Matthew Seamark 1780 – 1839


Light Dragoon fought in Peninsula Wars


Relationship to Frederick George Seamarks, Second Great Grand Nephew


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During the Period running upto the end of the 1700’s England was a dark and lonely Island unsure if the French would invade, recruitment took place up and down the land. The Dublin based Light Dragoons toured the Midlands and recruited men to initially defend from invasion along the South Coast or from Ireland. The market town of Bedford was a recruiting station with many men taking the King’s Shilling.


The invasion never happened and the Dragoons left England to fight in Portugal, Spain and at Waterloo. Wives often travelled with the men acting as Nurses.


Matthew enlisted in the 13th Light Dragoons on 21 December 1799 and discharged 4 June 1817, a period of Seventeen years and 166 days, From the discharge papers the Regiment was in York on the 24 March 1817.


The discharge papers indicate that Matthew was the rank of Private for the whole duration of his service, general conduct good - served with the Regiment in the Peninsula [Portugal/Spain].


Matthew was 5ft 6 inches tall, Brown Hair, Blue Eyes, [Dark] Complexion and occupation labourer.


To survive 17 years as a private was quite a feat and as such Matthew must have been very resourceful.


For his wife Phylis, England was cruel, being evicted from her home under English Poor Law.


From the Stagsden Poor Records of 1810, on February 24th 1810, Phylis Seamark was returned to Harlington the last registered dwelling of her Husband. Phylis was sent back with a four-year-old daughter. Her husband was a Private in the 13TH Regiment of Light Dragoons. The order to return was signed by Win Hooper and John Higgins. It was not general practice to send back family whose husbands were serving with the army, but was the norm for people who could not support themselves.


The daughter Elizabeth; married Jacob Bonner 24th September 1823 at Harlington Bedfordshire. In 1861 Phylis was living with daughter Elizabeth and Family in Westoning, Beds. Phylis place of birth is given as Norwich.


From records held in Dorset, Fordington St George: Matthew Seamark, son of Matthew and Phillis, 1 April 1814, 13th L Dragoons. The reference to '13th L Dragoons' is the 'occupation' of the father. Matthew Junior is believed to have died 16th April 1814.


23 December 1812 John son of Matthew and Sarah Seamark, Melcombe Regis, Dorset


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Extract from “History of The X111 Hussars” by CRB Barrett 1911

Matthew notes added


1798 – Regiment returns from the West Indies, terrible losses due to sickness in the West Indies … raise the regiment anew. Regiment normal size was 641 Men and 641 Horses.


1798 Marched to York from Trowbridge


1799 August Regiment was at full strength and Marched to Weymouth. On arrival at Birmingham  orders changed and the regiment was stationed at Coventry, Warwick and Stratford-On-Avon. Regiment Size 802 Men and Horses, 9 troops


1799 Matthew Enlists at Bedford


1800 Spring moved to Leicester and Nuneaton , 10 troops in total


1800 August – June 1801, The 13th were quartered in Norwich, Aslsham, Walsham, Beccles, Bungay and Wymondham.  [Note Matthew’s wife from Norwich]


1801 March  902 Men and Horses


1801 April   One troop marched into Norwich [Note Matthew’s wife from Norwich]


1802 Troops redeployed over East Anglia as far as Boston Lincolnshire. Regiment reduced to 652 Men and 600 Horses then to 516 Men, 436 Horses in eight troops. This reduction was due to peace with France, Treaty of Amiens.


1802 July Regiment marched to Romford and Hornchurch. Inspected by the King at Hornchurch, it is noted the King made a minute inspection.


1803 War broke out, May - Regiment increased to 604 Men and 524 increased to 684 men and 604 horses in July


1803-1804 13th Sent to the South Coast, Deal four troops, Sandwich and Stonar one troop each, Ramsgate two troops By December 1804 the 13th the Regiment stood at 1064 Men and Horses


1805 December Marched to Canterbury  [Elizabeth Seamark born Canterbury daughter of Matthew]


1806 September Four troops marched to Deal, two to Sandwich and two to Ramsgate. By the end of 1806 Strength was 854 Men and Horses


1807 July Marched from the South Cost through Canterbury to quarters at Kingston, Richmond, Twickenham and Cobham.


1807 August 17th Regiment reviewed by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York next day Regiment left for Dorcester, Dorset.


1807 September 24, Last Division reached Dorcester


1807-1809 Marched around Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall [Blanford, Exeter, Honiton, Plymouth, Tiverton, Totness, Truro,


1809 West Country Tour ended. June 22 the regiment began its march from Exeter for “King’s Duty” and during the curse of July went into cantonments in Hounslow, Hampton Court, Richmond, Twickenham, Chertsey, Staines and Egham. [note Maria Seamark was born in Chertsey daughter of Mathew]


1810 1st Week February, 13th Light Dragoons were ordered to prepare eight troops for immediate service.  Service troops formed on February 9th four troops marched to Portsmouth. [expect Phylis wife of Mathew would have been in or returning to Stagsden, Bedfordshire with daughter Elizabeth]


1810 February 17th , 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisions marched into Portsmouth and embarked.


1810 February 18th part of the 4th embarked


1810 February 24Th February, Back in Bedfordshire Phylis is removed from Stagsden with Elizabeth and sent to Harlington –  [Imagine that happening today, see Stagsden Poor Book]


1810 Monday February 26 and Tuesday 27 final troops of the 4th embarked


The entire regiment, consisting of eight troops of 85 men each and 85 horses were distributed between 23 ships. The depot of the regiment was established at Chichester


1810 March 5, fleets destined for Portugal and Gibraltar weighed anchor


1810 March 28, disembarked, and marched to Belem Barracks, situated four miles from Lisbon. During the forty days on board seventeen horses lost,


1814 The regiment returns from the Peninsula. Need to understand the 1812 birth not necessary the same Mathew as wife is given as Sarah. 1814 Birth/Death of Matthew the younger fine’.


Waterloo – Matthew did not take part in the Battle. This is the only “roll call” that survived the period Matthew served with the Dragoons. It is therefore expected he was in the Calvary Reserves at this time.


1817  4 June Matthew discharged.


After de-mob as per the notes above Mathew rejoined Elizabeth in Harlington, Beds where he died. His daughter went on to marry Jacob Bonner.


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