Thursday, 9 July 2009

Early grenadiers

We know that the first grenadiers were French and no doubt copied by the English but the characteristic look of the early English grenadier (cap, buttonhole tape loops) is quite far removed from these French models. Maybe we have to look further afield for their inspiration - the first description of grenadiers for England is this quote from John Evelyn the diarist
29th June 1678 Hounslow Heath
His Majesty and a world of company were in the field; and the whole army in battalia; a very glorious sight.. Now were brought into service a new sort of soldiers, called Grenadiers who were dexterous in flinging hand grenadoes, every one having a pouch full. They wore furred caps with coped crowns like Janizaries, which made them look very fierce, and some had long hoods hanging down behind as we picture fools. Their clothing being likewise piebald, yellow and red.
On Horse Grenadiers 5 December 1683
The King had now augmented his guards with a new sort of dragoons, who carried also granados, and were habited after the Polish manner, with long peaked caps, very fierce and fantastical.

1 comment:

Sir William the Aged said...


Not sure if you pulled the Evelyn quote from Lawson or not (p. 29), but Lawson also gives the following description along with an illustration:

Per Lawson, Volume I, pp. 28, 29 and figure 25.

"The cap was on the lines of the old fisherman's or brewer's cap with the bag hanging down behind. It was first bound in fur, but this gave place to cloth with a raised and stiffened front on which was embroidered the Sovereign's crown and cypher or the Colonel's crest".