Rifle Volunteers Corps, founded 1860

Volunteer forces for home defence were revived (for the first time since the Napoleonic Wars) in 1859 due to a threat of war with France. The 3rd Bucks (Buckingham and Winslow) R.V. Corps was founded in Feb 1860, and the Winslow Subdivision came into existence in August. Read more on the Buckinghamshire Rifle Volunteers website.

1860: Buckingham Advertiser, 18 Aug


A meeting was held on Wednesday afternoon, at the National School-Room, for the purpose of taking steps for the formation of a Rifle Corps in Winslow and the neighbourhood.  The room was well filled, shortly after the hour named, by gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood.  Among those present were Philip Dauncey, Esq, (in the chair,) Sir Harry Verney, Bart., M.P.;  T. F. Fremantle, Esq.; E. W. S. Lowndes, Esq.;  Rev. C. Kerr;  Rev. S. Adams, Great Horwood;  Dr. Newsham [sic]; W. S. Broderick, Esq.;  W. S. Rogers, Esq.;  D. T. Willis, Esq.;  T. P. Willis, Esq., &c., &c.

The CHAIRMAN, in opening the proceedings, said the object of the meeting was to establish a Rifle Corps for Winslow and the neighbourhood…

…Sir HARRY VERNEY moved, “That it is expedient to form a Rifle Corps in Winslow and its neighbourhood.”…  “I look upon this as one of the most important and interesting movements I have had to do with in the course of my life.  Nobody, I am bold to say, will be the worse, and everybody will be rather the better for being made somewhat of a soldier.  There is nothing more healthy, both physically and mentally, than the discipline which a soldier undergoes, and especially is this beneficial to those whose occupations confine them to the house for the greater part of the day.  Again, in a Rifle Corps men meet together with feelings of friendship and good fellowship;  they learn to know each other and act together.  Indeed, this is almost the best means of promoting good feeling that I have known in the course of my life.  At the same time, you do not establish a Rifle Corps merely as a pastime.  It will require a certain degree of self-sacrifice to become good marksmen.

Mr. T. F. FREMANTLE seconded the resolution.  He felt sure that the collateral benefits of this movement – the discipline, the learning to walk erect, to obey orders – would be of the highest value…

… The resolution was then carried unanimously.

The Rev. S. ADAMS moved the appointment of a committee to carry out the object, and explained that more of the clergy would have been present had it not been for another meeting at Oxford, at which many of them were bound to be present.

Mr. E. W. S. LOWNDES seconded the resolution which was carried unanimously.

Dr. NEWHAM moved “That the following gentlemen be requested to act on the committee with power to add to their number, five to form a quorum:- The Rev. W. M. McCreight, Rev. S. Adams, Sir Harry Verney, T. F. Fremantle, Esq., P. Dauncey, Esq., E. W. S. Lowndes, Esq., D. T. Willis, Esq., Mr. W. Neal, Mr. A. Barton, Mr. John Grace, Mr. Dudley.

The motion was seconded by Mr. WILLIS and carried unanimously.

Sir H. VERNEY then proposed “That Dr. NEWMAN be requested to act as hon. secretary to the committee,” which was seconded by the Rev. C. KEEN, and carried with marked expressions of satisfaction.

Dr. NEWHAM, in accepting the office, said his lawn would always be at the service of the Winslow Volunteers or any others who might wish to meet there for drill (cheers).   It would be perfectly private, and as perhaps the volunteers might be diffident in going through the goose-step, they would be secure from any observation except, perhaps, from the admiration of two or three ladies.   He was quite aware that in an office like that which he had taken it was impossible always to please everybody.  If unfortunately he should give dissatisfaction in any quarter, he could only beg that he might hear of it at once, so that a prompt understanding might be arrived at.

Sir H. VERNEY then said it would of course be necessary to raise the sinews of war, and he begged to offer a subscription of ten guineas.

The CHAIRMAN, in offering a similar donation, said the proper person to receive subscriptions would be the bank established in the town, if they would undertake the account.  Of course if the matter failed the subscriptions would not be asked for.

A number of subscriptions, amounting to nearly £100, were forthwith promised, and the meeting then separated with a vote of thanks to the Chairman, and on the suggestion of that gentleman, three cheers were given for Miss Verney, who was the only lady present.

After some discussion in the local press, the following first-hand account (by Mr Minter the master of the Workhouse) was printed concerning the founding of the Corps, adding some information to the original report.

1894: Bucks Herald, 26 May
  SIR.- I noticed in your paper of last Saturday a note in reference to the formation of the Volunteer Corps in Winslow.  I shall be glad if you will permit me to correct a slight error in the same, by inserting the following brief history of the starting of the corps in that town.
  In May, 1859, Mr. Barton and myself waited on Mr. E. S. Lowndes and intimated that we thought some effort should be made by the inhabitants of Winslow to form a Volunteer Corps, as many places were doing.  He promised to see Mr. Dauncey respecting the matter.  Later on one or two meetings were held respecting the formation of a corps, but nothing was done for more than a year. I think had it not been for Mr. Dauncey the matter would have dropped, but he was very persevering.  It was Mr. Dauncey, Mr. Lowndes, and the present Lord Cottesloe who started the corps, and it was getting towards autumn 1860 before it was enrolled.  The present Lord Cottesloe was the officer gazetted to command, Dr. Newham also received a commission, and the Rev. McCreight the chaplaincy. I never saw Dr. Lovell at any of the meetings [this was the "slight error" referred to above].  He might have been a subscriber to the funds, but that was all he had to do with it.  I was the sergeant appointed on the formation of the corps, and was in the habit of having the men up to learn their drill in one of the Workhouse yards in the winter evenings, and when supplied with arms they were kept at the Workhouse under my charge.  I might also say that the Board Room at the Workhouse was used as the Orderly Room.  The next sergeants appointed were Mr. Barton, of the George Hotel, and Mr. Neal, of the Bell Hotel, also Mr. Wm. French, who eventually went to Hythe to undergo a course of musketry instruction.  The Buckingham corps was enrolled some time previously under the command of the late Major Hearn, who took very great interest in it.  In fact, all that time they were a smart active corps.
                                                            I am, sir, yours, &c.,
                                                                        WM. MINTER.
  Winslow Union, May 21st, 1894.

1889: report of the annual dinner at The Bell and prize shooting at the Swanbourne Range (near North Hill Farm).

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Copyright 19 September, 2021