The Northumberland Light Infantry Militia

This was a part-time County cilivilian military force composed of able-bodied males between the ages of 16 and 60. The force was intended mainly for national home defence when the regular army was engaged in foreign campaigns.

The county-based Lord Lieutenant had responsibility for raising the force. Petty Magistrates and Parish Constables distributed the Household Forms to each household which when completed held details about each adult male. Those too poor or unfit were not considered for service while those selected for service appear in the Militia Lists and those that actually served appear in Attestation (enlistment) Papers, pay books and enrolment lists.

After the Napoleonic Wars which ended in 1815, the threat of invasion receded and militia membership became entirely voluntary. A militiaman could serve between three and five years and thereafter he might have joined the regular army. Many just attended a few weeks training each year.

There were other volunteer forces such as the Yeomanry, The Volunteers and the Local Militia.

A memorial stone in St. Michael’s churchyard near the east wall commemorates those who served in the Northumberland Light Infantry Militia 27th, many having long years of service – see below – and the individual headstones for some of those listed.