The Newport Pagnell
Posse Comitatus 1798
A register of the names and occupations of all persons not engaged in any military capacity between the ages of 15 and 60 years. Also the number of draught horses, waggons, carts of burden, wind and water corn-mills within the town
By February 1798 Britain had been at war with revolutionary France for several years. Previously, on the 3rd of May 1794 a meeting at Aylesbury of Nobility, Gentry, Clergy, Freeholders and Yeomen had agreed a general subscription for the defence of the Kingdom. By April of 1798 a bill had been passed by parliament called the “Defence of the Realm Act”. This enabled the government to obtain a return of all males eligible to serve in the event of an invasion. By the 1st of May some 625 men at and around Newport Pagnell had added their names to the list.
However there were exemptions such as Quakers, aliens and the infirm. There were also some feeble excuses and some legitimate excuses for joining or not. The following is a listing for Newport Pagnell and elsewhere:
Deaf & Dumb
Hard of Hearing
Not at all right in his mind
Now in his 78th year but desirous of being enrolled as a man able and willing to serve
Subject to fits
A very poor creature!
A great rogue and very lame
Been in Bethlem!!
In a decline
In a Dropsy
William the carter and George the milkman refuse to tell their surnames
Impotent in his feet
Lunatic at times
Not in his right senses
Broken Body but able to serve!?
A list of unusual names for Newport Pagnell and Bucks
Rev. Will Stockins
Darnell Keys (alehouse keeper)
In Milton Keynes Village there are five “Bird” carpenters and three “Green” basket makers
James Riddle (Jimmy!)
Evan Evans (clerk at the copper mill)
The Posse Comitatus gives help to those of us who are researching our family histories. The first Census was taken in 1801 but was only a head count. It was not until 1841 that the first Census with names was taken. After every ten years a further count was taken and each time it improved on the former. So we are indeed fortunate in Buckinghamshire to have such a document with so much information and history of the time.