To "take the King's shilling" simply meant to enlist in the army, the shilling being a reference to the earnest payment made to each new recruit.see "Historical Notes", below
In the 18th century, the British Army was a professional, volunteer service. Men were not "pressed" nor "sentenced" into the ranks, but were patriotic volunteers looking to serve King and Country and possibly find a little adventure along the way.
In this same spirit, we ask you to "take the King's shilling" and volunteer for service in His Majesty's Tenth Regiment of Foot.
The Tenth Foot holds a military exercise on the third Wednesday of each month (except December & April) at 19:00 hours (7:00 pm). Please see our schedule for the time and location of our Monthly Military Drills.
There are openings in our Grenadier, Light Infantry, Colonel's (Battalion) and Music companies and no military experience is required. However, dedication to hard work, excellence and a good sense of humour are a necessity.
Contact our Recruiting Officer Capt-Lieut Winston Stone to schedule a visit.
Video courtesy of Aaron Gralnik
For the complete list of requirements for Private Soldiers and Musicians, please read the Regimental policies on ADMITTANCE to RANKS.
To be sworn to service in the rank and file (i.e. Grenadiers, Light Infantry, and Colonel's CO'Y) as a Private Soldier, a recruit must be at least 15 years old, physically able to handle a 2nd Pattern Brown Bess musket (weight 10.5 lbs; 4.8 kg) and the rigors of marching in the summer while wearing a wool uniform, complete Recruit School, and demonstrate proficiency in 18th century military drill by passing the Serjeant's Exam.
We also are looking for recruits to become Drummers or Fifers in our Music Company. Musical experience is desirable, but not required. An enthusiastic attitude along with dedication to hard work, excellence and a good sense of humour are much more important.
To be sworn to service as a Drummer or Fifer, one must be at least 10 years old, be able to handle the physical rigor of marching in parades and on the field while drumming or fifing, complete the components of Recruit School applicable to musicians and pass the relevant components of the Sejeant's exam.
In addition, the Tenth Regiment is supported by a Corps of Civilian Volunteers,. A very important component of 18th century regimental life, the camp "followers" provided necessary support to the soldiers’ daily existence. So, if you are interested in living history, but don't want to be in ranks as a soldier or musician, there is a place for you in the Tenth.
No matter what role you assume in the the 10th, soldier, musician, follower, all of your regimental expenses (such as clothing, mileage, etc.) are tax-deductible as the Regiment is an IRS recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization. Your volunteer service could help you out at tax time if you itemize your deductions.
The Tenth Foot is based in eastern Massachusetts and we accept members who are within driving distance of Lexington, MA. However we invite those who live a greater distance away to contact us so that we may put them in touch with a British regiment closer to their home.
- In the 18th century, a shilling was 1/20th of an English Pound, which contained 240 pence (pennies). This would be approximately £4.34 ($5.44) in today's money, enough at the time to pay for either 1/2 week's rent for a furnished room, 6 pints of beer, or a nice roast beef dinner. (Sources: National Archives Currency Converter: 1270-2017; Dr Johnson's London, by Liza Picard, 2000, St Martin's Press, New York NY 10010)
- John Robert Shaw said he was paid 3 guineas and a crown, the latter to "drink His Majesty's health," by Captain Carr when he joined the 33rd Regiment in 1777 (1 guinea = 21 shillings; 1 crown = 5 shillings; 68 shillings ~ £292.72 ($367.20) in today's money). (Source: British Soldiers, American War, by Don N. Haigist, 2012, Westholme Publishing, LLC, Yardley, PA 19067)