genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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The Northamptonshire Militia Lists of 1777

These lists were required by statute to provide a body of men for the defence of the Realm

In 1973 the late Victor Hatley, who was a passionate local historian, published a fascinating little book** in which he collated all the known militia lists for Northamptonshire for the year 1777.

These lists were required by statute to provide a body of men for the defence of the Realm, the men were not liable for service overseas, so they could be thought of as a sort of Home Guard. All men aged between 18 and 45 were required to register for service however exemptions from the list were made. These exemptions included: Peers of the realm, clergymen, articled clerks, apprentices, seamen, parish constables and poor men who had 3 or more children born in wedlock.

In reality very few of these men served in the Military. Firstly names of men required for service were drawn by ballot and secondly those unlucky enough to find their names drawn could provide a volunteer in their place of pay for a substitute. At a time when most country men were self-employed, service in the Militia could impose an onerous obligation.

Should your name be drawn in the ballot and you could not provide a substitute you were required to present yourself at the annual Muster in Northampton where drill and exercise took place for about 28 days. During this time you would be billeted in a Public House and paid according to a scale laid down by an Act of Parliament. The Musters usually took place in May or June.

The Northamptonshire Regiment had to provide a force of approximately 700 men, in 1777 the list for Northamptonshire included the names of some 14,000 men so the chance of being drawn by ballot was slight.

The lists are of interest to Social Historians as they often include the men's occupations, below is the list for Everdon which contains the names of 44 men, indicating that the population of the village at that time would be similar to todays. As you can see from the list there are a number of BIRD's who could be related.

** Northants Record Society Vo. XXV - Northamptonshire Militia Lists 1777
Edited by Victor A. Hatley.

A list of the persons names liable to serve in the malitia in the parish of Everdon in the county of Northampton 1777.

John Goodman, yeoman
Willm. Brumwich, junr., yeoman
Willm Stockley, grazier
Tho. Mountfort, junr., grazier
Wilim. Warr, yeoman
John Warr, yeoman
Joseph Warr, yeoman
John Bird, junr., yeoman
Nathanl. Leeson,junr.,yeoman
Joshua Goodman, yeoman
Robt. Rushal, yeoman
Willm. Bird, junr., yeoman
Mr John Gardner, clother
Simon Osborn, baker
Michael Warwick, glazier
Luis Brown, woolcomber
Edward Ashby, woolcomber
Wm. Rushal, junr., butcher
John Bird, beasomaker
Thos. Brown, blacksmith
John Cockrel, blacksmith
Wm. Bottril, cordwinder
Wm. Russell, constable
Tho. Ward, cordwinder
John Elmes, wheelright
Robt. Burton, mastoner
James Carvil, carpenter
Geo.Bird, servant
Saml. Ward, servant
Tho.Amos, servant
James Rosimond, servant
Thos. Cocks, servant
Valentine Townshend, servant
Tho. Bird, servant
Joseph Gibbens, miller
John Heans, miller
Edward Aiers, servant
John Gregory, junr., labourer
Tho. Gregory, junr., labourer
Tho. Gude, labourer
Richd.Aiers, woodman
Fransis, Rosimond, labourer
John Joans, labourer
Wlm. Hazlewood, labourer
Benjiman Marriott, labourer

All spellings are as the original document
A cordwinder made shoes
A bessomaker made brooms
A yeoman was a small scale farmer
A mastoner was a mason

Originally published in the Everdon Newsletter - November, 2000 and adapted from the article by MICK MEGEARY on

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