Captain, Grenadier Company 1685

This painting of Francis Hawley is one of the first depictions of British military uniform. It was decided to add a grenadier company to the 1st Foot Guards in 1684 and Hawley was chosen to command it. Their first action was in the suppression of Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685. Hawley with 100 grenadiers fought bravely at Philips-Norton.

The small cap is a practical measure at a time when regular soldiers wore the tricorn hat. As grenadiers, these men were required to sling their muskets over their shoulder to use two hands to light and throw the grenade. The tricorn hats would have impeded this movement so small caps were taken into wear. In later years these grew in height to make a more military appearance. This cap is very ornate and bears the cypher of King James II. On his waistbelt is a plug bayonet, so the officers must have carried muskets. His coat is crimson velvet with light blue facings. This shows that the guards tradition of wearing the royal livery dates back to at least this date. The sleeves are interesting in that the cuffs are small compared with the prevailing fashion. There are no visible buttons on the turned up cuff but there is a diagonal set of four buttons above the cuff. He uses a lighted taper to ignite a grenade.

Uniforms | Regimental Details

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by Stephen Luscombe