In 1802 after the Treaty of Amiens, many of the volunteer forces were
disbanded but both the Bunny and Holme Troops decided to continue, regularly
sending in returns in the subsequent years. Peace lasted until 1803 when
war with France was again declared and the Bunny Troop was placed on standby
He described the hullaballoo in Ruddington when orders to mobilise came
on a Sunday in 1804. The men were assembled on church parade when the
message arrived causing a "Fine bustle". The parson had a great
sermon ready, and sent the sexton to bring the men to church, but no one
had time to listen. "This was a great disappointment to him".
As the news spread the wives began creating a disturbance, some not wanting
their husbands to go and berating their menfolk for their foolishness
in volunteering. Others were quite happy once they found out that they
would receive an extra "…two shillings a week for every child
and half a crown for themselves - and not a husband at home to spend it
". One can only imagine that the same mixture of emotions and reactions
occurred in the households in Bunny.
Quite a day by all accounts!
However, he writes of the day of 3rd October when the Bunny Volunteers marched off to Mansfield
Annual Paylists and Returns, now held as part of the War Office Records at the Public Record Office at Kew, list the number of men, their names, rank held and details of the number of days they had attended for duty. No records of the Cavalry have yet been located, but from the 1804 return for the 'Loyal Bunny Volunteer Infantry', (Captain : William Boultbee, was this Joseph's brother?) it is learnt that the men were paid 1s for each of the 20 days served that year.
The names of local families can be recognised from these lists - Henson, Gunn, Cripwell, for example are all known to be local men. Some of the names noted are also represented in the local Marriage Records and on the gravestones in the Churchyard.
Another call to duty came in November 1811 when Luddite rioters massed in Sutton-in-Ashfield and began destroying knitting frames. Prisoners were taken and brought to gaol in Nottingham whilst patrols were mounted in the surrounding areas. The Troops were quartered locally to quell the night raids on the frames. They were relieved eventually by the Royal Bucks. Militia and once again the press, this time the Nottingham Journal, reports;
Trouble occurred again in January 1812 when a riot took place in New Radford, and at the same time twenty frames were destroyed during the night at Lenton. The Luddites then crossed the Trent and broke fourteen frames at Ruddington and twenty out of the twenty-two frames at Clifton. An urgent message was sent to Nottingham for a troop of Hussars, who sped off with as many of the Bunny Troop as could be collected. One party chasing the rioters, while other detachments of the Troop tried desperately to secure all the nearby bridges over the Trent hoping to intercept the troublemakers on their return to the town. But the Luddites had stolen a boat above Clifton, and 'on arriving at the opposite bank, discharged their firearms and made a good retreat'.
There is a report of another occasion when rioters took refuge in St Mary's Churchyard in Nottingham. This, being higher than the street and accessible only by a flight of steps, would have seemed an unassailable position. They made good this advantage by attacking the troopers with stones, inflicting some damage; this irritated the Volunteers and they were difficult to restrain. Captain Boultbee, in a dramatic turn of events, chose to assault the rioters' 'fortress' by spurring his charger up the steps, closely followed by a favourite orderly named Gunn. This must have caused some consternation and the mob scattered pretty quickly!
The Troop was kept together until the war was ended in 1815 and over
the next few years the numbers in the Troop slowly declined. In 1817 they
had one officer, and a reduced roll of 45. Despite the lower numbers they
were once again required for duty, supporting the Civil Power against
rioters at Ruddington.