Formation of the Derbyshire Rifle Volunteer Corps: 1859

The Volunteer Force in Derbyshire was raised in 1859 following a request to the Duke of Devonshire and as a result Derbyshire ranks sixth in the order of precedence in the Volunteer Force behind Devonshire, Middlesex, Lancashire, Surrey and Pembrokeshire.

Between 1859 and 1861 individual Companies were raised in numerous Towns and Villages of the County and formed into three Administrative Battalions. However, each Company was treated as an independent unit that clothed itself without reference to the other Companies in the Battalions.

The 1st Administrative Battalion formed in July 1860 with Headquarters at Derby and under the Command of Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Gresley, 10th Baronet

1860 1st Admin

  • 1st (Derby) in July 1859.
  • 4th (2nd Derby) in December 1859.
  • 5th (Derby Artisan) in January 1860.
  • 12th (Butterley) in April 1860.
  • 13th (Belper) in March 1860.
  • 15th (Chadderson) in August 1860.
  • 16th (Erewash Valley Rifle C/ub) in September 1860 but later disbanded.

The 2nd Administrative Battalion with Headquarters at Sudbury and under the Command of Major George John Warren, Lord Vernon

George John Vernon Warren, 5th Baron Vernon (1803-1866) (from a photograph of 1859) by The Hon. John Collier (London 1850 ¿ Hampstead 1934)

 George John Warren Vernon, 5th Baron Vernon (1803 – 1866) of Sudbury, Derbyshire

2nd Admin 1860 Vernon

  • 2nd (Sudbury) in December 1856 but later disbanded in 1869.
  • 8th (Ashbourne and Dove Valley) in February 1860.
  • 10th (Wirksworth) in March 1860.

(Headquarters moved to Ashbourne in 1864)

The 3rd Administrative Battalion formed in June 1860 with Headquarters at Bakewell and under the Command of Major Lord George Henry Cavendish

Lord GH Cavendish

Lord George Henry Cavendish (1810 – 1880) of Ashford Hall in Derbyshire

  • 3rd (Chesterfield) in January 1860.
  • 6th (High Peak Rifles of Buxton) in February 1860 but later disbanded in December 1861.
  • 7th (High Peak Rifles of Chapel-en-le-Frith) in February 1860.
  • 9th (High Peak Rifles of Bakewell) in February 1860.
  • 11th (Matlock) in March 1860.
  • 17th (Clay Cross) in January 1861.

Derbyshire Volunteers

The formation of the Volunteer Force was celebrated by a review held on the 24th October 1860 that was inspected by Lieut.-General Sir George Weatheral.

During the Review all three Derbyshire Volunteer Battalions were Brigaded together under Major the Marquis of Hartington, Chatsworth Rifles, the late Duke of Devonshire.


A group of men believed to be Derbyshire Rifle Volunteers with ‘3-band’ Snider Rifles

High Peak Rifles 2

9th (Bakewell) Company of the Derbyshire Rifle Volunteers; the High Peak Rifles. High Peaks Rifles cross belt and pouch. Victorian Crown strung bugle in laurel wreath, lion head boss and whistle holder; scroll with “High Peak Rifles”.1st-derbyshire-sword 1st-derbyshire-company-sword

Interesting Sword to an Officer of  the”1st Company Derbyshire Volunteer”

[Image courtesy of Fred Hopkins]

  • A full list of all Derbyshire Rifle Corps and Officers can be downloaded here Derbyshire Volunteer Rifle Corps
  • A brief History of the 1st Derbyshire VB from the 1910 Regimental Annual Can be down loaded here 1910 Regt Annual (3Mb).
  • A brief History of the 2nd Derbyshire VB from the 1911 Regimental Annual Can be down loaded here 1911 Regt Annual copy (2Mb).
  • For a timeline of the Derbyshire Volunteers please see Brett Payne’s excellent site – Photo Sleuth.

5 thoughts on “Formation of the Derbyshire Rifle Volunteer Corps: 1859

  1. Fred Hopkins

    I have a Derbyshire Volunteer Rifles dress sword. Would like to send photos of engraving if you send me an email address to sent to.

  2. Bob

    I have my great great grandfathers certificate of good service who resigned after 13 years in 1872.
    Was wondering if this was of any interest to a museum etc?

  3. Andrew

    Hello, does the 1911 Regimental Annual contain any of the early history of the 7th Battalion, Robin Hood Rifles, akin to its abridged history of the 6th battalion? And if so, do you by change have a digital version that can be shared? Many thanks for your assistance!

  4. Victoria

    I have an image I believe is an ancestor potentially 1st notts Ronin hood rifle corps however not 100 percent sure. If it is who we believe it to possibly be we think his surname would be fearn however cannot locate records and we only have this one cdv of him.


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