Eight regiments of dragoons (mounted infantry) were raised to crush the Catholic Jacobite Rebellion. Originally regiments took the name of their Commanding Officer, which was discontinued when the numbering system was introduced. Gore’s, Honywood’s and Dormer’s Dragoons later became the 10th, 11th and 14th Hussars.

In July 1715 King George I approved a measure to augment the Army, in order to counter the First Jacobite Rebellion, which planned to place a Catholic, James Stuart, on the English throne as James III.  Eight regiments of dragoons were raised, including the antecedents of the 10th, 11th and 14th Hussars.  The dragoon soldier combined the mobility of cavalry with the firepower of infantry, riding into action armed with a sword, but fighting on foot with a musket and bayonet.

Originally regiments took the name of their Commanding Officer, which was discontinued when the numbering system was introduced.  Brigadier-General Humphrey Gore raised a regiment in Hertfordshire, which were originally known as Gore’s Dragoons, and in 1751 were retitled the 10th Dragoons.   Concurrently, Brigadier-General Philip Honywood raised Honywood’s Dragoons at Colchester, which in 1751 became the 11th Dragoons.  At the same time Brigadier-General Dormer from Oxfordshire raised Dormer’s Dragoons, which in 1776 became the 14th Light Dragoons.

The Jacobite surrender at Preston, watched by Dormer’s Dragoons (Courtesy Harris Museum Preston)

By September 1715 the Earl of Mar had raised a Scottish Army of some 5,000 men at Braemar.  They captured Perth, and by mid-October, all of Scotland north of the Firth of Forth had fallen to the rebels, except Stirling, and an uprising had begun in the west of England.  Lancashire supported the cause, and Preston was occupied by the rebels, who then intended to take Manchester.  Preston was an important town, being a crossing point of the River Ribble and a centre of the weaving industry.  

Major General Wills commanded a force composed of Honywood’s and Dormer’s Dragoons together with Owen Wynne’s Dragoons (later the 9th), Richard Munden’s Dragoons (later the 13th), Pitt’s Horse, three regiments of foot, and a Militia battalion from Wigan.  After an initial reverse, the reinforced Army successfully assaulted Preston on 14th November 1715.  The rebels surrendered, and the Catholic cause was defeated in England. 

Map of the Battle of Preston (Courtesy Harris Museum Preston)