King's Own Royal Regiment Museum


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Regimental History - 18th Century

We recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 1 1680-1814 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Price including UK postage £12.75

In 1703 the regiment was placed on the Marine establishment, and took part in the capture of Gibraltar and the defence of the colony from October 1704 to May 1705.  In 1710 the Regiment returned to the Army establishment.

In 1715 the Regiment received the distinctive title The King's Own Regiment of Foot.  As its name suggests, this was a regiment of foot soldiers - an infantry regiment.  The Regiment was to see further changes in its title over the centuries.

The Loyal and Friendly Society of the Blew and Orange was founded between 1733 and 1736 by officers of the King's Own Royal Regiment to commemorate the Revolution of 1688 and the accession of the House of Hanover to the English throne in 1714.  James Thorne was Registrar of the Society and one of its wardens.  The Society of the Blew and Orange is possibly the first ‘Regimental Association’ relating to the King’s Own.  The Blew (the 18th Century spelling of blue) illustrated the Royal connection and the Orange illustrated the link with King William III (William of Orange).  The Society had formal dinners four times per year, and the last recorded meeting was in 1801.  As well as celebrating the Revolution and the Accession of the Hanoverians (1st August 1714), the Society also kept the anniversaries of the Battle of the Boyne (11 July) and the Battle of Culloden (16 April).

Illustration of the Battle of Culloden by Frank Perkins (after 'An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745' by David Morier) commissioned by the museum in 1997 as part of the refurbished displays.

The Regiment was involved in the actions against the Jacobite rising under 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' 1745-46, and fought in the Battle of Culloden of April 1746.  Indeed, the King's Own suffered more casualties on that day than any other Regiment.  Lieutenant Colonel Robert Rich, commanding the battalion, lost his left hand and nearly lost his right arm in the battle.

bulletJacobite Commemorative Medals.


A contemporary satirical print reflecting the strict discipline imposed by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Rich on his Regiment after Culloden.  It must have been some time before Rich recovered from his wounds and rejoined his regiment, but the print probably dates from circa 1749 or earlier, since the Regiment is referred to by the name of its Colonel, William Barrell.  Lieutenant Colonel Rich gave up command when he assumed the Colonelcy of the Regiment on Barrell's death in August 1749.  The soldiers who are drawn up to witness the punishment wear barrels, an illusion to the Regiment's name.  The castle in the background suggests Edinburgh as the location, although the Regiment was based in several places during its stay in Scotland from April 1746 to September 1751.  The soldier on the left laments "I've not been whipt since ye coll. left us"  The prisoner tied to the tripod of halberds says "I wish I'd been kill'd by the Rebels", whilst the drummer intercedes, "Coll. he behaved well at Culloden."
Accession Number: KO2590/304

Between 1753 and 1756 the King's Own were stationed on the Mediterranean island of Minorca.  A pay document exists in the museum's collection with details the 'charge of the Garrison of Minorca' which also details the daily rates of pay for the officers and soldiers of the regiment.

bulletDrowning of Private John Lavender, Holy Island, July 1767
bulletRoad Making in the Highlands, 1771

In the second half of the 18th Century the King's Own saw active service in the West Indies and later in North America.  Their first actions were against the French.  This was part of continuing conflicts as European powers fought for control of the West Indian islands.  The islands produced valuable goods for import - like rum and sugar.  The American War of Independence, on the other hand, saw the struggle of thirteen North American colonies to win their independence from Britain.

See uniforms of the period:








We recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 1 1680-1814 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Price including UK postage £12.75

© 2013 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum