Serjeant Benjamin Brearley/Brierley

William IV Long Service & Good Conduct
Military General Service Medal with Clasp Nivelle & Nive

Water Colour of Sergeant Benjamin Brearley as painted by his grandson Benjamin Charles Brearley (The noted Rochdale artist)

Born 1792 at Elland; Attested 1/84th at Halifax 1st October 1807 for unlimited service after being recruited by Private Samuel Lister – age 15; fresh complexion; grey eyes; brown hair a cotton weaver for a bounty £6/15/-;

Appears on first muster 2/84th February 1808 as ‘Sick’

Travelled with the Battalion on the Scheldt Expedition and on 11th September 1809 in Vere General Hospital, Walcheren until 10th – 24th October 1809 when he was sent to the 2/84th Depot at Bury St Edmonds, – Prize Money 18/6¾d

Appointed to ‘Columns of Men’ 1st October 1810;

In the September to December Muster 1812 he was shown as an Escort on two occasions for a deserter to Cork

With the Battalion during its participation in the Peninsula War for which he was later awarded a Military General Service Medal with Clasps Nivelle & Nive – Prize Money 8/5d paid 13th May 1816

15 December 1814 to detachment at Shanagoulden, returning 25th April 1815

Married Catherine Connaughton at Athlone 10th December 1816.

September – December 1817 Muster shown as 7 year man

Promoted Corporal 6th December 1817; and 12th December 1817 to Depot Companies

Promoted Serjeant 8th June 1820;

17 March 1823 sent recruiting which he remained doing first at Halifax and then Rochdale

Family history describes him whilst recruiting as carrying a ‘Havercake’ (oatcake) on the point of his sword whilst being followed by a fife and drum band playing his favourite tunes ‘The girl I left behind me’ & ‘Garryowen’

Garry Owen –

The Girl I left Behind Me – ://

In his absence and at his request he was discharged at Cambridge Barracks, Portsmouth on 13th January 1832, testimonial as to his service was given to the board by Quartermaster Serjeant Brown and Colour Serjeant Daly

Wednesday 8th February 1832 appeared before pension board; awarded 8d per diem, later increase to 2/-d  – Description age 40; brown hair; grey eyes; fresh complexion; a cotton weaver by trade his intended place of residence being Rochdale-

26th July 1832 he was the first member of the Regiment to be awarded the William IV Long Service Medal for Meritorious Service and a Gratuity

1851 Barrack serjeant at Fulwood Barracks, Preston – A Barrack Serjeant was selected from retired non-commissioned officers not under the rank of sergeant, who were permanent pensioners and given the nomnaclure of Barrack Serjeant. He had previously served as Barrack Serjeant at Rochdale and Wigan

1861 he was living with his wife at Mount Falinge Lodge, Rochdale

Died17th February 1863 at Rochdale


Sarah Brearley 1793 – 1868 – Married Benjamin Brearley 10th December 1816 at Connaught, Ireland



John Brearley (1822) with his son the artist Charles Benjamin Brierley (1857-1920) – The surname was changed by John