Mark Tristan Cooper 073


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The French Revaluation took place in 1789 when the French Monarchy was deposed and France declared a Republic.

In 1793 Great Britain along with Austria, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of Naples, Prussia, and Spain formed the First Coalition opposed to the French Republic. Napoleon Bonaparte succeeded in defeating the opposition with total war and by 1803 Great Britain alone remained undefeated and declared war with France.


England had watched the anti-monarchist uprising across the channel with fear and concern, as it was well known that Napoleon had his sights on an invasion of Britain. There were rumours that Napoleon was digging a tunnel under the Channel for his invading army to cross.


Ninfield, along with other villages on or near the south coast felt very vulnerable. So it is no surprise that when William Pitt (the younger) made plans for the protection of the country, that the men of Ninfield volunteered to be put on a list for military training for two hours a week. By December 1803 there were 6,198 volunteers in Sussex. A Royal Military Canal was constructed cutting off the Romney Marsh. Presumably to aid the supplies to the defences. Plans were also drawn up for the evacuation of the people of Kent and Sussex


Ninfield Volunteers names put forward for the  Act of July 1803 all able bodied men between the ages of 17 and 55


John King                70yr     Farmer

William Parker        20yr     servant

Edward Collins        18yr     servant

John Winchester      17yr     servant

William Marchant    53yr      Farmer

Isaac Streeter           29yr     labourer

Ben Morris              54yr     carpenter

William Carrick       34yr      Fellmonger

John Tucknutt         39yr      labourer

Richard Ford           25yr      labourer

John Ford                21yr     laboure

rGeorge Sheather     21yr     labourer

William Morris         24yr     servant

Mark Merit             19yr      servant

James Markwick      17yr      servant

Thomas Morris       59yr      shoemaker

Henry Sheather       25yr     labourer

Thomas Morris Jr    22yr     brick maker

John Sheather          30yr     brick maker

William Waters        32yr     carpenter

George Ellis             22yr     farmers' son

Ben Waters             67yr     farmer

Frank Ellis                39yr     Draper

Samuel Sargeant      23yr     servant

James Gibson          17yr     servant

James Brazier          17yr     servant

Thomas Wenham    37yr    labourer

Ben Brook               35yr     labourer

John Mitten              23yr     servant

Thomas Burgess      23yr     servant

William Mayo          23yr     servant

Jacob Stace             50yr     innkeeper

James Beal             19yr      servant

Thomas Smith        40yr      labourer

Charles Ticehurst   21yr      labourer

Thomas Russell      17yr     labourer


Defensive forts, in the form of Martello Towers, were begun in 1805. A chain of  seventy four defensive towers were completed by 1808 between Folkestone and Seaford in Sussex. 30ft high and walls 13ft thick to house about twenty men or so in the event of an attack by Napoleon.


Three Redoubts were built. One at Dymchurch in Kent, Harwich and another 10 miles from Ninfield at Eastbourne. Huge constructions to hold up to 350 men. They were armed with eleven cannons.  By the time the defensives were completed though, the threat from Napoleon was greatly diminished due to Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in1805 robbing the French of command of the Seas.  Napoleon Bonaparte's final defeat came in 1815 at Waterloo.  


To read more about the Defence of Sussex during the Napoleonic War we recommend Norman Palmer's excellent book  History of Ninfield 1700-1900

which was used to compile this information.  NLHG





1803 - 1815

The Defence of England in Sussex


Napoleonic Wars 1803 -1815

redoubt Blk Wht redoubt canon

Eastbourne Redoubt in 1920

ten miles from Ninfield

One of the eleven cannon of the Redoubt at Eastbourne

Martello tower

One of the seventy four Martello Towers built to defend Britain


Ref: ESRO  ASH3367

English 1804 solder canon French solder French 1804 P7281268

English solder 1804

1803 French solders

Field Cannon used in battle

French Uniform 1804

English 1804 solders uniform

P7281282 P7281283 P7281276

French solder

English solder with an army surgeon


Army Officers writing equipment