5th Regiment


Burntwood Hall (illustrations courtesy of Ben Fletcher)

A Grenadier of the 5th Regiment

Ben Fletcher has written to tell us of his kinsman:

Francis was a younger son of William Marsden, a Wakefield solicitor, who held the manor of Bolton upon Dearne with Goldthorpe, and his first wife Elizabeth. He was christened in All Saints Church, Wakefield, on 28 February, 1754. The family had ranked among the local gentry since the mid-17C, the first of the line being a steward/purchaser of estates for the Duke of Leeds. One of the family homes was Burntwood Hall, a small hall (now a nursing home) near Brierley, West Riding.

In 1766, when Francis was 12, his mother died, but on 4 December 1768 his father married again: a lady called Olive Milner. While the family estates passed to his eldest brother, and a younger brother, Dr. John Marsden entered the clergy (chaplain to the Archbishop of York and Vicar of Felkirk in the West Riding of Yorkshire), Francis joined the army.

At the age of only 20, Francis was a Captain in the 5th Regiment of Foot when he landed with the Regiment in Boston in April 1774. He was stationed around Boston, and took part, under Colonel Francis Smith and Major John Pitcairn, in the march to Concord, during which firing broke out at Lexington Green. (See further under Pitcairn ). He was at this time in command of the Grenadier company with Lieutenant Francis Rawdon as his second-in-command. At the time of Bunker Hill he was not in command of the Grenadier company. He was wounded along with 3 other Captains of his Regiment (Harris, Jackson and Downes) at the battle of Bunker (or Breed's) Hill. When he fell, seriously wounded, Lord Rawdon took command of the company and distinguished himself leading them forward.

But for young Francis Marsden, the war was over. He was sent home to Yorkshire, where he lingered for five years, without fully recovering. He died at Burntwood Hall on 12 February 1780, in his 27th year.


Ben says "It's sad that there is no memorial to the brave British who died in this war", but there is a family memorial in the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Wakefield, which commemorates Francis and his parents:

Marsden Memorial

Marsden Memorial (close-up)

Photos: John Knight, by courtesy of the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Wakefield

Near this place lies the Body of ELIZABETH the Wife of WILLIAM MARSDEN late of this town, Attorney at Law who died the 14th Augt. 1766, aged 37 years.
Also the Body of FRANCIS, their Son, a Captain in the 5th Regt. of Foot, who died the 12th Feb 1780, aged 27.
And also the Body of the said WILLIAM MARSDEN, who died the 6th Feb: 1793, aged 66.
In respect to the Memory of her Parents, and her affectionate Brother, this Monument was erected, March 1796,

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