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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 81st Foot Regt

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Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 81st Foot Regt

Postby Sue1 » August 13th, 2011, 3:41 pm

I am trying to trace a several times great grandfather in the above regiment. The information below is from a beautifully handwritten document by his youngest son (or grandson). This document has only recently come my way and it lists James Rowland's sons, all of whom were military and also his grandsons who were military. It is, however, James Rowland himself I want to find out more about as I have quite a lot, including military records on some of the sons. Excerpt from the document:

Enlisted Newtown, Montgomeryshire, in the 83rd Regiment on 24th January 1787 at the age of 18 years. Served in the following engagements - Talavera, Busaco, Cuidad Rodrigo, Badagos and Salamanca. He was severely wounded in the hip at Salamanca. He belonged to Lord Hills column and died in 1846 in Great Baddow, Essex

He died at home, not on the Battlefield and I suspect he received an army pension after Salamanca but unable to find a record. I understand only the 2nd Btn served at Salamanca but not entirely sure what him belonging to Lord Hill's column meant - I know the soldiers were assigned to a certain senior officers group but I am not at all sure Lord Hill was with the 83rd????

I have recently (last 4 weeks) been to TNA again and apart from finding that a James Rowland (no other details) joined the 83rd as a private in 1809/10 from the Aberdeen militia I found nothing else. There was absolutely no other information like age, place of birth, that would have helped me to identify him although I don't know where he was born - could be Wales - could be overseas if his father was military and I do not have a definite date of birth but it was between 1763 - 1769. I do not know who his parents were but suspect Robert and Mary or Ann (oldest children were son Robert and daughter Mary Ann and these names did not relate to his wife's family as I know who they were.)

He married in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire in 1795 (I have marriage cert and they did not marry by Lincence - just Banns - and the witnesses are not helpful - no addressess for bride or groom - just "OTP") and his first child was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, in 1795 and he was the only child of James Rowland's exceedingly large family who was not born in Essex. This seems a little odd - he must have rarely served overseas if all his children were born in the same place at frequent intervals. At the relevant time he was involved in the Peninsula War his wife had a child in Essex in 1809 and 1812 - Salamanca was 25.8.1812 and he was injured there - something about the whole story doesn't seem quite right.

I visited Lincoln Archives and found a James Rowland and a William Rowland listed in the Royal South Lincolnshire Militia muster books but again, absolutely no other information about them that would help to identify James Rowland as the one I was looking for and it is not a particularly uncommon name.

Because James joined the army in Newtown, Montgomeryshire, I also, whilst at TNA checked the Montgomery Militia. He was not listed with them (there was a John Rowland) and they were based after that time, at Riding Barracks, Balling, Kent (have googled and the barracks is not there any longer but there is a Barrack Street). The Militia were helping with the harvest on a farm!

I have tried to contact the Museum of the Royal Irish Rifles in Belfast (the 2nd Btn of the 83rd became part of them) but am getting no response but plan to try this again - I believe they keep records there.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sue
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby Banker » August 14th, 2011, 12:09 am

Sue, Welcome to the forum. A very interesting read.

I have looked at the Medal Roll for the Military General Service (MGS) medal and cannot locate him on the roll for the 83rd.

Now the MGS was not authorised until 1847 and then only to those who were still alive and made a claim. So he may have died prior to 1847 or if he wasnt able to read or wasnt aware that he could claim the medal this would explain why he is not listed.

I also checked the Waterloo Roll and the 83rd were not involved so no medal there either.

Do you have any medals for him?

Regards Steve
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby OXFORDMON » August 14th, 2011, 1:07 pm

Hi Sue
A very interesting read, you have done some thorough research there.
I can't make out the connection to Lord Hill, i believe the 83rd served most of the war in the 3rd Division(Sir Thomas Picton).
I did wonder wether he may have served at Norman Cross POW camp, given the mention of Stamford (just a few miles north) but checking the dates the camp opened in 1797, might be worth checking though?, maybe Peterborough museum have records for Norman Cross?
I also wondered about the title Sgt Master Tailer? was he a tailor in civvy life or in the Regiment? or was that a rank :oops:

Andy.

http://sites.google.com/site/friendsofnormancross/
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby Sue1 » August 21st, 2011, 12:07 pm

Thank you both for your replies.

Steve: I don't have any medals for him I am afraid. He died in 1846 so would not have been entitled to one.

