The Bowles of Canada and their Roots in Ireland and England 

Back to Michael Bowles of Ballickmoyler

The Loyal Nottingham Foresters

When Michael Bowles was discharged from the 29th Foot Regiment he signed his acceptance of the terms of his discharge at Nottingham in 1792.  At age 48 he had just completed 21 1/2 years service in the British Army and had been discharged as "worn out in His Majesty's service".  He seems to have then settled in Nottingham and was probably the Michael Bowles who died there in 1799.  His presence in Nottingham is further indicated by his 6 month term as a recruiter for the Loyal Nottingham Foresters from November 1796 to April 1797.

In 1796 there were several riots in Nottingham due to the scarcity and cost of food during the war with Napoleon war and due to Nationalist sentiments fanned by the success of the French and American revolutions, James Murray, Esq. of the 90th regiment was given permission to raise a corps of 1000 men to maintain local order to be called the Loyal Nottinghamshire Foresters. 

The headquarters was at James Edenborough's public house The Punch Bowl in the 'New Change' (currently The Exchange) in the Marketplace in Nottingham.  (note: The Nottingham Date Book has an entry for December 1799 with a list of the 156 inns and public houses in the town including the Punch Bowl as well as The Peach Tree on Parliament Street run by a Thomas Bowles.  I don't know of any connection he may have had to Michael.)

There may have been some even then unethical recruitment actions taken by the recruiter(s) for the LNF.  I don't know if Michael was the only recruiter for them or just one of several but his is the only discharge paper I have been able to find for that role so far.  Such practices might include making extravagant claims about the service which could not be met, promising a local assignment and then drafting (transferring) them into front line units, confining a draftee immediately after they signed up to prevent second thoughts or even obtaining their enlistment by threats or by force. 

A series of acticles about Nottingham's history which was printed in the Nottingham Daily Express in 1904 commented that during a campaign to raise troops for the Loyal Nottinghamshire Foresters in 1796 the recruiters had made extravagant claims to attract recruits.  It gave as an example "As a specimen of the extravagant misrepresentations held forth to recruits entering regiments of the line, the local newspaper supplies the following evidently satirical address, 'said' to have been given by an English Officer:- I will lead you into a country where the rivers consist of fine nut-brown ale - where the houses are built of hot roast beef, and the wainscots papered with pancakes. There, my boys, it rains plum-pudding every Sunday morning, the streets are paved with quartern loaves, and nice roasted pigs run about with knives and forks stuck in them, and crying out, 'Who will eat me? Who will eat me?" 

The claim that this statement was made by a recruiter for the LNF is often re-quoted but is untrue.  The source of the officer's quote that the newspaper printed was James Granger's 'Old Nottingham: Its Streets, People etc.' in which that quote was taken from an even earlier article in 'The Date-Book of Remarkable & Memorable Events Connected with Nottingham and Its Neighbourhood, 1750-1879 by John Frost Sutton (1880)' in which that quote was given as an exaggerated parody of the claims made by recruitment officers in general not at actual quote attributed to the LNF's recruiters.

Looking into the actual newspaper articles from the period that Michael recruited for the LNF there are two that suggest that there may actually have been some questionable practices by the LNF recruiters after all.  In 1797 a rumor swept around that those recruited for the Loyal Nottingham Foresters (LNF) were secretly going to be drafted into other regiments which were serving in the West Indies.  In October Major Murray put a notice in the local paper denying such practices.  In that newspaper announcement we also learn that the LNF was attached to the 29th Foot then serving in Devon.  But apparently there were still more allegations being made.  An advertisement a month later (Nov. 15, 1797) in Saunders Newsletter promises that all recruits will be treated in a manner becoming a soldier and a gentleman and that he had ordered his recruiting parties to act only on honoourable terms as he "detests the idea of unfair means and the prictice of confining recruits until sent for inspection."  He then encourages interested volunteers "to be cautious with whom they engage and to apply immediately to the Commanding Officer (himself)" directly.

See The Bowles of Canada

See  The Bowles of Ireland

See The Bowles of Great Britain

This page was last updated 10/18/18