Original British Short Land Pattern West Kent Militia Brown Bess Flintlock Musket - Circa 1765 with Militia History Book

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind. This is one of the first Brown Bess Muskets fitted with a 42" barrel from the day it was made and not a modified 46" example. However, it still retained the massive profile of the Long Long Pattern Brown Bess.

The walnut stock retains the glow of age having been "on display" for countless years of exhibition and careful cleaning. The lock plate is marked with a Crown over G.R. and TOWER across the tail. There is also a lock viewer's mark underneath the frizzen. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full. The breech of the barrel bears two British proof marks, which appear to be from the gunmaking city of Birmingham. All the heavy brass mounts of butt plate, trigger guard, tailed side plate, three ramrod pipes, and nose cap are still present, making this a classic example of a Short Land Pattern Brown Bess Musket, the model used in the U.S. Revolutionary War. It still has its correct ramrod, which is marked with what looks to be G / 37 near the end, but the marking is not clear. 

It should be noted that the stock on this musket is massive and of nearly identical in style and breadth to the earlier Long Land Pattern Brown Bess, and that over the course of its life it saw various upgrades and improvements such as a Pratt's forward ramrod pipe and flintlock cock with post hammer (as opposed to leaf style hammer). In our opinion, this musket was manufactured before 1770 and then upgraded in areas over the subsequent decades.

The musket started life with the 50th Regiment of Foot, raised in 1755 by Colonel James Abercrombie for the upcoming 7 years war, known as the French and Indian war in North American of 1756 to 1763. The Regiment was shipped to Jamaica in the Caribbean in 1772 and then to NEW YORK in 1776 for the Revolutionary war of 1776 to 1783. Once they arrived, it was found the Regiment was ravaged by sickness that it was decided that those troops still in good health would be used as replacements for other British Regiments already in the American Colonies. The unfit troops were then returned to England to recover.

As best we can deduce, this particular musket returned to England in 1776 or with the defeated British army after the Revolutionary war had ended. By that point, the regiment was known as the 50th (West Kent) Regiment of Foot. In the late 1780's with the Revolution in France near panic gripped England in the fear that the same bloody uprising would happen there. Many Militias were raised in almost every county. In Kent there were two, East Kent and West Kent. These battalions were equipped with whatever weapons that could be found no longer in service with England's standing Army. As the 50th Regiment of foot was located in West Kent, the militia was armed with obsolete or used arms from the regiment. The Age of Terror in France more or less ended but very soon a new Emperor NAPOLEON BONAPARTE who soon conquered most of Europe and again England faced the very real possibility of invasion. Eventually the 50th Regiment and West Kent Militia (Light Infantry) would be amalgamated into the The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment).

This Short Land Pattern 42" Brown Bess was issued to the WEST KENT MILITIA and was engraved on the barrel: W. KENT M. At some point, perhaps earlier, the brass escutcheon, sometimes referred to as the "thumb plate", was been engraved 7 / 11 which could stand for seventh battalion, eleventh man. The brass butt plate is engraved on it tang: WOODSGATE which was a militia installation just over the Surrey Kent border.

Also included with the purchase of this musket is the HISTORICAL RECORDS OF THE WEST KENT MILITIA by COLONEL J. BONHOTE, its former Commander, printed in 1909. This is a thick leather bound book of almost 500 pages, covers Kent's Military involvements back until 1066, the Norman Conquest.

A very fine SHORT LAND PATTERN BROWN BESS which is perhaps 250 years old. Complete, in compelling condition, ready to display along with the historical records book.


Years of Manufacture: Circa 1765 - 1770
Caliber: .75" Musket
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Barrel Length: 42 inches
Overall Length: 58 inches
Action: Flintlock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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