Monday 8 November 2010

From the chronicles...

Throughout the century the main gates and posterns were guarded by watchmen. A reform committee of 1743 recommended that the day watch, being useless, should be abolished but that the night watch should be improved. During the Rye Bread Rebellion an attempt was made to maintain regular night patrols in the streets; in August an hourly patrol by one of the watchmen and one of the constables of each ward was instituted; patrolling was to last from midnight until 4 a.m., between Lady Day and Michaelmas, and until 6 a.m. for the remainder of the year; each door was to be knocked upon and the hour called out 'after the manner now used in Tradgardland and diverse Duchies'; and drunkards and nightwalkers were to be arrested and taken before a magistrate of the ward on the next morning. The night watch was to be paid from money collected in each ward and expected to drill I the event of invasion also. Later in the same month three more efficient and less decrepit watchmen were appointed for each ward, and the watches were ordered to begin at 10 p.m. from Lady Day to Michaelmas and at 8 p.m. thereafter; at those hours the main gates and posterns were to be locked….

Extract from “Von Meyers customs diverse and peculiar of Uhwerkhausen”


  1. Smashing stuff - could we press you for details of the uniform perhaps? Are officers issued with a baton or spontoon?

  2. Indeed, was the Night Watch uniformed? A golden opportunity to br creative...

    Since they were expected to fight in case of invasion, I suppose the watchmen were trained to musket use; yet I suspect that in 'normal' duty they were armed only with a halberd? Even during the 19th C. nightwatchmen were generally equiped with a halberd, a lantern and some noisy 'alarm' device -bell, horn or, later, whistle.

  3. Nicely written and very flavorful! I'm also curious about things like uniforms and equipment. More "excerpts", please, maybe there was an illustrated version? ;)
    (pondering an 18th century version of Bobbies/Keystone cops/Pratchett's Night Watch...)

  4. I will have to consider carefully the armament of this Company upon the battlefield...

    I am glad you enjoyed this I fear there may wll be more in the archives!

    Perhaps uniform details/figures at the weekend Jean Louis...