Our HistoryThe history of the original East Norfolk Milita
The history of the modern re-enactment group
The Norfolk Militia was formed under the Militia Act of 1757, replacing earlier less formal arrangements. From this date, better records were kept, and the men were selected by ballot to serve for longer periods. Proper uniforms and better weapons were provided, and the force was 'embodied' from time to time for training sessions.
In 1758 the Earl of Orford put the "Act for the better regulating of the Militia" into execution. This set the number of men to serve in the militia in Norfolk at 960, with the city of Norwich providing 151. The Norfolk Militia was divided into the 1st Battalion Western Regiment of the Norfolk Militia (West Norfolk Militia) and the 2nd Battalion Eastern Regiment of the Norfolk Militia (East Norfolk Militia). Between 1797 and 1798 there was also a 3rd Battalion of the Norfolk Militia, but this was not re-raised in 1803.
The East Norfolk Militia was, jointly with the West Norfolk, the first regiment formed under the Bill of 1757, and was also recognised as the first to offer to "march wherever they might be most serviceable to the public defence." Consideration was given by King George II "that every mark of his Royal Favour should be shown to this Corps" and that they "should be distinguished by the title of Militia Royal".
The ENM did good service during the 7 years war, and garrisoned fortifications in the UK to release troops to go abroad during the American Revolutionary war. The Norfolk Militia drill manual was published in Britain for the use of other Militia groups learning to drill troops from scratch. This training manual was enthusiastially adopted by the American revolutionaries for training their troops, arguably the biggest role that the Militia played during the American Revolutionary war. The Militia was called out for the French revolution and served through the Napoleonic wars. After the Napoleonic wars the Militia was reduced back to it's part time role with the reduction in forces, and was eventually reformed into an artillery milita in the mid 19th century, before being absorbed into the Norfolk Regiment, now part of the Royal Anglian Regiment.