Papers relating to the Lord Lieutenancy and Militia

Scope and Content

George Harry Grey, 5th Earl of Stamford, served as Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire from May 1783 until his death in 1819 when he was succeeded by his son (for the letters patent appointing him to the office see EGR4/1/1/2 above). One of the Lord Lieutenant's most important responsibilities was his oversight of the county militia. Fears of a French invasion (and of internal rebellion inspired by the example of the Revolution in France) in the period 1794-1803 occasioned elaborate preparations for the defence of the kingdom. The Royal Regiment of Cheshire Militia was augmented by the supplementary militia (in August 1798 they were renamed the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Royal Cheshire Militia respectively). In addition local armed associations or volunteer corps were raised throughout the county.

Most of the lieutenancy papers of George Harry Grey (1737-1819) relate to these measures for the defence of the county and the augmentation of the militia. The majority date from the years 1794-5, 1798 and 1803. The papers include correspondence between Lord Stamford and Government ministers, principally the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for War, and also correspondence within the county between Lord Stamford, Charles Potts, deputy clerk of the peace and clerk to the general meetings of the lieutenancy, and members of the Cheshire gentry, including deputy lieutenants and commanders of local militia units.

The correspondence reflects the mediating function of the Lord Lieutenant between central Government and the county administration. He received a steady stream of demands from ministers for information on local conditions, such as the state of the militia, and directives for the implementation of Government policy in the county, such as measures for the defence of the county. These were passed on to Potts, the deputy lieutenants and local commanders. In the other direction, the Lord Lieutenant acted as a conduit for requests from the county for Government advice or action. For instance he forwarded requests for the making out of commissions for militia officers, and requests for financial assistance to militia units. As well as correspondence there are Acts of Parliament, returns of the militia and financial papers.

The series contains the following items: list of officers in the Royal Regiment of Cheshire Militia, 1759 (EGR4/1/2/1); 5 bundles of papers re augmentation of the militia, 1794-5 (/2-6); bundle of papers re Stockport Volunteer Corps, 1794-5 (/7); bundle of papers re raising men for the Navy, 1795 (/8); bundle of papers re wheat supply, 1795-6 (/9); bundle of printed correspondence, 1795-6 (/10); bundle of papers re lieutenancy and militia, 1796-1803 (/11); bundle of printed notices, 1795, 1803 (/12); 3 bundles of letters and circulars re militia, 1798 (/13-15); bundle of papers re militia, 1797-8 (/16); 2 bundles of correspondence with Charles Potts and Col. John Crewe, 1798 (/17-18); bundle of papers re Lieut. Col. Thomas Parker, 1798 (/19); bundle of papers re measures in case of invasion, 1798 (/20); abstracts of returns of live and dead stock, and of men of serviceable age, 1798 (/21-22); 6 bundles of papers re armed associations in Knutsford, Congleton, Northwich, Cheadle, Stockport, Rainow etc., 1798 (/23-28); bundle of papers re General Orders to the Army, 1801 (/29); bundle of papers re militia, 1801 (/30); bundle of papers re 1802 Militia Act, 1802 (/31); bundle of papers re voluntary naval armament, 1803 (/32); bundle of papers re militia, 1803 (/33); 2 bundles of papers re volunteer corps, 1803 (/34-35); return of men enrolled in the Army, 1804 (/36); two petitions for additional magistrates, 1808 (/37-38); case re Parliamentary Bills, [1808] (/39).

Related Material

Cheshire Record Office: MG (Lieutenancy and militia, general meeting records, 1720-1936).