James Barham (1721 – 1786)

Soldier, Cordwainer and Master of the Workhouse

The 3rd Regiment of Foot - "The Buffs"

When James Barham married Ann Garnham in 1747 he was described as "of the 3rd regiment of Foot.  On this page the history of the Buffs is discussed and how this might confirm this as the same James who became Master of the Darenth Workhouse. For other aspects of his life see the following links:

A James Barham of the 3rd Regiment of Foot was married at Fleet in Westminster on 18th April 1747 to Ann Garnham. The regiment (also known as “the Buffs”) was raised in East Kent and so it is possible that this was the same James and indeed that Ann was the mother of the son James.

The 3rd Regiment received its nickname of "The Buffs" because it had been issued buff coats—made of soft leather—first when it served abroad in Holland and later when it was a Maritime Regiment of Foot. The Buffs obtained the name of "The Buffs" officially in 1744 while on campaign in the Low Countries. The 3rd Regiment was then under the command of Lieutenant-General Thomas Howard. At the same time, the 19th Regiment of Foot were commanded by their colonel, the Honourable Sir Charles Howard. In order to avoid confusion (because regiments were then named after their colonels, which would have made them both Howard's Regiment of Foot), the regiments took the colours of their facings as part of their names - the 19th Foot became the Green Howards, while the 3rd Foot became Howard's Buffs, eventually being shortened to simply The Buffs

The following is an extract from the "HISTORICAL RECORDS of the BRITISH ARMY"

1747  Meanwhile the war was continued on the continent, and a reinforcement being required to enable the allied army to make a more effectual opposition to the enemy, The Buffs were ordered to proceed again on foreign service.  They accordingly embarked towards the end of March, 1747, — landed at Helvoetsluys on the island of Voorn in the early part of April, — and, having joined the army commanded by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, were engaged in several operations near the frontiers of Holland, which led to the battle of Val, fought on the 2nd July, 1747, in the villages in the vicinity of the city of Maestricht.  On this occasion the allied army was very inferior in numbers to the enemy; and, although the British infantry were conspicuous throughout the action for the gallantry with which they fought, the Duke of Cumberland was obliged to order a retreat.  His Royal Highness passed the highest encomiums on the British troops for their conduct in this battle; and, according to the London Gazette, there was not a squadron, or battalion, which did not charge and beat the enemy more than once.   The loss of the regiment in this action was Captain Hacker, Ensign French, three drummers, and forty-five rank and file, killed; with Captains Crosby, Stoye, and Jocelyn, volunteer Mills, two serjeants, two drummers, and eighty-eight rank and file wounded; and nineteen men missing.   The army retreated in good order to Maestricht on the same day;  The Buffs were subsequently stationed in the vicinity of that city, and in the month of November they returned to England, and were stationed at Canterbury, Feversham, Deal, and Sandwich.   The regiment passed the following summer (1748) at Dover, Maidstone, and other places in Kent;  and on the 21st of August, 1749, the colonelcy was conferred on Major-General George Howard.  At the same time a treaty of peace having been concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle, the two additional companies, raised in 1745, were disbanded, and the numbers were reduced to a low peace establishment.

 It is therefore possible that James had joined up in one of the two companies raised in 1745 and served in the campaign in Holland. It is strange however that the marriage apparently took place after the departure for the continent but nevertheless he is clearly described as being a member of the regiment.

James had a son, also called James, who was born around 1748.  No record of his birth has been found, nor indeed of the death of his mother (presumably Ann). It is therefore a possibility that Ann had accompanied James on the campaign, given birth while in Holland and possibly died during childbirth or soon after.

For the next chapter in James' life see Marriage and Children