A fascinating piece of military and social history surfaced in an old scrap book I purchased at auction last week. It was in the book with several totally unrelated and more modern items of ephemera, but this caught my eye when viewing the auction, if only for the early date of 1797.
It is a handbill document produced by a group of non commissioned officers (Sergeants) in a short lived regiment called the Fifeshire Fencible Cavalry. Fencibles were regiments organised purely for home defence and this regiment came into being in 1794, formed in Cupar, Fife by Colonel John Anstruther Thomson. They were only in existence for six years being disbanded in 1800 and seemed to spend most of their time in various barracks around the UK. This document relates to events while they were in Sheffield Barracks around the time of some serious civil unrest in Ireland and with a group called the “United Irishmen” seemingly trying to turn serving soldiers against King and Country (with some success I believe). In this document the group of named Sergeants are basically pledging their allegiance to the King (George III) and also offering a 30 guineas reward for evidence leading to conviction of any traitors.
For a regiment with such a short life I surprisingly found some regimental information in a website online, maybe because this regiment went on to be amalgamated into other more famous regiments? I must admit it is the first time I have ever heard the word “fencible?
Also I found that the paper printed on had a watermark “1795”, all fascinating stuff and I assume a fairly scarce and desirable (hopefully) item, and available for sale in Reynard Collectables ebay store here along with lots of other interest items of ephemera from various periods.