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EXETER'S MEMORIAL TO THE FIRST RIFLE VOLUNTEERS

 

1st Rifle Volunteers Memorial

The Memorial to the 1st Rifle Volunteers in Northernhay

©Richard J. Brine

 

From Worth's "Guide to Exeter" c.1903

"Just above the grotto on Northernhay will be seen the National Memorial to Sir John Bucknill, an Exeter worthy, the promoter of the First Rifle Volunteers. It is a graceful monument, composed of grey granite and Portland stone, with a medallion bust and inscriptions of Sicilian marble.

The work was executed by Exeter's renowned sculptor, Mr. Harry Hems (whose studios in Longbrook Street may be seen by permission), from the design of Mr. S. K. Greenslade, ARIBA. It was erected in 1895."

The upper column rests on a granite block which is, in turn, supported by a granite plinth. The faces of the block contain the following inscriptions:

 

Panel on Face 1

FACE 1

 

"Erected to commemorate the formation in Devonshire in 1852 of the Volunteer Force of Great Britain as a consequence of communications from John Charles Bucknill, MD, FRCP, FRS, to the Right Honourable Hugh, Earl Fortescue KG, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Devon and the County of the City of Exeter. In recognition of his services to the Volunteer Movement, the honour of knighthood was conferred upon Sir John Charles Bucknill by  Her Majesty Queen Victoria in 1894."

 

FACE 2

The First Volunteer Officers commissioned by the Queen:

Sir E. Prideaux, bart. 1

Percival Brown 2

Hon. W. W. Addington 3

Winslow Jones 4

James Buller 5

W. R. Crabb 6

H. V. Mules 7

W. Dennis Moore 8

J. W. Harris 9

H. Barron Rodway 10

The following places supplied recruits to the 1st Rifle Volunteers on its formation:

Exeter

Cullompton

Tiverton

Bovey Tracey

Exmouth

Honiton

Brixham

Teignmouth

Torquay

Totnes

Panel on Face 2

 

Panel on Face 3

FACE 3

The original committee of the Volunteer Movement of 1852:

President:           Hugh, Earl Fortescue, KG.11

Vice Presidents:  Edward Woolmer 12

                          Colonel Harding 13

Committee:         W. Denis Moore 8

                          W. Tanner 14

                          Dr. Scott 15

                          H. L. Hertzel 16

                          G. H. Haydon 17

                          J. Arthur Locke 18

                          G. Pycroft 19

                          W. G. Harris 20

                          G. Woods 21

                          W. Cann 22 

Hon. Sec:           John C. Bucknill 23  

 

 

FACE 4

1852 - 1952

This tablet was erected by members of the 1st Rifle Volunteers O.C.A* to commemorate the centenary of the formation of the 1st Rifle Volunteers in 1852. This Unit, with the 3rd VBDR ( Volunteer Battalion, Devonshire Regiment), became the 4th Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment TF on the formation of the Territorial Force in 1908.

 

* Old Comrades Association

Panel on Face 4

 

A BRIEF WHO WAS WHO OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED PEOPLE

 

Sir E. Prideaux, bart. 1

Sir Edmund Sanderson Prideaux was a Baronet, Magistrate and full Colonel who lived at Netherton Hall, Farway near. Honiton. He was born at Farway in 1794.

Percival Brown 2

Percival Brown was a half-pay Brigadier of the 62nd Foot Regiment whose retirement had brought him to live on the outskirts of Exeter in Alphington. He was a Yorkshire, born in Beverley around 1798.

Hon. W. W. Addington 3

The Hon.William Wills Addington was, in 1852, a County Magistrate. Born in Rickmansworth, Herts, around 1824, he lived at that time in Heavitree on the outskirts of Exeter.

Winslow Jones 4

Winlsow Jones was a local Exeter solicitor, born in Heavitree around 1816. 

James Buller 5

James Wentworth Buller, wealthy and influential landowner and Magistrate, of Downes, near Crediton. He was born around 1799. 

