the siege of Venlo and its grenadier company participated in the storming of the fortress of Saint Michael. It then proceeded to participate in the siege of Roermond and the assault on the citadel of Li├Ęge.

In 1703 Webb's was in the stand off at Loonaken (near Maastricht) where the French declined to attack the allied army. It then participated in the siege of Huy which was captured in August.

3.2 John Webb's at Blenheim

In 1704 the regiment participated in the Danube campaign. Here it participated in the battle of the Schellenberg and Blenheim. After that it was part of the covering force of the third siege of Landau. In 1705 it was part of Marlborough's failed attempt to enter France via the Moselle. After returning to the Netherlands the regiment captured Huy again in July and was present at the forcing of the lines of Brabant.

3.3 Ramillies and Lille

In 1706 Webb's regiment participated in the battle of Ramillies. Later on it participated in the siege of Menin, which surrendered in August and wintered in Gent. On 26 March 1708 the regiment embarked at Oostende in order to counter the French design against Scotland. After this it returned to Flanders and fought in the battle of Oudenaarde. Webb's regiment then continued as part of the covering force for the siege of Lille. Its colonel Major-General John Richmond Webb was then assigned to escort a convoy. This led to the battle of Wijnendaal, but Webb's regiment was not present. After the surrender of Lille and Gent Webb's regiment wintered in Gent.

3.4 Malplaquet

In 1709 Webb's regiment was part of the covering force of the siege of the town of Tournay and part of the siege of its citadel. It next fought in the battle of Malplaquet and was part of the covering force for the siege of Mons. In 1710 it took part in forcing the French lines and covering the siege of Douay. In 1711 it participated in the siege of Bouchain. In 1712 the regiment took the field under the Duke of Ormonde and wintered in Gent. After the peace of Utrecht had been signed the regiment was left in Flanders to secure the signing of the barrier treaty. On 23 August 1714 Webb's regiment finally arrived back in England. Lieutenant General Webb was however not that popular anymore and so he was replaced by Colonel Henry Morrison on 5 August 1715.

4 Notes

1) English Army Lists and Commission Registers, 1661-1714, Vol. IV London 1898, page 6 has 19 June 1685 as date of Robert Lord Ferrers' appointment (present in the commission entry books)
2) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 6 has 1 November 1686 as date of Berwick's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
3) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 6 has 31 December 1688 as date of John Beaumont's appointment (not present in the commission entry books)
4) English Army Lists Vol. IV, page 6 has 26 December 1695 as date of John Webb's appointment (present in the commission entry books)
5) For Webb's regiment see (unless otherwise stated): Historical Records of the British Army London 1844, The Eight, or The King's Regiment of Foot.
6) House of Commons Journal Vol. 12 16 December 1698 has Colonel Webb's on the establishment of Ireland.
7) The correspondence of Henry Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, and his brother. A Letter from the Justices of Ireland to the Earl of Rochester of 20 March 1701 has that the 'Princess's' (Colonel Webb's) regiment was near Kinsale.