THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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THE VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT.                     167
The oath of allegiance required from each Volunteer was:—
I, A. B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Third, and that I will faithfully serve His Majesty in the North Pevensey Legion against all his enemies and opposers whatsoever. So help me God.
This was taken after Divine service in the morning on Sunday, October 23rd, 1803, and in the evening the men were drilled for the first time in the Chequer Mead. A month later Lord Sheffield issued a special order, in which he thanked the Volunteers of East Grinstead " for their great attention and steadiness under arms, which at once renders them equal to any service."
By the end of the year the East Grinstead contingent, which had a total strength of 84, was in good working order. Sunday was always the day set apart for drills and field days, the former taking place in a large barn at the back of Newlands, the firing in the Pit field at Fairlight Farm, on Major Cranston's East Court estate, and the field manoeuvres on Ashurst Wood Common. The men always slept with their arms and uniforms by their side and several days' provisions packed ready for use, so that no delay should ensue when the beacon signal flashed its warning light over the country side. It was arranged that in the event of invasion by Napoleon the families of all the gentry resident in the Lewes and Pevensey Rapes should be conveyed for safety to the wild district of Copthorne, the famous rendezvous of prize-fighters, smugglers and poachers. An enormous number of cartridges, both blank and ball, were served out, and the consumption of flints for use in the old flint­lock muskets was also considerable. At Christmas the signal for assembly was hourly expected. The East Grrinstead Company was ordered to remain in the town, except for detaching a Lieutenant, Sergeant, Corporal and 20 men to Hartfield or Withyham. The general orders were amplified by Major Cranston on New Year's Day, 1804, in the following terms:—
The following regulations for the good of the Company, the Com­manding Officer thinks it both prudent and proper to insert in orders,
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