W. R. Crabb 6

Not yet identified as the name is spelt on the Memorial

H. V. Mules 7

Horace Vibart Mules was an attorney. He was a local councillor in Honiton and Deputy Superintendent Registrar to the Union Workhouse there. He was born in Honiton around 1820.

W. Dennis Moore 8

William Denis Moore was a respected Exeter solicitor who lived in Pennsylvania. He was born in Wellingborough around 1805.

J. W. Harris 9

John W. Harris was an Exeter man, born around 1812. He had a prosperous practice in Southernhay as a  physician and surgeon as did his father before him.

H. Barron Rodway 10

(Detailed information kindly supplied by Arthur Rodway)

Henry Barron Rodway was born in 1809 in Northfield, Birmingham. Like so many others mentioned here, he was a medical man of  local renown, running a dental practice in Torquay in the 1850s. He married Elizabeth Allin (Allen) in 1835 and brought up a family of 12 children including a son, Charles Allin Rodway, who also joined the Volunteers - rank not known.

Earl Fortescue, KG. 11

Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Earl Fortescue (April 4, 1818–October 10, 1905), known as Viscount Ebrington from 1841 to 1861, was a British peer and occasional politician. He entered the House of Commons in 1841 as a member for Plymouth. He lost this seat in 1852, but returned in 1854 for Marylebone, which seat he held until 1859, when he was called up to the House of Lords by a writ of acceleration. He succeeded to his father's earldom two years later.

Edward Woolmer 12

Edward Woolmer was a very well-known public figure in Exeter born in November 1790. He was a pillar of the Tory Establishment, Chair of Exeter's Improvement Commission, Sheriff of the City  in 1831, Freeman, Vice President of Exeter's Dispensary and the City's Receiver. Very little happened without his involvement since he owned an important  local newspaper - Woolmer's Exeter & Plymouth Gazette.

Colonel Harding 13

Sir Arthur Edward Hardinge (the usual spelling) was better known as Colonel Arthur Hardinge who had been Commandant at Balaklava during the Crimean War. He was born in 1828.

W. Tanner 14

William Tanner Esq. was a local landowner. He lived mainly in London but had local interests including the gift of various livings, among them that of Lapford. He was born around 1807.

Dr. Scott 15

Dr. David Scott, a retired Physician and Surgeon of Hills Court, Pennsylvania, Exeter.

H. L. Hertzel 16

Henry Hertzel was born in Exeter around 1795. He had a distinguished legal career and at the time of his appointment to this committee was Exeter's Receiver in Bankruptcy.  

G. H. Haydon 17

George Henry Haydon was the Steward of the Devon County Lunatic Asylum. An architect by profession, he was a local man who had been born in Heavitree around 1823.

J. Arthur Locke 18

Son of a wealthy land-owning family, John Arthur Locke was born at Northmere House, Dulverton around 1832. He was eventually to marry Adele Drewe, daughter of Devon's High Sheriff, Edward Sincoe Drewe.

G. Pycroft 19

George Pycroft. Born in Corsham Wilts around 1820, he was a skilled and much-loved medical practitioner who lived in Kenton for many years. His interest in local history and all things to do with Devon brought him wider recognition.

W. G. Harris 20

Not yet identified - he may have been a contact of John Harris, one of the first officers commissioned by the Volunteers.

G. Woods 21

Not yet identified.

W. Cann 22

Believed to be William M. Cann, physician and surgeon, who, in 1852, lived not far from the Devon County Lunatic Asylum on the edge of Dawlish and would have been known to John Bucknill. He was born in Spreyton around 1812.

John C. Bucknill 23 

John Charles Bicknell was, for some years, the physician in charge of the Devon County Lunatic Asylum in Exminster. He was born in Market Bosworth, Liecestershire,  around 1819. He had an excellent reputation both as a medical man and as a public figure.

 

 
 
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