Betley Soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars, by Mavis E. Smith

Betley Soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars, by Mavis E. Smith
Betley Soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars, by Mavis E. Smith

Booklet published by the Betley Local History Society in 2013, 25 pages. A4 size booklet (N6361X2)

This booklet provides an account of men from the Staffordshire village of Betley who fought in the Napoleonic Wars.

From the introduction: At the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was the custom for many wealthy families to compile albums, often from newspaper cuttings, on the subject of current events, important family matters, and literary developments. Such were the Tollets from Betley Hall in North Staffordshire, who collected memorabilia from the Napoleonic Wars. In their album, now in the Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Museum and Art Gallery, were two letters from a private soldier, Thomas Naylor, to his parents in Betley. The discovery of the letters was the stimulus for the writing of this paper about other ordinary soldiers from the village as well.

Much has been recorded by officers of the Napoleonic Wars, but there has been little correspondence in the literature of the period from the lower ranks of soldiers, principally because many of them were illiterate.' Hence it is thought that the two letters of the Betley soldier, sent from Spain, are of some local historic interest. Two further letters by James Smith and Joseph Leak, have been discovered in the larger of two other Tollet albums, kept in the Betley Local History Archives. Additional factual information about ordinary soldiers from Betley has been included in this paper to show the dominance of warfare at the beginning of the nineteenth century, not merely against Napoleon, but in the other parts of the world when Britain was building an empire.

Why transcripts of the letters were given to the Toilets to be copied is a matter of speculation. George Tollet IV was the Lord of the Manor of Betley from 1796, and his family and the rest of the villagers would have been concerned about the well-being of the soldiers, and about the progress of the Napoleonic wars. Personal news of soldiers from the front would have quickly spread through the village, because clearly, as is illustrated from Thomas Naylor's letters, a few other young men from Betley were fighting there.


Condition of the booklet is generally very good. The cover has one or two minor scuffs, and some light nibbling along the edges and corners, but the staple spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. Their is a small price sticker on the rear side cover
Condition New