Unicorns - The History of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1794-1899, Jonathan Hunt

Unicorns - The History of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1794-1899, Jonathan Hunt

This is the first in a two-part history of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, covering the period when it was a volunteer Yeoman cavalry regiment that was only liable for service within the United Kingdom, and actually rarely left Nottinghamshire. During this period the Yeomanry had a number of roles. It was originally raised in response to a threat of French invasion. The French didn't come, and instead the Yeomanry found itself acting as a form of police force, dealing with a variety of forms of riots and protects, some triggered by poverty or high food costs, or by the threat of change or by campaigns for reform or Chartism.  

As Hunt makes clear the Yeomanry also had a strong social element, and played a major part in county society, with members of the four Ducal families of the 'Dukeries' played a prominent role in raising the regiment, sometimes funding it, and often providing its leaders. 

Most of the book focuses on the period before 1851, when the Yeomanry lost most of its functions. The later period is covered, but in less detail, with a look at the search for a role, both military and in society, and the yearly life of the regiment.

This is a useful examination of an area of British military history that is often ignored or dealt with very quickly in other regimental histories, eager to reach the fighting, but for many people the Yeomanry was one their main points of contact with the British army, either as members, opponents or simply as members of the public interacting with the Yeomen peacefully. The Yeomanry had a troubled image for most of this period, being painted as the instrument of oppression while it had an active role and as a faintly comic and rather obsolete force after 1851, so this detailed history of one Yeomanry regiment is a valuable redressing of the balance, looking at a military unit that was neither as oppressive nor as comic as it was portrayed.

1 - Antecedents
2 - The Dukes and the 'Merry Men' of Nottingham
3 - The Raising of the Regiment 1794
4 - The Corn, Bread and Food Riots 1795
5 - Presentation of Standards 1798
6 - Raising the Sherwood Rangers 1798
7 - The Corn, Bread and Food Riots 1800
8 - Peace in our Time 1802
9 - On the Brink of Invasion 1803
10 - The Peninsular Campaign 1807-15
11 - A Standing Reserve 1808
12 - The Luddite Riots 1811
13 - The Derbyshire Rising 1817
14 - The Northern Troops 1819
15 - Transition 1824
16 - The Formation of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1828
17 - The Reform Bill Riots 1830-32
18 - The Chartists 1836-50
19 - Loss of Role 1851
20 - The Place of the Military in Society 1857-99
21 - The Dukes, the Chain of Command and Precedence
22 - Commanding Officers and Regimental Personalities
23 - Reorganisations
24 - Role and Equipment
25 - The Training Year
26 - Camps and Events
Review of the Ducal Families during the last half of the Nineteenth Century

Author: Jonathan Hunt
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 240
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2013

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