Andy: Normancross sounds interesting. James Rowland first appeared in Stamford in 1797 - his first child was born there that year. I have been looking at the site for Normancross and it would appear a large number of British soldiers were there to look after the Prisoners. I think it is worth looking into and I don't live far from Huntingdon whose Record Office holds some of the records (rest at TNA). I imagine the records show the prisoners rather than the soldiers though.
Can't quite work out how far from Stamford it is - seems quite a long way for those days BUT since his wife was expecting a child and I think there were definitely relatives in Stamford.

Only yesterday I came across what may have been James Rowland's ancestors - Duffield, Derbyshire, would you believe and then some of them to Greasley, Nottinghamshire (I cannot find James himself). The oldest ancestor seems to have been born in France in 1685 and was a Tailor! Wonder if they were Huguenots - that might have inspired James to volunteer to fight in the Peninsula Wars!

On the trail .....................Sue
Last edited by Sue1 on October 3rd, 2016, 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby OXFORDMON » August 21st, 2011, 1:33 pm

Hi Sue

I would think Stamford is around 13 miles from the site of Norman Cross, so an easy days march for an infantry soldier of the time.
I was born and bred in Peterborough and would highly recommend a visit to P/Boro museum if you have never been, they have a superb collection of prisoner of war work on display, made by the prisoners in the camp.
Best of luck in your research, keep us posted :) .

Andy.
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby Sue1 » August 22nd, 2011, 5:08 pm

Hi Andy,

Normancross is sounding even more interesting to me. There were apparantly many troops there guarding the prisoners. There were riots among the prisoners at some stage. Many of the French prisoners were unclothed and a Dr. Johnson is quoted as saying that they "must be clothed" - sounds like they needed a Tailor to me!

I have contacted Huntingdon Record Office as the website states that this is where the microfilm/fiche is. Have unfortunately had no response other than automated receipt of my message. Because it is so close to where I live I think I will just turn up tomorrow anyway and see what I can find. If it turns out to be Peterborough that is pretty much equidistant from here and, yes, I think a visit to Peterborough Museum would be on my list.

I have also discovered that one of the militia regiments that were guarding the prisoners was the Shropshire militia - this may well be relevant.

Not sure how much detail I will get on the soldiers however - this is what worries me - if the muster rolls I looked at at the TNA had no identifying info, I am even less likely to get any here and Rowland is quite a common name. But we shall see.

Ever optimistic, Sue
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby OXFORDMON » August 22nd, 2011, 6:37 pm

Hi Sue
Gambling was endemic at Norman Cross among the prisoners (and the guards no doubt!) and they were apparently betting the shirts off their backs, reports of the inmates being completly naked were not uncommon! :lol:
As you say, i'm not sure how complete the records are for the time, but you never know, fingures crossed.

Andy.
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby Sue1 » August 25th, 2011, 10:36 pm

Hi Andy,

Went to the Huntingdon Archives (I have never been to a more helpful or friendly Archive!) and sadly was unable to find any mention of the actual soldiers who were serving at Norman Cross unless they had had children baptised there. There were a lot of children baptised at that time whose father's were serving at Norman Cross but not James Rowland unfortunately. A local Huntingdon Archivist had listed all the Regiments that served at Norman Cross - he had taken this from the Yaxley, Stilton (plus other) parish registers which was extremely helpful BUT it only picks up the men who had children there.

I have a copy of the list of Militia which served there if anyone would find it useful - there are many but there will be many more I imagine because the regiments whose men did not have children baptised there will not be listed. One that I have read was there (and I am sure I read it was the only local Militia that served in the Peninsula War) was the Shropshire Militia and it is not on the list.

Back to the drawing board I'm afraid but thankyou for the suggestion - I enjoyed the visit to Huntingdon.

Sue
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby OXFORDMON » August 26th, 2011, 9:25 pm

Hi Sue
Sorry you had no success, i'm sure you'll find what your looking for, you need the patience of a saint with research.
I'm pleased you found the people at the archive helpful, i find the smaller places have more time for you.

Andy.
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Re: Sgt Master Tailor James Rowlands, 83rd Foot Regt

Postby Sue1 » December 19th, 2011, 10:40 am

I think I may be hot on the trail of the chap I am looking for - FMP published some new stuff on 15th December re the soldiers enlisted in the Napoleonic Wars - in most cases this includes place of birth (or where they enlisted) - my chaps name appears but it has yet to be proved it is actually him. For anyone else who is interested in this research trail of soldiers from this war, there is a website I found extremely helpful - it is: http://britisharmyresearchnapoleonicwars.co.uk/index.php?p=1 11 GUIDE-TO-RESEARCH-NEW-PAGE
Having found the person you are looking for, the paperwork is sadly not on line. One has to go to TNA and get it or employ the services of someone to do so.

Sue
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