Dorney History
Dorney History 

The Buckinghamshire Posse Comitatus - 1798

Virginia Silvester wrote an article for the September 2020 Dorney Parish News on this fascinating subject. Her article is below:

Dorney in 1798
Those who keep a close eye on the Dorney History Group website may have spotted that it now contains an item called the Posse Comitatus dating from February 1798. This strange title hides some remarkable content. It is a list of all the men living in the parish of Dorney aged between 15 and 60, who could be called on to fight in the event of an invasion by France.
Dorney in 1798.pdf
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The Buckinghamshire Posse Comitatus 1798
Buckinghamshire Posse Comitatus 1798 wit[...]
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Complete returns for the Posse Comitatus of 1798 survive for no county in England and Wales other than Buckinghamshire. Summaries or partial lists exist for some counties, while for others there is merely an allusion in the lieutenancy papers to the returns being made, or else no record at all


The Posse Comitatus, or civil power, was a survey of all men capable of acting in a military capacity who were neither Quakers, nor clergymen nor already serving in a military unit.  Men between the ages of 15 and 60 were included.  In addition, the number of horses, wagons and carts available were surveyed. It was prepared to assess the potential availability of military preparedness in the event of invasion by France. By the late 1790s, France controlled, or was allied with, much of continental Europe.


The surviving records for the Bucks Posse Comitatus are among the most comprehensive for any county. The Posse Comitatus, which pre-dated the first census (1801) by three years, is a source of information on the names and numbers of males between the ages of 15 and 60, and their occupations.


The Posse Comitatus did not include women in the head count, although some women were shown as owning draught horses, wagons or carts. As the author on the Records of Bucks 1985 publication on the Posse Comitatus, Ian Beckett, states when considering the Posse Comitatus as a social document “The main posse .. does not include the female population (55,350 in 1801) although a few women are listed as owning horses, wagons and carts … This omission … tends to present an unbalanced picture of the county’s economy at the time since the largest trade (lace-making) was overwhelmingly a female occupation.”

Dorney extracts - Pages 163 and 172

The DORNEY Posse Comitatus 1798 (Page 163)


Avery Kimberley

William Neighbour

Charles Perryman

David Perryman

Richard Sedding     Lame


John Quick               Infirm

Richard Sired


Samuel Smith


Jeremiah Dell


James Bear

William Biggs

Thomas Dearlove

Robert Hicks

Joseph Landan

William Money

Job Walker

William the Milkman)

George the Carter)            At Thomas Seddings. Refused to tell their Surnames


John Beirns

Thomas Belson

John Broadway

William Budden

Francis Chear

John Clemmons

John Cox

Robert Cox Snr

Robert Cox Jnr

William Cox              Lame

James Ellwood

John Herrington

James Howell

John Hubbard

Thomas Jones

William Lack

John Martin

William Martin

John Middleton

Thomas Neal

Thomas Newell

Robert Osborn

Richard Parker

John Smith

William Tacket                    Crooked knee

Robert Tarrant

Thomas Tarrant

Thomas Thorne

Jacob Wells

Richard Weston

Thomas Weston

No Description

Moses Ellstone

Joseph Houghs

Richard Slamacher

Richard Stallwood


Page 172: Buckinghamshire to wit Hundred of Burnham. A Register of the Names of the Persons within the said Hundred who keep Draught Horses, Waggons or Carts of Burthen, the Numbers thereof by them respectively kept and of the Persons Occupying any Wind or Water Corn Mill with the Average of the Weekly Quantity of Corn that can be Ground thereat as returned by the Petty Constables within the said Hundred in pursuance of a precept from John Penn Esq, High Sheriff of the said County bearing date the 16th day of February 1798. For the better ascertaining the Civil power of the said County.




Persons keeping

Draught Horses



Avery Kimberley




William Neighbour




Sir Charles Palmer, Bt




David Perryman




Richard Sedding




Thomas Sedding




Widow Sedding




Thomas Weston